To compose the previous post “Home at Last!” on Arunachala Grace, I spent time sorting through photographs of the Big Temple to find one taken in the inside of the Raja Gopuram. Whilst sorting through my collection of snaps thought it might be interesting to post the below photograph, which is a panoramic view of the Temple and surrounds taken from upstairs inside the Raja Gopuram.
|Photo of Big Temple and right side Pavala Kundru Hillock and Temple|
As well as being a very beautiful photograph, what makes it even more fascinating is the small hillock at the right bottom of the photograph. On top of which is the Pavala Kundru Temple of which many fascinating legends abound.
For the purpose of this posting, I post the below history.
In 1790 Tippu Sultan captured Tiruvannamalai over-riding the Treaty of Mangalore (1784 A.D.) in which he and the English agreed to mutual restoration of conquests and exchange of prisoners. Tippu Sultan attacked Thiagadurga Fort (30 miles south of Tiruvannamalai). The whole population of the surrounding region took refuge in this fort.
Activated by the news from Thiagadurga and apprehending attack, the inhabitants of Tiruvannamalai collected arms and men to defend themselves till British reinforcements arrived. When Tippu Sultan attacked Tiruvannamalai, its inhabitants put up a brave resistance but were compelled to surrender in the end. Tippu Sultan, it is said, occupied the hillock of Pavalakundru after destroying the small shrine that was there. His solders, it seems, were cruel to the people of the town but strangely the Temple of Sri Arunachala was left untouched, barring a single cannon shot that was fired at it. The missile seems to have hit a part of the northern wall causing minimal damage. After camping there for some weeks, Tippu Sultan and his army left Tiruvannamalai.
|Pavala Kundru Temple on Hillock|
If you mentally delete all the recent construction between the Pavalakundru Hillock and Arunachaleswarar Temple, it is easy to visualise the invading Tippu Sultan army camped on the Hillock with their army and canons, raining their shot down upon the outside of the northern wall of the Arunachaleswarar Temple compound.
A gun belonging to Tippu Sultan was found buried near the hillock where he had camped. It was taken and placed in a museum in Madras. Ramana Maharshi said that whatever Temple might have existed on or about Pavalakundru seemed to have disappeared probably on account of Tippu Sultan’s invasion. The present Temple was probably built only a hundred and fifty years ago.