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Panchagramam - history

From: Rajan Srinivasan (srajan_at_mercom.co.za)
Date: Sat Oct 03 1998 - 04:34:42 PDT

Dear Members,

This is in reply to Sri Venkatesh Elayavalli's query about the Panchagramam.

I have heard these from my elder sister when I was young and from Sri
Velukkudi
Varadachariar at the time of the Mahasamprokshanam of Karpangadu Sri
Devarajaswami Kovil when I was grown up.

Once a group of Iyengar families setout from Kanchipuram for a holy tour of
the 108 Vaishnava Thirupathis. Onthe way they were resting during a night.
Emberuman blessed them with a goodmessage in their dream. Sri Emberuman said
that Sri Devarajaswami and hispirattis are covered by an ant hill as
archavatara moorthi vigrahas and theyshould recover them and properly
install them and do nithyakainkaryam. The location of the anthill can be
identified by the flight of a Garudan in the sky.

The bhakta shrestas did as per the orders of the Lord and found the
idols. They approached the King / Jamindar owning those parts of Thanjavur
for help in constructing the temple. The owner also agreed and gave vast
areas of land which were divided into three. One portion became the property
of Sri Devarajaswamy, another was kept by the Bakthasiromanis and the third
went to the farmers who were invited to get settled in that area.

Peravoorani, Sithathikkadu, Karappangadu, Serangulam and Nammankurichi are
the five villages included in the Panchagramam. The descendants of the
Bhaktasiromanis  who settled in these five villages are referred to as
panchagramathar. They are divided into two as kidambiyar and koorathar.

Even to this day they get together for the Pal Mangai Utsavam at Karpangadu
which is held during the English month of May. Please bear with me for not
being familar with the Tamil calendar month details.

I am very happy to know that  Sri Srinivasar temple at Serangulam was
renovated.  I once went  with my maternal uncle to the Srinivasar temple at
Peravurani for Kudirai Vahana utsavam. It was a pathetic sight to see the
dilapidated temple which is a true reflection on us and our total disregard
for the rich traditions of our ancestors. My elder sister still sings
OdappAttu and Unjal pAttu composed by PerAvurani women for the theppotsavam
(Boat festival) and Kalyana Utsavam of Sri Srinivasar. The song is also like
a souvenir mentioning the names of various people who participated in the
kainkaryam by giving money and doing service.

I should hasten to add the glorious service rendered by some families still
living there. The archakAs in charge of Swami Kainkaryam in these temples is
economically backward but still they continue to help us with sevakalams and
swami darsanam with hospitality and courtesy. The main problem of that
temple seemed to be lack of funds. The temple renovation scheme floated by
some previous government in Tamil Nadu never reached any of these temples.


Adiyen Ramanuja Dasan
Rajan S