top of page

The Glory of 18 Vadhyama Villages - Part 4



One of the major Vathima villages, which a hyper-prospective village with its folks highly prospective somewhere in the world. Ananthathandavapuram is a village in Mayiladuthurai taluk, Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu. This village is about 5 kilometres north of Mayiladuthurai. There is a town bus (No.7) from Mayiladuthurai and some minibuses to reach this village. Also, other modes of conveyance are available. There is a small Railway Station within the limits of the village.

Latitude Longitude 11°8'28"N 79°39'45"E

A Story Behind the Name 'Anandathandavapuram’:

Once upon a time there was a hermit by the name Ananda. He was a devout Saivite. He used to go to any Siva Temple any time through his yogic powers. It is said that he used to take bath in Rameswaram and then go to Chidambaram from there again by his powers. Also it is said that he used to go to Mahendramalai for meditation. This had become his daily routine. By night he would be in Anandathandavapuram.

One cold morning Lord Shiva decided to test his devotee. It was Thiruvathirai, an auspicious day for Shiva puja and all the Shiva temples wore a festive look. It is stated that Rain started lashing and that it didn’t stop. Also, the story goes to say that he could not use his yogic powers in rain and he could not go to any Siva temple for Darshan. and the hermit couldn’t use his yogic abilities too on this day. He felt very bad and prepared to end his life. It is further stated that Shiva and his consort appeared before him and also danced for him, 'Ananda Thandavam' thandavam. Since Shiva danced in this village, it got is present name of Anandathandavapuram.


As per the 2001 census, Anandathandavapuram had a population of 3560 with 1796 males and 1764 females. The sex ratio was 982 and the literacy rate, 76.4. Also, there were around hundred families from Vadhyama community and now there are only 40.

Other Facilities:

Apart from the temples and the Railway Station there is a POST OFFICE, GOVT SCHOOL, PHARMACY with DOCTOR Consultation and a good GROCERIES shop at the Agraharam. However, the past generation had the education in Mayiladuthurai an Chidambaram as they are near.

There are three streets including the double street, used to be called as London Street.

There is a main temple dedicated to Lord Siva, called as Sri Pachavateeswarar having separate Sannadhis for other deities. The one near to main Garbhagraham is Sri Jadanathar sannathi, outside there is Lord Nataraja utsava murthy and near to it the Sri Brahannayagi sannathi. In the outside prakaram there is a Sannadhi for Sri Dhakshinamurthy, Pillayar, Murugar with his consorts and in the esanamoolai there is a Sri Mahalakshmi Sannadhi. And the main Ambal Sri Kalyanasundari and Sri Durgai Amman Sannadhis are in outside prakaram. Recently people of this village have installed Pillayar and Anjaneyar idols.

Opposite temple there is one periya kulam. Near to the temple there one small madam .those days sanniyasis used to come and stay there. Now it is not exist. There was one or two brindavanam near to kurukkals house.

Apart from the main temple, there is a temple for Sri Mariamman. During the month of Chithirai there used to be a ten day Uthsavam, as in other villages. Also there is a Perumal temple and Pillayar Koil in the street in between two houses.

And Sri Aiyanar koil is also famous. In contrast to Poorana and pushkalamba, the consorts of Ayyanar in most of the places, here we see sundaramba @ sokkayi samedha Sri Thiruvarasamurthy is kuladeviam for some people. People from faraway places used to come for worship. Veteran singer Sri G.N.Balasubramanian has written a song on this ayyanar – maamakuleswaram in the raga thodi, stating this saastha is his kuladeivam.

And last our Sri Veerappasway is kuladeviam to most of the Vadhyamas. There is a particular type of Pooja called as Veerappasway Pongal or Pallyam.…gX0XEA5rXjQMR7Y5Eu9TjT_TvEs4WjVZUuLXCeOrnThFEutvDJ 24/10/16, 3:21 PM

Page 5 of 15

Celebrations special to this village:

Durgai Amman Pongal:

This is celebrated in the tamil month of Thai by 7 or 8 families. It is usually celebrated on Fridays.

