Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thirumalai Mahadevar Temple – The Temple

Thirumalai Mahadevar Temple – The Temple
The structure of the temple has in course of time undergone great changes: and what remains of the ancient edifice is mostly the central shrine. As an instance of an ancient and important temple that has undergone architectural modifications not conforming to any well-thought out design or principles is the Siva shrine of Thirumalai. It has a distinctness of style in that the Vimana(roof) of its central shrine containing the Garbhagriha dominates the whole temple structure. It is reminiscent of the early Chola architecture.

It is located on the top of a petty rocky elevation and it is reached by a flight of 95 steps. The area of the temple is 1 acre 15 cents of land. The temple faces the East. It has sufficient antiquity. Thirumalai is locally known as ‘Munchirai’ and the principal deity of the temple is called ‘Munchirai- Thirumalai Thevar’. The Vimana or the roof of the central shrine is adorned with sculptures. The granite built Garbhagriha, the carved pillars and the corridors are reminiscent of the Chola architecture.

There are two Srikoils in this temple, one dedicated to Lord Siva and the other is to Lord Krishna located to the north of the Shiva Temple. The Siva Srikoil consists of a garbhagraham and a room in its front Rishabha mandapam which is wholly built in granite. The garbhagraham is roofed with a sikharam, and the front rooms are terraced. Inside the mukhamandapam there is flag-staff covered by copper sheets.

The exterior of the granite wall is plastered and painted. The plastering and paintings have become worn-out. The Siva temple has a Dravidian Vimana. There is a Kodimaram, gold plated bali stone and a small statue of Nandi in the temple. The temple records describe the principal deity as Soolapaani. In an inscription of the seventh regnal year of the Chola King Rajendra (1012-44) engraved on a rock in the outer prakara of the temple, the main deity is called, ‘Munchirai –Thirumalai-Devar’. The word ‘Bhadarar’ is frequently used in the inscription of Thirumalai-Nayak.

The temple site was once known as “Munimar- thottam”. It may be inferred from the term “Munchirai Sabhayar” in an inscription of the temple that there lived Jain ascetics. Therefore, it is conclusive to infer that the temple was once under the influence of the Jains. To preserve the sanctity of the temple, different types of daily and monthly pujas are conducted. The expenditure for conducting the pujas and other festivals is generally met from the Devaswom fund.