Vast Udaiyathur - Sudalaimadaswamy Temple and Picnic Spot at Tirunelveli


This article is published with a self interest to bring out the history of a temple called VAST Udaiyathur which exists from 1800 AD, its development as a proper temple and its importance as a picnic spot for the benefit of those interested to go on a picnic from the nearby local area in the district of Tirunelveli of Tamilnadu.

Introduction to Viswakula Arulmighu Sudalaimadaswamy Temple (VAST)

Does God exist? It is a question often raised in the minds of people, when they find things go against their efforts, despite having faith in God. God does exist for those who believe and does not exist for those who have no belief or faith. Hinduism is full of Gods and Goddesses. There are innumerable deities with varying powers. Has anyone seen God? How does he or she look like? Is he or she also like a human? No one knows about the exact figure of God. God created the world and the mankind. We created the Gods with our own imagination and perception in the form of idols. God is a wholehearted faith and belief. He is omnipotent and omnipresent. There is no permanent dwelling for Him on the earth. Since we created him with our own imagination and perception, we have offered him a place called Temple. The author of this article has strong faith and belief in his family deity called "Sudalaimadaswamy", a divine power at Udaiyathur village in the district of Tirunelveli in South Tamilnadu in India.



History of my Deity Lord Sudalaimadaswamy VAST

My ancestors, somewhere in the year 1800 AD, perceived a deity called "Sudalaimadaswamy" who is said to have come to the rescue of the family in times of serious trouble. He was promised and offered a dwelling place in our native village. A few handful of earth from the original abode Seevalaperi of Sudalaimadaswamy was brought along with the holy water from the river Tamirabharani flowing nearby, and the deity was established in the form of a plain structure made out of black clay. This resembled the great Sudalaimadaswamy. The structure had no overhead protection or surrounding walls and had survived under the hot sun and pouring rain for many decades.

Our ancestors performed rituals and offered sacrifices and lived happily. As the days went on and the generation changed, the deity was not given due importance. As the regular rituals were not performed and the family members showed less interest towards the family deity, the family succumbed to serious trouble with too many human deaths and loss of wealth. When they realized that the trouble was due to their ignorance about their family deity, they resumed rituals and offerings and got relieved from the sorrowful life they experienced in the past. They felt the need of a proper dwelling place for the deity and constructed a small room of 6x6 feet size with raw clay bricks and covered the top with palm leaves. The family members used to get together once in 12 years and performed the rituals to their great deity. As the generation grew, the family members started migrating to nearby towns and villages to earn their livelihood. However, they all joined together and performed the rituals and conducted special celebrations, whenever they felt like.



Present form of the Sudalaimadaswamy Temple and the picnic spot VAST


In the year 1973, the fourth generation members of the family got together and converted the clay structure into a concrete structure and replaced the clay structure of the deity with idols carved out of black stones. Thereafter the temple annual rituals were conducted with a gap of 6 to 10 years. In the year 2004, the fifth generation members took the temple activities very seriously and took interest in renovation of the temple. They constructed a tower on top of the temple with very fine arts and quality paint works. A big hall called "Mandapam" has been constructed very differently with the help of an engineer among the family members. The Mandapam can accommodate people up to a strength of 500 to 600. The temple has been provided with ample water and comfort station facilities to meet the requirement of the persons visiting the temple. The rituals are conducted regularly daily and special rituals on important occasions. Special rituals are performed regularly every month on full moon days and free food is served to the visiting public. The annual ritual function called "Kodai Vizha" is conducted once in a year regularly in the month of May.



Members of the Sudalaimadaswamy Temple - VAST Udaiyathur

A project study was undertaken by the author of this article to know the history and the constituents of the family who worship this Lord Sudalaimadaswamy. The study revealed that the deity was established somewhere in 1800 AD by seven children of one Mr.Azhagia Nambi Achary, who resided in the village called Udaiyathur of Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu. Considering the seven children as first generation and base for the purpose of study about the temple, a detailed survey was carried out and found that a total of 355 male successors have taken birth till to date. So far 95 males have attained their heavenly abode and the temple member strength as on today is accounted as 260. As there could be many female members in the family, it was not taken into account, as they are not considered as members of this temple, but the members of the temple of the family to which they are married to.

