Thiruvengadamudiyan mandapam Pudukudi,Tamilnadu
The aim of this paper is to highlight the structure of Thiruvengadamudiyan mandapam.
Srikallarpiran temple Srivaikuntam is the fifty third in the series of the 108 sacred places dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one of the nine temples known as Navathiruppathi situated on the northern and southern bank of river Thambiraparani. Srivaikuntam is situated one and half miles north of Pudukudi Railway Station in Thoothukudi District of Tamilnadu. This temple was built during the early pandyas. It preserves many epigraphs on its walls dating from the period of the later Chola to that of Nayak rulers. The temple complex with many additions and renovations through centuries provide a richfied for the study of Dravidian architecture and iconography. This temple has also rich collection of stone and metal sculptures.
Srikallarpiran temple has massive structure with lofty mandapas. Its present form was constructed by the early and later pandyas. Later Nayaks constructed more mandapas. So this temple has the architectural impact of Pandyas of second empire and the Nayaks of Madurai. The correct date and year of construction of this temple is not able to be fixed. But on various time by various rulers this temple was constructed. Generally the temples are constructed facing the east according to Hindu agamas. Kallarpiran temple was also constructed facing the east. This temple was exclusively constructed by stones.
The layout is the beginning stage for art of construction of temple. This is the first stage in accordance with the principles, laid down by the Pancharathra Agamas. This temple situates an area of five and quarter (5.25) acres land. Compound walls 580 feet in length and 396 feet in width. The entrance Gopuram is of 110 feet.
This temple has five prakarams namely, Karuvarai Prakaram, Thalavarisai Prakaram, Nachiyar Prakaram, Nandavana Prakaram and outer Prakaram. They are representing the five elements of nature, Earth water, Fire, Sky and Air. In it Garbhagriham, inner prakaram, Ardhamandapam, sayankuradu or Manivayil mandapam. Milk Kuradu or Mahamandapam Thalavarisai Prakaram, Nachiyar Prakaram, ManavalaMamuni shrine, Lakshmi Narasingar shrine, Kannadi mandapam, Kitchen, (Madapalli) Pagalpathu mandapam, Vaikuntha valli Thayar shrine Boosathu mandapam, Soranayaki Thayar shrine, Paramapatha Vasal mandapam, Sundara Pandyan Gopuram, Kulasekara Pandyan mandapam or Duvajasthampa mandapam or Krishnan Kuradu, hanuman shrine, Vasantha Aandapam, Kothandaraman shrine, Nandavana Prakaram, Erapathu mandapam, Thiruvenkadamutiyan mandapam. Situate Compound wall situates at Raja Gopuram. In outer wall prakaram, Panthal mandapam, Ganapiran Sannathi and administrative office are all main features of the temple. The Gopura entrance leads to the outer prakara, duvajastambha and palipita, which are placed in axile line. The eastern outer prakaram has a panthal mandapam, Ganapiran Sannathi and administrative office are found in north. The roofing between these Mandapam is supported by 98 pillars of Thiruvenkatamutiyan mandapam.
Thiruvengadamutiyan Mandapam situates in the north of Duvaja Stambha Mandapa at the north eastern corner before the garden well and at a distance of 42 feet east ward from Manavalamamuni shrine. This was constructed by Vadamalaiappa Pillai representative, employee of Nayak ruler of Madurai, ruling Tirunelveli region. This was constructed in sixteenth century. Its length is of 118 feet and width 95 feet in a rectangular shape. On the west, a wall and upto the some distance on south and north, walls are there. In the middle of western extremity Thiruvengadamutiyan shrine situates and before it a platform is found. The whole of inner side of this Mandapa is of open space. Just near the eastern corner on south there are three stone steps and a vacant space is found. The idol of stone has four hands of which in one hand holds conch and in another hand discus and the remaining two hands hanging downwards.
Thiruvengadamutiyan Mandapam situates on a platform with height of 8 feet. This Mandapam is considered as treasure house of Architecture and of many sculptures of dexterity, skill grand and famous and a feast to human eyes to see them. This is the greatest and famous Mandapam containing very numerous stone sculptures and stone pillars on which many sculptures are also chiselled by sculptor, which are very attractive. The Platform of 8 feet height faces south ward. On all sides of Kapotha frieze in the Pitha (Stretching from the walls on the top) of this mandapa bears miniature carvings of Pudai sirpam (front side only is exposed). A gipsy carries her child on her shoulders during her wanderings. The child takes food from the small basket held in the hands of gypsy and the gypsy holds the basket. A hunter was struck on the toe by a thorn. His wife removes it by a nail of her hand of the hunter’s uplifted foot. Venugopalan draws the cows by the music of his magical flute and women folk dance to the tune of flute music. All these are carved excellently. Thiruvengadamutiyan Mandapam is supported by 82 pillars. Out of them eighteen are having the yalis structure and infront entrance four pillars. On the western side Pitchadanamoorthy, Veduvan and his wife, Govarthana Gopalan, Rathi Manmathan images are found. In front entrance, therefore four pillars. On the extreme western pillar, Akoraveerapathra image, in eastern pillar a konankiveeran image, and on both sides of central front entry on the pillar of 8 feet height situates bears stone sculptures of Kothanda Ramar holding the bow in his left hand, on its eastern side Sukrivan image stands and next to it Lakshman’s image holding Hanuman with his right hand. To Rama’s left Sita and on his right side Vibeshan standing facing west wards. Rama and his men wear Thenkalai Namam. The Yali Pillar in front of Thiruvenkada Mudayan shrine, in a pillar Rama Lakshmanan and Rama, Sukreevan, Lakshmanan Angathan and Hanuman together stand and carved in one and the same Yali Pillar. Veera pathirar lifting his leg upwards is an image chiselled in one pillar. In this Mandapam there are five Yali stone pillars of five feet height with the very same images. Each Pillars of this Mandapam contains, Peda, square size Kahi, Pattai, round shape, Nagapantham pattai, square shape Nagapantham, Palagai Thantam, Muthalai, Pothikai, Nanunuthal and Pumunai.
