KANNUR: Former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa shared a special relation with Talipparamba Rajarajeshwara Temple in Kannur, one of the 108 ancient Kerala temples dedicated to Shiva. It was after her visit 15 years ago that the 1,000-year-old temple rose to national prominence with many VVIPs, including former Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yedyurappa and former BCCI president N, Sreenivasan, later visited the temple and offered many articles and even an elephant.
Jayalalithaa visited the temple on July 2, 2001, along with her aide Sasikala and astrologer Parappanangadi Unnikrishnan Namboodiri, after visiting Guruvayur Temple and Sree Aalathiyur Perumthrukkovil in Tirur. She reached the temple around 9 p.m. when only half an hour was left for the sanctum sanctorum to close. She offered a golden and a silver pot specially brought from Chennai to the deity.
“After that visit, whenever she had success and crisis in her life, she conducted many poojas and offerings to Sree Rajarajeshwara,” said TTK Devaswom Board executive officer M. Narayanan Namboodiri. “For the last five months, daily ‘Neyyamrithu’ was offered in her name for her speedy recovery. Last week a team from her office had visited here and done poojas,” he added. Though Jayalalithaa planned for a second visit in 2012, it didn’t happen due to other issues.
“The present chief minister O. Panneerselvam, who was the then finance minister, visited the temple to check the arrangements. For some reasons, that visit never took place,” the officer added. In 1999, Tamil Nadu native Mariyappan- an ardent follower of Jayalithaaa-offered an elephant for her to the temple named as Sivasundaran - which died last year. The visit also created controversies as the temple authorities were criticised for opening the temple for an extra hour for Jayalalithaa and also for reconstructing a step in the temple for easing her entry.