In search of imprints of Buddha: Buddhamangalam

While discussing on my subject historian Mr Kudavayil Balasubramanian advised me to go to the places which were connected with Buddhism. This became part of my field work resulting in searching of the names connected with Buddha or Buddhism.

As I had to submit my Ph.D., thesis before December 1999, the number of my field trips increased. In the meantime I collected the news items which appeared in newspapers and other works. Surprisingly, I came across a news item in Dinamalar, Tamil Daily in which it was reported that there was a Buddha. It read thus: "A Buddha statue was found at Buddhamangalam in Akarakadambanur panchayat union of Kilvelur taluk in Nagapattinam district. Some years back the head portion and the body portion were found without any body's care.  Some villagers took interest to retrieve them. With the help of Thailand Buddhists they set up a peetam and put the statue on it. They could not able to connect the head portion."   During field work I came to know that there were head of Buddha statues in Ayyampet and Muzhaiyur. But this is the very first time I came to know of joining the head portion with the body portion of the statue. I waited to see the Buddha.

The D-Day has come. On that day I went to Tiruvarur and from there reached Kil Velur. After getting from the bus I enquired about the Buddha. While one said that whether I was enquiring about the temple to which the Thailand Buddhists used to come. Other person asked me whether I came to see the Buddha which would bring the rain. I came to know that the temple was situated at a distance of 2 km. I went there and saw the mandapa like structure. 
Buddha Temple (1999)
Photo : Dr B. Jambulingam

In the mandapa, which was called as Buddha temple by the people, I saw a Buddha in sitting dhyana posture. I came to know that in order to get rain chilllies would be rubbed on the statue. Then it would be garlanded with yercum flower. If this was done, it would be raining. They said after the temple was built they did not continue the practice. I also came to know stories connected with rain in Tirunattiyatthankudi, Vikramangalam and Kiranthi. I learnt that during summer Buddhists from Thailand would come over there. After having tonsuring ceremony they would offer sweets to children. I also heard such type of stories at Pushpavanam in Vedaranyam. People connect many faiths and beliefs with the worship of Buddha.      

Buddhamangalam Buddha (1999)
Photo : Dr B. Jambulingam
JULY 2004
I came to know from Dinamani, Tamil newspaper that attempts were made by the students from Thailand to lay bricks on the roof of the mandapa.

Buddha Temple (2004)
Photo Courtesy: Dinamani, Tamil Daily

During my field study I saw three places in the name of Buddhamangalam which were found respectively at Killiyur in Kumbakonam-Karaikkal road, at the Kumbakonam-Sirkazhi road and near Kil Velur. Of these I saw Buddha only in Kilvelur. In no other place which was connected with the name of Buddha, the statue of Buddha was found. By this way Buddhamangalam was different, I felt.

Dinamalar, Tamil daily,  1.1.1999
Dinamani, Tamil daily, 14.7.2004

In the unessential they imagine the essential, in the essential they see the unessential - they who entertain (such) wrong thoughts never realize the essence.  - The Dhammapada 11 
What is essential they regard as essential, what is unessential they regard as unessential - they who entertain (such) thoughts realize the essence. -The Dhammapada 12

The Venerable Sariputta and Moggallana mentioned to the Buddha that they could not persuade their former teacher to see the Buddha and hear His Dhamma as he was attached to his followers. The Buddha then explained the difference between those who think rightly and those who think wrongly and the inevitable results of such thinking. 
 (The Dhammapada, Narada Thera, The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation, Taiwan, ROC, 1993)

More Buddhas of Chola country can be seen in the following link:    


  1. I think the name of the place, Buddhamangalam itself will explain the story of the impact of Buddism in our country till today.

  2. Only during field work I could understand it. There were more than one Buddhamangalam.


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