Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Rajagopalaswami||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Bhagavatapuram||District:||Thanjavur|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Kumbakonam (9 km)||Mayiladuthurai (29 km)|
|Tiruvarur (41 km)||Thanjavur (51 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This Perumal temple is located just off the Kallanani-Poompuhar road, but can be accessed only from the parallel road that runs to the north of the main road. Even that is by walking through a complex patchwork of undergrowth – we would not have been able to locate the temple but for the help of a cowherd who took us there, all the time complaining about the terrible state of the temple.
It is extremely heartbreaking to see temples in this state, particularly when there are other temples nearby that are maintained well and some have even had kumbhabhishekams recently.
We heard tell of a time when this temple was in active worship – even that is only from stories that the locals have been handed down over generations.
In ancient times – possibly over 2000 years ago – the adjoining village of Veppathur was considered a centre of knowledge and learning, and was referred to as Ghatika Sthanam, recognised for spiritual and philosophical education and culture. Perhaps because of this, during Chola times, this place was called Chola Marthanda Chaturvedi Mangalam. The Chola king of the time (unknown, but 10th-12th century) is also said to have given this village of Bhagavatapuram for use as residences, while continuing their academic pursuits at Veppathur, which attracted students and scholars from far and wide. For this reason, it is said that the place used to be called Vedamur, which over time has become Veppathur.
Going by the architecture here, the original structural temple seems to be from the 16th or 17th century Nayak period. One can still see residue of great architecture in the vimanam, and on the outer walls of the garbhagriham – both from a distance, as they cannot be approached from close by, due to the excessive growth of shrubs and plants. On the front of the garbhagriham is accessible – presumably it has been kept this way because of occasional puja that takes place here.
In front – to the east – is a bali peetham, followed by a small shrine, presumably for Garudazhvar. The maha mandapam appears to be relatively newer compared to the garbhagriham. Inside the garbhagriham, we learned that there were no murtis kept. Instead, there were framed images, to which puja is done, as the murtis are in another temple nearby (we could not ascertain which one).
The temple is supposed to be under the Chief Minister’s scheme for once-a-day puja, but even that clearly does not seem to be happening here.
Can any of our readers help with bringing this to the attention of the relevant authorities, or do something on their own to restore the temple to its past glory? For reference, the Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple nearby in Veppathur is maintained very well, and run by a very keen bhattar.
Other Information for your visit
Being open to air, as such there are no specific temple timings. One can visit at any time, provided there is sufficient light.