A shocking video of an HRCE official leaving footwear inside the temple she works in has surfaced on social media and caused widespread outrage. Thiruvetteswaran temple in Tiruvallikeni was desecrated by the officer using her footwear within the temple and garbage left strewn around due to the apathy and uncaring attitude of the Hindu Religious Charitable and Endowments (HRCE) board. A devotee has filmed how the temple is maintained and posted the video on social media.
— Sevak Sathya (@Sevakofmata) December 1, 2020
In the Raja Gopuram, the main and tallest shikhara of the temple is littered with footwears everywhere. Inside the temple also footwears can be seen and garbage strewed around. The devotee shows how the room, where the vehicles (Vahan) used for Utsav have been placed, is littered with garbage with no regard to the sanctity. While the devotee was recording a woman could be seen coming from the inner part of the temple and leaving her footwear near the Vahana mandapam.
The devotee can be heard inquiring, “Are you saying that you’re letting the footwear inside the temple as per the Agamas? Do you even have any respect for God? How can you wear footwear inside the temple? Don’t you feel ashamed? Is this how you manage the temple?”.
The Executive officer of the temple, allegedly the woman appearing in the video, doesn’t care to answer. Devotee alleges that she had left her footwear near Bhairava sannidhi but removed it and placed it near the Raja Gopuram after the devotees questioned her actions.
The temple which is said to have existed from the 7th century as it finds mention in the religious literature is alleged to have been lost due to war or natural disasters in the middle. Samudra Muthaliar, an accountant with the East India Company is later believed to have found the presiding deity Thiruvetteswaran, in the form of a Linga, buried in the long lost Thiruvallikeni river.
The land around the temple belonged to the Nawab of Carnatic which Samudra Muthaliar bought and constructed the temple around the Lingam using his own wealth. The man didn’t stop at that and went on to create a residential area surrounding the temple for learned Brahmanas.
He also purchased lands in the adjoining area of Pudupakkam which is now known as Royapettah, supposedly from a Muslim noble, and donated them to the temple. The ownership of this property had been contested and was one of the long drawn legal battles in the history of temple property encroachment.
The property was endowed as Shrothrium which means they were donated for the purpose of housing Brahmins who could recite Vedas. This was confirmed by the East India Company in the 1700s based on which the case was fought.
There is an interesting tale about the temple and Samudra Muthaliar. It is rumored that Samudra Muthaliar worked as the translator of the then governor of Madras, Francis Hastings. Hastings allegedly purchased a shipment of coral worth 1200 pounds which couldn’t be found. The rumor is that Samudra Muthaliar sold it off and used that money to build the temple.
Muthaliar’s determination to build the temple and the ecosystem around it shows how diligent our ancestors were in following Dharma even in the midst of an adverse situation. The current situation of the temple shows how deep we have fallen in protecting Dharma that our ancestors fought tooth and nail to save from so many enemies at various points in time. And the demand to release temples from government control only gets strengthened by such incidents.
(Featured Image Source: Dinamalar)
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