My prayer to Maheswara, shrines as a silver hill, wearing a partial moon in the hair bucks, jewelled ornaments on the body, sacred weapons and symbols on hand, with five pleasant face, each with three eyes, wearing the tiger skin and worshiped by the retina of fold as prime energy, head of universe, destuchor of fear.
The ancient Murukkuli Okkanamkode Sree Siva Temple, owned by Kuthiravattom Swaroopam is situated to the northern side of the vast pond of Okkanamkode in Pallassana Grama Panchayath of Palakkad District, Kerala. According to Prof. K.V. Krishnayyar, an eminent historian, the history of Kuthiravattom Swaroopam dates back to the late half of 15th century AD. The Swaroopam, existed as ‘Kizhakkantala Kappavan’ meaning the guardians of eastern side during the reign of Zamorins of Kozhikode. Later, when British took over, the Swaroopam remained in the status of ‘Sthani Janmi’ meaning accredited land lords and they kept a dignified profile with out any extravagant paraphernalia attached to lordship. Swaroopam established several irrigation projects, schools and temples. The Okkanamkode pond and the temple would have been established in this process. The vast pond is locally called ‘Talakkulam’ meaning head storage yielding water for agriculture. The rock outcrop formation inside the pond would have been aptly selected as a temple site for ensuring the spiritual elightment of the agro based society. The members of the royal Kuthiravattom Swaroopam still maintain and nurture the cultural heritage passed on to them through ages. The decision of the Swaroopam to hand over the pond temporarily to the local self government for utilizing the same for the purpose of coaching for swimming, water conservation and ecological balance etc. points to this matured social commitment. Moreover, the Swaroopam entrusted the temple - now in ruins - to ‘Pallassana Temple Renovation Committee’ to renovate the same and assured all sorts of support to the committee to meet the end.
2. THE TEMPLE PREMISES
There exist several temples - large and small - in the neighbourhood of Pallassana Siva Temple. These form the agro based cultural heritage of this typical rural village of Palakkad District. The Okkanamkode Kulam housing the temple is having a vast agricultural low lands of paddy cultivation with the hills viz. Kottamala, Vavumala, Putalimala and Kumanmala belonging to the western ghats, forming as back ground. Pallassana (west) Sree Santana Gopala Krishna Temple, Pazhayakavu Meenkulathi Bhagavathi Temple, Pallassana (east) Sree parvathi Sametha Garggeswara Temple, Puttankavu Mibrakulangara Bhagavathi Temple, Vettakkorumakan Temple, Sabbhamatham Sree Krishna Temple, Kalarikkal Subrahmanya Temple, Irappakkal Temple and Kuttippulli Muthappan Temple etc. are some of the shrines existing in the settlements of Pallassana environs.
The Ashtamangalya Prasnam identified the Okkanamkode shrine as a ‘Desa Kshetram’ or village shrine. This temple is unique in Kerala for its very stature of existence in an island with still waters all-around. The serene and tranquil atmosphere of the temple premises is remarkably peaceful giving a great deal of peace of mind for the devotees. The prasnam revealed the idol of the temple as ‘Swayambhu’ raised from the water body. This temple was maintained by Brahmin Samooham of Patinjare Agraharam. Later, when they found it difficult to maintain the temple with its glory, the deity was shifted to a new temple in the Agraharam by following the tantric rituals required for shifting the deity to the new location. The temple structure fall into negligence as a result of this shifting. Recently accepting the request of the local residents, the ancient temple ground was released by the Kuthiravattom Swaroopam to them to renovate and to maintain the temple and keep up in its status as a village shrine. The ritualistic requirements prior to renovation such as pujas, oblations, special rituals, homas etc. has already been taken up and completed. The responsibility of undertaking the exigencies connected with ‘Vastusilpa’ matters was entrusted to Sri. Ashok Tampan. As many technical and Vastu related services will be required in such renovation works, Sri. Ashok Thampan suggested that the temple renovation committee may contact Vastuvidyapratisthanam, Calicut who are competent to take up such works.
3. ATTEMPTS OF RENOVATION
A committee has been registered (Reg. No. PKD CA 453/2012) for the renovation of this temple. The committee had made several deliberations and consultations and finally decided to entrust Vastuvidyapratisthanam, Calicut to conduct a study of feasibility and preparation of project report. Accordingly the functionaries of Vastuvidyapratisthanam visited the site and collected basic data and held discussions with the members of the committee and others. This report is prepared based on the informations so gathered and according to the well established Silpasastra principles enshrined through the rich textual and practical traditions.
