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SUBRAMANIA SWAMI TEMPLE MADURAI
HISTORY OF SUBRAMANIA SWAMI TEMPLE madurai
The history of Tituppuramkundram is practically the history of the temple at Tiruppuramkundram. From the early times, the Tiruppuramkundram hill has been regarded as a holy place by the kindness and the people of other sects. There is evidence for the fact that the hill has been regarded to by Jains in the early centuries, by the Hindus from the very early times and by the Muhammadans also for a considerable time.
The Brahmi inscriptions on the beds in the caves on this hill are the earliest records available. There are also jain sculpture worked on in accessible part of the hill. These inscription do not throw light on the history of the place beyond indicating that the caves were resorted to by the Buddhist or Jain mendicants who always preferred such lonely places for their meditation in the early centuries of the Christian era. A later monument on the top of the hill is a building which is believed to be the tomb of Jakir popularly called Sikander
During the recent the hill had been the centre of military activities of the European powers in their struggle for domination.
The Tamil literature the place has been described as a great centre of pilgrimage, as it is today, for the devotees of Lord Murugan or Subramanya. The Paripadal, an anthology of Verses grouped with the Sangam classics contains graphic description of the place. The deity and also of the people who were attracted to this sacred place from various parts of the country.
The Thiruppuramkundram hill is also important to the Jain who consider it as one of the hills sacred to them. The cavern containing the Bhrami inscription is situated at an in convenient place on the steep western side of the hill near the present Tiruppuramkundan Railway statin and the village public hall (Chavadi) and ti can be reached by ascending the crude footholds cut into the rocks. A cutting of the rock on the pillow side of the beds contains a clearly incised inscription in Brahmi characters. The one peculiar feature of this cavern is that it has too low benches measuring 5 feet by 1 foot 9 ½ inches and the other 6 feet by 3 feet. In another part of the same hill, i.e. on the northern side, there is another small cave two beds but without any inscription. The inscription (33.3. of 1908) in the former cave is in a good slate of preservation and the letter init which have been assigned to the 1st century B.C. are nearby incised. The record is made up of 31 letters written in two parts in a single line separated are slightly bigger than those in the second. Though written in the same hand, Krishna Sastri transcribed the inscription as follows:
Section A: E,ru,K (o (to ru) 11 jam K os
To ma (pi ka) na Po
La 1 (al) ya na
Section B: c (e) ya ta a ya ca
Ya na nai fbu c (a) nj
The temple at Thirupparamkundram is a good repository of the Pandiyan inscriptions. Many of them elaborate and noted for the richness of their content and details. At once they supply the material for the study of the history, social, economic and aesthetic life of the people.
To important inscriptions with dates in Kali era have been discovered at Thiruppuramkundram. One is in Sanskrit on the lintel of the Durga shrine and the other in Tamil Vattaluttu characters found on the of the pillars of the cave. Inscriptions in Sanskrit verse engraved in Grantha characters is dated in the month of Taisha of the Kali year 3874, equated with the sixth year, evidently of the reign of a king whose name is not clear. It records the excavation of glorious abode for God Sambu and the consecration of the deity on the saidday by Ganapathi alias Samanta Bhima described as a Vaidyamoky.
Inscription which is in Tamil engraved in Vallelattu characters of about the 8th century A.D. records the excavation of the sacred female and a tank by Sattar Ganapathi alias Pandi Amirta Mangala araiyan, who is described as a vaidya, resident Karvaatapura and the Mahasamantra of the King Maganjadaiyan in whose sixth regnal year the record is dated. It further records that the shrine for Durga devi Jyeshthati were caused for the excavated by Nakkan Knoi, the dharmapatni of Sattan Ganapathi.
The early sangam classics throw a flood light on the political institutions, social and economic life of the people and the religious observances prevailed in the early centuries of the Christian era. In some of the Sangam classical world like Paripadal, Ahananuru, Purananuru and Kurinchi Pattu with anthologies with an irreressible charm and beauty that leave no doubt in our minds that the Tamils in the heyday of their civilization, some three thousand years ago.
It will not be out of place here to discuss the light the inscription and the sculptures throw on the date of the Paripadal, an anthology of 22 poems, which is grouped with the Sangam classics and which contains eight verses on sevvel or murugavel or Subramaniya ann Thiruppuramkundam.
The original anthology of this work with 70 poems is said to have combined thirty one poems on Murugavel and parankunram of which only eight are now extant of fidelity by rsorting to a customary pledge. He takes a handful of water from a pool and drinks it and makes a promise swearing by the God Hills, Muruga Venka flowers in full bloon denotes the season of marriage adorns himself with Venkai flowers and dance with the young maidens to the tune of tonda Kapparai.
Muruga as the God of Love was celebrated by the maidens of heaven and earth. They gathered in large numbers in his sanctified natural abodes. They delighted in singing the praise of Muruga, the celestial bridegroom, and the consort of Devayanai. The significant role of consorts by Sangam poets.
Thiruppuramkundran has continued to preserve its pristine beauty and holiness as a Siva temple at the time of Tirugnana Sambandar. The Nayaks of Madurai as viceroys of Vijayanagar introduced the architecture peculiar to the `exquisite through extravagant productions of Vijayanagar’ and added their own local innovations making the Thiruppuramkundram temple a fairly complex phenomenon.
1 .Annual Report of Epigraphy, 1988, p.3
2 Thirumugupadai, lines 1-77
3 .Annual Report Epigraphy, 1951, p.51