My uncle and his business partner Dr. Sridhar had come down to Coimbatore for the maha kumbakishekam of the Perur Patteeswar temple. Known to be the famous Shiva temple, on the banks of Noyyal river, this temple is 2000 years old. According to legend, Karaikal Cholan built this temple. That is what I read too. It was only yesterday I got to hear the real story from the real people.
Dr. Guhan, director of the cancer institute here and his wife Dr. Chitra took over the responsibility of organising this event which happens once in twelve years. It was great that I had an opportunity to interact with Dr. Chitra. Dr. Guhan, I had met him, three years back. At that time I came to know how much of social service he did for rural areas.
My uncle Dr. Ramachandran and his partner Sridhar uncle run this company called Macromol which provided paint and other stuff to renovate the temple. So, we had the privilege of seeing the temple as VIPs. Though I have been to this temple many times, this was the time I spent almost three hours there. My uncle who knows a lot about mythology started telling me interesting things as we sat near the temple pillars. Me and Sridhar uncle started conversing so well and bonded over in a matter of minutes..
We went ahead to see some sculptures there. There is one sculpture which completely took me aback. It was Shiva in a dancing pose. It is believed that Shiva and Parvati had an argument on who was a better dancer. That culminated into a dance performance by both Shiva and Parvati to decide who was the winner. The battle went on for long but there was no result. In the end, Shiva took one of his earring and dropped it on the floor. He took the earring by his foot and wore it on his ear. The pose actually shows Shiva's leg touching his ear. Parvati could not perform this feat and she stands defeated. There is a scuplture of Parvati which shows her defeat so clearly, her emotions in that moment. Seems so real! It was so beautifully scuplted. Architectural masterpiece!!
As I walked around the temple, I found beautiful paintings on the roof. I wondered how people actually did that!
When I met Dr. Chitra, she told me about the history of the temple. She said it was actually Kovan Karaikal who built the temple first. It seems he was wandering in the forest, when he saw a cow digging the mud with its horns. When it dug deeper, the Shiva Linga came out. Kovan Karaikal then brought this idol and built a place, Kovanputhur, in the middle of the forest. The name slowly became Coimbatore with time. This is a reason why Coimbatore is surrounded by hills. Apparently, if one looks at the idol carefully, you can see the mark of the cow's horns on the idol.
This was a new story. I was thrilled. I told I would want to do a story, or still better, get some great photographs and write a coffee table book on Coimbatore and its history.
It was 3 great hours at the temple and I learned a lot!!