The “K” in my grandfather’s name, “K Vaidyanathan”, stands for his native village – Kozhiwakkam, also referred to as Kozhipakkam. This is a village near Kanchipuram city, by that fossil-river, Palar. Like many Indians, the search for livelihood drove him out of his village… And now, seventy years later, none of his lineage has any real connection to that place.
My father did re-establish some connect some fifteen years ago, and renovated the village temple – of Lord Mukteeshwarar and Goddesss Muktambal. I had been there , sometime in early 1990s. Just once. And after all these years, the call came again. Sivakumar, another Kozhiwakkam descendent (who I have never met before), somehow got my number, and called me. To re-establish connect with that village.
And there we were, that very weekend. Saturday, 13, April. Tamil New Year, the beginning of the lunar year, Sarvadhari.
Started from Chennai at 6 a.m or so.
First stop Kanchi Kamakshi temple. What a magnificent temple.
Here is a picture of the outside Gopuram, taken from the inner courtyard.
And heres a picture of the temple tank, and the main temple towers in the background. The golden one in the middle is the gopuram on top of the sanctum-sanctorum of Kanchi Kamakshi amman.
After a good Darshan, circumambulated the temple, walking around the outer courtyard. Stopped at the elephants enclosure for a a trunk-call…
A word about Koziwakkam, and about this trip. To reach Kozhiwakkam, go across the bridge over Palar river. And turn right. You could go past Iyengarkulam, or Abdullapuram. Take one of the forks and reach the village, Kozhiwakkam. Must have been prime location at one time, when the Palar river was flowing. It used to be a perennial river a little over a hundred years ago. Dried up since. Now it is a tract of sand, that is mined…Hundreds and hundreds of trucks can be seen queueing up to carry the river-sand away….every day…
Sivakumar, is a businessman in Chennai. Some years ago, when he was facing some downhills of life, he consulted a mystic. That mystic told him that things would surely go better if he would revive the temple of his kula-deivam (family deity). Sivakumar, like most modern Indians, didnt have a clue about who that deity was. That mystic then told him that the deity was “Pralayam-kaatha-durgambikai” – “Goddess Durga, who had saved all during the deluge”. And gave general directions as to where the deity was to be found in the village. Sivakumar consulted some other mystic, and that oracle tallied. He went to Kozhiwakkam village, searched nook and corner, and couldnt find the temple. No one had heard of it. He spotted a Kali temple and called the mystic, and explained that he was at a Kali temple. “Does that idol have a broken leg?” asked the mystic, from Chennai. Sivakumar checked and found that to be right. “Thats not the one” said the mystic….”Go backwards….”…And guided by this remote seer, Sivakumar, came upon a little shrine, where there were three stones, worshipped by the villagers, as Mariamman. He called the mystic and described the idols, explained the location. “That the one” said the mystic.
Heres a picture of the idols in that shrine.
… To be contd …