Thiruvarur Kal ther at Thyagaraja temple - a reminder of Manu Neeti Chozhan's flawless dispensation of justice

 The capital town of Thiruvarur is  now in the midst of Panguni Uthiram Thiruvizh - temple festival and Azhi Therottam  that is scheduled to take place on the first of April this year. The popular temple dedicated to Thyagaraja swami, unlike other temples is famous for two chariots one is Azhi ther (ratha), the tallest - 96 feet and heaviest one -  more than 350 tons in Asia. Its therottam is held annually in the Tamil month of Penguni  and this spectacular event will be watched by lakhs of devotees on that day. 

Tiruvarur Thyagaraja temple Kal ther. price under the wheel

Tiruvarur Thyagaraja temple Kal ther.

The other ratha -   locally called  kal ther - stone chariot that can not be moved. is equally famous and is steeped in history. Located in the NE part of the temple, it was  built by King Vikrama Chola in 12th century AD in memory of a famous incident in the reign of king Manu Needhi Chola., a righteous ruler. The stone chariot was built on the temple premises to honor Manu Neeti whose passion for fair justice was quite well-known. 

 Sekkizhar, a saint and author of Periya Puranam mentioned about the glory of the chola king  whose dispensation of justice was within the confines of dhama.  there are references in Tamil epic, Silappadikaram as well.

Hence he was quite well-known for his unbiased and  flawless justice. Some years ago the great chola's name was quoted in the halls of  the Supermen court of India, Delhi. The learned justice Agarwal, while presiding over a case  observed, "The judges of all the courts, since its very inception, have always maintained this great tradition of the Chola king and are rendering even justice to all concerned, whosoever he or she may be, irrespective of the fact whether they are rich or poor, and whether they occupy a high or a low status in society".

The ruler,  upon knowing the death of a calf under the wheels of his son's chariot qnde when the mother cow demanded justice, did something impossible. He put his own son under the wheels of chariot so that he could understand the pangs of pain suffered by the mother cow.  Later God Shiva himself appeared and saved the son and resurrected the calf. 

Even to day the stone chariot at the temple bears testimony to the fair rule of the chola kings to whom nobody was above the law and all were equal before it.