On Christmas day, some of our tiruneri manram members went on a day trip. Our first port of call was a place called Attur, a few miles from Chengalpattu. This is the family town of ‘Cho’ Ramasamy and is situated on the banks of Palar. There is an ancient Sivan temple , Dharmasamvardani sametha Muktheeswarar temple. There are four other sivan shrines here. All these lingams were dug out of the fields. Except one lingam others have been established in permanent but simple shrines. One deity is in a coconut thatch shed, more exposed than covered. The nandhi is subject to natural elements. The owner of the land firmly refuses to donate the land ( a few square yards ) and would be glad to get rid of the temporary shrine. Don’t get me wrong…. The other temples have regular poojas and regular devotees. We came across a siva bhaktha , Sri Raghavan, who volunteered to take us to all these temples. During weekends he and his family go to each of these temples and spruce up the place. We promised to donate vilakku ennai (mixture of gingelly oil, iluppai ennai and others) regularly to a temple. This promise is being honoured from December.

We went to another temple nearly, at Williampakkam. This temple is about 300 years old. The vimanas and facades have been given a gold coating (ormolu). This arrangement is surely cheaper than gold plating. I have seen similar gold painted vimanas elsewhere… Probably it will become more popular… nowadays you see the vimanas with yellow/orange paint

Leaving Attur, we went to Mamandur via Kanchipuram. Mamandur has some low hills where the Pallava king in the 6th century AD, hewed out four caves, two unfinished and the remaining two nearly complete. The finished caves housed deities. But now only one sannidhi has a sivalingam and the other sannidhis are vacant. This site is under the control and care of Archaeological Survey of India. This is fairly well maintained. This complex is surrounded by rice fields. We saw only youngsters visiting this place. No they did not come to learn and appreciate the cultural heritage of Tamilnadu. This is a convenient secluded picnic spot, more a tryst. There were lots of two wheelers.