Padavedu – 3

So there we were, climbing up the hill… Destination : The temple of Cow-protector Krishna playing the flute, Venugopala Swami temple…

Nice view…

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“S” was carrying the flower basket on his head. Every once in a while, he would put the load down… And monkeys would come, as if drawn by a magnet. “S” was more than equal to them. He simply out-stared them… We had safe passage…

Soon, we reached the top and entered the temple compound. A stone Dhwaja-sthamba (flag-staff) stood tall near the entrance…

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We came to know later that this flag-staff too was recovered from the ruins. The story goes that when the temple Kumbabishekam was done in early 90s, this sthambha was to be lifted and mounted erect… They had brought special engines and pulleys to do that, but all of that was failing… After a supreme effort, they somehow managed to raise it just in time for the kumbabishekam. The Prashna-oracle had apparently mandated this as a pre-requisite; that the flag-staff should be erect, for the kumbabishekam to be successful…

There are many incredible stories about Padavedu temples…

But, lets first have a glimpse of the outer part of this temple – the Venugopala Swami temple.

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The idol was maybe 8 feet or so tall. Bewitching Krishna! The worship was slow and elaborate. Abhishekam of different kinds… We, the pilgrims, felt great joy, singing, chanting suktams and shlokams, and seeing the worship… One of the temple dharmakartas told us that Purattaashi month (around October) is special here. The first rays of the Sun fall directly on the feet of the east-facing Venugopala Swami…

Lets sample some of the stories about this temple.

This temple is said to be very ancient, predates 12th century AD (who knows by how many centuries more). This hill itself is directly north of the mystic peak of Arunachala. And their heights at peak are near-about the same. Pilgrims of Arunachala will know that there is a connection between Arunachaleshwara and Venugopalaswami, right there in the main temple at Tiruvannamalai.

This Venugopala Swami in Padavedu was quite in ruins till the 1980s.  The Lord’s idol and some of the temple structures remained, as did some small parts of the ancient fort.

Sometime around the 1980s, a man attempted suicide here, and some kids came and stopped him, saying that this is a holy place, and he should desist from doing such an act here. He, is then supposed to have decided to stay here, and do what service he could. At that time, a Mouni (silent) Sadhu is said to have come and stayed here. Mostly lost in deep meditation, he was fed once a day with rice-gruel by this other man. The Sadhu stayed here for 18 days, and then at end, he wrote a message on a sheet of paper. The message was that, if the people of this place would offer worship at this temple here, every Saturday, for 48 weeks, then before the end of the 48th week, someone would come here, and take the responsibility of renovating and consecrating this temple. Having given this message, the Sadhu went away. No one knows who he was, where he came from, and where he went…

So the Saturday worship was commenced by some of the pious local people.  Sometime around that time, Sri Venu Srinivasan, the leading Industrialist is said to have got some divine direction to renovate this temple, by a Prashnam method. As it happened, he is said to have come here by the time the 48th week ended, and announced his decision to renovate the temple…

He also was directed to renovate the Rama temple not far from the base of the hill. That is another beautiful temple, where Rama is seen sitting in Samadhi, and Hanuman is next to him, with a treatise-scroll in his hand. The temple story depicts the Muktikopanishad, where Lord Rama clears all doubts of Hanuman about Atma-Vidya (Self-Knowledge),  even as He abides in Supreme Samadhi…

Prashnam had indicated that the Rama temple had to be cleansed, for a lot of human bone remains were buried in one part… It is said these were indeed found, and removed…

These and such stories are quite common, indeed quite the rule, here at Padavedu. Gods and temples have literally been announcing themselves, and directing the rejuvenation of the place. There is a Siva temple, which had been dismantled and sold off many years ago… That Siva too, through Prashnam, gave directions, even to the extent of pointing out a place where they would find the utsava-idols buried, and indeed it was just so. We had the privilege of seeing these idols.. Golden Soma-skanda, what beauty… Absolutely priceless…

So it is that Sri Venu Srinivasan, and the TVS industry temple trusts, have really played a major role in the renovation of Padavedu…

Coming back to the Fort hill… We were at the Venugopala Swami temple… And then we saw a helicopter approaching…

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It was Sri Venu Srinivasan himself. He was coming to offer worship to the Lord whose name he bears, Venugopala Swami…

We had an opportunity to have a brief interaction with him, and I must say that he came across as such a simple and noble man.  And to think that he is the head of Confederation of Indian Industries this year! He himself came over and spoke to us, enquired about us, and it was he who told us the Muktikopanishad connection to the Rama temple, and asked us to be sure to visit it. More power to him, and may his family continue the noble tasks of temple renovation and upkeep…

Signing off this post, with a picture where you can see a little portion of the old fort wall, right at the edge… My camera, seemed tired, and its eyelids remained half closed, and so that’s how the picture has dark patches on the top and bottom…

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So that was a brief journey into Padaiveedu…. All Glory to the land of Goddess Renukamba!

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2 Responses to “Padavedu – 3”

  1. gayathri Says:

    enjoyed the insightful writings on a temple not widely heard of. will certainly visit.

    • gkamesh Says:

      Hi Gayathri… If you plan to go to Venugopala swami temple. make sure its a Saturday. Temple is open only on that day… There are other temples as well… As mentioned in the post, there is Ramaswami temple… Then there is a Murukan temple on a hill, where Murukan is seen standing on the peacock (which is holding a snake in its beak)… A Lakshmi Narsimha temple where Lakshmi is on Narasimha’s right (she is normally to the left)… And Ammaiyaappeeshwarar (I think) Siva temple… A temple of big Vinyaka etc… And God knows how many more… Enjoy!

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