On 10th September 2010 I visited Uthiramerur, a small town near Chengalpet. For very long time I was longing to visit this place. What is special about this place?. Apart from religious significance, the famous inscription – showing methodology and qualifications for local assembly is found here. There are about four temples in this town.
This temple is now under ASI maintenance as an heritage monument. It is adjacent to the town bus stand. It stands as silent witness to past and present amidst very busy road and a bus stand. It is a temple of Lord Vishnu, whom unfortunately I could not have a darshan. It belongs to later Pallavas and seems to have received good patronage during Cholas like Parantaka-I.
The temple is on a elevated platform, with a front mandapam and enough place to do a pradhakshanam. Since, the temple is not in regular usage, the mandapa serves as fine resting places for people. I didn’t notice any inscriptions on the main structure. The vimana has few sculptures – which shows wear and tear of age.
The greatness of this temple is on the walls of lower portion. It is full of inscriptions. One of which is now famous. It stipulates qualification and methodology for selection to local assembly, like age above 35 but below 70 etc. It is a piece of history I think every Indian should be proud of – shall we call it qualifed democracy? I inquired the caretaker about this particular inscription ( I should first learn some basic epigraphy I thought. Being a perl programmer it may be easy) which he pointed out. Here is picture of a portion of the inscription.
Next I visited Kailasanadhar temple. This is a 1000 year old temple, which was in dilapitated condition until a year ago. It is under renovation. It is being renovated using new and better techniques like steel reinforcement. The ‘sudhai’ images are built back using traditional methods – using Kadukkai fermentation. The Reach Foundation a voluntary organisation under Shri T.Sathyamurthy in consultation with IIT-Madras is doing this excellent work. The renovation, rather, fresh lease of life to the temple is excellent, I am amazed at the quality of work. It is now in advanced stage and soon Kumbabisehagam is to be performed. Many thanks to Reach foundation for the excellent job. You can know more about them here and here.
The temple getting new life
A bit of history recovered
Sundara Varadaraja Perumal Temple
This is currently the most visited temple in the town, with regular pooja and other rituals. It belongs to Pallava period and with liberal patronage over time it is well maintained. However, the mandapam in the front is in a dilapitaed condition and is used as ghosala. In this temple the main deity is Sundara Varada Perumal in the standing posture in the ground floor. On the first floor of the vimana he is in the sitting posture as Vaikundavaradar and on the second floor as Ranganatha in lying posture. The Bhattar explained this as ‘nindran’, ‘irundhan’ and ‘kidanthan’. We can climb the gopura through narrow, but easy steps. The Asthalakshmi temple in Besant Nagar, Chennai is modelled after this, it is said. The thayar here is ‘Anandavalli thayar’ in all her grace. The temple has an outer large prakara. The temple is full of inscriptions on the outer walls of the main sanctum and also has beautiful sculptures. Unfortunately, many inscriptions on the inner walls of the prakaram are white washed – history washed away forever.
Krishna in the dilapitated mandapa
A bit of history white washed
Balasubramania Swamy Temple.
This is a temple adjacent to Sundara Varadaraja Perumal. Looks like later period, has a tank. The temple seems to be some what different from others when we go round – rocks all around. It has wide and spacious place in front with recent addition of Ayyappan sannidhi. The temple is maintained neatly. I had the fortune of darshan during Abhishekam.
Uthiramerur is well connected by bus from Tambaram. Tambaram to Uthiramerur is about one and half hours journey. Plenty of buses are there – roughly every half an hour. After Mamandur on the GST, the bus takes a right turn. Once we leave the GST, it is pristine country side with occassional granite factories. The town is very busy and has very good bus facilities to Kanchipuram and Chengalput. Ambi’s cafe just opposite to the bus stand offers a decent and good vegetarian food.
Visiting Uthiramerur, is certainly very important and will be satisfying to all those who want to have a taste of our rich history and heritage.