Located on the banks of the river Noyyal (referred to as “Kanchi Manadhi” by the locals) in Perur, stands the 1500-year-old Perur Pateeswarar Temple.

King Karikala Cholan of the Chola dynasty built Perur Pateeswarar Temple as a tribute to Lord Shiva. The history of Perur dates back to the Roman period, after a trove of Roman coins were unearthed in the premises. It is, however, widely believed that the temple predates this period. Evidence suggests that it existed in the Neolithic Age. Hand axes found during an excavation by the Indian Department of Archaeology are testament to this claim.

The temple is a marvel of ancient Indian architecture.
Image Courtesy: Perur Pateeswarar Temple

Location and Architecture:

The temple is located around 7km from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. It is characterised by its traditional Dravidian build, with symmetrical steps, angularity, and fine carving work. The sanctum of the temple (Ardha Mandapa and Maha Mandapa) was constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries. Inscriptions on the walls of the temple record the various developments made.

The Kanaka Sabhai is the main attraction within the structure. It is a golden hall consisting of ten ornate pillars. In the centre, an exquisite gopura houses a golden statue of Nataraja, the dancing form of Shiva.

Carved pillars adorn the Inner sanctum of the temple.                                                Image Courtesy: Tamil Nadu Tourism

 

The Nataraja Idol located within the inner sanctum of the temple.
Image Courtesy: 1,2,3, Coimbatore

Construction, Restoration and Immortalization:

The Chola monarch who built the temple wasn’t the only benevolent benefactor who helped with its development. In between the 14th century and the 17th centuries, rulers from the Vijayanagar, Nayak, and the Hoysala kingdoms provided fundings for the temple’s construction.

Madurai’s Alagiri Nayak built the renowned Kanaka Sabhai in the 17th century, and Mysore’s Tipu Sultan contributed to about half of the temple’s profits in the 18th century.

During the British rule, the East India Company was responsible for restoring the temple. They carried out renovations of the main shrine, as well as the Amman temple in the mid 1700’s. A shrine for the principal 63 saints of Hinduism was also constructed around the same time.

The East India Company installed statues of Indian Saints.                                       Image Courtesy: Perur Pateeswarar Temple

Several poets have written of the temple and its beauty. Arunagiri Nather and Kachiappa Munivar have written of the temple in their poetry. Legendary poet Sundarar also mentions the structure in his revered text, ‘Tevaram’.

Present day:

The Panguni Uthram festival that falls in the month of March is considered to be the major festival of the temple. During September, locals celebrate the festival of dance, Natyanjali, with numerous Bharatanatyam dancers performing in the temple premises. The temple is, thus, a hub for the display of tradition and culture within Tamil Nadu.

Conclusion:

In the temple premises, one can find the palm tree that never dies (Irava Panai), and the tamarind tree whose seeds never germinate (Pirava Puli), thus explaining the fascinating cycle of birth and death. Just like the trees, the temple itself, with its rich history, seems to exemplify the philosophy of Saṃsāra – the endless cycle of creation and destruction, and the transient yet permanent nature of existence.

References:

  • ●  “About Temple.” Official Website for Arulmigu Pateeswarar Swamy Temple. Web. 31 January. 2017.
  • ●  R, Aswinvijay. “Perur Pateeswarar Temple.” R.Aswinvijay. WordPress, 16 January. 2013. Web. 31 January. 2017.
  • ●  “Perur Pateswarswamy Temple.” Indian Mirror. Web. 31 January. 2017.
  • ●  Kannadasan, Akila. “Perur Payanam provides insight into history ofPatteeswarar Temple.” The Hindu. 25 July. 2016. Web. 31 January. 2017

 

  • Sadhana Balaji

    Sadhana is currently working as a Product Marketer in a startup called Chargebee. She enjoys to explore different genres of music and movies. She find herself to be skilled in sketching and creative writing. Sadhana comes from India, more specifically from the state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is known for its natural resources, Hindu temples, multi-religious pilgrimage sites and is the home of 8 World Heritage Sites.

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