  1. Six marakkal (a measuring unit) rice is cooked and put in a big tray (this tray is made especially for this purpose).

  1. Coconuts are broken and kept in four corners.

  1. Palliyam pooduthal - vettirlai, Pakku, banana,vellam are also kept in four corners. It's in square shape.

  1. In the middle of the tray, 1 litre of milk is poured .

  1. Priest will do the Pooja by invocating Durgai amman in the ghatam.

  1. After the puja, deepa aradhanai is shown.

  1. Small amount of rice is kept for the family.

  1. Remaining rice is distributed to other community.

  1. Separately 1 padi rice is given to the temple for Durgai Amman.

  1. All members of the family meet on that day.

  1. Even the neighbors are also invited for the Pooja and then for the lunch.

Sri Jayanthi Celebrations:

During sri jayanthi, girls will put up a drama. One or two groups will be formed. Each group would then go to all the houses and collect money. People used to give five or ten paise or Naalana. Maximum will be one rupee. With that money they will buy some pencil, rubber, scale etc. On that day of sri jayanthi, in the evening we will go to all the house with one tumbler and ask for oil. They will put one or two spoons of oil in each tumbler. We will collect all the oil and give it to a small hotel in the village’s bus stand (Iyengar coffee club) . In return the hotel man will give a small packet of kara boondhi, in required number. On the night of sri jayanth,i we will have a stage play from silappathigaram ( that is kannagi 's kall silambu odaithal part). The girls will arrange themselves on the stage, and screen, crowns for king etc will be made out of card board and colour paper. Even the elders would come and enjoy the show. At the end prizes will be distributed and the kaaraa boondhi packets too to all those who participated. While collecting the oil the girls use to sing a song.

srijayanthi ambalam, sivarathri ambalam, pattani ambalam, baranai ambalam ,

Sri krishnukku ennaio ennai.

Enlightened Celebrities connected to the village:

Manakanchara Nayanar, was a Nayanar saint and he is generally counted as the twelfth in the list of 63 Nayanars. Manakanchara Nayanar is dated to the 8th century and was a contemporary of Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar, a Nayanar saint who happens to be his son-in-law. Also, he was a contemporary of Sundarar. The life of Manakanchara Nayanar is described in Periyava Puranam. Manakanchara Nayanar was born in Kancharur. He was a Vellalar, by birth. He was a great devotee of Shiva. He was the commander-in-chief of the Chola army. Manakanchara became a powerful and wealthy commander. He received devotees of Shiva with Bhakti and humility; generously donated gifts.

However, Manakanchara did not have a child. He prayed to Shiva for a child and was blessed with a daughter. The daughter is called Punniya Vardhini. She was instilled with values of devotion to Shiva by her father from childhood. She grew up to become a beautiful maiden, with long and beautiful locks of hair. The family elders arranged her marriage to Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar, who was a Vellalar commander-in-chief of the Chola kingdom. The prospective groom also shared the devotion and love for Shiva with Manakanchara Nayanar.

During wedding, while the bridegroom was on the way to the marriage venue at Manakanchara Nayanar's house, Shiva disguised himself as a Shaiva yogi with sacred ash smeared over his body, matted hair and wearing garlands of bones and skulls and a yagnopavita (Poonool) made of human hair called a panchavati. Manakanchara Nayanar welcomed and honoured the ascetic. The ascetic enquired about the festivities and in response, Manakanchara Nayanar informed him of his daughter's wedding. When she arrived and sought the blessings of the ascetic, he commented that her long hair would have been ideal for making his panchavati. Without giving it a second thought, taking the statement as a command by the yogi, Manakanchara Nayanar chopped off the hair of his daughter and gifted them to the ascetic, in an act of supreme devotion to Shiva's devotees. The daughter of Manakanchara Nayanar had lost her hair, the reason of her beauty, and faced the risk of rejection by the bridegroom. The ascetic disappeared immediately, as soon as he accepted the hair. Shiva along with his consort Parvati gave a divine vision to the family of Manakanchara Nayanar, pleased with their service. The divine couple blessed the family and disappeared. The bride's beautiful hair were also restored. Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar and his wedding party arrived at the place and got to know what had happened. They accepted the girl in marriage with devotion. Sundarar venerates Manakanchara Nayanar in the Tiruthonda Thogai, a hymn to Nayanar saints. He is described as generous and having hill like shoulders.

