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Temples: history, architecture and distribution
Cross posting from the Ithihasas, puranas thread.

Hi All,

Some of you might remember me posting in BR a year ago. I really missed these discussions over the last year. When i came back to BR, i found that the mandate of the forum has changed and lot of people not posting there. Felt really sad about it . Thanks to Peregerine, landed here and found some really interesting discussions here.

Of late, visited a lot of temples in the Kumbakonam belt before and after the mahamaham. During Mahamaham, couldn't even enter periphery of Kumbakonam. Each one of the temples were mind boggling. Some of you might like to visit them.

On account of Mahamaham, most of the temples around Kumbakonam got a facelift, thanks to amma's initiative. Everybody who went to kumbakonam on the mahamaham were raving about the organization of the event and the faclities.

Some temples in and around Kumbakonam which i visited and the temples are which are quite old

1. Airavadeswarar temple in Darasuram - Currently maintained by Archeological dept.
2. Chakrapani
3. Sarangapani
4. Kumbeshwarar
5. Uppiliappan
6. Swamimalai - Lord Swaminatha
7. Thiruchatti mutram -
8. Batteswaram - Durgai
9. Thiruvalanchuzhi - Vigneshwara
10. Thiruvidai marudhur
11. Thirubhuvanam - Sarabeshwarar
12. Utthukadu- Kalinga nardhanar temple
13. Srirangam
14. Thiruvanaikaval
15. Samayapuram
16. Brihadeswarar temple - Thanjavur
17. Vaideeshwaran temple
18. Srimushnam - Yagna Varaha swami
19. Sirkali Sattainathar - Where Shiva wears Vishnu has his shirt
20. Thiruvalangadu- Akora Murthy (also a budha stalam)
21. Thiruvarur
22. Thirunageswaram
23. Ayyavadi
24. Nachiar Koil
25. Punnai nallur mariyamman

Visited some more, but dont rember them over my head. Will try to write up some info on the chief dieties in each of the temples and their significance in the coming days. If this is not the right thread, i can post in some others.

Welcome sridhar. I hope you will find this forum interesting and stimulating.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jan 29 2004, 12:30 PM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jan 29 2004, 12:30 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> <b>Badrinath Temple</b>
The Hinyaan did not believe in idolatry. On the other hand the Mahayaanis were idol worshippers. The road to the Tibet based Kailash Mansarovar passed through Badrikashram in those days. The people of the Mahayaan sect looked upon Lord Badrinath as another form of Buddha and paid their obeisance to him with reverence and faith. <b>But the Hinyaan who were not idol worshippers started disturbing the peace of the Badrikashram</b>. The situation worsened to the extent that the devotees found it difficult to protect the Lord’s idols. They came to the conclusion that since the earth is never seedless it will produce another great soul at some time. They put the idols of Lord Narayan back in the Naradkund. People of the mahayana sect fled from the Badri region to other places.

After reading above, it seems even Buddhist were trouble maker when Buddism was in its peak. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Hinayana sect spread Ahimsa through himsa. <!--emo&Rolleyes--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/rolleyes.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='rolleyes.gif' /><!--endemo-->

If you watch the documentaey "sankara' By GV Iyer you will see the punishment (self) inflicted on the scholar who loses in a "samvadam' or in defence of relgious doctrines or philosophies.

AMazing thing is these masters of mid control had such super egos, that would lead to their downfall.

Afterall through out our itihasa and puranas we come come accross great sages like Brigu, Durvasa, Parasurama, Viswamithra often hads to be punished for their super egos which would lend them blind and not see the ultimate Brhaman.
Pradeep & Rhytha, you are both right. The purpose of remembering history is not to blame the current day citizens of India for something that happened centuries ago. But that iis not what the discussion is about (at least for me). Every citizen has the full rights and responsibilities as any other. Unfortunately the matter does not end there.

The problem is that the history of India that is being taught today in the schools is almost completely false. There are several examples of this in India. Almost every well read person in the west is proud of his/her knowledge of greek and Latin classics (The Illiad and the Odyssey, and the works of Virgil etc). It is rare to see them being denigrated or the belittlement of those that are scholars in these texts. But such is not the case in India. Knowledge of the ancient texts is suppressed and belittled and and in most instances is not even taught in schools. We are one of the few countries in the world where the history we are taught in schools has been almost entirely revised by our erstwhile colonial masters. And when we have the guts to correct such a false history we are told that we are being fundamentalist.

Further much of indian history is being slowly falsified . The AIT is a good case ijn point. So brainwashed have we become that we ask for proof that it did not happen, instead of asking for proof that the AIT did happen. Further , the Indian has been so indoctrinated by years of English medium schooling, that he is even reluctant to talk about the true history for fear that he will be ridiculed as being a fundamentalist or being not certifiably secular or that it will hurt the sentiments of the minority community. But there is a fallacy in such a argument. If we do not hold the present day citizens responsiblefor what happened 5 centuries ago then surely they should not feel hurt by something they did not participate in and should really condemn it if it is wrong But such is not the case. Tt is a rare case where the Indian Muslim leadership condemns these destructions, while at the same time he does not wish to be blamed for them.

