It is one of the most important seats of Sakthi.The temple, Lord Siva had annihilated Yama, the God of death and destruction to save the life of Markandeya and bestowed immortality on him. Inside the precincts of the temple of Arulmigu Amerthakadeswarar is located the temple of Shri Abirami Amman Temple.
Fishing, along with Para marine activities like Dry fish ,Prawn farming constitues the second Major economy for the district. The marine ecosystem provides mankind with food, medicines, industrial products and pleasure.
THE ANKLET AND THE LEAVES OF THE EPIC
Destiny predominantly manifested itself and wilfully fulfilled in the lives of Kovalan and Kannagi through an anklet of artistic beauty the ' Silambu' It seems that fate has conspired with villainy in their blossoming young lives. Ilango-Adigal declared to Chittalaisattanar that he would write the tragic story in Poetic form (Pattudaicheyyul). This is the account of the origin of the great epic. These lines are found in the 'Pathikam' poems in Silappathikaram. 'ILANGO' IN THE EPIC [SILMBU] The illustrious Ilango-Adigal narrated the story in poetic form, which were heard by Kulavanikan Sattanar of Madurai.Sattanar strongly felt that the b iography of Kannagi the queen of Chastity,is an epic and only Ilango has the art and style to present it to posterty.POOMPUHAR MARUVURPAKKA Poompuhar,the harbour Capital city divided into three major divisions:
Pattinappakkam in Poompuhar was celebrated by the presence of highly renowned great men. In an extensive open space, on the outskirts of the city were quarters occupied by the cavalrymen with swift horses elephant warriors, chariteers with lofty chariots and infantrymen with fearsome looks.
POOMPUHAR - NALANGADI
The cool Zephyr seeking sport in the pleasure garden of fragrant flowers entered the ever mirthful market place [Nalangadi] and pervaded the streets of puhar. The Nalangadi is literally a day market while the evening market was known as Nalangadi. They were busy centres of business.
KANNAGI - KOVALAN MARRIAGE ANNOUNCED
Kovalan was the son of the merchant prince Masathuvan and Kannagi was the daughter of the celebrated sea captain Manaikan.
Their worthy parents longed to see on a happy day, as a bridal pair; happy in such thoughts, they sent forth fair maidens seated on an elephant's neck, to invite, to the wedding, all those in that great city.
BLESSINGS FOR THE BRIDAL PAIR
The tastefully decorated marriage pandal resembled the blue sky studded with the twinkling silver stars. The maidens who looked like moving golden creepers and whose hair was decked with scented flowers, showered blossoms on the bridal pair saying: 'May you like flawless life, with a love that knows no separation, and held in close and unrelaxing embrace'.
KANNAGI AND KOVALAN IN THE MOONLIT OPEN TERRACE
Kannagi and Kovalan entered their domestic life. In the noval flat of their lofty mansion, they seated themselves on a gemledged couch, which looked as if it had been made for them by the celestial carpenter Valcon.
MADHAVI'S MAIDEN DANCE PERFORMANCE AND MAGNIFICIENT HONOUR OF THALAIKKOL
The Thalaikkol or the staff was the central shaft of a splendid white umbrella captured in the battle field from monarchs of great repute. It was covered over by Jambunatham, a kind of gold, its joints bedecked with nine gems. This shaft represented Jayantha, Indra's son, and as such was worshipped in the palace of the protecting King of the White Umbrella [the Chola]
THE GLORY OF TALAIKOL
On the day when the Talaikkol was to be used by the dancing girl, she had to bathe it with holy waters, bring in a golden pitcher, and afterwards to garland it. Then it was handed over with a blessing to the State elephant already adorned with a plate of gold and other ornaments in its forehead To the accompaniment of the drums proclaiming victory and other musical instruments, the king and his five groups of advisers were to circumambulate the chariot and the elephant and give the Talaikkol to the musician poet on the top of the chariot. Then they went round the town in a procession and entering the theatre they placed the Talaikkol in its appointed position.
MAIDEN DANCE PERFORMANCE OF MADHAVIThe stage in which the Arangetram of Madhavi took place was chosen in accordance with the time-honoured tradition and the horps set by the architects. The canopy was painted with many beatiful pictures from which were hanging loosely garlands of pearl. It showed the novel and attractive appearance, which the stage presented.
