Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Lost Heritage - Muttam

The temples and the archaelogical wonders in India are quite fascinating. More fascinating are the ones that have a great heritage, become lost over time and later rediscovered. One such place is Muttam, also now known as Kottai Kaadu, meaning the forest of the fort. It is quite intriguing to know that this place was once a hive of activity, with people flocking from all across the globe. The Romans and the Greek conducted trade with people in that region. The reason behind it was the great perennial river, Noyyal. It is referred to as the Kanchi Maanadhi in ancient literature. However, some people opine that the Kanchi Maanadhi and the Noyyal start as two different rivers that merge together before merging with the famous Cauvery at a place called Kodumudi. The Kanchi Maanadhi was laden with precious and semi-precious stones that was one of the biggest reasons for people flocking from all across the globe. The other reason was that the region was rich in spices and condiments that are quite valuable to the people of the other countries.

Muttam lies in the Kongu region, the present Coimbatore, near the foothills of the famous Vellingiri hills and in the banks of the Kanchi Maanadhi river (Noyyal). The route along the river Noyyal gave the foreign traders access from a port called Vanji in Kerala to one of the busiest cities in the Chola Empire - Tiruchirapalli (Trichy). This route became more of a trade route called the Rajakesari Highway, which still connects Coimbatore and Tiruchirapalli. The name Rajakesari refers to the Chola king "Aditya Karikalan - I" who conquered the Kongu region and provided a shadow of army to safeguard the traders and their precious belongings while they travel in this route. Along the Rajakesari highway were a few other important places that were also a hive of activity and trade, they were, Vellalur, Erode and Karur. Ancient Greek and Roman currencies were discovered in these places when research and excavations were done.

It is no wonder that kings from the three empires were insistent on conquering the Kongu region, because, when they have the fertile and rich Kongu region in their control, they amassed great wealth. Muttam was the hub of all the events and trade happening. In order to safeguard the place, a fort was built by the then rulers of the place, some say Cholas and some say the Pandyas. This dates to the days of another famous place call the Perur, which has a famous Shiva temple built by the great Chola Emperor - King Karikala Peruvalathaan. Many Sangam period Tamil literary works Kurunthogai, Padhitrupathu and Aganaanuru have references about the Kongu region

Now, in the once famous centre of activity, only a small renovated temple remains. The fort is now ruined and the blocks of granite used to build the fort have now been used up to erect fences, stone embankments. Now let's see the present state of this glorious place, that is, temple. The temple's main deity is Lord Shiva adorned with the named Muttathu Naagalingeshwarar and his consort Goddess Parvathi is in the name Muthuvaaliamman. The other deities include Vinayagar, Subramaniar, Dakshinamoorthy, Perumal and Sandikeshwarar. The temple also carries the symbols of the Chera, Chola and the Pandya kingdoms, implying that the kings were patrons to this temple. The temple does not have a festival yet, but the Poojas are being performed daily. Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalaar took efforts to renovate and rebuild the temple in the same old structure it was. The same stones that were used to build the original temple was used again too, to renovate and rebuild that temple. Nearby the temple runs the Kanchi Maanadhi. Now let's see the pictures of this great old treasure.



The front view of the Muttam Nagalingeshwarar Temple


The front view of the Muttam Nagalingeshwarar Temple




The shrine of the main deity Nagalingeshwarar  and the Dakshinamoorthy shrine. My friends Sakthivel and Vijayendran too in this snap




The closeup view of the main shrine



The Vinayagar shrine



The view of the main shrine from the Vinayagar temple with me and Sakthivel





The stone inscriptions on the temple walls

Following are the pictures around the temple












Lord Subramaniar Shrine on the left



Goddess Muthuvaali Amman Shrine










Carving of the Kannappa Nayanar. Shiva worship was quite prominent in the Chola Empire








The Pandyan Empire symbol - The Fish










Lord Vishnu Shrine


Navagraha Shrine


The Nandhi status in front of the Nagalingeshwarar Shrine


The serene and fertile Betel nut plantation near the temple









The Kanchi Maanadhi. This is a perennial stream that irrigates the lands nearby (Sakthivel, Anwar and Vijayendran)


A few more picture of the Kanchi Maanadhi























Though we have lost the heritage of this great place Muttam, the remains have to be preserved for the generations to see how well the Tamil civilisation flourished, when most others were just beginning to evolve.

More to come, until then...

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very Nice.

Thanks,
Ara

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Ara

Anand Ravindran said...

Friend,

You did a nice work by narrating the story of pattinathar. I am happy to read that and the following posts.

If you visit madurai and the districts around you come to know thousands of temples like this ( not less than 20000), trade centres, Huge water tanks, vimanams, artchitectural wonders, stories of divine personalities from Theni till Rameshwaram. You should visit! You will cherish!

R.Prabhu said...

Thanks Anand and Thanks for the info on Madurai and the districts around it. Will visit them one day!

Anonymous said...

Hello Sir,
Im thrilled by seeing the pics of kootaikadu temple.I would like to visit this temple can u brief me about the exact location of this historic place...Thanks in advance..

R. Prabhu said...

Hello Anonymous,

Thanks for visiting my blog. Muttam is in Coimbatore, near Semmedu. When you reach Semmedu which is a few kilometres before Vellingiri foothills, anyone in that place should be able to guide you to this temple.

Anonymous said...

Hello sir,
Thanks for replying.We will visit the temple asap.

R. Prabhu said...

@Anonymous

Thanks, hope you will find the temple interesting and inspiring. Share your experiences after you visit the temple

Sakthivel Krishnasamy said...

Dear Mr.Siva,

Thank you so much for your photos.

Actually after the construction i think u didn't visited to this temple. Its so awesome. Please, visit this temple again. If, possible i ll take the photos and upload in this web.

(Just searching about this temple mandala pooja, viewed this.)

Thanks & Regards,
Sakthivel Krishnasamy
srs.sakthi@gmail.com

R. Prabhu said...

Thanks Mr. Sakthivel. I would love the see the new pictures after the construction. Let me know the link once you upload the images

Anonymous said...

very informative... gud sprit,... thanks for share