The current NCERT history books seek to justify(and in some instances negate) the slaughter and rationalize it away. if such justifications become acceptable, then surely one cannot blame the goondas in the streets for starting riots, because in their view such behavior has been acceptable in the past. IOW, the truth will never hurt anybody and as long as one does not participate in violent actions oneself, there is no reason to be defensive about what happened 5 centuries ago. Unpleasant facts should never be swept under the rug just because they may cause discord. The answer lies in understanding what happened so that such occurrences do not happen again. read the latest sulekha column by R. Malhotra in the library section. he goes into it in some detail and seeks to understand why we Indians are ashamed even to bring out the true hisory of our country.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Afterall through out our itihasa and puranas we come come accross great sages like Brigu, Durvasa, Parasurama, Viswamithra often hads to be punished for their super egos which would lend them blind and not see the ultimate Brhaman<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I have often wondered about that Spinster. But my theory is that there is no dearth of big egos in the west. They are simply far more polished and sophisticated to exhibit it in public. You just have to see the egos of Donald trump or Koslowski the fired TYCO chairman.

Chanchal hi manaha Krishna , said Arjuna , pramaadi balavadrdam
Tasyaaham nigraham manye vaayorive sudushkaram
For the mind is verily fickle, O Krsna, it is impetuous, strong and obstinate. I think that it is as difficult to control as the wind. (6.34)
Kaushal garu >> I dont consider western civilization yet a civilization as they are still evolving (collectively), at the same time there are many great souls and enlightened individuals in them.

I was just trying to point out that even though Mahayana and Hinayana sects of Budhism have at their core of their belief ( "ahimso prama dharama") could inflict such pain on Mahayana sect and evict them from Badari..
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->If you watch the documentaey "sankara' By GV Iyer you will see the punishment (self) inflicted on the scholar who loses in a "samvadam' or in defence of relgious doctrines or philosophies.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I have this movie (Adi Shankaracharya - by Sri Iyer, in Samskrit) at home, and still watch it (1000th rerun) quite often.. It's one of the best movie I have seen.

If your reference is to Kumarila Bhatta, his punishment was self inflicted (despite winning the samvadham) owing to his guilt of guru-droham. Sureshwaracharya, became the desciple of Sri Shankaracharya, when he was defeated in the debate. There was no tortuous penalty there.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->AMazing thing is these masters of mid control had such super egos, that would lead to their downfall.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I had faced this too in the initial stages of my Spiritual quest. There definitely *will* be arrogance arising out of half-knowledge. This arrogance is worse than ignorance. But as one progresses, there is a reverse effect that takes place, where one becomes Super-humble to the point he/she becomes a pushover. Then comes the balance.

Thus, in my opinion, the huge ego did not lead to the down fall, but to realize that what they had vehemently clung on to was in fact false. This realization leads them to give up the body voluntarily.

The difference between this and suicide is that, in these types of inflictions, one has a method of escape if one wants to.. It has to be slow process. Be it Jala samadhi, or agni-pravesham.. One should have the option to escape. Hope that makes sense.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Afterall through out our itihasa and puranas we come come accross great sages like Brigu, Durvasa, Parasurama, Viswamithra often hads to be punished for their super egos which would lend them blind and not see the ultimate Brhaman. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Durvasa is the most benevolent sage EVER.. I Shall talk about Him later.
sunder garu>> couple of months ago I had the good fortune of listening to swaminamma Sri Sheelananda ( of Chinmaya Mission, prior to becoming swamini amma she was PhD student in Physics) give a lecture on Shi Chakra (Lalitha Shasranamam) in Ann Arbor.

She had given wondeful explanantion how even great and realized souls while trying to reach the ultimate Brhaman while passing thru each chakra often get mesmarised by their achiements and fall back to a level below. (kind of snakes and ladders game)

She had eloquently described how many a great soul could tresspass couple of chakras and be bestowed with great powers only to think that they have reached the summit, while in reality they still had long ways to go.

With such fractional powers itself the human mind feels so powerful then imagine the great souls who are just one or two steps away from the absolute Brahman and what to say of those who have reached the ultimate summit. They must be truly "Sivoham Sivoham"
<!--QuoteBegin-Sunder+Apr 21 2004, 10:57 PM-->QUOTE(Sunder @ Apr 21 2004, 10:57 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> <!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->If you watch the documentaey "sankara' By GV Iyer you will see the punishment (self) inflicted on the scholar who loses in a "samvadam' or in defence of relgious doctrines or philosophies.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

I have this movie (Adi Shankaracharya - by Sri Iyer, in Samskrit) at home, and still watch it (1000th rerun) quite often.. It's one of the best movie I have seen.

