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Saturday, March 3, 2018

idols went missing (50 years ago !!) from Thanjai Brihadeeswaram !!!


Raja Raja Chozhan I (ராஜ ராஜ சோழன்), born Arulmozhi Thevar respectfully known  as Peruvudaiyar, a great Emperor  who ruled between 985 and 1014 CE took the Chola glory to greater heights.  By conquering several kingdoms in India, he expanded the Chola Empire as far as Sri Lanka in the south, and Kalinga (Odisha) in the northeast.  He was a great patron of Tamil literature as during his reign the texts of the famous Tamil poets Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar were collected and edited into one compilation called Thirumurai.





The imposing structure ‘Thanjai Periya Kovil’ =-  Peruvudaiyar Kovil (தஞ்சைப் பெருவுடையார் கோயில்) is one of India's most prized architectural sites. Built by emperor Raja Raja Chola I and completed in 1010 AD, Peruvudaiyaar Temple, also popularly known as the 'Big Temple', turned 1000 years old in 2010. The temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Great Living Chola Temples".

The vimanam  is 216 ft (66 m) high;  the kalasam the bulbous structure on the top,  is carved out of a single rock and it weighs around 80 tons.  There is a big statue of Nandi (sacred bull), carved out of a single rock, at the entrance measuring about 16 feet long and 13 feet high. The entire temple structure is made out of granite, an  axial and symmetrical geometry rules the temple layout.  Intended to display the emperor's vision of his power and his relationship to the universal order, the temple was the site of the major royal ceremonies such as anointing the emperor and linking him with its deity, Shiva, and the daily rituals of the deities were mirrored by those of the king.




More can be written on the glory of the Temple but this news and the way temples are maintained in Tamil Nadu are eternal grief.  Times of India Chennai edition reports that  sleuths of the idol wing CID on Friday said investigations have begun to bring back the panchaloha statues of king Raja Raja Chola and his wife Logamadevi that had gone missing from the Thanjavur Big Temple. The statues, believed to be worth 100 crore, have been traced to a private museum in Gujarat.

Inspector general A G Pon Manickavel, idol wing head, in a complaint filed with the Thanjavur west police on Friday, said the two statues, donated by former king ‘Poigai Naadu Kizhavan Aadhithan Suriyanagiya Thennavan Moovenda Velaan’ to Raja Raja Chola during the construction of the temple 1,000 years ago, had gone missing. While the value of Raja Raja Chola statue could be 60 crore, Logamadevi’s idol is worth 40 crore in the international market, say officials. Thanjavur police superintendent T Senthilkumar said the statues could have been stolen 50 years ago.

CID got to know about missing idols only a couple of months ago. It may be recalled that former minister for Hindu religious and charitable endowment (HR&CE) department, V V Swaminathan, had filed a case in Madras high court about the two missing statues but the court had dismissed his plea to trace the statues and bring them backto TamilNaduin November 2016.

That the two invaluable statues — believed to have been made of gold and other metals— had gone missing became known to the idol wing only a couple of months ago from the case filed by the former minister.  Since then the team had been inspecting several areas of the temple before confirming thetheftof the statues. The IG said that their investigation confirmed that the statues were being kept in the museum run by the Gautam Sarabai foundation at Ahmedabad in Gujarat. “Each statue measures 74 cms in height. The plaquein the temple clearly mentions the measurements of the statues. We will soon visit Gujarat,” Pon Manickavel told TOI. In fact, even before minister Swaminathan raised the matter, the issue had figured in a series of articles by a writer a few years ago. The state government had formed a committee with the former director of department of archeology, Dr Nagasamy, as one of its members to bring back the statuefrom Gujarat.

Idol wing IG recalled the incident of the committee visiting the museum and returning empty-handed due to its inability to confirm that the statues were the ones missing. He said that if this was true, the committee members may also be questioned.

While Temples rakes in crores flowing into the coffers of the Govt getting used for purposes totally unintended by the donors, less said about the way, Temples are administered ~ sadly, they do not even know of the missing idols !! – how tragic !!!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
3rd Mar 2018.

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