Address: Thondi Roadm
Location: Sivaganga, Tamilnadu, India
Property Type: Business And Leisure Hotel
Address: 30 Thondi Road,
Location: Sivaganga1, Tamilnadu State ,India
Property Type: Business And Leisure Hotel
About SivagangaRuins Of A Glorious Past :
As per the National Archaeological Act, any monument of national importance
is taken up over the Government and preserved for posterity. But the
Sivaganga Palace (Tamilndu), a great architectural splendour with a rich history
beginning from 1730s, is in utter ruins, totally uncared for. Called Gowri
Vilasam, the palace situated in the heart of Sivaganga about 40 km from
Madurai, was the seat of many Marava kings. Now, only the dilapidated
portions of the palace remain and also provide Sivaganga City Tour & Travel<
Built in the architectural style of Thirumalai Nayaks period and infused
with Rajputana arts, which the remains are mute witness to, the palace is
said to have been ignored during the period of Rajah Doraisingh Thevar
(1898-1941). Citing bad luck as the reason, he abandoned this palace to
occupy another palace called European Bungalow on the Madurai Road. This led
to the neglect of the palace and its plundering, mainly by the British. The
worst damage is said to have been done during the period of late Vijayaraja
Karthik, who sold most of the properties, antiques and wooden carving. Even
the window frames, teak beams supporting the ceiling and other antiques were
plundered. The European Bungalow on the Madurai Road was also plundered. Now
the land along with the remains of the palace has been sold to a local
Sivaganga Tourist Places
At the Gowri Vilasam, the only portion intact is the temple of Sri Raja
Rajeshwari, the family deity of the royalty. The temple is open for the
public in the evenings and on auspicious days. Otherwise, public are not
allowed within the palace limits. During such a visit, this correspondent
was witness to the past grandeur being destructed mercilessly.
South of the temple is a huge hall supported with numerous pillars. All the
functions of the royal household are said to have taken place there. But now
the hall remains locked. In the front façade of the palace lies a
palanquin in a dilapidated condition.
Another interesting feature in the palace is a miniature swimming pool
called Nadai Kinaru. The tank is said to have direct connections to provide
it with fresh water and provisions to fill two huge tanks beside the tank.
This was meant mainly for the women of the royal family. In front of it is
an architectural splendour, in a shambles. Paintings on the dome and sides
in natural colours are still intact. But signatures by visitors on the walls
and the murals have ruined them.
According to a researcher, there was a gold-plated Kalasam on the top of
the dome in a construction in the north-western side of the palace, with a
sentry yard on the top of it to guard the citadel. There was also a record
office opposite to the temple which was later converted into an armory. All
these are in a dilapidated condition and look like they might give way any
He further added that the notable feature of the palace was its black
marbles. Behind the palace was a small hall supported by black marbles and
within it was a seat carved out of the same stone in which coronations of
kings took place. Besides this, the palace had many secret passages which
have all been closed. Luckily, a few antiquities recovered from here, like
Vallari Kombu (a boomerang type made out of wood) are on display at the
Rameshwaram Museum. The palace is presently in custody of Mrs. Rajalakshmi
Raguraj who is settled in Bangalore.
A Confluence of Art, Love And Religion
Adored by the sages of yore and celebrated by the great Saiva Saint,
Manikkavasagar, in his poignant literary work, Thiruvasagam, stands the
magnificent temple of Utharakosamangai. Situated at a distance of 15 km
south west of Ramanathapuram (Ramnad railway station), the sacred shrine
with imposing towers, dedicated of Lord Mangalanathaswami and goddess
Mangalambikai, is significantly noted for its unique idol of Lord Nataraja
made of maragatha (emerald stone).
The name Utharakosamangai is made up of three words Uthara, Kosa and
Mangai. Lord Siva is believed to have expounded the secrets of the
scriptures (Vedas) to His consort, Parvathi, at this holy place and the word
Utharakosamangai, signifies it. It is said that long ago, a thousand
ascetics assembled at this place and did penance. They prayed to Lord Siva
to manifest Himself and bless them. The Lord assured them that he would
respond to their desire in due course and hastened to Sri Lanka. He
entrusted the responsibility of safeguarding the Veda Agama Sastras to one
of the sages.Mandodhari, wife of Ravana, noted for her virtue and chastity, undertook
severe austerities and prayed to Lord Siva. The Lord appeared before her in
the form of a baby. Fascinated by the beauty and charm of the child, King
Ravana took it in his arms.
At that very moment, a miracle occurred in
Utharakosamangai. An enormous flame radiating divine light all round,
emerged from the spring called Agni Theer tham. The 1000 sages realised that
their prayed had been answered, and paid their homage to the Divine Flame.
They were so enchanted by the heavenly radiance that they totally forgot
themselves, plunged into the spring and vanished. But the solitary sage who
was vested with the task of protecting the Veda Agamas spared himself.
Pleased with selfless devotion of the sages, Lord Siva appeared before them
with his consort and transformed all the sages into 999 lingams. The Lord
Himself took the cardinal place among them as a mighty Lingam.
Then the Lords gaze turned towards the particular sage who had been in
charge of the Veda Agamas. He showered His benediction on him and bade him
be born as a Saiva saint, to serve Lord Siva and the Tamil Language. And
Manikkavasaga was born. Greatly moved by the soulful outpourings of the
celestial songs of the saint, G.U. Pope not only translate the great work,
Thiruvasagam into English but also pronounced it as the very echo of Christs
sermon on the Mount. The temple received benefaction from the hands of the
Sethupathi Rulers of Ramanathapuram. Earlier, the Pandya kings had gifted
lands to the temple. The Vijayanagara Kings too attended to the welfare and
promotion of the temple.
The Utharakosamangai temple has two mighty Gopurams (towers). The
stucco-work of the temple towers are noted for their matchless beauty. In
the front portion of Lord Natarajas shrine there are exquisite paintings of
the late 18th century in Nayak style. The 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu are
beautifully painted on the ceiling. There are also pictures of rasis and
grahas and charming arrays of dancing damsels and musicians playing on
different Musical instruments.
The image of Maragatha Nataraja is always kept covered with sandal paste
which is removed only once a year, on the day of Arudra Dharisanam. It is
said that the radiance of the idol is too much for the common mans eye and
hence it is always kept covered so. The images of Dakshinamurthy seated
cross-legged, in a meditative pose is uncommon and is considered a rare
piece of art.
On the pillars too there are beautiful carving of Gods but unfortunately
they have been eroded by the fury of time.