(Last Updated on : 14-08-2010)
The historical background of the temple deciphered it as one of the ancient and antique temple. The architectural trappings on the walls of the temple point to the traditional grandeur of the temple. Moreover the superb architecture on the temple walls also added a stately magnificence to the temple. This temple, built in the 16th century A.D as the historical researches revealed. The temple architecture depicts the Vijayanagar style and has several unique features. The superb craftsmanship of the contemporary artists is evident from the structural design of the temple. The principal sanctum is north facing marks the uniqueness of the temple. The structural design is very rare as most temples face either east or west. The striking aspect of the temple is that there is only one sanctum, which is dedicated to Lord Hanuman, inside this very vast temple-complex. Other than this principal shrine, there are no other sanctums, not even niches, where images of other Gods or Goddesses are worshipped. The principal sanctum also enshrines the very beautiful icon of Lord Anjaneya. The imposing image of the lord Anjaneya is approximately six feet high, in the attitude of a devotee (Bhakta Anjaneya) with his hands folded in the posture of anjali hasta. On a wall of this sanctum is inscribed in bold Grantha alphabet the celebrated Sanskrit poem composed by Ettur Lakshmikumara Tatacharya when he was accosted by the bandits at this very place. The same poem is also found inscribed in several places in the Sri Varadarajasvami temple in Kanchipuram. The utsava-murtis or the processional images are highly fascinating and constitutes the captivating images of Lord Rama, his consort Sita Devi, Lakshmana and Hanuman of this temple. These images are enshrined in another small shrine in the crowded portion of Ayyangar Kulam village for safety.
The structural design of the temple points to the architectural craftsmanship of the artists of the contemporary period. The vimana above the main sanctum is known as Hanuman Vimanam. The maha-mandapa in front of the main shrine is supported by as many as fifty massive, carved pillars, beautifully aligned, presenting the symmetrical beauty, which reflects the exceptional skill of the architects of the Vijayanagar epoch. The ceiling of this mandapa, a specimen of the Vijayanagara art still bears faint traces of murals, which is painted by artists five hundred years ago. The temple-complex has three circumambulatory passages (prakaras). The innermost and the narrow prakara runs immediately around the garbha-griha, while in the other two outer ones are seen a number of four-pillared mandapas, which are very ornate and majestic despite their present dilapidated condition.
The stupendously large sacred tank situated on the northern side of this temple testifies the craftsmanship of the contemporary artists. The captivating tank is located in front of the main entrance, deserves special mention. The tank is popularly called Tatasamudram, in honour of Kotikanyadanam Lakshmikumara Tatacharya; the tank occupies an area of 133 acres in total. Enclosed by a high bund called Valkottai, it casts an attractive sight, especially during the rainy season when it holds plenty of water. Even in summer, the portion immediately in front of the temple remains partially full. It is to this bund that people suffering from various ailments come to inhale the pristine air, which devotees believe has curative powers due to the association with the Sanjeevi hill.
The entire structure of the temple and the images enshrined in it and also the beautiful tank in front of the temple testify the superiority of the architectural style of the then era. Hence Sri Sanjeevi Rayar temple apart from having a religious and legendary significance has also a special importance among the ancient temples of South India because of its brilliant sculpture.