KRISHNA RAYAR TEPPAKULAM ANJANEYA TEMPLE, MADURAI, TAMIL NADU...
Madurai has a glorious history right from the days when the city was ruled by the Pandiya dynasty. During the rule of the Sultans, Malik Kafur started ransacking the city.
Malik Kafur (1296-1316) was a eunuch slave who was serving as the General in the army of Alauddin Khilji, ruler of the Delhi sultanate from 1296 to 1316. He was responsible for the Delhi Sultanate extending their kingdom beyond Vindhya Range. He had not only brought rulers of the South under the Delhi Sultanate, but he was also a person who had plundered the wealth of temples, public and the rulers of the South. His act of destroying the Hindu temples of the South is well recorded in History. Madurai is no exception to his vandalism. After appointing a representative of the Delhi Sultanate in the territories he owned in the South, he left for Delhi with the loot.
According to Muslim historian Jiauddin Barani, Malik Kafur went back to Delhi with 241 tons of gold, 20000 horses and 612 elephants laden with the looted treasure.
The city was brought back to its glory when it was made a part of Vijayanagara samrajya and then subsequently during Nayaks' rule. Krishnadevaraya, the king of Vijayanagar, sent his general Nagama Nayak to Madurai in order to punish the Virasekhara Chola for despoiling the Pandyas who were under protection of Vijayanagara. Having defeated the Chola, Nagama proclaimed Madurai as his own. Provoked, Krishnadevaraya sent Visvanatha Nayak son of Nagama Nayak himself to produce his father in the royal court. As a reward for his loyalty Visvanatha Nayak was made ruler of Madurai during 1530. Visvanatha Nayak and his son Krishnappa Nayak supported successive rayas till 1565, when Krishnappa Nayak set up an independent Madurai kingdom with the help of his father's able minister, Ariyanatha Mudaliar.
Presently Madurai is a busy city with lot of amenities. Many temples built during the Nayak's period and after are there to visit. Many of the places are easily accessible since the transport system is very good. The local trade mostly depends on the tourists; hence they are tourist-friendly. Lots of devotees, who visit Rameswaram, try not to miss seeing this temple town. Though Sri Meenakshi temple is the centre of attraction for many visitors there are very many holy temples around Madurai for Lord Kartik, Vishnu etc.
Krishna Rayar Tank
The place called 'Krishna Rayar teppakulam' lies between Anna Bus Terminus and Thiruparamkundram, also within the city limits. One can reach this place from Anna Bus Terminus or from Periyar Bus terminus very easily. The word 'teppakulam' in Tamil means a water tank [a huge pond] where a ceremony is conducted by arranging to take the utsavamurti of the Lord and Devi around the pond in a well decorated float. This is a normal annual function of many temples, which has a tank of its own. A tank where such a ceremony is conducted is called 'teppakulam'.
Today, in this place there is no tank, but the name for the place 'teppakulam' suggests that there should have been a tank there earlier. And the annual function of taking the utsavamurti of the Lord and Devi around the tank in a float would have been conducted in this tank [kulam].
The tank had been named after a ruler 'Krishnaraya'. It could be after Krishnadevaraya or it could also after the Krishnappa Nayak, since the word 'raya' could be affixed to anybody who is a ruler. In all probability it should have been so named after Krishnadevaraya since both Visvanatha Nayak and his son Krishnappa Nayak were loyal to the former.
Normally the teppakulams would form part of that temple whose deities are taken in the float. However, it is not clearly known as to which temple this particular ‘teppakulam’ was attached.
Madwa mutts and Temple for Sri Anjaneya Swami [Hanuman]
The influence of Rajaguru Sri Vyasaraya for worship of Sri Anjaneya Swami [Hanuman] in the regions under the control of Vijayanagara samrajya is known. He and his disciples had established many temples for Sri Anjaneya Swami [Mukhya Praana] and encouraged the worship of the Lord. They had followed 'Dwaita' principle established by Sri Madhvacharya. It is customary of the Madwa followers to establish their mutt on the banks of the tank. It is also customary of them to install a Hanuman shila on the steps or banks of the tank.
Temple for Sri Anjaneya Swami [Hanuman]
In accordance with such a practice, the Madwa mutt had established a temple for Sri Anjaneya on the bank of the 'Krishnaraya teppakulam'. The main garbhagrham of the temple was small and the rest of the portion of the temple seems to have served the community as a choultry [wayside rest house]. The temple must have been well maintained by the mutt. The daily poojas are conducted by the Madwa priests without interruption all these years.
Expansion of the temple
The temple was renovated and Kumbabishekam was conducted during the year 1903. After a lapse of eighty years in the year 1984 the main sanctum was expanded. The very next year the Brahmin Association had built a big hall measuring sixty feet by thirty five feet for conduct of Bhajan and other functions relating to the temple.
On 6th May 1988, the shila of Lord Sendil [Kartik/Murugan] with His consort was installed. On 2nd of July 1990 the work regarding a three tiered Rajagopuram and also new vimanam for the Lord was completed and Kumbabishekam was conducted.
With the help of few donors the inner portions of the temple were renovated and the entire flooring was re-laid with new tiles and the work was completed on 10th of February 1995.
The uniqueness of Sri Anjaneya Swami of this temple
The main sanctum of the temple can be seen right from the road itself. The Lord is seen standing majestically with anjali-hasta [folded hands]. The two and half feet vigraha is a treat to the eyes of the devotees. He is seen as if He is overseeing the entire activity of the devotees in this posture. He is standing with both His ears erect, as if he wants to be alert to hear the sincere appeals of His devotees for being forwarded to Lord Sri Rama.
It is unusual that Lord Anjaneya in a Sri Madwa mutt temple is seen with folded hands. Normally the Lord is seen in an ardha shila form with the tail raised. It is quite possible that the original shila in course of time got replaced with the present one for one reason or the other. But, it is to be noted that the pooja by the mutt had continued all along.
While at Madurai do visit this Hanuman temple at Krishnaraya teppakulam and put in your earnest requests into the ears of the Lord for favourable action.
[ed. Dec 2010