Tamil temple consecrated in Myanmar
Around 200, 000 devotees of all religions gathered at the Peelikan village near Yankon in Myanmar on Sunday to participate in the consecration ceremonies (Kudamuzhukku) of the Angkaa’la Parameasvari – Muneesvarar temple, which is popularly known as Aiyaa Koayil, reports Thiyagarajan Solai from Myanmar. The anthropological significance of this temple that was built 150 years ago is that it is revered as a kind of a ‘court of justice’ not only by the Tamil diaspora but also by the natives.
Aiyaa Koayil was founded in the form of a trident placed under a fig tree (Arasa Maram), by Tamil cultivators who migrated to Myanmar from the agricultural villages of Tamil Nadu in the 19th century.
Today, only 20 Tamil families survive in this village surrounded by vast stretches of paddy fields. But the temple has become a central place for the entire Tamil agricultural community in that part of Myanmar.
Every Fridays and Tuesdays, people of all religions come to the temple to file their cases for divine judgement. Some times the temple calls the accused, and if compromise not possible the matter is left to divine judgement, by burning camphor. People fear the power of divine judgement, writes Thiyagarajan.
The most important annual festival of the temple that takes place for ten days, associated with fire-walk etc., culminates on Pangkuni Uththaram (the full moon day in the month of March-April when moon conjuncts the constellation of Uththaram).
A feature about this temple that may interest students of diaspora study is that when many Tamils in Myanmar had to go out as refugees in the 1960s, they brought the soil of this temple to build temples in their new settlements. Such temples are found in Paadiya-nalloor, Thanjavur, E’n’noor and Viyaasarpaadi in Tamil Nadu and in some places bordering India and Myanmar.
The renovation of the temple was started in 2002. For the consecration on Sunday that was performed according to Agamic rites, 120 Sivaachchaariyas and their assistants have come from Tamil Nadu. Many devotees have also come from Singapore, Malaysia and Tamil Nadu.