The temple of Sri Panchavateeswarar temple, dedicated to Shiva, marks the vision of Shiva to Manakanchara Nayanar. It is located Anandathandavapuram, Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu. An image of Shiva called Jata Nathar (the Lord of the hair) depicts Shiva with a lock of hair - alluding to the hair of Manakanchara Nayanar's daughter - in his hands. Manakanchara Nayanar is worshipped in the Tamil month of Margazhi, when the moon enters the Svati nakshatra.

Sri Gopalakrishna Bharathi, (1810-1896), was born in Narimanam near Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. His father Sri. Ramaswamy Aiyar ang grandfather were Veena artists. He had his early education from his father in Mudikondan. In search of Sanskrit knowledge he travelled from Mudikondan to Tiruvidaimaruthur, Konerirjapuram and Anandathandavapuram before returning to Mudikondan. After a brief period he shifted his stay to Anandathandavapuram under the care of one Sri Annu Aiyar.

Thamizh Thattha UV Swaminatha Aiyar has given two sources for Bharati's life. These are a biography of the composer and his own autobiography, which contains references to Bharati, who he claims was his music teacher. He was a contemporary of the Musical Trinity and there is an episode connecting his meeting with Saint Tyagaraja and his famous krithi in Abhogi, 'Sabapathikku'.

Gopalakrishna Bharati composed many famous works like 'Katakalatchepam' and 'Nandanar Charitram' and a number of independent kritis in praise of Anantha Koothan Thillai Nataraja. NantanAr Carittiram is a katAkALatcEpam, a genre of religious story-telling with music that was popular in Tamil Nadu in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was never inclined to the worldly life and was devoted to Lord Siva which took him to Siva temples near the Kaveri River. He also loved listening stories on the Saiva Nayanmars. Gopalakrishna Bharati also composed musical narratives about other Saiva Nayanmars like 'Iyarpakai Nayanar Charitram', 'Tirnnilakantha Nayanar Charitram' and 'Karaikkal Amtnaiyar '. Many of his kruthies inherently contained essence of Advita Vedanta Concepts. They had his chosen Mudra 'Gopalakrishna'. Many musicians started using his compositions over a time period. His in the current music scenario needs no explanation. Individual songs of Gopalakrishna Bharati became popular with Carnatic musicians. Later, Bharata Natyam dancers took up select pieces for interpretation as abhinaya. The album of the film version starring the singer M. M. Dhandapani Desigar as Nandanar , with music direction by Papanasam Sivan remains popular. Also, the story of Nandanar, as Bharati developed it, had considerable resonance with the Nationalist movement in India.

It is interesting to note that a Karaikkal based French official called Cisse helped Bharathi to bring out Nandanar Charitham in print.

Celebrities of this generation:

There were and are number of persons who are known to the Vathima Community as such. The list includes Mantramurthy Sri Rengasamy Aiyangar (called Anandaram Aiyangar), Sri Rasigamami Subbu, Pattamaniyam Sri Sundaresan Aiyar, Sub Judge Thyagaraja AIyar among others. Sri Ramadoss Aiyar, a versatile spokesman of the village was an authority on Sastras and Rituals.

Mantramurthy Sri Rengaswamy Bhattachariar:

When people have problems, especially with respect to health, it is said that there are ways, Mani, Mantram and Oushadam. Sri Rengaswamy Bhattachariar, popularly known as Anandram Aiyangar was the most used source for the second one Mantram. There were many cases where he had provided solutions using his Emerald Ring. His advices, if followed were seen to relieve the person from the problem. By his popularity, he used to organise Radha -Madhava Uthsavam known as Sri Radha Kalyanam. It was so famous that all the Musicians used to compete to get a chance to sing in the Uthsavam. This function continues even today.

Rasigamami Subbu Mama:

A person who was always smiling and interacting with any one irrespective of age was Rasigamani. Invariably he used to be a speaker, either delivering introductory remarks or valedictory speech in almost all functions connected to the 18 villages. His catch words 'Gir Coffee', 'Chanadana Pela', 'Thanga Tampalam' and the like were key words for youngsters. His knowledge in mythology was appreciated by none other than Upanyasaka Chkravarthy Sri Sengalipuram Anantharama Dheekshitar and in his discourses if Rasigamani was present Sri Dheekshitar used to request Rasigamani to speak a few words. Also known as SAS mama, he took to sanyayasam in the final phase of his life. He had done a lot of services directed at improving facilities in the village.