Sunder garu,

I have seen the Adi Shankaracharya movie in Samsrutham in India. Would you know where I can get the movie in US? I would really appreciate it. Thank you very much.
While traveling to Columbus Ohio ( on US 23) I saw this very amusing but very practical suggestion on big bill board.

<b>“Be nice to strangers, visit your in-laws”.</b>

I struggled a lot to translate this life saving precept into different India languages with out losing its funny nature and also usefulness.

The nearest thing that I could come to was
In Hindi
Agunthak ka swagath ki jiye
Saas ka bhi darshan ki jiye.

In telugu
Aganthakulanu adarinchandi
Attagarini darsinchandi

Thats the reason I address you as Sunder garu rather than Sunder.
If that what makes you comfortable so be it.

Now coming to Durvasa,
The Ambarishopkyanamu ( telugu) story is dervied from Mahabharata, during the times of Pandava vansan(amu) and the related Aksya patra story. I think it is in the original Ved Vyasa Mahabharata story (IIRC)

Also Bhagavatham talks about Atri maha muni ( Atreyasa gothram) lineage and Durvasa ( which cantor I am unable to re call but can come back on that)
While the news papers have quoted that the court has condemned the TTD act of
granting funds to Sri Swamiji (Chinna Jeeyar) , the reality is something different.

"The Court dismissed the writ petition itself"

Please see the judgement copy of the same at:

If you happen to meet those journalists who misquoted and did this
irrevokable damage, don't stop yourself from <!--emo&:argue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/argue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='argue.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Would have loved to post this on Narasimhar Jayanthi, but here is sthala puranam of Ahobilam

Thiru Singavel Kundram - Ahobilam

About the Temple:

Ahobilam is situated at a distance of 74 Kms from Nandyal (Kurnool District), around 365 Kms from Hyderabad and around 75 Kms from Tirupathi. Lots of transportation facilities are available. Bus facilities from Cuddapah, Nandyal and Banganapalli are available and frequent.

This Ahobila sthalam is also known as "Singavel Kundram". This sthalam is dedicated to Sri Narasimhar, one of the Avathaars taken by Sri Maha Vishnu to kill Hiyanyakasibhu. This sthalam is also known as "Nava Narasimha Kshetram" since 9 forms of Narasimhar Moorthies is found.


Thiru Singavel Kundram is also called as "Ahobilam". This divyadesam is said to be found as two mountains (ie) Upper Ahobilam and Lower Ahobilam. From lower Ahobilam, we have to travel around 6 Kms to reach upper Ahobilam through bus. This Ahobilam sthalam is also named as "Nava Narasimha Kshetram".

This Sthala Perumal gives his seva in 9 different ways and it is believed to be so powerful as NavaGrahaas.

This sthalam is found inside mountain and the perumal, Narasimhar is giving his seva in 9 different stages.

Ahobila Narasimhar

Varagha Narasimhar

Malola Narasimhar

Yoganandha Narasimhar

Bhavana Narasimhar

Kaaranja Narasimhar

Chathra Vada Narasimhar

Bharghava Narasimhar

Jwala Narasimhar

If we assume the group (or) series of mountains in Andhra Pradesh State, it will be like Aadhiseshan. Being the head part of the Aadhiseshan can be treated as the Thiruvenkadamudayaan's Tirupathi, the body part is treated as this sthalam, Ahobilam and the tail part is considered to be assumed as "Sri Sailam", Where Lord Shivan is found. The Ahobila perumal, Narasimhar is well sung and praised by Aadhi Shankarar, Udayavar Ramanujar and Sri Madhava Chariyar. These 3 great persons are considered to important and should be given respect, since they worked very hard to attain the perumal and they worked hard for the humanity to live their life in peace. Other than these 3 great personalities, 3 more who were given the Sthanam (position) (position) of Alwars (ie) Garudalwar, Pragaladhalwar and Thirumangai Alwar has also praised on this Ahobila varadhan.

In Upper Ahobilam, lots of wild animals are found and because of this, bhaktas are allowed to go to Upper Ahobilam only in groups along with proper guides. Bhaktas are also advised to return back to lower Ahobilam in the noon, itself.

Thirumangai alwar - 10 Paasurams.

During Maasi month of every year, a grand Utsavam, the Brahmotsavam is celebrated in a grand way and ends on Pournami.

This sthalam is also related to the Kali yugam. The perumal has a close relation with Lord Murughan. How Murugapperumal married Valli, who is considered to be one among the women in mountain, this sthala perumal also married Senji Lakshmi thaayar who belonged to the same category. Lord Murugan is also named as "Vel". And since, Narasimhar married Senjilakshmi thaayar who belong to the Vedar family (Hunter) this perumal is named as "Singavel" and since the perumal is found in Kundru means the "Top of the Hill". And since, this sthalam is said to be the continuous (or) series of Eazhumalayan's Kundram, this sthalam is called as "Singa Eazhkundram".

