Restoration after 100 years at Thothadri Nathan Divyadesam

#1 Mar 13th, 2018, 21:53
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Dec 2008
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Refurbished gopuram

It is the final leg of Venu Srinivasan’s 11 Divya Desams restoration initiative around Tirunelveli that he began way back in the 1990s with Erettai Tirupathi, a temple that was lying in a state of disrepair.

Today, the entire Nava Tirupathi region is flourishing with the temple personnel having seen a revival in their fortunes. Twentyfive years after his first temple restoration, he is now supporting the Thothadri Nathan Divya Desam, administered by Vanamamalai Mutt.

Praised by Nammazhwar restoration is taking place after more than a century at this Divyadesam in Nanguneri. The previous Samprokshanam was performed in 1910.

Inscriptions dating back to the 13th century AD provide insights into a few of the festivals. Grants were given to conduct the abishekam for the deity on Adi Pooram, celebration of a special festival on Moolam and another one on the Uttiram day in Chitrai.

The speciality of this Divya Desam is the daily oil abishekam for the moolavar. The oil, which is believed to have medicinal values, is then deposited into the ‘oil well’ inside the temple. Another feature seen inside the temple sanctum is the statues of Urvasi and Thilothama, who undertook penance at Thothadri seeking liberation from re-birth. They are seen in the posture of fanning the Lord.

When Venu Srinivasan visited this historical temple with his team as part of his pre-restoration exercise, he found new structures inside the temple — for instance, a number of walls that were built in the past hundred years for no good reason.

A large part of the restoration exercise therefore involved removing unwanted structures, which were neither historical nor added architectural value.

The entrance to the temple, including the Chariot Mandapam and the long pathway to the Raja Gopuram, had a forlorn look. New constructions had posed an obstruction to free movement. It also prevented natural light from entering the temple. Result: many areas inside the temple were completely dark and the prakaram had turned into a den for bats.

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