MADHAVI'S IMMACULATE PERFORMANCEMadhavi was a superb exponent of the art of dancing. In her nimble movement she looked like a golden creeper animated with life. Her dance was perfect impeccable. In the auditorium of pearls Madhavi's superb are kept the audience spell bound.
THE KING'S GIFT TO MADHAVIThe king in due recognition, of Madhavi's skill and dexterity in the art, presented her with a garland and one thousand and eight Kazhanjus of gold which was the customary present given to dancers who held theTalaikkol and exhibited their talents for the first time.
KOVALAN BUYS THE GARLANDChitrapthi the mother of Madhavi handed over the garland to a haunch-backed woman, asked her to stand out in the street and announce, 'this garland is worth a sum of 1,088 kazhanjus of gold. He who buys the garland becomes the husband of Madhavi'. The garland representing the large lotus eyed Madhavi was purchased by Kovalan and he accompanied the hunch-back to Madhavi's home.
KOVALAN ENTERS MADHAVI'S ABODE
Madhavi's mansion was decorated with artistic beauty and Kovalan was overwhelmed by the opulence of the reception accorded to him.Kovalan entered Madhavi's bridal chamber, and he embraced her, he was captivated so much by her charm that he forgot himself and did not like to part from her, and became an inseperable partener.
KOVALAN - MADHAVI IN THE MOON - LIT TERRACEEvening made his triumphant entry to the delight of the lovers. Kovalan Madhavi were seated in the open moon lit terrace. Madhavi with a throbbing eager heart gave her love immense pleasure with intermittant bouderie [love's feigned wrangle].
SORROWFUL KANNAGI, SAD AT HEART
kannagi seperated from her beloved Kovalan was sad at heart and forgot to decorate herself . Neither was her dark lock softened by oil nor did the jewels adorn her hair. Lonely and filled with sorrowful thoughts of the moonlit nights made her drop pearl like tears.
CHRISTENING OF MANIMEKALIKovalan and Madhavi celebrated the christening of their beloved child. When the aged dancers desired that fitting name should be given to the child Kovalan "An ancester of mine had a misfortune of falling into the sea when the boat in which he travelled broke down. But he was saved by the Goddess Manimekalai.who was our familly diety." Then a thousand courtesans with jewlled girdles blessed the child with the name "Manimekalai" On that day Kovalan showered gifts of gold as liberally as the rain
KOVALAN --- A WARRIOR OF COMPASSIONOn the occasion of the christening of Manimekalai, Brahmin with bent body came feebly along with the aid of a stick in order to receive gifts. Seeing him in the clutches of an elephant which had run amuck Kovalan stepped forth instantly with a cry, and after rescuing that panick stricken victim in the noose of the furious elephant and through a series of adroit and hazardous manoevures he controlled the elephant.
BENEVOLENT KOVALANA brahmin in Kaveripoompattinam left for the north abandoning his wife who had caused the death of his pet, a young mongoose. When she followed him, he handed her a note to be given to 'people leading a virtuous life' She roamed about the showing the note from house to house, Kovalan received the note and said, 'Do not fret. I shall relieve you of your difficulty'. He made gifts in accordance with instituted rules and relieved that lady of her worry. Then he made her husband who had left for forest live with her in the 'right path'. by giving copious wealth out of his limitless riches.
INDRA FESTIVAL IN POOMPUHARTo the delight of the earth and the admiration of heaven, the festival of Indra was celebrated by the people of Puhar. One thousand and eight kings bore on their heads gold pots filled with cool and holy water, rendered fragrant by floating pollen of flowers of the Cauveri taken from where it merges the sea, and performed the bathing ceremony of the Lord of Gods, India.
MADHAVI - TOWARDS SEASHOREPeople were rushing towards the sea to have a dip and to celebrate of Indra. Madhavi saw the people hurrying to the beach in search of amusement and expressed her desire to go.Kovalan gave his consent . Madhavi adorned herself with exquisite and artistic jewels and Kovalan wore sparkling jewels on his garlanded chest and like a prodigal cloud, mounted his mule while the deer eyed Madhavi got into her chariot.
KOVALAN PLAYS THE HARPThere on a white ledged couch with a canopy of picturesque paintings, surrendered by a screen set on the newly spread sands in the shade of the 'Punnai' tree standing in the wide expanse enclosed by the blossoming kaidai which swept away the foulness of the [fish -smelling] sea, Kovalan received the harp from Madhavi. He began playing odes to the cauveri and songs appropriate to the seashore [Kanalvari].
