Thiruadigai or Thiruvadigai is the first place near Panruti we visited en route to Kumbakonam while going for our Symposium for Heritage Wardens held during 1st week end of January 2009.
This temples is a beauty of sorts. No words to describe.
Dr. Nagaswamy in one of his writings write as:
At Thiruvadigai there are a few archaeological relics which deserve notice. The Virattana temple at this place is a Pallava foundation carrying inscriptions of the Pallavas Paramesvaravarman, Tellaru erinda Nandi and Nrpatunga. Paramesvara’s inscription relates to another shrine of this place. Nandi’s inscription refers to a gift of gold for worship in the temple while, that of Nrpatunga, refers to renovation to the temple, carried out by him. In the pakara, at the western end there is a Caturmukalinga, decidedly a Pallava sculpture of 7th century A.D.
The story in Dinamalar in Tamil is still elaborate.
Life of Appar, his conversion from Jainism to Shaivism, this temple where the first Devaram was sung, and the first ever place where 'temple cleaning' (உழவாரப்பணி) took place from the hands of Appar / Thirunavukkarasar is worth reminding here.
The photos are here to see
Me and Natarajan always look out for rare sculptures and unknown beaties of the temple. See the two sculptural stone reliefs.. on the pillars of the front mandap at the entrance. Any explanations or mythological stories available for the same? Reader please explain me.
Also were stunning the rare mohinis in the entrnce and different dance poses we see, as we enter in.
Now, we see also a big stone sculpture in sitting posture as soon as we enter the temple facade,on our right, and yell with joy, "Hey, see Buddha statue, this proves this site is ancient than ever, atleast Buddhism survived here some 1800 years ago!
"Why is it confirmed as a Buddha? Why not Jaina Theerthangara statue? " asked my friend Natarajan. Why... I explained. Readers please come back with your answers to claim whether it is a Jaina Statue or a Buddha statue..
Also impressive were the paintings on the ceilings at the front mandapa of the temple. See pictures..
I wish they are not destroyed in the name of Kumbabishegam Samrokshanam, renovation by the HR& CE.. as how it happened in Madurai Meenakshi temple, in Thiruppulivanam, and many more temples. These paintings are real stunners and we should protect them from removal, white washing and graffiti.
Also, another repetitive feature of Pallava period temples are that the availability of Somaskanda Murthy / Parvathi full decorative sculptures seen behind the Shiva Linga, mostly made of limestone.
here this Thiruvadaigai temple has the biggest Somaskanda murthi (family portrait!) surrounded by Brahma and Vishnu, sizes of say, 8 to 10 feet! The lighting inside is very poor and so we could not see them properly. I requested the priest to show the deepa aradhana twice to ensure what I saw was believing! Such a big somaskanda !!!
Also unique are the over flowing scultpures around the sanctum sanctorum.Sadly the originallime sculptures are recoated with heavy and gaudy acrylic paints,which look horrible. Otherwise the originals would have made them more austere, authentic and elegant, ala..heritage vintage stuff.
PIL should be applied to stop sand blasting, usage of modern paints and materials in renovating temples; May be then, the Governments would not tamper such priceless beauties..
Thiruvadigai makes one visit this temple again and again..
Next week I will try to write on Innambur and Thiruperambiyam we saw near Kumbakonam...