Archaeological Survey: Respect Hindu sentiments at Dindukkal
B R Haran
16 Sep 2010
Padmagiri hillock lies in the centre of Dindukkal town, Tamil Nadu. A beautiful temple, hundreds of years old, is situated atop the hillock. Its presiding deities are Sri Padmagiriswarar and Sri Abirami Ambal. The Sthal Purana says that the sage Agasthya, who was asked to settle south of Vindhyas by Bhagwan Shiva, was blessed with the darshan of Bhagwan Shiva and Devi Parvati abode's Mount Kailash, at this hillock.
History says that during the invasion of Tipu Sultan some 200 years ago, he plundered the temples of Tamil Nadu, not sparing the temples of Dindukkal. At that time, the local people brought down the deities of the hillock temple safely and installed them in another temple – the Sri Kalahastheeswarar temple. Since then this temple is the only temple with two sets of Moolavars (Sri Kalahastheeswarar, Sri Padmagiriswarar and their consorts).
Devotees visiting Sri Soundararaja Perumal temple in Dindukkal can see the mutilated murtis of Bhagwan Narasimhar and Chakkarathazhwar even now in a separate place, while new murtis adorn the sanctum sanctorum.
It has been a long unfulfilled desire of Dindukkal Hindus to return the murtis to the hillock temple with due consecration, as it is not auspicious to have two presiding deities (Moolavars) in a same temple, nor to have a temple without deities.
Due to the efforts of committed Hindus belonging to the Hindu Dharma Protection Movement, Temple Bakthas Forum, South Kailash Padmagiri Worshippers Forum and Temple Maintenance Committee, along with members of the Dindukkal Chamber of Commerce, a huge public meeting was organized to recommence the Girivalam, circumambulation of the hillock, on 17 April 2010, in the presence of Acharyas and Adheenams who blessed the thousands of devotees participating in the event.
The following resolutions were passed:
- It was resolved to perform Girivalam around Padmagiri Hill every Pournami Day without fail.
- It was resolved to conduct a signature campaign among the local people and thereafter to approach the Archaeological Survey of India for earlier installation of the presiding deities at their original abodes atop the Padmagiri hillock.
- It was resolved to conduct the Consecration Ceremony with the help of the government immediately after getting the permission from ASI to install the deities.
- It was resolved to conduct such meets thrice a year taking any temple related issues across the state.
Since April, hundreds of people have been participating in the Girivalam every Paurnami (Full Moon) day. As per the resolution, a signature campaign has been going on and thousands of signatures have been obtained. Some considerate Muslims and Christians also signed the petition addressed to the Director General, Archaeological Survey of India. It is very unfortunate that ASI has not bothered to install the Murtis inside the temple all these years. In fact, it is the duty of the ASI to keep the temple functioning for the satisfaction and benefit of the people. Just because a temple is under the maintenance of ASI, it doesn't mean that it should be sans worship. There are many ASI maintained temples, which function like any other temple with necessary pujas, rituals and utsavams. In this case the ASI has indeed abdicated from its responsibility.
Mr. N.S.V. Chithan, Congress MP from Dindukkal, made budget allocations from his Constituency Development Fund to lay the Girivalam Path around the hillock. The local Municipal Chairman from the DMK also arranged a budget sanction for the same. Sources said the Revenue Minister and local MLA Periyasamy was also supportive of the project. The local Hindus performed (28 August) the Kumbabishekam of Odha Swamikal Ashram Temple, situated on the Girivalam path, after fifty years.
On the night of Monday, 13 September, volunteers from the Hindu Makkal Katchi (Hindu People's Party) went up the hillock and installed the murtis in the respective sanctum sanctorums and then performed pujas for more than two hours early the next morning. Local cadres of Hindu Munnani and Bharatiya Janata Party supported them. The new murtis were reportedly sculpted by renowned stapathis from Thirumurganpoondi near Coimbatore. The volunteers involved in the installation and pujas undertook a proper Vrat (fasting) for 42 days.
As news of the installation spread, more cadres of Hindu Munnani, who arrived to climb the hillock for puja, were arrested by the police. The volunteers atop the hillock were also arrested. The arrested included some Muslims and Christians who supported the volunteers. Some cadres of Hindu Munnani, who refused to take the Ganesh murtis for Visarjanam (immersion) demanding re-installation of the Amman murti, were also arrested.
Although there was no overt objection from the minority communities, the police cited law and order problems and removed the murtis. Sources say Police was informed by the local staff of the Archaeological Survey of India, who joined the police in removing the murtis. The police reportedly said the Muslims would also demand worshipping rights atop the hillock, if Hindus are allowed. This is absolutely ridiculous as there is no mosque atop the hillock and Muslims used to address it simply as "Tipu Sultan Kottai" (Tipu Sultan Fort) without any reverence.
Obviously, the police will not act independently in such matters. They will act only as per the instructions of the government and there is every chance that top Muslim leaders may have contacted the top leadership of the DMK to thwart the move by Hindu organizations. What the government needs is to understand the following facts:-
- The hillock has a historically significant temple sans murtis.
- The local people have been yearning for years to install the murtis, conduct consecration and circumambulate the hillock on auspicious days.
- There is no Mosque or a Church atop the hill.
- The Muslims have no specific reverence for the hill, as it doesn't have a Mosque.
- The Christian community surrounding the hillock (a dozen Churches are there) along the Girivalam path has no problem with Girivalam by Hindus which has been going on regularly.
- When the conference was held in April, sponsored by the members of Dindukkal Chamber of Commerce, the minority members of the sponsoring body did not raise any objections.
- If murtis are installed and the temple consecrated, Dindukkal will definitely become another Thiruvannamalai leading to overall development of the town and prosperity of the local populace.
- The moderate section of the minority communities seem to support such a revival of the town so that their businesses also flourish.
- The government itself will increase its revenue through the HR & CE Department, as Dindukkal will become another temple town of pilgrim tourism. Though Hindu Makkal Katchi, a splinter group of Hindu Munnani, acted on its own in installing the murtis overnight, volunteers of Hindu Munnani, VHP and BJP honoured the call of HMK and joined and supported the proceedings the day after the installation.
- In the current scenario, the guidance and blessings of important Hindu Acharyas would strengthen the Hindu Samaj and a combined show of strength could make the government yield.
The need of the hour is unity. Recently, unity at Erode forced the government to stop demolition of the famous Mariamman Temple and change the design of a flyover which was to be constructed over the Mariamman temple.
For Dindukkal, that is the way ahead. May Goddes Devi Abirami show the way!