"Hail to thee, cauveri ! Even if our Chola king, whose garlanded parasol is as white as the moon, extends his righteous sceptre far and weds Ganges, thou wilt not sulk. I have learnt o fish eyed one that not sulking even though he weds the ganges, is the supreme virtue of chaste ladies Hail to thee, cauveri" . At that time Madhavi of the long beautiful eyes. Who listended to the lyric [of Kovalan] felt that his song was indicative of a change of heart on his part.
MADHAVI'S LYRICThe zealous Madhavi received the harp from Kovalan pretending that she was pleased though (really) sulking Then she began to play, purposefully an ode to the sea so fine that the goddess earth wondered at her skill: and all people were in ecstasy when they heard her sweet voice appropriately accompanying the notes of the harp. The feigned quarrel of Madhavi sowed the seeds of suspicion in the mind of Kovalan.
SEPERATION OF KOVALANKovalan thought that her song revealed her dubious character; he wrongly believed that she had somebody in her mind, which mad him, wrathful. He said "I sang the Kanalveri: but she the cunning one combining several deceitful lies sang with her mind upon someoneelse. Meanwhile the sun has sunk and daylight has faded. Goaded by indomitable destiny, which made the music of the harp its pretext, her gently with drew his embracing hand from his fullmoon faced consort. Kovalan leaving Madhavi alone went off with his retinue.
THE LONE RETURN OF MADHAVIAfter Kovalan left her, Madhavi with a heavy dazed heart returned home, without being consorted by her dear lover.
MADHAVI'S AGONYpring held sway over the ferlite Tamil country and his filled Madhavi with the sorrow of seperation. Taking the spotless harp in her grasp she began to sing a sweet song but fell into langour. Then she took up a garland formed by trying together with fragrant roots and flowers and choce petals of the red lily interwined with the white bent flowers of the ripe screw pine. On this she wrote a letter to Kovalan under the influnce of cupid who single-handed exercised his righteous sceptre over the vast world with his flower arrows. She took in her hand the long salk of a flower and dipping it in the writing paste made of red lac and agar she wrote the letter. She then called her maid Vasanthamalai on that pensive evening and asked her to inform Kovalan of all that had been written in the episite and to bring him back to her.
KOVALAN'S REPLY TO MADHAVI'S LETTERWith the epistle Vasanthamalai of the lance like long eyes went to Kovalan, living in the quarter where grain was stored and handed it over to him.
KANNAGI AND DEVANTHIKannagi narrated an evil dream she had in the previous night to her friend Devanthi who said "if you wish to wipe ooff the evil, go to the confluence of cauveri and the roaring sea.There is a park where the neydal field opens its petals and where two sacred tanks are dedicated to the sun and the moon respectively.Those woman who bathe in them and worship the god of love enshrined there will ever enjoy the company of their husbands in the world. But the be jewlled Kannagi said in reply to the charming lady 'that does not become of me.
KOVALAN IN KANNAGI'S HOUSEWhile Kannagi and Devanthy were conversing Kovalan entered the house.He was smitten with grief at the sight of the pale Kannagi, his fair wife and said "by consorting with a delilah [false woman[ who makes every false thing appear like truth, I have lost the rich sore of my ancestral wealth. O, the poverty I have caused [to our house[ makes me ashamed of myself". Comforting him with a fascinating smile on her brightening face of Kannagi replied, O do not grieve! You yet have my anklets. Accept them, she was under the impression that he had come to get money for his love Madhavi.
JOURNEY TO MADURAIAs soon as Kannagi afforded her anklets Kovalan replied to his dame, "O my good girl, listen. I will use this anklet as my capital to recover all the jewels and all my wealth I have lost , Rise up, O lady with the stresses decorated with choice flowers ! come with me to the city of Madurai highly renowned for its towers!" Impelled by destiny he decided to start before the heavy darkness of the night was dispelled by the sun.
SAINT KOUNTHI GUIDES THEMKovalan and Kannagi passed out of their outer gate and worshipped in the temples. They reached the cottage of Kounth, a Jain run and prostrated themselves before her. Kovalan told the nun that he was going to Madurai to make a fortune. The venerable Kounthi took up her sacred begging bowl and her netted bag suspended from her shoulders. Holding a Peacock's feathers in her and praying that the Panchamantra might be their guide on the way Kounthi unrivalled in the practice of virtue, accompanied the other two in their journey.