This Mandapam is of 14 feet height above the 8 feet height platform. The platform before Thiruvengadamutiyan shrine is of 2 feet height and of 10 feet square shape. This is in open space without any enclosures and no statues and no pillars. This may be used as Altar or Palipidam.
In the mouth of one Yali (a kind of lion shaped animal) Pillar in the centre, Hanuman appears. There are nine stone pillars in the two rows each. In some stone pillars there are sculpture of elephant over which there are lion and yalis.
The idol of Thiruvengadamutiyan is of nine feet height. He holds discus in left hand and holds conch in his right hand and other two hands hanging downwards pose. He was born in Puratasi month in Thiruvona star, so Abisekham and special Pujas are performed for him on that day.
On the western side 4 rows of 39 pillars with seven, eleven, and ten pillars in each row. The first pillar on entry to first row has a image of lion on its top and below it a cat bites a hen. A warrior fights and subdues a tiger. On Yali’s trunk a parrot is seated and below it Hanuman and below him elephants trunk. In the second pillar, on the top plantain flower below it appears a lion, and further below it cocks fight and below it a swan bird and below it a camel sits and two copras and Hanuman holds Sanjeevi hills on his head, a lion with its front two legs catches the elephant trunk. In the third pillar at top two hares seated, two demon women holding their both hands jointly on their heads in worshipping pose, a warrior holds a sword are seen. A Lion seated on the elephant catching its trunk, an elephant seated on Yali. On the fourth pillar in the top three demon women seated, below it an Alvar Hanuman, Ramanuja, conch blowing three demon women, a lion holds the trunk of elephant appears. In the sixth pillar in the top two elephants stand and below it Ramanuja and below him an owl standing, below it a hare and below it an elephant is seen stands and below it Yali stands and below it an elephant. In the eighth pillar in the top, a demon woman seated and a lion seated and below it a parrot, below it three demon women blows conch and Mahudi and below it Yali and below it a lion stands. On the top of ninth Pillar swan seated, below it an Yali, below it an elephant. All these sculptures are chiselled in the stone nine pillars on the western side of this Mandapam.
In the eastern side 4 rows of 39 stone pillars each row with seven, eleven, eleven and ten Pillars. On the first pillar, on the top an image of lion below it a saint Yogi, Ramanuja, lion seated on the pillar, in the top Anjanaya, below it Krishna, below it Kothanda Rama, below him elephant and below it a dancing women, below it Garudalvar below it Hanuman are noticed. On the Third Pillar in the top, a king stands, below him Ramanuja, one peacock, under them yogi seated, below him Ramanuja and Hanuman with a mace. In the fourth Pillar on the top, elephant, Hanuman, a King, dancing Garudalvar. On the top of the fifth Pillar a peacock, below it elephant, below it a hare below it a King and below him a dancing woman. On the sixth Pillar on the top, a king, below him an elephant, below it a tortoise, below it yogi with worshipping hands over his head appear. On the seventh pillar in the top a hare below it worshipping Yogi below him woman stands, below it a tortoise and below it a hare appear. There are seven stone pillars in all on the eastern side on them the above images are chiselled. There are in all 16 rows with 9 Pillars on each row on west 9 rows and 7 Pillars on each of the seven rows on eastern side. In some pillars images of Nammalvar Ramanuja and Nayak Rulers images are chiselled.
On the western side rows in the first row of stone pillars on the 3rd pillar from south Hanuman stand in the mouth of Yali. In some pillars Nummalvar Alvar’s images are chiselled and also Hanuman in different poses. It is highly a feast to the eyes to see the stone images of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Sukreeva, Angatha and Vibhisana are all blessed by Rama. On the north eastern corner touching the eastern wall, of this mandapa a well provided with electric motor irrigates coconut trees and garden.
1. R.K.Das, Temples of Tamil Nadu, Bombay, 1964, p.24.
2. Suresh B.Pillai, Introduction to the study of Temple Art, Thanjavur, 1982, p.33.
3. G.S.Murali, Tamilaga Thirumal Thalangal, Madras, 1998, p.438.
4. M.V. Nellaiappa Iyer, Srivaikuntam Arulmigu Kallarpiran Tirukkovil Varalaru, Srivaikuntam, 1987, p.17.
5. M.Raja Gopalan, Iraiyanparkal Nadum Iniya Kovilkal, Madras, 1994, p.222.
6. S. Pitchumani, Thiruvaikuntam Thalavaralaru, Thenthiruperai 2000, p.9.
7. Dr.M.Senthil Selvakumaran, Heritage of Chidambaranar District, Tirunelveli, 1994, p.31.
8. M.V.Nellaiappa Iyer op.cit., pp.22-23.
9. Tholporul Tholli Nur papaniyalar Panpattu Kalagam (Pub) Chidambaranar Mavattam, Madurai, 1986, p.28.
10. M.V. Nellaiappa Iyer, op.cit., p.40.
11. Field Study, 25 May 2008.