This temple is now a resting place for stray animals

via published on October 7, 2006

T’PURAM: The centuries-old Shiva temple at Vizhinjam, unearthed some 50 years ago, still remains a skeletal reminiscence of a glorious yore. The granite temple that sports Dravidian architectural marvel is yet to get the attention it deserves from the Travancore Devaswom Board which owns the temple.

Neither the Board nor the Archaeological Department has made any significant move to conserve this ancestral worship place. Visiting the temple now could be a disgusting experience for those who revere the good old things.

The roots and branches of the banyan trees have outgrown into the sanctum sanctorum. Garbage and other waste from the residential areas around litter the premises. And, at times, the sanctum sanctorum turns a resting platform for stray dogs and cats.

The temple was unearthed from the seashore at Vizhinjam Jn. Though a Siva temple, it has a separate sreekovil for Mahavishnu. Historians speculate that the temple was built in the eighth century during the reign of the Ayi dynasty. Sadayan and Ko-Karunandadakkan kings of the dynasty had made Vizhinjam their capital. ‘‘Ko-Karunandadakkan who was a Shivaite might have built it,’’ says historian Madhudevan Nair. Later, as Vizhinjam became a centre of trade and military significance, it changed hands with rulers such as Pandyas, Kulasekharas and Cholas.

There is a well attached to the temple. The water in it is salt-free and used lavishly by the people here. ‘‘A few even believe that the water has medicinal powers,’’ says Madhudevan. Ever since the formation of the Travancore Devasom Board in 1958, the temple has been under its control. But it was only four months ago that the board decided to build a compound wall around the temple.

However, the work is yet to begin. Devasom Board Neyyattinkara group assistant commissioner Sreelatha attributed the delay to the contractor who was entrusted with the work. ‘‘We are finding a new person to hand over the contract so that the work could be begun soon,’’ she said.

A cluster of small dwellings and shops encircle the temple, keeping the temple in a blind spot.

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