4. THE KSHETRA MANDALAM
The existing temple structure is a two storied (Dvitala Vimana) with a perimeter of 28 hasta and 8 angula. The wall and roof structure are in ruins. The shrine with a plinth area of about 25 m2 is situated in a rocky formation protruding from the Okkanamkode pond. The area of the rocky formation is of an approximate extend of 440 m2 (fig. PT-01). The existing shrine is square in plan. It is a ‘Sandhara Prasada’. A small namaskara mandapam (square pavilion) existed in front of the shrine. At present, this can be hardly traced. A pepal tree has grown in this location and its roots have grown under and around the shrine, adding to the dilapidated state of the structure. The extend and nature of the surface of the rocky formation is not enough to accommodate the needs of temple rituals with its all ancillary structures. As per the standards stipulated in Tantrasamuccayam, the area should have at least 2 dandu width around the main structure (sreekovil). Further there shall be elongation (ayama) along the axis (east-west) of the temple. Likewise elongation is needed on north side, being the main entry to the area of the island. As such, an area giving 12.7m to south and west sides and 17.8m to north and east side from the centre of the temple has to be reclaimed and demarcated. In that case a Vastumandala of 30.6m x 30.6 will be available. The area so formed will have an extend of 937 m2. In this area, the zones viz. Antarmandala, Antahara and Madhyahara around the sanctum santorum (Sreekovil) can be established as per the Vastu canons. This will result in providing the ancillary areas of akatte balivattom, saptamatrukkal, namaskara mandapam, well, thidappali, counter for distributing prasadas, pavilion for prayer etc. which are essential for a temple of this scale (fig. PT-02). An existing pathway of width of about 3m with hand rails on either side will have to be provided for safe entry of devotees. As the first step of renovation of the temple, the area of temple has to be demarcated and formed by providing firm boundary works and levelling to the requisite elevation. In the area so defined, the Prakarasimas (the boundaries defining the regions of temple) have to be marked. The idea narrated above is depicted in fig. PT-03.
5. STIPULATION OF PANCHA PRAKARAS
The area around the region reclaimed as described above with a width of 5 dandu all around defines bahyahara and maryada; the two outer boundaries in Panchaprakara stipulations (fig. PT-04). This portion is now part of the water body. Though, this is part and parcel of the temple, it is not proposed to fill this area, considering the economic as well as environmental considerations. Further, the unique nature of the temple is suggestive of leaving these two outer regions in the existing condition. However, this area has to be maintained in the purity ascribed to the temple region. Hence, these boundaries are to be marked by providing boundary columns (stambhas). At present, this area is being used for coaching for swimming by the Pallassana aquatic club. This has to be shifted to the area beyond the outermost boundary (fifth prakarasima called maryada) defined by 38.25 m from the temple. This boundary shall be defined well by the boundary posts mentioned above. The area inside shall be protected in all the way avoiding chances for intrusions not conducive for the functioning of the temple. The coaching for swimming can be done in the area on the southern side beyond the boundary of temple defined. As such, the parts of pond on the other three sides (east, north and west) can be utilized for the purposes related to temple activities such as bathing, arattu during festival etc. In future, the boundaries on land side can be protected and gopura structures created. Also, ghats for bathing of devotees can be constructed there (fig. PT-06).
6. IMPORTANT WORKS
I. Forming Site
The site around the existing structure has to be reclaimed and levelled to the extend already defined. As the central portion is firm and rigid, works to form a square region by raising and protecting the area around the shrine is adequate. This work can be done in the most economic way by filling granite rubbles around the central area to the required dimensions. An approximate area of 500 m2 (12.5 cents) has to be reclaimed this way. At a rate of Rs. 3000/- per sq.m, an amount of Rs. 15 lakhs is required for this. This work has to be commenced from south west corner and completed in two phases by proceeding to north in clock wise direction (fig. PT-07).
II. Northern Path Way
The speciality of the temple is its location within a pond. Retaining this peculiarity, adequate entry facility has to be provided to the temple. For this, the ancient entry way on the northern side has to be modified and reestablished. This path way has to be renovated in the beginning itself in order to provide facility to bring the construction materials to the site. The location and measurements of the path is given in drawings attached. In order to retain the continuity of the water body around and to avoid stagnation of water occurring out of impediments to smooth flow of water, the pathway is proposed be constructed with an embarkment and RCC pipe culverts. The construction details are given in fig. PT-08. An amount of Rs. 7.5 lakhs is estimated for this work.
The sreekovil is a two storied Sandhara Prasada of width 7 hasta 2 angula belonging to 7 hasta category (7 kol parisha) of vastu dimensional module (fig. PT-09). The dimension and two storied status of the main shrine depicts the importance of the temple at large. The garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) inside the structure of perimeter 15 hasta (10.8 m). This is provided with a corbelled dome construction to cover the inner portion and the walls are taken upward to hold the elevated roof of timber frame. A corridor (Andhakarika) of width 18 angula (54 cm) is provided around. The outer wall is of 18 angula thickness. The whole wall works are in brick masonry good quality. However the whole wall structure is damaged due to intrusion of the roots grown into and around the structure. However, the whole structure need not be demolished and re-built. It can be repaired and made intact if works are carried out meticulously. The whole roof work of timber is damaged and has to e totally rebuilt. The plinth is having dislocated stone work. This has to be dismantled and rebuilt in the affected locations. The sopana and side balusters are to be reset. Plan and elevation are given in figure. An amount of 7.5 lakhs is estimated for this work.
