HISTORY OF SRI VENUGOPALASWAMI TEMPLE AT KIZHANATHAM VILLAGE
The formation of the Kizhanatham village preceded dated land keeping records. When this ancient temple was established is also not recorded. Later documents surmise that it existed more than 300 years ago. One of the documents, namely Land Records Register published in the year ____ records the properties belonging to Kizhanatham village including both Sri Venugopalaswami Temple and Sri Viswanatha Swami Temple. It is noted that some agricultural lands both Punjai and Nanjai are owned jointly by both temples. Inference can be drawn from these facts, that both Vaishnava and Siva temples were established when the village was formed.
The early natives comprised of three main Iyengar groups. Families called Arattukaras (Samavedis belonging to Bharadwaja Gotram), Vellakovilkaras (who had migrated from nearby Vellakoil village devastated by Floods of River Tamraparni – Yajurvedis belonging to Naitrupakashyapa Gotram) and Gangaikondan Karas (Migrated from Gangaikondon Village – Yajurvedis belonging to Srivatsa Gotram). Apart from these main groups a small family of Yajurveda and Samaveda Priests, a few Dikshitar and Smarta families, and a family of Vaikanasa Archakars who migrated from Tiruppulingudi, along with the Satai of Tiruppulingudi Perumal which is still in use at our temple, comprised the initial village population.
Temple layout and Deities:
The old layout of the Sri Venugopalaswami temple consisted only the main portion with four Prakarams.
They housed the following Moolavars - Rukmini Satyabama sametha Sri Venugopalaswami, Garudar, two Dwaraplakas located in the main entrance , Vishvak Senar, Perialwar, Ramanujar and Vedanta Desikar on the Northern side.
Several Utsavars were also housed, namely - Rukmini Satyabama Sameta Sri Rajagopala Swami, Utsavar Ramanujar.
The Kilimantapam, was later added as annexure to the main temple to conduct the Utsavams.
In the Year ____ Shri.N.Krishnan, on the recommendations of Tirukudanthai Andavan Srimad Vedantaramanuja Mahadesikan added new Moolvar deities in the North Prakaram - Shenbagavalli Thayar, Sri Andal, Chakarathalwar in front and Yoga Narasimhar in the back. Utsavars of both Thayars were also added.
Village folklore states that there was a big controversy among the villagers about whose Utsavar Idol should be installed - Ramanuja’s or Vedantadesika’s. Originally the Utsavar Idol of Bhagavat Ramanuja was installed. This idol was stolen surreptitiously by a Thevar who hid it in the sand of Tamrabarni river flowing nearby. The Thevar was afflicted with cholera disease that night and he revealed the details of this incident to the villagers. Ramanuja’s idol was recovered and installed back in its original place.
Vahanas (Celestial vehicles):
Vahanas for various Utsavams like Pallaku, Thozhikinna, Garudar, Hamsam, Elephant, Horse, Punnaimaram and two Chapparams were created. A Ther(Chariot) in original pattern was also made, but it broke down and subsequently another one prepared and assembled in parts, exists to date, and is being utilized for the 9-day Utsavam for Sri Ramanuja. The Trustees are taking urgent steps to construct a Ther in the original pattern.
The first Samprokshanam pre-dated existing record keeping. Samprokshanam was done for the main deities on ____ and for those newly prepared was done during the inauguration of new deities by Srimad Tirukkudanthai Andavan. After nearly XX years , Samprokshanam was done in Jan 2013 on a grand scale followed by 48 days of Mandalabhishekam under Vaikanasa Agama rules. The Priest at that time suddenly left without a successor, and daily Pooja was interrupted. Pooja was resumed, but with a priest versed in Pancharatra Agamas. The temple was finally able to get an experienced Vaikanasa Priest, and the Pooja and Utsavams started to be conducted under his able supervision and guidance regularly.
The benevolence of the deities is reflected in the prosperity of our natives all over the world who make it a point to visit and worship them.
It is appropriate to mention a few instances where devotees were blessed and their prayers fulfilled. Nadaswara Vidvan Arunachalam from Palayamkottai was blessed with progeny’s after worshipping Lord Venugopala. As his offering he voluntarily offered his services without remuneration for all Utsavams. Similarly, Mr.Chami used to distribute packs of Athikeerai to all households on Ekadasi day in memory of the Lord’s Blessings for getting his progeny. Two families who are living today were born after dedicated worship to the Lord.
The following main Utsavams are conducted in the temple - 11 day Utsavam for Ramanuja’s birthday falling in the month of April-May; Adyayana Utsavam (10 days before Vaikunta Ekadasi and 11 days after Vaikunta Ekadasi); Utsavams for Varushabhishekam, Thirukarthikai, Srijayanti, Parvettai etc. with dedicated Ubhayadars distributed among the various families.
The 11-day Bhavagat Ramanuja Utsavam celebrated here is unique in its celebrations among temples in Tamil Nadu. Many Acharyas of Srimad Andavan Ashramam namely Therazhundur Andavan, Srimad Vedantharamanuja Mahadesikan, (who performed one of his Chathurmasya sankalpam in this village), Aakkoor Andavan Srimad Srinivasa Mahadesikan, Tirukkudantai Andavan Srimad Vedantaramanuja Mahadesikan, Prakrutam Andavan Srimad Rangaramanujan Mahadesikan and Sri Ahobilam Jeer Srimad Srivan Satagopa Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikan have visited the village and performed Mangalasasanam in this temple.
Another important feature of the temple is the Satari for the Utsavar which was brought from Tiruppuliangudi (one of the Navatirupathies ) and is used even today. The recitation of the ten Pasurams composed by Nammalwar on this deity occurs daily evening during Nityanusanthanam. The Satari of Bhagaavat Ramanuja is served on devotees for daily use and the original Satari of Utsavar is served on devotees only on special days such as Tirukarthigai, Parvettai, Bhagvat Ramanuja’s birthday. Thus the temple is considered closely associated with Divyadesa Perumals.
The temple was originally classified as a Denomination Temple, which is equivalent to a private temple. In the year ______ the department of HRCE (The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board) issued a notice calling for applicants to be Trustees. Our temple management then took up the case in the high court, and after presenting several arguments, the Judge proclaimed that our temple cannot be classified as a private temple; instead after considering all documents presented, he proclaimed that our temple should be classified as an “EXCEPTIONAL Temple”, where the Trustees of the Temple are elected from Vadakalai SriVaishnavas of the village.
The present income for the temple (from its movable and immovable properties) is very meagre. Expenditure incurred for the salaries of Archakar, flowers, utility items, daily needs, etc. is met by Charitable Trusts created for this purpose. The annual financial details of our temple are sent regularly to HRCE for audit purposes.