Located 1km North of Ramaswamy temple on the Cheran Maha Devi – Kallur- Tirunelveli route is an ancient Chera Period Appan temple in Cheran Maha Devi, one that was recently renovated after having remained closed for almost 50years.
The Story- Milagu Rasam special at this temple
The story goes that a Cheran king, who could not find a solution from the doctor, for his daughter’s stomach pain approached an astrologer who asked him to build a Chatram as well as a Venkatachalapathy temple on the banks of Tamarai Barani. He was also asked to give ‘Milagu Rasam’ to his daughter. To his surprise, his daughter recovered. Hence, Milagu Rasam is special at this temple and this place was referred to as Kanndiyen Chatram.
There are about 60 inscriptions at this temple the earliest of which dates back to the 12th Century AD to the rule of Jatavarma Pandya (Kulasekhara I) who in 1200AD on the suggestion of his brother in law Ravivarma ordered that the land of Karungulapparru, an Eastern Hamlet of Cheran Maha Devi Chaturvedi Mangalam, be made completely tax free for daily offerings to the Lord and for the recital of Vedas and Puranas at this temple.
Monthly requirements of the Lord
Also, inscription dating back to 1209AD indicates that provision was made for Sandal, Camphor and all other monthly requirements of the Lord.
Garland for the Lord
Also, during the rule of Sundara Pandya Deva, there was a gift of money by Virasinga Deva for providing Garland of flowers in the Cheran Narayanan Nandavanam in return for some prasadam from the temple. There was also an agreement given by the temple authorities to Pillai Vijayarayan for the 8 Achchu given by him for maintaining the flower garden and supplying garlands to the temple.
40 Kalam of Paddy for Services to the Appan Temple
A 1267AD Inscription during the rule of Vira Pandya II records an agreement deed given to Sriranganatha Bhattar by the Pandarikal Sri Vaishnavas and Nambiman of the Appan temple of Cheran Maha Devi Chaturvedi Mangalam. As per this deed, the latter agreed to measure out 40Kalam of Paddy to the temple for certain services in lieu of interest on a sum of 20 Achchus as they were in arrears to the temple.
Maravarma Pandya who reigned Malai Nadu, Chola and Kongu Kingdom, Ilam and Thondai Mandalam registered the remission of all kinds of taxes by assembly of Cheran Maha Devi Chaturvedi Mangalam on certain lands in Idaigal for conducting service called ‘ Kulasekharan Sandhi’ instituted in the Appan temple by Veenaadudaiyan.
A 1288 A.D. inscription on the Eastern Wall of the temple records a gift of 2Aanai Achchu for a lamp by pupils of Pinsenra Villi Jeeyar of Mudivalangum Perumal Mutt. The interest on each Achchu was one Ulakku of oil per day.
Recognising the work of Smith
In an interesting recognition, Kulasekhara Deva records a gift of an annuity of Paddy and a portion of the ‘deity offered food’ to the Smith Cherai Mangai Silpasari for doing stone work in the Appan temple.
New Moon Day and 6 offerings for the Lord
On the side wall of the temple is a record that states the gift of money for providing 6offerings to the God on New Moon days.
Feeding Sanyasins and maintaining a Teacher for the Paatshaala
On the wall of the South Verandah in the first prakara of the Appan temple contains yet another inscription in Tamil that provides interesting insights about the functioning of the temple in the 13th Century AD.
As per the request of Malavaraayan, Sundara Pandya II promised to make a gift of a tax free land at Karungulam, in the Eastern Hamlet of Cheran Maha Devi Chaturvedi Mangalam for benefit of a service instituted in the name of Nakkan Irattai ( Thondai Maanaar) for feeding every day 17 persons including Tridanda Sanyasins and for maintaining a teacher for the Sastras in the mutt called Mudvalangum Perumal Mutt at the temple.
Spring Festival at Appan temple
On the same wall, there is a record of a gift of land by the temple authorities to Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar, one of the Tridandi Sanyasins who was in charge of the above mutt on the Northern side of the temple for conducting the Spring festival of God every year
With the Appan temple having been just renovated after several decades, the temple authorities are currently in the process of working out the festival details for the year ahead. With their passion in bringing the temple to wear a new refreshing look, one can expect the temple to also bring back the festivals of centuries gone by that this temple was home to.
Interestingly, the renovation has not spoilt any of the inscriptions at the Appan temple and they see to be intact on all sides including the pillars.
Moolavar: Appan Venkatachalapathy East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar : Alarmel Mangai and Padmavathi Thaayar
Utsavar : Srinivasan ( currently under lock and key at Ramaswamy temple)
Priest : Srinivasan Bhattar @ 89036 69263 / 04634 265268
Temple Time: 6am-8am (Saturday and Sunday 6am-11am) – Call Srinivasan Bhattar in advance in case one reaches the temple after noon/evening
How to reach
Cheran Maha Devi is about 20kms West of Tirunelveli and 10kms East of Ambasamudram. Buses ply every 10minutes from Tirunelveli and Ambai.
When in Cheran Maha Devi also visit Ramaswamy Temple which is 1km South of the Appan Venkatachalapathy temple.
Mannar Koil Rajagopalaswamy is 15kms from here and Thirukurungudi Divya Desam is about 30kms from Cheran Maha Devi.