October 14, 2005

Vijayamangalam - Lost Tamil Jain Heritage

Few years back, my parents happened to be in Erode for a marriage. On their way back to chennai, they visited the Vijayamangalam Temple. They had interesting stories to tell about the temple & its beauty.

Last sunday there was an article in the Hindu on the temple: Monumental neglect

"Once a flourishing place of worship for the Jains in Kongunadu and said to date back to the 6th Century, the temple is now a neglected stone monument that has suffered the ravages of time. The temple, built by King Konguvelir, is an art lover's delight. According to the inscriptions in Pali and Tamil found on the pillars, a few Jain munis had attained mukthi here by fasting till death. The birth of Mahavira and his life is carved on the top as a panel.A dance mandapam, dating back to the 13th Century, is another highlight."

The shocking part of the coverage was "Unfortunately, the idol of Chandraprabha Tirthankar was stolen some months ago. Now only an idol of goddess Kushmandala Devi and that of Mahavira remain. "

More from the article "There are similar shrines in disrepair at Thingalur and Seenapuram, 10 km away. The one at Thingalur is set in scenic surroundings but is a nightmare once you open the door, as it is now a haven for bats. The priest hurriedly clears up the bat droppings to reveal a temple that must have stood out for its architecture centuries ago. "

Writer Subha J Rao expresses her anguish "The beauty of this Jain temple complex leaves you feeling sad and awe-struck at the same time for it has no power supply, no guidebooks, no one, except the priest, to tell you more about it."

Jainsamaj.org gives some more information abt the temple:
Pullava, the younger sister of chamundaraya (978) the great minister of Ganga king rajamall-4, died performing this rite (salekana - fast until death) and a slab was set up within the chandranatha basti at Vijaymangalam. The dead sravika pullavva is shown on the upper niche seated in padmasana with folded hands.

The village is celebrated birthplace of Jain Monk Bhavanadi, he is the author of the tamil grammer book - Nannul.
Incidentaly, Tolkaapiyam , the oldest grammer book in any language was written by Tolkaapiyar, another Jain monk.

M. AROKIASWAMI, M.A., Ph.D. writes about Jain Vestiges in Coimbatore District.

How to reach : The temple complex is about 20 km from Erode. Driving down from Coimbatore, it is 27 km from Avanashi on the NH-47.

Other Blogs on Tamil Jain heritage
Samanar Malai - Madurai


Anonymous said...

The stories attached to this temple are interesting. Wondering why there is no govt. initiative to rennovate this work of art ?

paresh said...

As a member of the Jain community, it is depressing that such an old heritage is being lost while people from Jain community are spending millions on building new temples. I cant see the point in this.

sugan said...

Thanks Anon & Paresh for stopping by..

Did some background work on what the governmnet is upto
1. Tourism Policy Notes(2005-2006)
13th Point :
For the development of Jain Circuit covering the following places, a proposal for a sum of Rs. 192.00 lakhs has been sent to the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for according sanction under the scheme of Integrated development of Jain Tourist Circuit.

Hope it doesnt remain in papers.

2. The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Administration Department Supervises the administration of Hindu and Jain Religious Institutions and Hindu Charitable Endowments in Tamilnadu. 17 Jain Temples are also in the list. But they are not listed individually.

sathy said...

i..This is Sathy from Vijayamangalam.There is also one Interesting real story behinh this,which is not come to this world lights...

Dhana said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dhana said...

I am the one who was brought up very near to the temple. No one knows the importance of temple over here.So i too was ignorant. Nearly 80 percent of the people over here dont know what temple is this and who is the god. In my childhood period i remember feeding our cattles inside the temple campus. But before 15 years government took over the temple and really did some good work. But after that it was not maintained properly. There is only one jain family lives near to the temple. Earlier we didn't know that they are jain. We used to call them as Aiyar(means Brahmin). They couldnt survive with the little penny that they get for doing poojas here which happens rarely due to less number of people who visits. This tells how both government and people have ignored it. People reading this please visit the temple (not necessarily be a jain),to look the real beauty of this jain architecture.

umapathi said...

I'm Dr Jain, a teacher, a tamilian. I visited on 17 th Oct 2010. The place was ill maintained. There are so many temples, inscriptions, rock carvings beeing destroyed by the people, who own world's great heritages, rituals. Previously people live in huts and built granite temples, now they built granite houses destroying our heritages and leave the GOD even without hut.

palamathesu said...

தோழி, நான் முன்பு பார்த்த கோவில் தான்.உங்களின் ஜெயின் கோவில் இடுகையை படித்து நிறைய தெரிந்து கொண்டேன் .நன்று. சின்ன விஷயம் ஈரோட்டில் இருந்து 20கி.மீட்டரில் பெருந்துறையும் அதில் இருந்து 10கி.மீட்டரில் விஜயமங்கலமும் அங்கிருந்து கள்ளியம்புதூர் செல்லும் சாலையில் வலதுபுரம் திரும்பி நடக்கும் தூரத்தில் ஒற்றைக்கோபுரம் எனக்கேட்டால் ஆர்வ மிகுதியால் அக்கோவிலுக்கு வருபவர்களுக்கு உதவியாக இருக்குமே..! வரலாற்று சிறப்புமிக்க இவ்வாலயத்தை இடுகையாக்கிய நீங்களும் நல்வரலாறு படைக்க வாழ்த்துக்கள்.நன்றி

VijayP said...

Would like to put it on record that as I have visited last week, this temple is under the control of Archaeological Survey of India. It is reasonably in good condition and well maintained compared to many neglected temples. The priest family is also kind enough.Reach Vijayamangalam and ask for Netta Kopuram not Retta Kopuram. Tamil nadu archaeological department has brought out a very good book on VIJAYAMANGALAM authored by A. Murugaraj. It costs less than 100 rupees. All the information needed on this Jain temple and the town is there. Bye