Work in progress at Mahendramangalam temple site

(Photo – taken by me several years back)

Source – The Hindu – Sep 5, 2019

The village, where Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati underwent tutelage, is a pilgrim spot

Mahendramangalam, a small village, two km from Thottiyam in Tiruchi district, gains significance from the fact that the 68th head of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Pitam, Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, spent three years here to study various subjects. It was under extraordinary circumstances that 13-year old Swaminathan became a sanyasi, the mantle falling on him, when he was least prepared for it. That was in 1907. How he rose to become one of the most revered spiritual leaders, worshipped by millions of devotees, is history.

The position of Pitadipati inevitably brought in its wake attention, which came in the way of the young swami’s education. The senior administrators of the Math decided to move him to the quiet Mahendramangalam, on the banks of the Cauvery. It is recalled that in order to reach the village, one had to alight at Lalapet railway station, the nearest railhead, and cross the river in a coracle.

A hermitage was created close to the river bank, for his study and meditation. Puja and administration took place in the agraharam. In the three years — 1911-13 — Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati learnt, apart from a host of other subjects, Vyakaranam (grammar), Tharkam (logic) and Vedanta. He also studied Mimamsa. The village turned out to be a sacred pilgrimage place for the popular leaders of the country and famous scholars too.

In memory of his stay at Mahendramangalam, a temple for Adi Sankara was constructed, when the pontiff was barely 20 years old. Even today at that temple consecrated by him, the rituals are being conducted under the care of Kanchi Math. The idol of Mahaperiyava, as the Acharya was referred to was installed on September 12, 2010. A Yajur Veda Patasala in the Gurukulam model is functioning in the house, where he stayed and performed puja for three months. Many years ago, when the land belonging to the Kanchi Kamakoti Math was levelled, a Siva lingam and stone inscriptions were unearthed. The Archaeological department confirmed that the lingam belonged to the Mahendra Pallava period and was worshipped by Sri Chandrasekara Saraswati.

Sri Kamakoti Seva Samithi Trust was created by the Kanchi Acharyas, Sri Jayendra Saraswati and Sri Vijayendra Saraswati to raise a temple for Sri Chandramouleeswara and Sri Tripurasundari. The team included Y.Prabhu, (Management Trustee), Jayaramakrishnan (VPTCS), Kamakoti (CUB-CMD) and Subramania Sastrigal of the Math. Work, estimated at ₹90 lakhs, commenced on the construction of the Siva temple and the renovation of Adi Sankara temple. Maha Mandapam, Ardha Mandapam and separate shrines for the main deities and parivara deities have been constructed. The Adi Sankara temple is ready but for work valued at ₹30 lakhs.

The Trust looks forward to contributions from devotees and philanthropists so that work could be completed and the consecration can happen as scheduled in the Tamil month of Karthigai (November-December).

Those who wish to donate may transfer money in favour of Sri Kamakoti Seva Samithi Trust. The bank details: City Union Bank Ltd, No.48 Mahalakshmi Street, T.Nagar, Chennai: 600017. S.B.Account No: 001001000896360 IFSC Code: CIUB0000001 Cheques and demand drafts ay be sent to the following address: Sri Kamakoti Seva Samithi Trust, No.32/2 ,2nd Main Road, Kottur Gardens, Kotturpuram, Chennai: 600085 Persons for contact: Y. Prabhu (9940367222), V. Vasudevan (9094451221). At Mahendramangalam contact K. Krishnamurthy Iyer, Manager, Sankara Math (9597742732) Ramamurthy Sastrigal, Poojakar, Sankara Math (9976611657 and 8056763768)

Categories: Announcements

2 replies


  2. This is good news, for two reasons. One, the details pertaining to the development of the temple show the continuity of the hoary Hindu tradition that every temple raised by our ancestors was located in a sacred place- sacred for some great reason. Sacredness was innate to the spot, not conferred by external factors. Murti, Sthalam, Tirtham- these were the basic factors which contributed to the divintiy and sacredness. Every ancient temple commemorates these factors in the form of Sthala Purana. Besides, such places continue to attract great souls- tapasvins- who contribute to the sacredness in known and unknown ways. Secondly, our ancient temples fell into the hands of mlechchas for administrative purposes. many temples were converted into monuments- the phenomenon of the ASI [ Archaelogical Survey of India] This situation continues even after so called Independence, when our own ‘secular’ government keeps the temples under its grip for mainly financial gains. While they milk the big temples for monetary profit by means fair and foul, and divert the income for purposes not connected with Dharma, many temples continue to languish without even the mandatory minimum rituals to keep the sacred spark alive. The revenue provided by devotees goes unwittingly to fill private pockets, or serve purposes not connected with temples.

    In the circumstances, Mahendramangalam emerges as a great relief. This is a Sthala, consecrated by the stay of Mahaperiyava. It has the sacred Cauvery as the Tirtha. And it has a Murti unearthed by Divine grace. It has a VedaPathaShala, so that the surroundings will reverberate with the vibrations of the Sacred Vedic chants- a feature of many great kshetras of old , as we learn from the hymns of TiruJnanasambandha. This is how our tradition continues.

    The Asthika community is unable to throw off the secular [ non-Hindu] stranglehold from the ancient temples, and the Hindus in general are unwilling to take up the struggle to free our temples. The so called nationalist government at the centre has also not taken any initiative in this regard in the last 5 years. In the circumstances, it becomes the sacred duty of all true Asthikas to support Mahendramangalam and participate in its emergence as a great Kshetra. The administrators should not seek or take any financial or other support from the government, so that the temple remains totally free of any secular influence.

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