Pazhaverkadu Vishnu Temple – Reach Foundation: Conserve our Rich Heritage!!
Pazhaverkadu was called as Pulicat, because the Dutch found it difficult to pronounce! Vela trees were so abundant there and hence the name. Many trades and communities thrived here long ago, including those of British, Dutch and Chinese.
On 16th April,2006, we went for the Adi Narayanaswamy Vishnu temple .
Pazharverkadu was also known as Pralaya Kaveri and Mallapatnam as per the 16th century Telugu stone inscription found above the entrance of the Goddess shrine. This temple has been built by a Telugu man called Balavandakulu.
The entrance is striking and even though the gopuram is missing, the main entrance with the walls on either side looks like an entrance of a fort!
This is a mini-Angorvat! In all sense, because
♦ The temple is ancient, Vishnu temple
♦ Has intricately carved Ramayana on its roof cross beams, close to the ceilings, having figures not taller than 8 inches and
♦ Has roots of trees penetrating all around the temple, as if a big Asura is usurping the temple for his great hunger!! The roots of arasa trees have played havoc with this temple. The roots have gone deep into the vidanam and are almost uprooting the stone ceilings and are making the pillars fall apart. It is high time the temple should be taken up for restoration by the ASI, as,
The most striking feature and may be the first of its kind seen in Tamilnadu is that the whole temple is built using Laterite only!
The roofs are made up of stone.The Vimanam are mixture of limestone and bricks
We were fortunate to have Mr.T.Satyamurthy, ex-Superintendent Archaeologist with us, for this trip. He has formed a new foundation by the name R.E.A.C.H (Rural Education And Cultural Heritage Foundation) having our members as a part of the forming committee.
This Laterite stone is normally found only in coastal Malabar, Goa etc. More details on the stone, the other famous heritage monuments built on Laterite can be seen in the URL:-
This temple, which is on the verge of collapse, is located next to a mosque. Is it otherwise? Because the walls of the old temple was similar and running further to cover the mosque too. May be half the temple land now is a mosque! Curiosity killed us, so we peeped into the mosque and were shocked to find that the stone pillars in the mosque were strikingly similar to those in the temple, except that those were green-washed (not white washed?).
The fact that children are totally clueless and innocent about religions became true. During identification trip, it was a Muslim boy who led us correctly to the temple. Now, when we surged ahead for the cleaning operation, it was two boys Ahmad and Rafiq who offered themselves to dust off the idols of Alwars, Acharyas, Ram,Lakshman and Sita. The Rama idol is broken, and the bow and arrow are missing. There was once a separate sannidhi for Rama to the right of the main sannidhi, which has now collapsed.
These two Muslim buys carried water in plastic pots which were almost equal to their own weight! Their interest in work and dedication could not be seen among the senior villagers, who gathered inside the temple, in the second half of the cleaning operation. Atleast fifty people gathered and only fifteen men got into the act of cutting down the trees that were seen encompassing the temple.
First comes a small mandap with the garuda facing the main shrine.
The mandap leading us to the temple has beautiful carvings of dancers and the dasavatara. On one of the pillars was a carving of a monkey eating a jackfruit and above it a carving of 4 monkeys juxtaposed, which when seen with part-hidden, looks like a single monkey.
Similarly there were many carvings like a mermaid, man-beast, man with several head etc, which seems like as if the sculptor had carved out evolution itself on these pillars!
The deity was Adi Narayana Perumal, flanked by Sridevi and Bhoodevi. The utsavars had been removed to a newly built Varadaraja temple for safety reasons. The Lord in this temple is seen in a standing posture, with the sankhu and chakra in his upper hands.
His lower right hand is Abhaya hasta and the lower left hand rests on His thigh; he is flanked by Sridevi and Bhoodevi.
Outside the sannidhi is a small but beautiful idol, whose lower right hand is Varada hasta and whose lower left hand rests on the thigh. He too is flanked by Sreedevi and Bhoodevi.
The Amman shrine and Andal Shrine are seperate on either side of the main mandap and Vimanam. We had to cut the trees to find out whether these two mandaps really exist!
The bali peetam itself is a beautifully carved structure, with steps leading to the top of the bali peetam from all four sides.
