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Muthuservamadam Varadaraja Perumal

Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam
I first heard about Muthuservamadam about 18 months ago, when Kaushik Ramachandran, a long term patron and volunteer of Aalayam Kanden Trust mentioned it to me. He sent me pictures of a dilapidated brick Temple, with the Varadaraja Swamy and his consorts covered in lime plaster and asked me if I could visit and help create awareness and support for the temple.

Dilapidated state of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam 18 months ago
He further mentioned that the youth from the village were very eager in getting the temple up and running and this really warmed my heart. However, my tight schedule did not allow me to visit the temple immediately. This year round, when I went home for Pongal, I was determined to visit.

The Varadaraja Perumal, Muthuservamadam covered in lime plaster earlier
Muthuservamadam is about a kilometre away from NH 36, flanked by Gangaikondacholapuram and Meensurutti. Despite being so close to the tourist map, it is a pity that this temple has had poor patronage and has fallen into ruins. One look at the arch that welcomes us gives an idea of how magnificent this temple would have looked during its "achche din".

The huge arch at the entrace of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam
The temple had been closed for worship for as long as forty years. The mahamandapa and the temple campus had turned into a convenient den for the men in and around the village to drink and make merry. A team of committed youth from the village, with the guidance of a few village elders decided three years ago that they were going to turn the temple around, and bring it back to worship. A lot has been achieved during this time. Whatever repairs and renovations have been carried out, have been done, without further damaging the stucco or icons wherever they are. While this might not look visibly pretty, the intention of the villagers to retain as much of the antiquity as they can, must be appreciated.

Repairs in progress currently at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam
The temple has over 80 acres of land, all being cultivated by individuals who do not give anything in return to the temple. However, the youth had been able to garner the support of the villagers in collecting funds to first clear the temple and its shrines of garbage and spruce up the pillars and the main vimana (now looks like a gopuram in Brahadeswara temple style). The deities - Garuda and Hanuman have been removed from their broken down shrines and placed in the sanctum along with Varadaraja Swamy and his consorts.

The vimanam being redone without removing the stucco idols therein
The main deity Varadaraja Swamy, belonging to the 12th century CE had originally been covered with lime plaster and painted. So were his consorts and dwarapalakas. However, now the lime plaster which was already peeling off, has been scrapped out completely. The idols are dry and pale, due to lack of attention. 

Varadaraja Perumal, Muthuservamadam
There is a very beautiful Hanuman of probably the 14th or 15th CE with one leg folded behind him, and the other leg bent forward. A small Garudalwar probably of the same period as the main deity is also found. 

Hanuman at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam
The Mahamandapa is in the unique Vavval Nethi mandapa style (shaped like a bat's forehead) - a unique form popularized by the chola architects. Very few temples have this form of architecture, which was specialised only by a few. During the renovation, the pillared portions of either sides of the Vavval Nethi Mandapam have been straightened out as there are no artisans currently available to recreate it.

Vavval Nethi Mandapam in Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam
A gate has also been installed to ensure the safety of the deities. Going around the campus, one cannot but admire the magnificence of the laterite brick wall around it. Each laterite brick measures and weighs atleast twice as that of a regular brick.

The beautiful Matapalli at the temple
The villagers are determined to complete the kumbabhishegam of the temple this summer. All they need is to complete the flooring and repair the walls around, the cost of which has been estimated at around Rs.7,50,000. The villagers are sure if there were inscriptions in the temple, as many of them had only visited the temple for the first time, about three years ago. If they had been there, they are probably lost to time.

The sprawling campus of the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam
They appeal to the benevolent public to support them with any historical or epigraphic evidence about the temple, that will help them in creating awareness and raising funds for the temple. Any uzhavarapani kuzhus that are willing and open to do uzhavaram in Perumal temples may please help in clearing the vegetation at the temple. I find it extremely disappointing that uzhavarapani, the noble act of clearing vegetation and sprucing up the temples is most often restricted to Shiva temples. With all due respect, I would urge these noble people to kindly go beyond these self-imposed restrictions and extend their services to deserving Perumal temples as well - after all, "Hariyum Sivanum Onru", isn't it?

The village volunteer team at Muthuservamadam
The youth of the village are eager and enthusiastic and with a little bit of support - in material, money, manpower and mentorship, they will be able to keep the temple up and running!! If you are one of those people who are desirous of empowering them to do this, please do get in touch with Mr Manikandan whose coordinates are given below.

Any help you can offer to this beautiful temple, is worth its weight in gold!

The doorway at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Muthuservamadam
 How to reach here:

Muthuservamadam is 3 kms from Gangaikondacholapuram and 5 kms from Meensurutty and Jayamkondam respectively.

GPS Coordinates of the temple: 11.222853, 79.462087

Temple timings: At the moment since the temple is under Balalayam, it can be visited at any time during the day, after giving prior intimation.

Contact details: Manikandan - +91 78710 02298

This post first appeared on Aalayam Kanden (Temples I Saw), please read the originial post: here

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Muthuservamadam Varadaraja Perumal


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