Alappuzha: The Thiruvizha Mahadeva Temple near Cherthala has courted a major controversy by selling two 3.5-feet ancient darushilpas (wooden sculptures) worth lakhs of rupees.
The temple is believed to be consecrated by Swamy Vilwamangalam who lived in the 14th century installing Shiva in the form of Lord Kalakantha (Lord Siva who swallowed poison during Palazhi Madhanam) and is famed for making devotees vomit poisonous elements they eat, using certain indigenous medicines.
The temple administration sold centuries-old monuments without consulting with either district administration or archaeology authorities.
The two dwarapalakas carved in wood are an important attraction of the temple. The devotees enter the temple after touching their feet.
The monuments, which had found a place in Aithihyamala and Mahakshetrangalude Mumbil by Nalankal Krishna Pillai, were sold off last week to buyers in Eranakulam as part of its renovation. Sathyapal, chairman, Lalithakala Academy said the state was their owner.
"The temple administration has committed a serious crime," he told DC.
"Our team had made a physical verification the other day. The temple authorities failed to show it. We have sought a thorough probe."
Legend says in the fourteenth century a member of Thalakkatt family had a dream instructing him to tie up a madman overnight at the temple where a new plant will appear next day.
"Nip a hand full of leaves from the plant and give it to the priest. He would take the juice out of it and mix it with cow milk and do Pantheeradi pooja to the Kalakanda.
"Then keep it with three chakras before the temple and take out the milk and make the mad man drink it. One hour later, give the devotee tepid water. Then he would vomit a lot. In the noon make him eat the milk kheer (paal payasam) offered to the Yakshi. He would become all right.”
This dream was followed, and the man regained his sanity. Lunatics were brought to the temple, and the same treatment followed. Most of them became alright.
Many celebrities including Rajinikanth, Prithviraj and Bhanupriya, had visited the temple to take part in the ritual. Sudhakara Panicker, the vice-chairman, temple protection action council, said the temple administered by private devaswom gets at least Rs 1 lakh each day as 60 to 70 people arrive for Marunnu Seva. "The temple committee took the decision to sell the monuments without understanding its monetary value. We came to know the temple authorities sold it for Rs 20 lakh," he told DC.
Prof Elanji Radhakrishnan, president, temple administration committee, admitted that they had sold it on the instruction of the Thantri and Devaprasnam.
"As per the desire of the deity no handicapped structures can be there after renovation. We sold it at a competitive rate. It was carved in jackfruit tree wood. A new teak structure will replace it," he told DC....