The members dusted off and oiled all the idols. New vastrams and saris were bedecked on the moolavar, and sweet pongal, other ritualistic offerings were made and an elaborate Pooja was made by our member. An archaka cam running hearing the sounds of men inside the temple, and later took over the poojas. He was happy that his Perumal was getting a royal treatment which was long due, but bemoaned that due to the apathy shown to this temple by Government and local public.
It seems that the temple was popular with the villagers and till 1988 a priest used to come from Ponneri and Laksharchnais, Navaratri puja and other pujas were conducted regularly. The last samprokshanam was in 1979.
The temple is rich in heritage and artistic value, but lacks care and maintenance. It has only two acres of land in Thaangalperumpalam, a village that is a few miles away but its produce is insufficient for the maintenance of the temple.
Pazhaverkadu is also home to an ancient Shiva temple whose deity is called as Samaiya Eswaraswamy and Anandavalli, which is maintained (???) and adopted by the Government’s Hindu Religious & Charities Endowment Trust. This is also in ruins, but is some what restorable.
There is a Subramania swamy temple which is some 150 years old built by some chettiars in nearby area, and also a 10th century Chola period temple is located in the nearby ‘Koviladi’ island.
Many people including those from THE HINDU Magazine in 2004 and years before, the members of ASI, have recorded the condition of this temple and have sought immediate attention from the centre. It seems people in position have lost their senses!!
A Dutch fort ruins, some Christian and Muslim monuments, a bird sanctuary and a boating strip seen around this historical land, makes this spot ideal for a tourist outing and it is a surprise, why the Government is not showing any interest on this!?
Late in the evening, we spoke to the gathering and insisted that the villagers should call us, only after cleaning the surrounding to their best abilities, spruce up the place. Then, REACH would surely take up further renovation work.
In near future we would plan on how to approach HREC, ASI and /or other organizations, which can adopt this temple for renovation.
A special thanks to Ramakrishna mutt, and their member Mr. Kanakaraj, for providing us food and vehicle for this trip. In fact, the members felt at home in the small study centre run in Pazhaverkadu, by Ramakrishna mutt. The students, both boys and girls are taught formal education as well as about Hindu ideologies. Many have become graduates and are employed well and more are seeking employment after their graduation. The mutt runs a computer centre and also a self help group which makes hand made mats using eco-friendly materials. The mats were too good and many members bought them out instantly. A Muslim girl, wearing full gown, caught our attention. Members were wondering what she has to do in a Hindu Ashram?
This girl, whom the inmates nicknamed as Pazhaverkadu Niveditha stays for the whole day till she is forced to go back home, in the centre and serves everyone with brisk action and a permanent smile. All revere her with respect and pride! Indeed another instance of communal harmony!
While returning on the way, we visited the ancient Palaivana Nadhar temple, well maintained by the HR&CE Department, but as usual,it was so foolish of them that they had white washed all the stone inscriptions seen in abundance in and around the temple. The sthalapuranam is available in the temple itself.
Last but least, our special thanks also to Mr. G.Saminathan, an ASI member, who on the request of our advisor and Author of our newly formed R.E.A.C.H Foundation and Chief of ASI, Mr.Sathyamurthy, for giving us the details of history and stone scriptures from an old article written by their ASI staff, Mr.S.Krishnamurthy.
Hi,We visited this temple recently, and more than interested in restoring this to its original magnanimity. Please let me know your plans for this so that we can join the venture of betterment of this temple.Thank You
More Photos from Pazhaverkadu temple
Deep Routed roots making a sandwich between walls of the amma shrine Front Mandapam crowned by trees
It is really amazing to know some thing like this exists in Hindu society. I am a devote hindu from tirupathi and srikalahasti area. I was lucky to born and tasted the rich culture of our religion. I have seen many temples which needed help and started doing individually what i could do. Though this temple is near by to my home town i have never heard about it. I look forward to visit this temple.
Hi could I use some of these pictures in my blog… I feel the pictures could attract attention when ppl. read my blog… from there I would like to http://templesrevival.blogspot.com/ . I hope this is okay.If not, please let me know. I will remove the same from my blog.btw, my simple blog is at madantalks.blogspot.com, but I do have some friends who visit.
thanks Vishwanatha Reddy,pls do visit and try to bring in money to rebuild this temple. REACh is there for you to help in this cause.
no problem V.V Thevan. Your spreading the message is good for the community and country.U may use these photos,links, whatsoever for constructive purpposes.posted by templerevival:…………………………..