Teppakullam Street, Madurai, India
Mariamman Tepakullam Madurai Reviews
A walk into the history of Madurai Dec 07, 2014
I had noticed that Hindu temples constructed during the the 7th century onwards always had a tank in front or beside it. It formed part of the architecture and served many purposes. It was a water source to the people living around the temple, for religious purposes to bathe the deity or clean the temple,for those people taking a holy dip before their visit into the temple as also for performing their rituals to the Gods and spirits of their ancestors.
The history of Madurai may date back to the earliest tamil sangam era but the Mariamman temple tank dates back to the 16th century or 1645 to be exact.It is believed that when sand and clay was extracted for making bricks to build a castle for the then Nayak,he then planned the exercise in such a manner that it also served the purpose of a temple tank to please and honour those people who constructed the castle, whose deity was a Goddess named Mariamman.The tank was built with water inlets or under ground channels,in the four corners through which water from the Vaigai river would flow through into its bed and that was apart from it being rain fed too.The tank centre also has a temple erected to honour the Elephant faced God the eldest son of Shiva,named Vinayaka,whose blessings according to hindu belief is a must before one begins any work or intends to do anything.The sides of the tank has 4 stairs of 12 steps and people also sit there to perform their spiritual poojas.The tank measures 300 metres by length and breadth and it is said to be the largest temple tank in south India.
During the month of January every year coinciding the harvest and on a full moon night,a festival popularly known as the Thai thiruvizha is celebrated here and the deities,Gods and Goddesses are taken in decorated floats in the tank.Many thousands of people from neighbouring towns and villages gather for the feast day which is also declared as a local Holiday.Hundreds of stalls adjoin the side roads abbutting the tank and the colorful festival has been going on every year from ever since the tank was constructed.However the apathy of people and their ignorance about environmental issues and history is cause of serious concern. Indiscriminate construction around the tank happened to damage and choke the under water channel and lack of sufficient rain has led to the tank slowly drying out and falling into decay.The garbage dumped by nearby hotels, stalls and people has caused the tank waters not being used by the temple or its devotees who prefer to use the well water inside the sanctum.
The recent rains had fed the tank with some water and coming to know of the same I rushed over to take a look,walk around and into the glorious history of Madurai and its famous temple tank and also learnt in the process that some enthusiasts of late have managed to file cases in court and cleared the polluting encroachers from the pavements around the tank.I noticed that the space is now used for walkers and the tank is slowly regaining its glory.I took a few pictures, sat myself down on the ramparts of the tank looking at the state of affairs pondering as to how hard work of humans can create magnificence and at the same time how their carelessness and apathy could destroy it.
It became dusk and a magnificent glow of the hiding sun reflected on the little waters of the historic heritage, igniting a picture of hope in my mind as I slowly left imagining the splendour of the tank full of water in all its beauty with a multitude of people using the sacred waters as the tank served the purpose for it was meant to be,when it was built.
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