The World that was – Miracle do happen
Anjaneyar of the Grand Anicut
From the pages of THE HINDU
October 11 to 19, 1942
Close by the side of the 19th shutter of the Grand Anicut in Tanjore district stands a shrine hidden under the parapet inside which is a small stone figure of Lord Anjaneya.
A little bit of history will explain how the intriguing and little known temple came into existence, The Chola kings were faced with the problem of regulating the flood waters between the coleroon and he Cauvery. Much of the Cauvery waters was carried off into the coleroon which runs in a lower bed. The Cholas surmounted this difficulty by building of the Grand Anicut across the outlet in the Coleroon. The construction hen consisted of a solid mass o rough stone in clay 1,080 feet in length, 40 to 60 feet breadth and 15 to 18 feet in depth, stretching across the outlet in a serpentine form.
The Grand Anicut as it stands now was raised by the British Engineers in the Year 1806. After a phenomenal effort lasting many years, the foundation was at last laid, the spans of the bridge raised and the road made, certain strange incidents occurred much to the dismay of the engineers and the massive work force engaged in the construction.
One morning, a sub-ordinate official of the department who came on his usual round of inspection, found the 19th span of the anicut had collapsed overnight. The accident was attributed to the poor quality of materials used in the construction. The structure was rebuilt in month, this time much greater care and closer supervision than before. Soon after completion, however, tragedy struck yet again and the same archway came down again in a mass of stone and rubble.
Stupefied by those events, the engineers and the construction workers were naturally at a loss to explain the catastrophy. Following the second collapse, the subordinate official in charge of inspection revealed the details of a dream he had the night following the first collapse where Lord Hanuman appeared to him and said, “I am lying under the bed of the river. Unless you unearth me and build a shrine for me at the very spot, the demolition will go on and nothing on earth can prevent it.”
The British engineer-in-charge, however, scoffed at the story and sent his sub-ordinate away. That same night, almost miraculously, the burra sahib, had a veritable succession of nightmares. His sleep was disturbed by dreams in which monkeys menacingly rushed at him, clawing him and letting out deafening shrill cries. Troubled by the terrible nightmares which lasted through the night, the engineer called a group of friends the next morning and narrated the story to them. Those Englishmen too scoffed at the dream and suggested that their friend had perhaps begun to believe subconsciously and irrationally in his subordinate’s story. This probably gave the engineer the assurance he needed, but the peace was not last very long.
“That very night, Lord Hanuman appeared to the engineer in his dream and said, “you have constructed this dam without building a shrine for I am the guardian deity of this dam. S, I razed it to dust Again yo built the dam, and again it runs directly over the spot where I rest. It will not stand. Make a bend at this spot and enshrine me where you find me and you shall succeed.”
The following morning, the engineer ordered the rubble cleared and the river bed dug up at the same spot. There under the 19th span was the idol of Lord Anjaneya. The engineer promptly ordered a temple built and the kumbabhisekam performed on a grand scale. The anicut was also remodeled according to the directions given to the engineer in his dream.
“The shrine can be visited even to this day by descending two flights of stairs leading from the bridge and the Departments of Engineering and Roadways still meet the monthly expenses of the Pooja. The Chronicle seems yet another piece of Indian folklore, but roof of it veracity may be obtained by reference to old records of the Engineering Department of Tanjore district. This incident also finds mention in some of the later editions of the Tanjore District Gazetteer.
Courtesy, THE HINDU
Courtesy, Mr.Ranganathan, Chairmen, CCDDS, Tanjore and Dr.Chidambaram, CCDDS, Tanjore.
More info from [Ed : Vayusutha, December 2011] Sri Hanumath Jayanti Special:
............................Structures built by British
Today the original ‘Kallanai’ immortalised by Karikala Chola is visible only during summer when the river is dry. British had built sluices [நீரொழுங்கி] and bridges [மதகு] over them and today we could see Kallanai along with these structures only. There is a wonderful structure that these British were asked to build on Kallanai, which you may miss if you are not aware. The structure is a temple for Sri Anjaneya Swami. The temple is on the Kollidam River regulator side.
Regulators across Kollidam
Right on the dike built by Karikallan across Kollidam River, the British wanted to build water regulating gates and bridge. Captain J.L.Calddell was in-charge of the project during that time. The work progressed well but when they took up construction of 19th vent they could not complete the same. They had tried several times to finish but could not. It was a mystery to the officer in charge of the site who had to spend sleepless nights.
The engineer in charge Captain J.L.Calddell one night had a strange dream in which Sri Anjaneya appeared and persuaded him to build a temple for Him at that spot. The British was not prepared to believe this and continued trying rebuilding the 19th vent but in vain. He did not share his dream with anybody, but in a few days a group of monkeys flocked him reminding about Sri Anjaneya. Captain was not moved and remained stubborn. But the next day a mestiri [mason in-charge] reported to the Captain stating that he had a dream in which Sri Anjaneya telling him that a temple should be build at the spot for Him. Captain was taken aback to hear the description given by the mestiri and changed his mind. He then allowed construction of the temple for Sri Anjaneya at the very same spot as directed by Him in the dream.
There is a stone, in one corner of the temple as a record of this fact to with a note “Repaired this colling LHA & Erected the 26s upright stones by Cap. J.L.Calddel AD 1804”. Below this there is a note in Tamil stating that the stone is erected as per the orders of the Government. On the other side of the stone Sri Hanuman’s figure had been engraved [as we see in temple pillars].
It is more than two hundred years that Lord Sri Hanuman is protecting this two thousand years old bridge. It is widely believed that He is the Protector of the two thousand year old Kallanai and the Master who irrigates the Thanjavur delta. Every year before the water is released for cultivation of paddy to the delta, poojas are conducted in this temple. Every season before the water is released for cultivation of first ‘bogam’, the paddy seeds are first offered to the Lord then to the river and then the water for irrigation is released from all sluices. Farmers, Engineers and Ministers used to participate in this pooja ceremony.
Poojas are conducted in all the other three temples around, namely Sri Vinayaka, Sri Kaliamman and Sri Karuppannachami at that time.
Come and see the Lord who is protecting the two thousand year old Kallanai for the last two hundred years standing in a unique spot. A Marvel! He is protector of one and all, surrender yourself and see what all He bestows on you.
[Ed : December 2011] Sri Hanumath Jayanti Special