From the site http://www.divyadesamonline.com/ahobilamsthpuranam.asp
In my first post, i promised to provide some write up on the temples i visited. Has been busy of late. But later than never this divya desam site has eased my job.

Srirangam temple.

Thirukudanthai or Kumbakonam (Baskara Shetram)


Uppiliappan Koil


and temple of my favourite lord - Oothukaadu.
I will get the list of other temples soon.
Lahore’s Hindu community: Putting on a brave face for bhagwan
By Ayesha Javed Akram

LAHORE: If you were not looking, you could easily miss it. The only thing that will guide you to the great Hindu god Krishna’s home in Lahore is a meek black signboard on an unassuming yellow building. There is no grand 100-step staircase leading to a temple in the clouds; you have to squeeze your way through a snaking alley if you want to reach Krishna Mandir. But for all its humble trappings, this three-room temple is the hub of Hinduism in the Punjab.

Pandit Kashi Ram, in his thirties, says this is the oldest mandir in Lahore. “It dates back to the time when the river Ravi used to flow through the city,” he says while showing me around, which doesn’t take long because there simply isn’t that much to show. The mandir can be best described as minimal with only two small cubicles dedicated to worship. Devotees have to make do with photographs of the statues or moortis; there isn’t any place for the real thing. It is no wonder then that Hindus have to trek to Peshawar and Karachi for weddings and larger religious gathering. It becomes a real test of their faith on religious festivals like diwali and holi, when up to four hundred of them from all over the province flock to these three rooms.

Most estimates put the Hindu community in Lahore at no more than a few hundred, which is no wonder why their demands are rarely heard. Some time back, the walls of the mandir were pushed in, leading to an even tighter fit. For many years now, there have been appeals from the Hindu community for funds to improve the mandir but it was only last month that their prayers were answered and this appeal was finally accepted. A delighted Pandit Kashi Ram said Rs 1.2 million has been allocated for the improvement of the mandir, which will involve converting the three, little rooms into one big hall. He is also hopeful that the inflow of funds will lead to better pay for those who work at there. Who knows, we could even get air-conditioning, he says.

Minorities have long learned to keep a low profile in Pakistan. A capricious political climate and fluctuating public sentiment mean that it is safer to neither be seen nor heard too much. This could in part explain Pandit Kashi Ram’s eagerness to praise his neighbours. “They assist us during our religious festivals and we invite them to all major gatherings at the mandir,” he says.

But one look around the place paints a very different picture. The walls of the mandir are repeatedly pasted with posters and spoilt with graffiti. When I press him to speak about this, he admits that the first thing he has to do every morning is scrape the posters off the walls. And even though he has put up notices, cars are always parked in front of the mandir. He shrugs his shoulders. “If I ask them nicely they do sometimes move them,” he says.

And so while he insists that the mandir’s Muslim neighbours harbour no hard feelings, police have to be deployed there every time there is a gathering of even a hundred people because, as Pandit Kashi Ram admits himself, “kabhi bhi kuch ho sakta hai” (anything can happen any time). Sources at the Derasahib Gurdwara say that while the Hindu community in Lahore is much happier under the current government “they are still scared.”

If this is the case, then the Muslims of Lahore need to do much more before they can completely win the confidence of their Hindu neighbours, who continue to brave it out for their bhagwaan.
"Hell, Yes, It Was Smuggled!": Norton Simon/Pratapaditya Pal


Lucian Harris for The Art Newspaper

By 1971, the American canned-food magnate Norton Simon was already
legendary for the buying spree of European masterpieces which he had
relentlessly pursued since the mid-1950s. Aged 64, honeymooning in
India with his new wife, the movie star Jennifer Jones, he was
suddenly smitten by the temple sculpture of the subcontinent. Serious
collecting of Indian art was still in its infancy in the U.S., and
Simon was undoubtedly attracted by how cheaply the best examples of
Indian sculpture could be bought. His early untrained eye is evident
from the mid-19th-century ivory chess set he bought on this trip, a
charming piece of tourist tat that stands out in comparison with the
masterpieces of Indian sculpture that he would go on to acquire.

It was at this time, and for this reason, that Simon first sought
advice from Pratapaditya Pal, then newly arrived at the Los Angeles
County Museum. Present "at the beginning and the end, but not in the
middle phase" of Simon's incredible decade of buying, Dr. Pal acted
as an occasional adviser on the acquisition of a collection that most
others would have taken a lifetime to assemble.

