According to an article at www.aadalvallan.blogspot.com information was leaked that the Government of India is stealthily planning to demolish the Puravar Panangaattoor Temple – popular known as the Panangatteeswara Temple – in Panayapuram, Tamil Nadu. The article entitled ‘Highway work poses a threat to ancient temple’ http://m.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article3207207.ece, which appeared in the Hindu newspaper, reported that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) stated that it is still early to confirm whether or not the temple will be affected by the construction of the proposed highway which threatens the temple’s existence — there was no indication whatsoever that the temple will certainly not be affected.
Specialities of the Temple include sunlight ‘miraculously’ falling on the Sivalingam and the Lord Siva and Mother Sathi moorthies (statues) within the sanctum sanctorum during the first week of the first Tamil month, Sithiray (14 April to 13 May). Many attribute this to the legend where Pagalvan/Sooriyaa (the sun celestial) worshipped Lord Siva at this site in ancient times. The History of the Temple also records worship by King Shibi Chakkravarthi, who offered his flesh to save the life of a dove. 7th Century Saiva (pertaining solely to Siva worship) Child Saint, Thiru Nyaanasambandha Naayanaar, also composed hymns at this temple, making mention of the site in numerous places within His works. It is for this reason that this temple is classified as one of the 275 existing Paadal Petra Thalangall (Stalams) — Temples at which the Tamil Saiva Saints composed hymns.
Whilst the site has a history spanning some 3 000 years, the Temple, as it stands, was built by one of the most successful Tamil Kings – Rajendhraa Sohzhan I (Rajendra Cola I) – who ruled the Sohzha (Chola) Dynasty from 1012 BC to 1044 BC. Like the other Paadal Petra Thalangall, Panangaateeswarar has a naturally-manifested Sivalingam, referred to as a Suyambu Sivalingam.
There is no doubt that such a temple is a part of, not only Tamil Heritage, but also Indian History. Besides serving as a religious site for Saivites and Hindus, the Temple is a marvel to the architectural world providing insight into methods of construction and design used by Dravidians, a race to which Temple-building was peculiar as far back as the civilisation can be traced. Apart from the architecture, the temple also boasts artistic marvels.
Whilst other countries are bent on protecting their National Heritage, it is both sad and shocking that India will even consider committing such an act — not too long ago, in relation to the Temple’s History, they criticised the British for committing acts of this very kind. It is only common sense that such sites be protected rather than condemned.
Irrespective of where in the world you may be, you can protest by lodging a complaint with the NHAI at http://www.nhai.asia/register/rgr/traffic.asp The following information will be required:
National Highway (NH) No*: 45
Nearest Place/ Km Stone* (to make your location accurate): 2.8km from Vikravandi Prominent Landmark Nearby*: Panangatteeswarar Temple
City/ Town/ Village*: Panayapuram
State*: Tamil Nadu
compiled by Yagendhren Govender (SATU) – South African Tamil Unity