Thanjavur ''Big Temple Therottam'' None of local politicians turned up! Is it due to superstition?

Thanjavur big temple dedicated to god Shiva.

When it comes to world famous Thanjavur Big temple (Brihadiswara temple) dedicated god Shiva, among the Netas (politicians) or Arasialvathis  of any political affiliation there lies a faint undertone  of  subtle fear or some kind of superstition that prevents them from visiting the temple through the main portal.  

In  last two decades or so during the election time a preponderance of ruling party members on campaign trail are bogged down by  apprehension of misfortune, a sort of ever-challenging phobia that has made them skip  many historic events at the Big temple. If necessity arises their participation is a low-key one.  For example  the historic event, marking the completion of 1000 years millenium celebration (September, 2010) at this UNESCO recognized World heritage site,  passed  off as  just an important event   during the DMK regime headed by Late Kalaignar Karunanidhi.

At the beginning of the last consecration ceremony of the temple - Kumbabishekam  in 1997, misfortune struck and in the fire mishap in the Yaga Sala  48 people lost their lives and more than that number injured primarily due to stampede.  The DMK regime, being cautious as they were, in June 2010  shifted the venue of the 'World Classical Tamil Conference' to Coimbatore.

At the consecration of the temple on 5 February, 2020 besides  the Maratha Royal family members, led by the Prince, Babaji Rajah Bhonsle Chattrapathi, no politicians from the ruling party ADMK attended the event  held after 23 years prevent their purported political fall from grace.  . 

At the annual Sathaya Vizha  (November 3, the legendary ruler Rajaraja's birth anniversary, a state govt. event.), local politicians and  representatives from the ruling government never went inside the temple and attended the puja rituals. On that day they would normally garland the Rajarajan statue installed  outside the temple in the park just across the Hospital road. They also shun Sathaya Vizha celebrations on the evening of that day because the venue is on the temple premises. 

A couple of media reports pointed out that this year 2023 when the Chithirai festival was held  between April and early May at the big temple, local netas from Thanjavur and other nearby towns, never participated in the puja rituals like  flag-hoisting -Kodiyetram on the temple premises - very first ritual marking the beginning of the Thiruvizha.  Nor did they show of at Theerthavari ritual in the Sivaganga tank or vidaiyattru event on the temple premise. The latter marks the culmination of the festival. 

Even during the recent Ther Thiruvizha - therottam on the first of May this year,  local netas were  deliberately absent except mayor and a few others  The ther - Chariot after puja rituals, was flagged off at the Ther shed on West Main Street and pulled reverentially by the District Collector and other prominent people. Local politicians' absence at the therottam is a mystery. The crux of the matter is some of the local politicians  do visit other  temples and  never lag behind  to hold religious rituals in their families. 

 It appears politicians of various hues and political ideology, including those from the Dravidian group will never go closer to the edifice - Big temple built by king Rajaraja Chola who was a true devotee of Shiva and  an unbiased administrator to whom welfare of his subjects was more important than other things.

Superstitions have been in India since ancient times and  we are aware that  it is retrograde and will retard the progress of the society.  These beliefs don't have any logic  behind them.  Nor are there  well proven theories or evidences to substantiate the purported spell associated with this amazing temple. When entering a sanctified holy place and be near the divine power, superstition is nothing but cowardice. Therefore, there is no room for superstition where almighty is enshrined.