By 1973 Simon had been offered an exhibition at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, New York. Unfortunately, the star exhibit, a
magnificent 10th-century bronze Nataraja, the dancing form of Shiva,
for which he had paid $1 million, was impounded in the U.K., where it
was being restored, after the Indian government declared it to have
been stolen from the Shivapuram temple in southern India. Simon
insisted that the show would not go ahead without the sculpture and
threatened to bring down the house by exposing objects in the
Metropolitan's own collection that had suspect provenances. Dr. Pal
notes that this incident "resulted in a pause in our relationship."

As increasing scrutiny is given to the provenance of antiquities on
the international art market and, as ethical sensitivities have
become more acute, it is not surprising that Dr. Pal declines to
repeat Simon's comments on the Nataraja published in The New York
Times: "Hell, yes, it was smuggled," he was quoted as saying. "I
spent between $15 and $16 million in the last two years on Asian art,
and most of it was smuggled."

Simon stopped collecting Asian art in the early 1980s, by which time
he had turned the ailing Pasadena Art Museum into the Norton Simon
Museum. Since his death in 1993 and the appointment of Dr. Pal as a
research fellow at the museum in 1995, the Asian collections have
flourished, being substantially expanded by a series of donations,
and reinstalled in the remodeled galleries in 1997-98.

Dr. Pal's catalogs, of which two out of three volumes have been
published, are a complete description of the collection. Volume I
concerns the core of the collection, art from the Indian
subcontinent. Prefaced with an historical overview, 229 catalog
entries are arranged chronologically and subdivided by geographical
location. The first section covers the art of northern India and the
Deccan up to the seventh century A.D. The most substantial groups are
from the Buddhist Gandhara kingdom on the northwest frontier of
present-day Pakistan, and the Kushan kingdom in and around Mathura in
present-day Uttar Pradesh, also the source of a smaller group of
later Hindu Gupta sculptures.

These are followed by the art of northern India from the seventh to
the 19th century, including Hindu sculptures from Uttar Pradesh,
Madhya Pradesh; Jain images from Gujarat and Rajasthan; late Buddhist
and Hindu sculptures from the Palas and other dynasties in Bihar and

The final part deals with the sculpture of southern India from the
ninth to the 18th century and consists mainly of Hindu bronzes of the
Chola and Vijayanagar periods in Tamil Nadu and the Deccan, as well
as schist figures from Jain and Hindu temples in Karnataka.

Although the publication of objects is noted throughout, recent
provenances are less well documented. For example, the two first-
century B.C. railing pillars from the great Buddhist stupa at Bharhut
are among the leading treasures of the collection, but nothing is
said of their history after their discovery and publication by
Alexander Cunningham in the 1870s. Nonetheless, Dr. Pal's scholarship
is ample compensation.

The second volume concerns art from the Himalayas and China. With few
exceptions, most of the Himalayan objects are from Nepal and Tibet,
dating from after the 12th century.

Following an introductory essay on the arts of the region, the
catalog of 185 artifacts is divided into sections on the sculpture
and ritual objects of India, Nepal, China and Tibet, followed by a
section on book covers and paintings.

Some of the finest works in this part of the collection are bronze
and gilt-copper alloy deities from Nepal and Tibet around the 13th
century. These include a large standing figure of the goddess Tara, a
beautiful figure of Indra in regal recline, and a Nepali Bodhisattva
of the early Malla period.

Notable in the final section is a number of intricately carved wooden
manuscript covers from Tibet dating from the 11th to the 16th
century. Of the paintings, many are Tibetan mandalas and thangkas,
meditational aids and cosmic diagrams painted on cotton, but of
greatest importance is a Newar ragamala (musical personifications)
album from around 1625 with two painted wood covers and containing 36
paintings. One of only two complete Nepali albums of this type, the
different ragas (musical passages) are represented in a distinctive
style quite in contrast with ragamala albums from northern India, few
of which predate 1650.

Pratapaditya Pal, Asian art at the Norton Simon Museum (Yale
University Press, New Haven and London, 2003), Vol. I: Art from the
Indian Subcontinent, 352 pp, 198 b/w ills, 152 col. ills, £50 (hb)
ISBN 0300099150; Vol. II: Art from the Himalayas and China, 57 b/w
ills, 211 col. ills, £50 (hb) ISBN 0300099266

<b>10th century Vishnu idol found </b>

Staff Reporter/ Bhopal
<b>A tiny temple in Khanugaon houses what is probably the largest and most impressive private collection of idols in the city, some of them dating as far back as 1000 AD.</b> Being either chipped or broken the idols cannot be worshiped and, hence, are not accorded much importance by the pujari (priest). Archaeologists, on the other hand, contend that the statues are not "uncommon" enough to merit conservation.

As a result, these remnants of a rich cultural legacy lie in the open, uncared for and unattended. With each passing day chipping away at their chances of survival plus the added threat of opportunistic idol thieves raiding the temple never very far, the "fallen" idols, it can be safely assumed, will not remain here for long.

