Srivilliputhur Andal temple's old two flag poles and a pair of big elephant sculptures missing - a blot on HR & CE

flag-hoisting 2022 Sri Andal Temple,Srivilliputhur.

The chief official  of Srivilliputhur Andal temple  one Muthu Raja took the entire state by surprise in the 4th week of February 2024  by making a complaint to the Madurai division of police in charge of idol thefts, etc.  In his complaint h Raja mentioned that  a pair of big elephant stone sculptures had been missing in the last 10 years. They were in the inner hall of the Sri Andal temple. Further, he mentioned that since 2015 two tall old flag poles in the Andal temple were also missing. In 2015 during renovations three new flagpoles were erected in the Andal temple as part of customary tradition.  The three old ones were kept  safely on the temple premises. of the three  two are missing. He requested the police to seek action against those who stole the elephant sculptures and the two old flagpoles (Dhwajasthambam). According to the two old flagpoles were taken away from the temple in the past by one Ramesh, the contractor in charge of whitewashing and paint job. As for the theft of big elephant sculptures, there are no clues. Two questions arise: Why does the official make a complaint about them now? several years have gone by since the theft. The missing copper plated flagpoles and the stone elephants put the HR & CE in a bad light. How come, they failed to note the theft long ago? The onus is on the HR & CE officials to come up with proper explanation. 

During festival times flagpoles play an important role. The dhwajastambha or flagstaff is normally erected in front of the mukhamaṇḍapa (front pavilion) of a Hindu temple within the temple premises in the  prākāra. Made of wood or stone they are covered with a metal covering (kavaca), preferably, copper or brass.. In all south Indian temples flagpole is an integral part. Two  other objects that are grouped together with this flagstaff are the bali pitham (altar for offerings) and the vehicle (vahana) of the deity, to whom the temple is dedicated. Symbolically, these three objects are supposed to  be shields that protect the sanctity of the inner sanctuary of the temple from negative forces. When temple renovation takes place, old flagpoles are replaced by new ones.


Andal temple, Srivilliputhur, TN

Srivilliputhur Andal Temple, one of the most important 108 Divya desam shrines, is a famous  Vishnu temple who is worshipped  here as Vatapatrasayi . His consort Goddess Lakshmi is  known as Andal, an adopted daughter of  Vaishnava Tamil saint and composer Periazhwar. Both Periazhwar and his  foster daughter  Andal were born in this holy place.  The temple has two sections – one  dedicated to goddess Andal on the Southwest and the  other being on the northside dedicated to  Vatapatrasayi.  God Vishnu is in a reclining posture on the coiled serpent bed of  Aadi Sheesha  

Andal, an ardent devotee of Vishnu, being a  well known poet,  composed the famous "Thirupavai."   It is a  scintillating  collection of 30 devotional  hymns  in  chaste Tamil.  Through out the Tamil month of Margazhi,  each of her devotional hymns are sung in all Vishnu temples across Tamil Nadu and other neighboring states. A famous pilgrimage center, the interesting  festivals are Aadi Pooram, Vasantha Utsavam, Peria Perumal Bramhotsavam, Theppostavam and Andal Mannar Thirukalyanam for 10 days and the Chitritsavam for 9 days. The 11 tier Raja gopuram of this temple one of the the tallest Gopurams of the state, is the  Emblem of Tamil Nadu Government. This historic temple with  fascinating stone sculptures, ornate pillars, mandapams etc.,  were built by the Pandya and Chola dynasties. Valuable contributions were made by the Vijayanagara rulers and the Nayaks of Madurai.