Walayar temple faces demolition threat

via Pioneer News Service | Palakkad published on April 16, 2007

The five-decade-old Siva temple in Walayar was under the threat of demolition as the authorities had decided to convert the Palakkad-Coimbatore stretch of National Highway 47 into a four-lane road. The Mannuthy-Palakkad stretch of the highway would also be converted into four lanes simultaneously.

The Walayar Siva temple is situated on a roadside near the bridge that serves as a border post between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Previously this area falls under the Madras State. The story origin of the Siva temple is connected with the Tamil people who lived there from more than fifty years. They found a Siva Linga idol from the Walayar forests, which they installed on the roadside.

The worship of this idol continued despite the political developments that led to the inclusion of the area in Kerala State. After the State of Kerala was formed, the area of the temple fell in its limits.

About 15 years back, the Malayalees who settled in the area took over the idol from the Tamil people and built a small sanctum sanctorum for it and began to offer poojas and other rituals as per Kerala traditions. The Sivarathri festival at the temple every year was known as one of the most famous in Palakkad district with thousands of devotees from both Kerala and Tamil Nadu taking part in the celebrations.

For the Malayalee Hindus in the area, especially for those living in the residential quarters of the Malabar cements, this Siva temple was the only place in accessible distance to offer everyday worship.

LV Thampi, priest at the Siva temple, said that the temple would have to demolish if the road has to be developed, and in that case a new temple should be built.

So, along with the devotees, Thampy had appealed in a memorandum to the Palakkad district Collector to provide financial assistance to shift the Siva Linga idol to the premises of the Ganapathy Temple on the banks of the Walayar River.

The Prasada Ooottu on the Sivarathri day at the Siva temple was a famous event. Another important celebration at the festival was on the Thriuvathria day of Dhanu month of the Malayalam calendar.

Meanwhile, tenders for the works of converting the Mannuthy-Walayar section of National Highway 47 into a four-lane road are expected to invite within three months, according to reliable sources. About 45 shops also will have to be demolished for the road conversion.

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