I was a bit tired after the walk up the Rock hill and so I took some rest after I climbed down and then proceeded to Kudumiyan Malai. The guide at Sittannavasal had given the directions and if my memory is right, it was around 10 to 15 KMs from Sittannavasal. There were some road maintenance work going on and I had to take a detour to reach Kudumiyan Malai. It was almost 4:30 when I reached the Kudimyan Malai Temple.
The temple was closed and I had to wait for the priest to open the temple for the evening dharshan. But in the meantime, the watchman at the age helped me get into the temple. The first thing that captured my eyes was the beautiful sculptures on the pillars of the first hall at the entrance. Many of them had broken parts and later I came to know this happened over many years when the place and the temple were invaded by the then Muslim rulers.
The astonishing precision and proportion in size made me wonder if the celestial beings in the sculptures were standing in front of me. The orderly and artistic engravings brought out the intricate designs of ornaments and made the characters on the sculptures look more real.
|While I was just looking around the beautiful statues on the pillars of the first hall, a gentleman walked towards me from behind the sides of the temple and sat close to me on a raised platform next to the big wooden door leading to the Sanctum Sanctorum that was yet to be opened. He introduced himself as a retired employee of the Archeological Department and he is there on extension (specifically asked to work there after retirement on a contract basis) overseeing some reconstruction work going on. I introduced myself and expressed my interest and desire in learning more about the sculptures and their history.|
|As we had time till the temple was opened for dharshan, the gentleman agreed to walk me around and explain. The first thing he showed me was the engravings on the hill adjacent to the temple and he asked me to look at it from the open side of the first hall. He explained to me that this is the only place in India where the 63 Saiva Saints (Nayanmargal) is depicted along with Shiva and Parvathi on Rishba (Bull).|
|Following that he took me to the back of the temple where he showed me a stone wall with inscriptions on Indian Classical Music and he explained that it is the oldest inscriptions on Indian Music providing details on the 7 Musical Notes and the rules arranged in 7 sections.|
|the wall with the inscriptions on music|
On the right is the old and main temple (Kudavaraikkovil) carved out of the hill. The front part was built later but the actual sanctum sanctorum, as you can see, is inside and carved out of the rocks of the hill. As we entered the temple, it was completely dark with no light except the light that came in through the main door that fell on the Shiva Lingam, the deity placed straight opposite to the door.
Picture of one of the Dwarapalakas: The gentlemen told me that there are sculptures of Dwarapalakas, (the door keepers) on the walls around and asked me to take photographs. But I could see nothing. With the help of the flash on my digital camera, I just took pictures of all the sides and I could see the photos only in the camera screen.
|As we walked around I took some more pictures:|
|All the Stars and Rasis (Birth Signs) on the ceiling|
|Image of Kali buried in the sand|
|By the time we finished going around the temple of main deity, the priest had just arrived and I thanked the gentleman for having guided me and went with the priest to worship the main deity. By the way, there is a story that goes with the main deity, Kuduminatha swamy.
After the daily pooja (Prayer), the priest would take the garland of Shiva to the King. The King would then garland himself with the garland the priest brought. One day, when the priest was waiting for the King, one of the wives of the king garlanded herself with the garland brought by the priest and returned it after a few seconds. Later when the King came to receive the garland, he found a long hair on it and questioned the priest. The Priest to save himself from the anger of King told that it was Shiva’s hair. The King wanting to verify what the priest said came to the temple and found the tuft (Kudumi) hair on Shiva. It is told that Shiva put out that tuft to save the priest and hence the name Kuduminatha Swami.
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