Located off the busy VIP Road, a stone's throw from Noor-us-Sabah hotel, there is nothing, save a faintly quaint air, about the Kali Mandir to suggest it might be any different from the multitude of worshipping spots that dot the city. It was serendipitous chance that led this reporter to the temple while he was scouring the area adjoining the VIP Road.

<b>Noticing a large number of curiously shaped stones that were being used to cover a tubewell run dry this reporter noticed a muscular arm sculpted on one of the stones. It turned out to be a 14th century Hanuman idol.</b>

<b>A curious peek into the premises revealed a large number of sculptures carved out of local sandstone strewn carelessly across the courtyard. A pair of decapitated Nandi bulls, which it turns out date back to 1200 AD, occupy pride of place amid a stone melange comprising a 14th century stone mural depicting the monkey-god Hanuman trampling the evil Shani (Saturn) to death, copulating serpents and a host of lesser deities paying obeisance to the trinity</b>.

<b>It is a tenth century Vishnu idol, however, that is undoubtedly the piece-de-resistance of the temple's antiquities repertoire. </b>
Tirupati row

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->He said that the 'heritage' 1000 pillar mandap on the hills, built
around 650 years ago and the house of Anantha Alwar, who was made the
temple custodian by none other than Saint Ramanuja, had been
demolished by TTD in the name of expanding the present temple

"It looks that it is being done in a very planned manner, as if they
don't want to see any link with Ramanuja", he claimed adding that
even Saint Ramanuja's mutt, where he himself lived, was under threat
of demolition. Ramanuja built it in 1057 A.D. and stayed in it for
one year.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>Idol found smashed in suburb temple</b>
NT Bureau Chennai, July 3:

The sleepy suburb of Pallavaram, especially around Periamalai area, today woke up to tension and tumult as a temple idol was found smashed to smithereens by unidentified miscreants. A trident and a previously mutilated peacock statue in the temple were also found broken.

This morning the authorities of the local Balamurugan temple found the Dakshayini Amman idol destroyed (presumably with a sledgehammer), with the pieces strewn all around the place. The Amman's sari was torn and found spread over a nearby thorny bush.

The temple's main trustee, Raghupathy, who has been looking after the temple affairs for the last several years, immediately alerted the police and filed a formal complaint. The police, who arrived at the scene, have taken the broken pieces for further investigation.

UNGODLY ACT: The pedestal of the Dakshayini Amman at the Balamurugan temple in Pallavaram tells the tale of vandal's act. The idol was smashed to bits using a sledgehammer and the remnants were strewn all around.

Though officials were tight-lipped on who could have committed this shameful act, the locals were more vocal.

Many residents of the area were openly pointing fingers at a Christian group that was 'notoriously active' in the area. The names of a local Panchayat leader and a Pastor were openly bandied about by the residents.

The Periamalai area was already sitting on a communal powder keg due to the confrontational and provocative attitude of a Pentecost group that specifically targetted the local Balamurugan temple. The group, which used to be very active on full-moon nights (yesterday was one), has a history of creating trouble for those coming to worship at the temple.

The residents had made several complaints that the cult group had chosen the place to carry out their brazen expansion activities 12 churches have come up in the last few years within the small circumference of Pallavaram.

The religious group also used to gather up at Periamalai (a small hillock) regularly and shout out taunting remarks at Hindus and openly deride Hindu Gods.

Locals say the Christians brought in women, who were purportedly Hindus, and then asked them to throw their mettis and thalis into a fire.

After the locals took up the issue with the police, a check-post on the entry road to the hillock was put up a few years back to prevent any meeting in the night. But some time later, the check-post was damaged by some miscreants and the night show of evangelism continued.

However, the locals applied pressure with the authorities and got another check-post in the area. Long-time residents of the locality also got a Court order some time back restraining the Christians from 'encroaching' into the land belonging to the Murugan temple.

After last night's act of vandalism by some bigoted minds, security has been put up at the temple.

The tension in the area is palpable and looks like the residents of the sleepy suburb are set for some sleepless nights.
Don’t destroy our history and heritage: Chinna Jeeyar Swamy

India Post News Service

FREMONT, CA: While huge sums are being spent to preserve the human history and heritage in various parts of the world, Andhra Pradesh government and Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) are destroying the ancient history and heritage of Tirumala and thus hurting the sentiments of millions of devotees the world over, said Sri Sri Sri Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamy in an exclusive interview with India Post on July 8 here.

Sri Sri Sri concluded his 10-day tour of California on July 9. Spiritual Day Camp was organized from July 2 to July 6 at Stanford University. He gave discourses on Essence of Mundaka Upanishad and Bhagavad Gita besides interactive multimedia presentations
Bearing dignified and shining red and white tilak on his forehead,

youthful Swami, with a glow on his face, was critical of the present Congress government of Andhra Pradesh, which is bent upon violating the tenets of Silpasastra under the garb of “Master Plan.” The blasting of nearly the thousand-pillar mandapam violated the sanctity of the Venkatadri hill. The mandapam has historical and religious significance. It was constructed by Saluva Mallaya Deva, had a great history and was not an ornamental structure. The TTD was “interfering in the religious affairs and sentiments of devotees” and that it lacked “inherent jurisdiction” to deal with such issues. The act of the authorities is worse than the Mughals, said Sri Sri Sri. ”We should protect the purity and sanctity of the original tradition, in the restoring the marks of the ancient glory of our ancient history,” he said.