A temple family tree chart has been prepared by the project team leader R.Meenakshi Sundaram. The family chart accounts every male member from 1800 AD till the child born till today including the members who passed away. For easy understanding and identification of the family tree a number called FASIN (Family And Self Identification Number ) has been worked out and allotted to the members. This number will enable the members to know about their own family members, viz. father, grand father , grand grand father, brothers and sons and his grand children up to any number of generation. The family chart in Tamil in seven Rainbow colours is available for your view



Deity thy name is VAST (Viswakula Arulmighu Sudalaimadaswamy Temple)


The temple has been christened as "Viswakula Arulmighu Sudalaimadaswamy Temple. It is very fortunate that the temple name has been abbreviated with a unique high quality big word "VAST" taking the first letters from the words Viswakula Arulmighu Sudalaimadaswamy Temple, which the dictionary means as Enormous, immense, very great, infinite, huge etc. In fact, this great word VAST had got set by default. No one thought about it seriously when the name was christened to this Temple. This temple is now famous as VAST Udaiyathur. A prayer song in praise of Lord Sudalaimadaswamy has been composed in Tamil by the author.

Amenities available at the Sudalaimadaswamy Temple-VAST


The member who has been instrumental in raising this temple is Er. R. Meenakshi Sundaram, a retired Executive Engineer of Public Works Department. The village is located in a rain shadow area and faces severe water problem. To overcome this problem in the temple area, a huge water tank has been constructed with many bore wells to meet the requirement of the visiting public. All citizens of this small village utilizes this water facility for all purposes. One of the most important use of this water tank is that it provides water to the cattle of this village. It is a lovely scene to be watched daily when the cattle return from the field or after the feed, they home on to this temple water tank to quench their thirst before getting into their respective shelters. A dining hall and kitchen is also available with cooking facilities for the visitors to this temple. Ours is a private temple and the family members are responsible for the maintenance and conduct of rituals and annual functions. This is done by way of voluntary contribution from the members and special collection during annual functions. The temple has no other source of income.

Sudalaimadaswamy temple - VAST Udaiyathur is a picnic spot to visit


The temple is located in an open atmosphere, surrounded by green trees and plants with abundant fresh and medicated air flowing through the western ghats. The Temple hall can provide shelter for more than 500 people. The dining hall with a kitchen has been constructed with permanent tables and sitting structures to facilitate dining of 100 people at a time. Abundant water is available for any number of visitors. It has a vast area for the children to play. Enough parking place is available for visitors to park their vehicles. In total, it is a good picnic spot to those who wish to spend a day in peace and happiness. The temple is located in a village called Udaiyathur which is at a distance of 6 km on the east of Radhapuram of Tirunelveli district in Tamilnadu.It is approximately 24 km from the National Highway at Vallioor. The village has been provided with good approach roads. Bus facilities are also available from Tirunelveli, Vallioor and Nagercoil. There is also another famous Mutharamman temple at Udaiyathur village.

This article is dedicated to:


Er. R.Meenakshi Sundaram, B.E, M.I.E,(E.E,PWD(Retd)- The Architect of VAST.
Smt. R.Nithya Kalyani Ammal - The donor for free food distribution during the Annual function.
Smt. Rajeswari Sundaram. B.Com,
Dr. Mini Sundaram, M.Sc,(Plant Pathology) Ph.D.
Dr.S.Rajasimman, B.Com, MA(Def Sty), M.Phil, Ph.D.
And all the members belonging to the VAST family


Comments

Guest Author: Rajasimman18 Feb 2022

This is to inform all readers of this article, that its author Lt Cdr R M Sundaram passed away on 20th December 2021. He was 72 yrs of age and is survived by his wife, daughter, and son. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much I did.

Author: Vandana01 Mar 2022 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 1

Dr.S.Rajasimman,

We will miss him and have conveyed our feelings through this forum thread. Our deepest condolences to all of you.



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