KAUSIKAN'S ENCOUNTER WITH KOVALANKovalan lodged the holy saint and his loving wife in a harmless place and passed along a great road in search of water.Owing to grief and tiresome long journey, Kovalan's altered form was not recognised by Kousikan at once. To make sure he addressed the greenleaved Madhavi plant and said that the plant shed all its flowers like Madhavi who was fallen into deep affiliation unable to bear Kovalan's seperation from her. The moment he heard the messenger uttering the name of Madhavi he begged in Paradon. He learnt the sorrows of Madhavi as well as his parents. Then in a reminicent mood he realised that Madhavi was not at fault and that he was to be blammed. Then he resumed his journey.
KOVALAN IN THE COMPANY OF TROUBADOURSKovalan loved music intensely that even in this grief striken mood, he joined the company of troubadours.who were signing the goddess Durga's valorous dance. He took up the harp, a kind of lyre and played on it according to the well established scientific conventions of music.
THE RIVER VAIGAIThe divine damsel, by name vaigai who is ever in the tongues of the poets, belonged to the Pandyas [one of the crowned Kings of Tamil Nadu]. Kovalan and Kanagi praised its charm affluently saying, " O this is no stream of waters but a stream of flowers."
They crossed over the river on a raft accompanied by the saint to a fragrant grove full of beauteous flowers on the southern bank.
MADALAN REMINDS KOVALAN OF HIS PAST GLORYWhile Kovalan was narrating to the sage Kounthi undiminishing prosperity of Madurai and the Prowess of the Pandya king there appeared madalan , a learned man and a narrative of Puhar who was retuned from his pilgrimage. Modalan learnt the tragic episodes of Kovalan's life, which reminded him of his past acts of valour and sympathy.
KOVALAN -KANNAGI AS MATHARI'S GUESTS
When saint Kounthi observed that kovalan and Kannagi should leave the out skirts and enter the city of Madurai, Mathari, an old woman of the cowhered caste and also a devotee of kounthi came and prostrated herself before the jain nun.The saint introduced Kovalan and Kannagi to Madhari and explained to her about the reputation of the Illustrious families of Kovalan and Kannagi and requested her safe custody.Mathari glaad at heart took them to her house.
SUMPTUOUS MEAL SERVED BY KANNAGI
Kannagi with the aid of the fire of straw lit by Aiyai [daughter of Madhari] . cooked, to the best of her ability.for her husband. When that loard had seated himself made from the white leaves of the Palmyra tree by a trained maid with her flower- like hands . She sprinkled water from an earthern pot over the feet of her lord.She spread a tender plaintain leaf and served food and said "Here is food, O, Lord ! Please eat."
THE FINAL FAREWELL
After his sumptuous dinner Kovalan drew his darling nearer to expressed his sorrow ruefully for his past licentious life. Kannagi consoled her wailing husband by saying that she was ever an infalliable wife and it was her bounden duty to obey his commands implicity. He said "I shall go with one of the anklets that adorn thy beatiful feet and return after exchanging it for money. Till then do not lose heart".
KOVALAN'S ENCOUNTER WITH GOLDSMITH
Kovalan reached the bazaar and there he saw a goldsmith who, with a coat on was walking at some distance, pincers in hand, followed by a hundred goldsmiths. Thinking within himself that this must be the chief goldsmith of the much celebrated Pandean, Kovalan asked him whether he could estimate the price of the anklet, suitable for the queen of the benevolent king.
Kovalan who came to sell his wife's anklet was accused of stealing the anklet of the great queen.The king held no enquiry but ordered to kill the innocent Kovalan . At this an unlettered person, in a fit of drunkenness, hurled his well polished sword from his hand (upon Kovalan) cutting him across. The blood that gushed forth from the wound spread over mother Earth who felt extreme agony. Vanguished by pre-destined fate, Kovalan fell, causing the Pandyan sceptre to bend, which denoted the injustice done to Kovalan.
