Thiruvellarai Pundarikakshan temple near Trichy and incomplete Rajagopuram

incomplete rajagopuram,Thiruvellarai,

incomplete rajagopuram,Thiruvellari,

Until 1979 two prominent Divyadesam shrines near Tiruchirappalli city, Tamil Nadu   had incomplete entry tower - Rajagopuram / Mottai Gopuram. The one at Srirangam Ranganathar temple now has the tallest tower 236 feet in India  that was  completed in 1989 at the initiative  of the 44th Jeer swamigal of Ahobila mutt.


The other one Pundarikakshan temple at Thiruvellarai, 20 km from Trichy has incomplete rajagopuram and is not yet either repaired or added additional ties over it. Apparently, the latter one has Mottai Gopuram for centuries and still remain unfinished and uncared for.  This temple built by  Chola, Pandya , Pallava and Hoysala dynasties is a popular temple in this part. Thiruvellarai Divya Desam (Vellarai Divya Desam), is the  the birthplace of Uyyakondan and Engal Azhvaan and countless devotees want a few tiers added on the existing structure.  Here, god Vishnu is worshipped as  Pundarikakshan and his consort  is  Lakshmi as Pankajavalli.

In June 2017  the work on the Rajagopuram began in earnest with the conduct of customary  Pujas and rituals after getting confirmation from the expert committee consisting of structural engineers. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, informed  that the base structure was strong enough for the proposed load bearing. The study covered various aspects: foundation stability, wind load capability,  seismic capability and others prior to the finalisation of the construction work. Decision was taken to  retain two tiers over which  five tiers would be added.Th old structure with two tiers has heritage value and should not be altered or tampered with.  

Period of construction would be three years and the work on the Rajagopuram will be taken finally.  Renovation work was focussed on the  sprawling temple’s fourth prakaram which  which was laid with granite slabs on the floor. Apart they built  thirunandavanams and repaired  Sri Manavala Mamunigal Sannidhi and the  massive Sri Ramanuja Kootam . The cost of renovation work was about Rs. Rs. 2 crore

As for the two  Raja gopurams  the one on the northside the first level is unfinished after 3rd tier, (built during 14th to 15th Century Vijayanagara period). Construction of additional tiers on the old existing  heritage  structure was  not allowed to proceed by the court and the work was halted for good.  However the Court  allowed only to strengthen the existing structure ie Rajagopuram without any further additions. The East side entrance was opened after many decades to clear the way for restoration. The  High Court did not want the HR&CE to alter  or change the existing  heritage structure. Considering its age and  long exposure to vagaries of climatic changes for  several centuries, despite favorable recommendation from the experts, the court was reluctant to the proposal to add more tiers, on the old structure, thus increasing the overburden.