It is relatively unknown to many that there exists a temple for the saint composer Tiruvalluvar, at the heart of the Chennai city  in Mylapore, where he was born and lived. Some call it a memorial while others consider it as a temple for Tiruvalluvar, who had immortalized his work in 1330 couplets, which was translated in all well known languages, inland and abroad by eminent scholars.

Location: The temple is situated at about 200 meters East of the statue of Tiruvalluvar on the Royapettah High road near Sri. Hanuman temple. The access to this temple is through narrow roads after crossing the Buckingham canal bridge towards Nattu Subburaya Mudali Street. Then the road branches off to North, leading to an arch way into the temple. Image

Although the basic temple was in existence since the15th century, some how, it was unknown to many, who even lived in the near by locations.  The present temple was completed and consecrated in 1977. An entrance arch on the road welcomes the visitors, to an ample parking place for two wheelers before entering into another arch leading to the temple.

There is a big idol for Tiruvlluvar at the sanctum sanctorum before the Maha Manapam and for his wife, Vasugi Ammiyar on to his left, both facing the East. Also, are the shrines for the deities Arulmigu Ekambaranathar and Arulmigu Kamatchi Amman, a little farther away and for the Navagrahams at the front end, all with in the same compound.     Image

Just by the side of the Maha Mandapam or the Meditation hall, is a stub of the trunk of a illuppai tree claded with copper plates and with a sign board displaying the message, ‘Tiruvalluvar was born here’. There is a larger than life marble statue of Tiruvalluvar in sitting posture and also of his parents Sri Adi and Sri Bhagavan, with Sri Adi holding him as a child in her arms and kneeling before her husband.

Tiruvalluvar and his wife lived happily for years enjoying a harmonious life, setting an example to the householders to emulate them. There is an interesting story on this:

One day, while Vasugi Ammiyar was drawing water in the well, Valluvar called her to attend to some work that needed her presence. Vasugi Ammiyar, a devoted wife, without any further thought, left immediately leaving the rope she was pulling from the well. When she returned after attending her work, the pail of water was still hanging in the mid air, as a proof of her devotion to her husband,

That famous well is still there in the temple, but there is no water now and is closed with sand. It is also covered with a steel grill for safety reasons.

When death separated his wife, Vasugi Ammiyar from Tiruvalluvar, the saint, laments like all other commoners, unable to bear the grief of her separation. The poet, noted for his unique style of the couplets in Tamil, changes to quatrain, which he did only once, and dedicates this verse, to his bereaved wife.

அடியிற்கினியாளே அன்புடையாளே
படிசொல் தவறாத பாவாய்- அடிவருடி
பின்தூங்கி முனெழும் பேதாய் இனிதா ய்
என் தூங்கும் என் கண் இரவு

The quatrain roughly means:   My sweetheart, dear lady,  You never failed in (your) words, gently pressed my feet,Slept late, got up early (my) innocent, sweet one, How can my eyes sleep at nights?  

Whatever you may call it, whether a temple or a memorial for Tiruvalluvar, it is a place to be visited not only by the Tamil speaking good world, but also by one and all to pay respects to the great saint and for his work, Tirukural, which is beyond all boundaries of cast, religion, community and stands as a timeless testimony that preaches the values and principles of good life.

When are you visiting the Tiruvalluvar temple at Mylapore?

CSG Raju


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