Talking of the purpose of his current visit to the US, Sri Sri Sri said, “I have been to many places besides the US. I have recently visited Australia, Dubai, and Muscat and went on pilgrimage to Kailash-Manasarovar in Tibet. The serenity of the lake is unparalleled. My sole objective is to meet children of God who are everywhere in the world. I have a twin message - man and man should live together and man should live in harmony with nature. The root cause of the current problems facing the world is ego and intention to dominate others,” said Sri Sri Sri.

The youth who are born and brought up here in the US are very inquisitive to know their roots. “They ask right questions, we never thought of, “ he said. He cited the examples of some teenagers present in the congregation who had a profound impact after attending a weeklong camp.

Sri Sri Sri cleared many doubts about the tradition of guru. “A right guru never puts a stop on the inquisitiveness of his student. He rather encourages and prompts the disciple to question and tries to remove his apprehensions. A true guru shows the right path. He is not God. We require a guru in our lives to proceed and progress rapidly along the spiritual path,” he remarked.

He gave brief account of the social activities of Jeeyar Educational Trust (JET) for uplifting the lives in the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, running a school for the blind, construction of 86 houses in earthquake affected villages in Gujarat, and cyclone hit areas in Andhra Pradesh.
Subject: Appeal to stop Auction by AP Govt. of Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham Tirupathi land

Here is a disturbing news of AUCTION of Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham - Tirupahti land by govt. of Andhra Pradesh on August 9, 2004 - barely a week from now. This is explained in the appeal to the CM of Andhra Pradesh attached below.

We request that you send your own comments as well . Here are some email addresses, etc. :

Chief Minister , Andhra Pradesh: cmap@ap.nic.in
President of India pressecy@alpha.nic.in (President's press secretary)
fax : 2301 7290 (in New Delhi)
Prime Minister: manmohan@sansad.nic.in
VHP, New Delhi: jaishriram@vsnl.in , vyas@vichaar.net , jaishriram@vichaar.net
BJP, New Delhi bjpco@del3.vsnl.net.in

Shri LK Advani, advanilk@sansad.nic.in
Mrs. Sonia Gandhi soniagandhi@sansad.nic.in

Indian Embassy, } 2107 massachusettes Ave, NW, Washington, DC
Washington, DC } Phone: (202) 939-7000

Krishan Bhatnagar
Maryland, USA

Letter to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh

Hon'ble YS Rajasekhara Reddy
Chief Minister
Andhra Pradesh

Subject: Appeal to stop Auction by AP Govt. of Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham -
Tirupathi Tirumala land

Hon'ble Dr. Rajasekhara Reddy,

We are highly disturbed at the news of AUCTION of Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham - Tirupahti land by govt. of Andhra Pradesh on August 9, 2004 - barely a week from now (attachment A).

This Matham is the true holder of sacred Tirumala properties. It is supposed to be controlled by the Pedda Jeeyar and Chinna Jeeyar Mathams and dates back to Saint Ramanujacharya who established the bodies. The properties held are not of recent origin, but have been owned for centuries.

We may also wish to remind you of the destruction of the 600 year-old 1000 pillar temple recently at Tirumala for sake of VIP security as another example of the govt. indifference to Hindu religious sentiments and against the norms of trusteeship. Here are some more comments related to govt. control of temples in Andhra Pradesh.

In Andhra Pradesh, we understand, they have a bureaucracy of 77,000 to manage some 33,000 temples, diverting 85% of revenue to state exchequer according to some estimates, while pujarees starve and basic poojas are hard to perform due to financial squeeze. We are told that after the new Govt. took office in AP recently, the People's War Group has put red flags on temple lands in some districts with intent to allot them to peasants; and the Collector of Palnadu is reported to have a plan to distribute 3000 acres of Temple Lands under the Endowments Department in that area

Furthermore, the endowment records also confirm that the authorities acquired temple lands for bus stations, police stations, Govt. offices, hospitals and power stations etc. several times in the past. In a secular society these discriminatory actions against a particular religious group must be considered highly questionable, inappropriate and unconstitutional. Over and above this the Govt. has yet to reimburse Rs. 28 crores to the endowment dept. as cost of the acquired lands (attachment B). In legal terms that is pure and simple "default." Which means that the AP Govt. failed to pay and consequently failed as a trustee for ensuring the clean management of the Hindu endowments.

