1,000-year-old Chola legacy draws devotees

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A huge blue coloured board of the Archaeological Survey of India cautions public that they are within 100 metres of prohibited zone of the protected monument.

Notwithstanding this, one can see several advertisement hoardings leading to the ancient and beautiful Sri Dhenupureeswar temple, from the bus stop in Madambakkam.

As one walks closer to the breathtaking square-shaped entry mandapam, one notices another board of the ASI stating that this ancient temple has been declared as a monument of national importance as per the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (amendment and validation) 2010 Act.

This less-known suburban Madambakkam, about 10 km from east Tambaram, is glorified by the presence of Sri Dhenupureeswar temple, built about 1,000 years ago during the reign of the Chola King Parantaka II, also known as Sundara Chola (956 – 973 A.D.).

It was here that Sage Kapila, born as a Holy Cow, worshipped Sivalingam and got absolved from his sin.

It is said Kapila incurred the sin for worshipping Sivalingam placed on his left hand.He took the birth of a cow in Sitreri village and regularly worshipped Lord Siva by pouring milk on the Sivalingam buried in the ground.

One day noticing the cow emptying milk, her owner strikes at her. Slithering in pain, the cow kicks the ground and to the amazement of the cowherd, blood oozes from the ground.

The villagers unearth the Sivalingam. Lord Shiva appears and grants moksha (liberation) to Kapila and forgives the cowherd.

Kapila also apologises to the Lord for having kicked Him on the head. The munificent Lord forgives him.

Even to this day a scar on the Sivalingam, caused by the cow, can be noticed.The sanctum sanctorum is built in the shape of Gajaprishta (back of a sleeping elephant).

The presiding deities Dhenupuriswar and Dhenukambal were initially known as Sittreri Aludaiya Nayanar and Nambirattiyar and the present name occurred during the Vijayanagara period in the 14th century.

The sanctum of Goddess Dhenukambal, situated close to the main shrine, faces south and has a separate entrance.

There are exquisitely carved sculptures of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Goddess Durga in the niches of the outer walls of the sanctum.

Poojas are performed on Sundays during Rahu Kalam. Pradhosham and Panguni Uthiram are celebrated with pomp here.

sivaprasanna@deccanmail.com

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