KANNAGAI IN PANDYA COURTWhen Kannagi heard about the death of Kovalan, She sprang up in rage and then fell down on the earth as if the rising moon had fallen with the cloudes on the wide earth. Filled with ire, she hurried to the court of Pandyan Nedunchezhian to the indicate her husband's innocence. She addressed with vehemence, " O Lord of Korkai, you have fallen from your righteous course! My golden anklet contains gems inside. The king said, "Our anklet contains pearls inside" .Kannagi dashed her beatiful anklet on the ground and a gem flew into the king's face.When he saw the gem he said "Am i a ruler? I listened the words of a goldsmith ? It is I who am the thief," The king with his ambrella falling and his sceptre faltering fell down dead. His queen collasped saying, "It is impossible for a woman to replace the loss of a husband".
THE TRIBALS BEFORE SENGUTTUVAN AT THE BANK OF PERIYUR
Senguttuvan the king of chera country and brother of Ilango desired to feast his eyes with the emeraldine scenic beauty of the blue mountains, reached the river periyar,He was accompanied by his queen Venmal sage Ilango and the celebrated poet Seethali Sattanar.The tribals of the mountain, awaited the arrival of the great monarch with rare gifts and narratted to him their amazing experience of how a lady with a face agonising , a heart pining and breast lost, stood under a Vengai tree Before their very eyes they saw her emplanning celebrated by the celestials.There upon the poet Sattanar who stood beside the king portrayed the tragic story of Kannagi.
TRUMPETTING OF CHERA'S WAR AGAINST NORTHSenguttuvan hearing the loudable life of Kannagi decided to deify her and raise a temple in honour of this Goddess of Chastity [Kannagi] He declared that a stone from Himalayas should be brought to fasion her image. If any monarch refused to give the stone he would be met in the battlefield. He further wanted that this declaration should be conveyed to the rulers of the north. But Azumbilvel, a minister said since the spices of all countries are roaming about in the captial city itself it is sufficed that the king's Proclamation is tom tomed in Vanji alone. There upon it was proclaimed thus "Our guardian monarch marches forth to procure a stone from the Himalayas and all ye who are kings of the northern countries come forth to meet him with tributes" The wind echoed the proclamation of the king to all the four corners of the city.
STONE CARRIED BY KANAGA AND VIJAYA
Senguttuvan was challenged in the battle field by a few northern headed by Kanaka and Vijaya; In the terrific battle ensued the enemies were unable to withstand. The on-slaught of Senguttuvan's army and fled But Kanaga and Vijaya were taken as captives. He commanded several differently armed units of his army to secure from golden crested Himalayas a stone slab which was placed on the resplendent crowns of Kanaka and Vijaya.
SENGUTTUVAN ON THE SOUTHERN BANK OF THE GANGESSenguttavan had the sacred stone immersed in the holy waters of the ganges with all its religious rites of Pomp and grandeur. On the southern bank of the crystalclear ganges the king seated himself in his tent created especially by his friendly as well as the vanquished kings of the north . The monarch rewarded all his soldiers with Vahai flowers made of gold.
MADALAN'S NARRATION TO CHERAWhile Cheran Senguttuvan was seated on his throne the scholar Madalan arrived on the spot. He was greeted by the king and the remarked sarcastically that the seashore song of the lady Madhavi cracked the crowned heads of Kanaka and Vijaya. The ruler asked him to explain the meaning of his enigmatic utterence. Then he narratted the episode happened at Puhar. His record of narration signified the happenings at puhar and the tribal folk's narrations pertained to Vanji and the account of Sattanar portrayed the incidents in Madurai. Cheran further learnt from Madalan that Madhavi entered the Buddha Vihara and received holy instruction, the pre requisites to become a Buddhist ascetic.
CHERANS TRIUMPHANT ENTRY TO HIS CAPITALThe conches blew, seated on the topmost point of swift state elephant, under the garlanded white umbrella Senguttavan with a Vahai wreath on his crown, entered Vanji welcomed by its hilarious citizens in a procession of carts drawn by elephants. Thereon entered his capital with a triumphant smile fitted with pride and glory.
SENGUTTUVAN BUILT TEMPLE TO KANNAGI
To that venerable lady, a shrine constructed in accordance with prescribed rules, was dedicated. In the solemn cere mony of consecration, Senguttuvan stood proffering his respect and in front of him,, the Arya kings released from prison , the Kongu ruler, the king of Malava and Kayavagu the ruler of Ceylon . Prayed to the deity thus: "Please grace our countries by your presence on the eve of the sacrificial rites performed in honour of Imayavaramban on his birth day just have done on this auspicious day"