As directed in the Pransacharttu, a nagathara to house citrakutas and serpent stones is proposed in nagapatha. The proposal as per traditional tachusastra is given in fig. PT-02. The particulars of construction is given in fig. PT-10. This will entail an expense of Rs. 1 lakh.
V. Namaskara Mandapam
Namaskara Mandapam with a dimension of 16 hasta 8 angula for the boundary of jagati coming in the dwajayoni category of dimension in vastusastra is proposed (see fig. PT-11). The plinth is in panchavarga. Stara, concrete pillars and concrete roof is proposed for the new structure. This has to be provided with tiled surface to suit the Sreekovil. An amount of Rs. 3.5 lakhs is estimated for this.
VI. Prarthana Mandapam (Prayer Pavilion)
A prayer hall for devotees is proposed on the eastern side of Namaskara Mandapam. It is intended for felicitating the devotees to stand and pray during normal puja rituals. This space can be utilized for satsangas, recitations, bhajans and similar group activities. The structure proposed is of concrete pillars supporting roof of aluminium sheets on MS truss. Fig. PT-12 illustrate the proposal. An approximate of Rs. 8 lakhs is estimated for this.
VII. Thidappalli and Counter
Thidappalli or holy kitchen for preparing nivedyas and a counter for distributing prasada to devotees is proposed. A simple design with RCC framed structure and masonry walls is adopted here. The details are given in fig. PT-13. This structure is located to south-east of Srikovil. An amount of Rs. 5 lakhs is estimated as the cost of this structure.
The periphery of the temple premises defined in the beginning is to be demarkated with masonry walls of 72 cm height and a grill work with intermediate columns above the wall. In this well defined area, the temple well is to be constructed in the north-east corner. The location of existing well (not visible now) is to be renovated as a small pond for the purpose of bathe of the priests. As such, the total area to be formed is the space for accommodating these facilities. The wall is to be constructed with RCC steining. For the pond of priests and aside the pavilion for prayers on the east, permanent steps of stone or concrete is to be constructed. The details of the construction for this is depicted in fig. PT-14. The cost estimated for these comes to Rs. 5 lakhs (well - Rs. 1 lakh, small pond - Rs. 2 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs for ghats).
IX. Office Room
An office room and rest room for the priests is proposed to the east side of the entry way from north side. The office room is for receiving the cash and receipts from the ritualistic offers by the devotees and for keeping records. The details of this is given in fig. PT-15. An amount of Rs. 5 lakhs is estimated for this work.
X. Gopuras (Entry Towers)
The ritualistic practice of planting holy trees of Banyan (Peral or Aswatha) in the east, Fig (Atti or Udumpara) on north, Arayal on west on the land to depict the directions is suggested. Also, entry towers shall be constructed at these directions. The plan and connected drawings of the gopuras are given in fig. PT-16. Bathing ghats can be set up aside these gopuras. Rs. 10.5 lakhs is estimates as the cost for these amenities.
XII. Parking and Public Toilets
On the northern entry, space for parking vehicles and toilets has to be arranged. This is given in fig. PT-17. Rs. 3 lakhs is estimated for this need.
7. OUTLINE OF FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS
|Forming entry way on north||7,50,000/-|
|Formation of land for Kshetramandala
|Renovation of Srikovil||7,50,000/-|
|Well/ kulam/ steps||5,00,000/-|
|Gopurams on north and east side||10,50,000/-|
|Flooring/ talakkallu/ garden||2,50,000/-|
|Design and construction supervision charges etc.||4,75,000/-|
shekam & Miscellaneous
8. STAGES OF CONSTRUCTION
A comprehensive proposal for renovation of the Murukkuli Okkanamkode Sree Siva Temple is prescribed above. It is expected that the committee will visualize the proposal as a whole and take up the implementation accordingly. Due to financial constraints, it may not be possible to complete the whole work at a stretch. As such, the works will have to taken up in different stages considering the importance and functional priority of each of the components. Also, planning with this priorities in mind has to be done after considering the views of all members of the committee.
This project report contains a general documentation of the existing temple and an outline for the proposal for renovation. Preliminary drawings for the various components are also included for preparing the approximate cost estimation. It is to be noted that these are not the detailed construction drawings. Vastuvidyapratisthanam will prepare detailed construction drawings with all details necessary for executing the works after finalizing the details in consultation with all concerned.
Temple renovation is a holy work not tenable to words. It is the most sacred work one can take up in ones whole life. As such those devotees who are lucky enough to participate in this divine attempt will be blessed with the divine providence from almighty Lord Mahadeva.
This document is placed at the threshold of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Mahadeva of Murukkuli Okkanamkode Temple with ardent prayer for his blessings for an early completion of the temple renovation work.