Pattamaniam Sundaresan AIyar:

Sri Sundaresa AIyar was the only son of Pattamaniyam N.Subramanya Aiyer of A N Puram. A self made personality who mastered a command over English Hindi and Tamil without formal education. He married Ms.Janaki Ammal from Thippirajapuram. When Gandhiji made a call for HARIJAN Seva he liberally donated a big some and started an endowment in Annamalai University and made it possible for two socially and economically back ward students to pursue a course every year. One among the earliest graduate was Former minister and congress leader Mrs. Maragadham Chandrasekar. He was instrumental in renovating the Sivan Koil Tank and for this he was awarded a title 'POORTHAVIDHYADHURANTHARA' by Kanchi Paramacharya. He was very close to Sachivothama Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer.He constructed a General Ward and donated to Mayavaram Govt. Hospital. It was inaugurated by Sir C P. His association with high profile people could be observed In photograph placed in his house where he is seen sitting with Sir C P and Field Marshall Cariappa in the Thaazhvaram of his house. Once he went to Varanasi he got very fond of varanasi he started visiting every year so he constructed a room in Kanchi mutt and donated that also.In the later years he made a trust in the name of 'Gita Bhagavatha Trust' Every year he use to conduct pravachanams based on Gita.Even now it is continued by his Son S A S Balaganesan who is residing in Bangalore.

Kamatchi Patti:

A venerable lady having immense faith and Bhakti in Pramacharya, Kamu Patti was a resident of this village. She used to provide PORI (ெபா$) regularly for the use of Maha Priyava. There is a Padhuka of Maha Periyava with her which she used in her Pooja regularly.

Anai Su Kunchithapatham:

Son of Athananiyathu Sundaresa Aiyer and Neelambal, Anai su Kunchithapadam was a noted short story writer during the 50's and 60's. I think he must have written around 20 to 25 stories.

All his stories came in Ananda vikatan, Kalki and Kalaimagal. When Anandavikatan started giving prize for the best short story from each district he got it for his story "THURAVI PAYANAM'. This story dealt with how Gandhism influenced the masses and paved way for a change in the country and society. When Writer Maalan brought out The best 100 short stories of the century during the millenneum 2000 -2001 this story was added in that anthology. Later he stopped writing stories and made foray in to agricultural research. Series of articles appeared in Kalki and he designed a harvesting machine and it was lying in the Thinnai of his house till recent times. Personally he was a very humble person and never boastful of his achievements. He was somewhat agnostic about the religious rituals which was followed. His son Dr.K.Swaminathan is now heading the Department of Biological Science in National university of Singapore and he did his Doctoral studies in IIT MUMBAI and later in University of Pennisylvenia.

Bombay Gnanam:

Smt Gnanam Balasubramanian, popularly known as Bombay Gnanam is a versatile actor, play writer and director. A native of AnandaThandavapuram, She is married to Sri Balasubramanian of Kothavasal. Her husband worked for Income Tax department at Bombay and the city provided her a platform for showcasing her talents as a stage drama artist.

She had no formal training in Acting and it was purely accidental when she heard some eminent actors commenting why do ladies never write or direct dramas?

She founded Mahalakshmi Ladies Drama Group in 1989 and it has been successful till date. It is an ALL LADIES Group, where even the male part in the drama is enacted by women. The group has hosted several dramas under different themes related to women welfare (dowry problem, widow remarriage etc), children welfare and spiritual ones. Popular now a days is SRI BHAGAWAN NAMA BODHENDHRAL.

She had received numerous awards. To name a few -

  1. Nataka Choodamani from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai

  2. Nataka padhmam from Sri Brahmma Gana Sabha, Chennai

  3. Mylapore Academy award, chennai for her contribution to Tamil drama

  4. Kalaimamani from Government of Tamil Nadu

  5. Vani kala sudhakara from Vani mahal, chennai.

Article Courtesy: Professor Krishnamurthy Kalyanaraman


2,369 views0 comments
bottom of page