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Stories from Srivilliputhur

India’s temples reside receptacles of legend and historical past, artwork and structure, custom and heritage, magnificence and pageantry. They have lengthy been the centres of spiritual in addition to social life, binding people and communities in a collective consciousness. In the absence of correct documentation, details about these historic constructions is generally scarce, aside from these skinny booklets revealed for vacationers and devotees.

In this mild, historian-scholar Chithra Madhavan’s guide, The Splendours of Srivilliputtur (Universal Publishing) is important.

Published in English and Tamil, it has articles by students and specialists that concentrate on numerous elements of this temple. Chithra’s essays on the legends, festivals and structure of the temple of Andal and Vatapathrasayee, and on the Vaidyanatha Swamy temple within the adjoining village of Madavar Vilagam are attention-grabbing accounts.

S. Rajam’s portray of Andal’s wedding ceremony with Rangamannar from the guide. 

Prema Nandakumar, multilingual scholar and knowledgeable on Vaishnavism, explores Andal as an incarnation, as one of many Azhwars, who propagated the Bhakti Movement in Tamil Nadu, and has choices from her and her father Periyaazhwar’s immortal poetry. The chapter on Andal’s wedding ceremony, written by Prema, refers back to the epic poem, Amukta Malyada, in Telugu, composed by emperor Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara kingdom; and to Nachaaru Parinayam, one other poetic work in Telugu, composed for Yakshagana by a gaggle of writers from Rajapalayam. She additionally talks about Araiyar Sevai, the singing of the pasurams (hymns) with abhinaya by male members of the households which can be hereditary performers of this ritual, and highlights its creative elements and historical past. G. Sankaranarayanan, additionally a multilingual scholar, writes on the inscriptions within the temple, courting to the tenth century. The Chola inscription mentions the identify of the village as Vikrama Chola Chaturvedimangalam. Details of endowments by Pandya and Chera kings and the Nayak rulers to the temples of Sudikkoduththa Nachiar, Vadaperunkovil Swamigal, and Periyazhwar are talked about.

Songs on Andal

Historian V. Sriram writes on the compositions on Andal and finds only some over the centuries, amongst them are ‘Choodi koodi nacchari’ by Tallapakka Annamacharya and songs on Andal by the twentieth century composer Ambujam Krishna. The courtesan Muddupalani of Thanjavur had translated Andal’s Thiruppavai into Telugu within the 18th century. Ariyakkudi Ramanuja Iyengar was requested by Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi, 68th head of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, to set the Thiruppavai to music and he sang all of them on the temple in 1952. Sriram additionally writes concerning the Shiva temple at Madavar Vilagam.

Asha Krishnakumar’s article is concerning the parrot that Andal holds in her hand and the way it’s made afresh every single day with leaves, banana fibre, and the pores and skin of pomegranate by the identical household through the years. She explores the hen’s symbolism, the legends related to it, and its religious significance.

The prasadam, particular to every temple and the recipe handed down by way of generations, ensures no customer goes hungry. Rakesh Raghunathan provides an inventory of the prasadams provided day by day and people ready on competition days on the Srivilliputhur temple.

The impeccable translation in Tamil has been achieved by S. Kannan Gopalan. The glorious pictures are positively a spotlight of the guide. The stunning work by the legendary S. Rajam and an enthralling portrait of Andal as a bit woman by Keshav add creative worth to the guide.

The Chennai-based author is a music and dance scholar.

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