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Ahobila Mutt Jeer and the Rajagopuram

sreekrishna_at_mmd.com
Date: Thu Sep 14 1995 - 13:52:57 PDT

I recently came to know ( perhaps as usual I am the last one to know) that the
news paper THE HINDU is accesible on WWW
(http://www.webpage.com/hindu/index.html). I found the following article in 
the
RELIGION section of the September 1, 95 edition. In the light of what Mr.
Krishna Prasad recently posted about the great Ahobila Mutt 44 th Jeer, I
thought this item may be of interest . 

THE PRIDE OF SRIRANGAM  by S. Ramanarasu.
Date: 9-1-1995
>From : The Hindu (Weekly edition)

The towering 236-feet Rajagopuram of the Sri Ranganatha temple ar Srirangam 
was
a dream come true for the 44 th Pontiff of the Ahobilaa Mutt. Constructed in a
short span of eight years, this unique gopuram is a testimony to the
single-minded devotion of the Pontiff of the ancient Vaisnanite mutt, 
popularly
known as Azhagiasinger and Jeer.

It is because of his efforts that the plan to build a Rajagopuram was
accomplished in I987. The birth centenary of Azhgiasinger is being celebrated
this year.

The Rajagopuram is not just the realisation of the JeerUs dream in which Lord
Ranganathan himself appeared and asked him to take up the task, but also a
fullfilment of the Kanchi ParamacharyaUs vision that a MAHAN would be
instrumental in its construction on the mottai gopuram at the Srirangam 
temple.
The Jeer had come from his Mukkur camp in North Arcot district with a 
sankalpam
to take up this endeavour.

The sleepless nights the Jeer spent before accomplishing the herculean task, 
the
way he mobilised resources, all speak volumes of his indomitable will,
perseverence, and above all his commitment to the mission.

Unmindful of hid age, he supervised the construction at every stage, climbing
winding steep steps and also the lift carrying brick and cement to the top. He
used to encourage the masons and workers and personally disburse wages.

If one can notice the absence of any divine figures or stucco images of
Vaishnavite gods or representations on the gopuram, it is due to the JeerUs
efforts to keep controversy ay bay. What several kings could not achive, the
Jeer accomplished.

Even on the eve of the consecration, he had to face some problems over the 
date
of the samprokshanam fixed on March 25, 1987.  Some persons argued with the 
Jeer
to change the date, thiugh the visit if the then President of India Mr. R.
Venkataraman and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu late M.G. Ramachandran was
finalised.

Refusing to revise the date, the Jeer remained undaunted and even announced 
that
samprokshanam of the Rajagopuram will be performed as scheduled and none could
stop him from performing the consecretion.

The massive Rajagopuram is the pride of the Srirangam temple which spreads 
over
an area of about 155 acres with the seven prakaras (streets) and 21 towers on
all the four sides of the temple.

The total height of the Rajagopuram from the ground is 236 foot. The length 
and
breadth at the base is 166 feet and 97 feet, while the length and breadth at 
the
top is 98 feet and 32 feet.

The 13 tiers of the Gopuram were built with contributions from the Ahobila 
Mutt,
Srimad Andavan of Periasramam, His holiness Shankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt,
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka governments, personal contribution by music
director Mr. Ilayaraja, the devotees frpm Tiruchi and Srirangam, donations
collected by Srimad Azhagiashimself and the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious
Endowmwnt and Charities department. At least 200 owrkers were employed daily 
for
nearly eight years.

The Srirangam temple which used to depend on the Mariamman temple at 
Samyapuram,
for maintenance funds has seen a big jump in its revenue after the 
construction
of the Rajagopuram.  Devotees are pouring in from all over India to witness 
this
twentyth century marvel Thanks to the JeerUs endeavour, today the Srirangam
temple is self sufficient.

-K. Sreekrishna