A Day Trip to Desur – 3

When Mastan Swami died, it was the day of Naraka Chaturdashi – when Deepavali is celebrated as per Tamizh tradition. The day would also be Maasa Sivaraatri – the day before the Amavasya (new moon) (the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight), which is  sacred to Siva.

His body was taken in a trolley lent by the Siva temple of the village, in a procession of the villages nearby. It was said to be raining heavily on that day (it usually does on Deepavali day in Tamil Nadu…). The funeral procession carried on through this downpour, and his body was finally interred in the samadhi next to the Appar Swami matam…

The temple that lent the Chapram (the trolley), was the Siva temple at Matam village, the temple of Tadaaga-pureeshwarar (translates to “The Lord of Town of Ponds”). Perhaps the pond next to Mastan Swami’s samadhi, where the annual boat festival is held, is the one referred to in the name of the Lord.

From Mastan Swami’s samadhi we went to this temple.  A sign outside indicated that this was a monument under the care of Archeological Survey of India. The temple was under renovation.

A watchman obliged us by opening the gate…

Let us have darshan of Vinayaka, in one of the outer alcoves of the temple.


One could not have darshan of the main Siva idol, as the sanctum-sanctorum was locked. But one of the other shrines had a nice Sivalinga…Made  a nice picture…


As I walked around, I noticed etchings on the wall of the sanctum. The script appears to be Grantham, the ancient script prevalent in South India…


I was curious to have a look at the chapram (the temple trolley), that was used to carry Mastan Swami’s body. A Chapram is used for carrying the temple utsava idols, during festival days… David Godman, in his chapter on Mastan Swami tells us that the Chapram was brand new. It had not been used by the temple yet. And the first use was to carry Mastan Swami’s body, on the day he died…. The day of Deepavali, and Masa Sivaratri….

We found the chapram just outside the rear entrance of the temple… Next to a cluster of bushes, and a dry temple pond…

The chapram was in ruins…

This is the chapram that had the honor of carrying Mastan Swami’s body, to its final resting place…

Signing off this post with a picture of the plaque at the gate of the Samadhi shrine of Mastan Swami…

*** To be continued


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3 Responses to “A Day Trip to Desur – 3”

  1. Adelina Says:

    great story, and shots…waiting for the continuation! It is great to know that sites like this one are taken care of, so the generations to come can be inspired.

  2. Ravi Chandhiramouli Says:

    We owe you big time Kamesh – for your visits, summarizing them so succinctly bringing the place in front of our minds eye and telling us about places like these which exists (which, but for you would be lost in the mists of time). More power to you.
    Ravi (Mouli)

  3. Shiv Says:

    Great Read!

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