In 500 C.E, the tribes of Chera kingdom residing in the western ghats of ancient Tamizhagam were to receive the king Cheran Chenguttuvan on his arrival to oversee his empire.
They narrated a tragic incident to the King. On hearing the story of a woman who had walked 14 km from Madurai setting it burnt and standing under Venkai tree for fourteen days for her beloved husband to take her in the heavenly aircraft, Cheran narrated the tragic incident to his younger brother Ilangovadigal to write an epic and went to the Himalayas to get stones for the construction of a temple for her.
The ancient epic Silappadhikaram portrays the tragedy of Kannagi who lost her husband, Kovalan as a consequence of Pandya King’s injustice. Merchant Kovalan was mistakenly beheaded for the theft of the Pandya queen’s anklet. The epic is regarded as Citizen’s epic for its portrayal of the common man’s tale. The temple built for Kannagi 1500 years ago is in ruin, diminishing the cultural history of Tamils.
The former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Kalaignar M.Karunanidhi had built Silappadhikaram Art Gallery in Poompuhar, an ancient Chola port city where Kovalan & Kannagi lived. It reminds us of the grand architectural description narrated in the epic.
Chithirai full moon day attracts tourists to these two sites. Both the temple and the art gallery were in destruction. The Kannagi temple being in the complete ruin which falls under the Kerala territory should be taken by the Tamil Nadu government and preserved as a cultural heritage of Tamils. The art gallery should be renovated to attract tourists once again.