Plans on to highlight Virinjipuram temple significance for visitors’ delight

In a bid to attract visitors to the centuries-old Arulmigu Margabandeswarar temple at Virinjipuram, located around 12 km from Vellore town on the Chennai–Bengaluru national highway, an association here revealed its plans of approaching officials to have the temple’s historical significance, including a rock inscription there against dowry, highlighted prominently.
The Virinjipuram temple wall reportedly damaged in cannon fire; A close-up on the inscription against dowry
The Virinjipuram temple wall reportedly damaged in cannon fire; A close-up on the inscription against dowry

Vellore

According to Rajendran, an employee with the Margabandeswarar temple, the inscription there against dowry had a translation of its content displayed until a few years ago. “Though a board with a translation was hung above the rock inscription, it was removed when kumbabishekam was performed in the temple in 2010,” he said.

Mentioning many visitors now expressing desire to see the inscription against dowry on the wall of the gopuram leading into the temple, T Kalyanasundaram, the district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Mutharayar Sangam, said the inscription stated that receiving of dowry was treason. His association now plans to approach officials to highlight such significance in the temple to attract visitors.

The Muthurayar community form a sizeable population in the town and their worship of the presiding deity is considered to be the biggest on the last weekend of the Tamil month of Karthigai.

Though the temple sees only around 150 visitors daily, nearly 20 would reportedly seek to see the inscription, which is believed to be in old Tamil script.

“The aim is to use such attractions in the temple to get more devotees,” Kalyanasundaram said.

According to sources, when emperor Tipu Sultan was marching on Vellore, he mistook the Margabandeswarar temple for a fort and opened fire from the cannon, partially damaging the temple’s perimeter walls that are built of solid stone and also not painted in saffron and white like other temples. “History buffs who come here want to see the perimeter wall which is still in the same damaged state,” said Rajendran.

Another specialty of the temple is that in a corner of the sanctum sanctorum isa one-foot square sliding rock tile covering the entrance to a tunnel that reportedly leads to the Vellore fort. “Though closed years ago, it still excites visitors,” said Rajendran. Ranganathan, a regular visitor to the temple, said that decades ago he had descended into the tunnel at the fort-end but “I could not proceed more than 50 feet as the flaming torches I carried went out. Then, when a person involved in a murder tossed the knife into the tunnel, officials sealed it permanently”.

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