These actions seriously jeopardize the preservation and propagation of Hindu cultural and spiritual values and therefore, calls for the total withdrawal of the state from controlling religious entities. The Indian system of constitutional domain demands that the jurisdiction of managing religious entities must reside in the members of their respective religious communities as is the case of Christian and Muslim religious institutions. There must be a separation of state and religion in a secular state.

Democratic and secular governments do not penalize or patronize religions. Such extra legal actions constitute a reverse discrimination against India's majority community. Acts that result in destroying the religious fabric of the majority community, for how so ever noble cause particularly, in a democratic, secular and freedom loving society are beyond the frame of reference for the government. Only autocratic and totalitarian regimes engage in such acts of cultural destruction of people, not constitutional democracies.

The "Places of Worship (special provisions) Act 1991" by the Lok Sabha, that stipulates "to provide for the maintenance of the religious character of any place of worship as it existed on the 15th day of August 1947" is being violated . The lands were endowed to the temples for their support in perpetuity to ensure their religious character and not as discretionary for the trustees.

There are some basic questions: When the whole world is already aflame with the "jihad ideology", is it wise for governments to incite the tolerant Hindus by grievously violating their religious sensitivities? Why are only Hindus treated as the chosen people for robbing their religious autonomy? The Waqf Board of Muslims and the management of Christian religious institutions have vast funds, properties and endowments, in addition to the immense flow of foreign funds. Why are they permitted to remain free of nationalization, interference and Govt. control, with their autonomy intact?

May we request you to take urgent action to rescind the order for auction that is against the norms of trusteeship. This is also against the very basic tenets of Nehruvian secularism - separation of state and religion - that you and your Congress party publicly profess. A billion strong Hindu community worldwide is highly agitated on this issue.


Dr. Jagan Kaul August 1, 2004
Krishan Bhatnagar
Hindu Jagran Forum
Maryland, USA

(Attachment A)


R.C.No.B4/883/96 Dt:06-7-2004


Land belonging to Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham, Tirupathi situated in Tirupathi Village situated in survey No.187/2 to the extent of A 0.56 Cents shall be auctioned on 9-8-2004, Monday at 11.00 AM on as-is-where-is basis in the presence of Officers of the Endowments Department in tender-cum-open auction. Those desirous of participating shall obtain and submit Demand Draft in favour of Adminstrative Oficer, Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham, Tirupathi on any Nationalized Bank for Rs.5,00,000/- (rupees five lakhs only) towards Earnest Money Deposit and participate in the auction. (Cheques are not accepted).

1) Successful bidder shall pay 1/3 rd of the bid amount soon after the completion of the auction. (Earnest Money Deposit shall be treated as seperate)

2) Soon after obtaining the approval orders from Commissioner, Endowments Department, Hyderabad, balance amount shall be settled within 15 days and land should be registered at their own cost.

3) Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham reserves the right to postpone, or cancel the auction without assigning any reasons.

4) The land shall be handed over soon after the completion of registration process.

For other conditions, details, The Adminstrative Oficer, Sri Swami Hathiramji Matham, Tirupathi may be contacted either directly or through Ph.No.2220015 during the office hours (excepting during Government Holidays).


Note: This notice appeared in Eenadu, August 1, 2004. Tamil Nadu Edition on p.no.3 of the regional issue.

Attachment B
Now Naidu eyes temple lands
Hindustan Times, July 07, 2003
Ashok Das
(Hyderabad, July 6)

The temple of Lord Venakateswara at Tirupati is lucky. The Andhra Pradesh government has finally backed off from its demand for Rs 36 crore from this cash-rich shrine, in the wake of public outcry and a litigation in the high court.
However, lesser known temples are not so lucky. The government has initiated moves to take away temple lands and distribute them among poorer sections in the name of social justice. According to endowment department sources, around 80 per cent of the 27,000-odd temples have no income other than what they get from the vested lands. And once the lands are taken away, puja in many temples will have to be stopped.

The decision to acquire endowment lands was prompted after district collectors reported the unavailability of adequate government land and secondly because of litigation involving available lands. The government fixed a target of 8 lakh house site pattas this year, after Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu made the announcement at the TDP’s Tirupati meet.

Revenue officials said, the state needs around 40,000 acres to meet the target and by tapping endowment properties the state could meet only one third of the requirement. 3,000 acres of land have been identified for acquisition.

TDP leaders defend the government’s stand. “The lands are under the temples’ control for namesake only. The people cultivating them are giving little or nothing. At least this way, it will serve a better cause,” said a TDP member.

Opposition parties have assailed the move. "The endowment lands come free as government-appointed officials control the temples and few would dare to challenge the order," said a BJP leader.

Endowment records show the government acquired temple lands several times in the past for bus stands, police stations, government offices, hospitals, power stations etc. It was yet to reimburse Rs 28 crores to the endowment department towards the value of the acquired land.


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