Chernamahadevi Ramaswamy temple – Reach Foundation: Conserve our Rich Heritage!!
When we visited Cheranmahadevi Ramaswamy temple (the locals call it Sermadevi and insist that’s the right way to pronounce!) we were not aware that this temple has a 3 tiered Vimana. Having imposing Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, Hanuman sculptures right at the entrance and some interesting sculptures in the motif at the entrance, the temple stands clearly with tell-tale signs of a Vishnu temple, the Moolavar still is…
Later Nayakas had patronized and the Bronzes of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita, Hanuman would have been donated to this temple for Urchava Moorthis’ worship, but unless we ask the Bhattar to show us above, allow us to climb up the stairs to have a look at the other two tiers, one can never imagine the Vimana having within itself the layers where Original stucco with their sheen lost and mutilated, lie there as a glaring example of the neglect we have on such rare beauties. Leave along the antiquity, but where are the real Vishnu Bhakthas? While we enter the Cheranmahadevi village, we see a contract of sorts, on the right a Vishnu temple renovated with all the jarring colours and spoils, and far off at the banks of Thamirabarani, on the left the elegant Bhaktavatsala temple renovated and maintained by the A.S.I. Not daring to enter the one in the right, with its gory sight, we visited last time the Bhaktavatsala temple, and this temple too.
When Pradeep Chakravarthy had written about the sad plight of this temple, we were asking ourselves, “Was there a Vimana with three tiers?” Yes, true but sad.
While climbing on the stairs, we saw two parts of Chola inscriptions, and atop, we saw the abandoned Deities all waiting in silence for someone to spruce their looks up! Ironically, this made us learnt a lot on how the stucco using lime mortar, wood as supporting beams and coconut coir as binders were used to construct and make the deities. Faded original paintings were also carrying the sad story within and waiting for some sensible restorer to uplift them.
The roof weather coarse had also eroded, showing signs of leakage. Inside the temple, all stone walls and pillars were white washed, making sure that none of the intricate carvings were made to be seen.
Mr.Ali, a self made archaeologist and heritage lover, who has some large collection of coins and stamps, also an artist drawing sketches from this temple says, ” I frequent this temple, whenever I want to energize myself. This is my cradle. I can’t bear this agony of seeing it crumble. Will I see the light of the day, the restored temple, before my light goes off?,” asks he, tears rolling off his eyes. Dumb struck, we had no answers.
Look at the pictures
We are only heritage lovers as he is, but want to tell the world about this temple and ask all who are concerned, to bring in funds to renovate this magnificent temple. We do not blame the endowments department or the state and central archaeology departments, as they do not have a data base of how many such temples lie across the state nor a foresight of what to do to save a heritage temple. Enough of blame game, we wish only all concerned open their eyes. As a study of contract, we see within Cheranmahadevi (Mr. Ali corrects me again, Sermadevi!) one spoilt renovation, one excellent renovation and one neglected heritage temple! Such is the state of heritage here! Hope the Lord himself shows us the way and answer our queries.