Friday, September 20, 2013

Shiva temple in China

Kublai Khan the founder of Yuvan dynasty of China constructed a Shiva temple in China .There is an inscription referring to this in the temple. The most interesting part is this inscription is bilingual and has both Tamil and Chinese scripts . The last line of the inscription is in Chinese .  Quanzhou  is a port city in China . This city had lot of trade relations with ancient Tamil kings . It is believed the Siva temple at Quanzhou was raised for the well being of Mangolian king Kublai Khan . Kublai Khan was also known as Sekasai Khan. Kublai Khan was the grandson of Chenkiz Khan .It is reported Kublai Khan built Beijing city and moved the capital to Beijing . The Quanzhou Siva temple was known as Thirukathaleswaram in Tamil and Lord Shiva was known as Thirkathaleswaran. This is mentioned in the Tamil-Chinese epigraph stone . This temple was built by Kublai Khan in 1260 AD. This inscription is still available in the temple . It is believed there were more than a dozen Hindu temples in China .It is also believed a community of Tamil Traders lived in this Chinese port city during during the Song (960-1279) and Yuan (1279-1368) dynasties. In the Chedian village of Quanzhou there is a “cross-legged” “four-armed goddess” with a ”demon lying at her feet.” She is not a Chinese Goddess, ' “Even though most of the villagers still think she is Guanyin”. Whatever it is, there existed some connection between Tamils and Chinese in ancient days . Even Bodhidarma was believed to be a Pallava king migrated to China .Ms Wang of the Quanzhou Maritime Museum says the earliest record of a Tamil residing in Quanzhou dates back to the 6th century. Kaiyuan Temple was originally built in 685 or 686 during the Tang Dynasty but was rebuilt by the Tamil Hindu community in the city in the late 13th century who dedicated it to Lord Shiva.It is believed because the Chola kings had thriving trade relations with South East Asis ,even Bay of Bengal was known as 'Chola Lake' at that time.
Bogar the legendary Sidhar who made the 'navabhashana idol' of Lord Muruga of Palani temple is also believed to have visited China as per the wishes of his guru to spread the knowledge of Siddha science . Bogar's Teacher Kalangi is believed to be a Chinese mystic who attained siddhi in Tamilnadu and is included in the list of 18 Sidhdhars . Bogar attained Sidhdhi in Palani temple . There is another school of thought who believe Chinese Lao Tse and Bogar are one person . Some otheres believe Bogar because of his ashtamaha siddhi lived in the body of Lao Tse . But Bogars Saptakanda had documented the experiments and demonstrations conducted by Bogar in China . Thirumoolar and Agasthiar have also mentioned about 'navabashanam' ( (A mixture of nine posions prepared from 4448 herbs ) as a panacea for all diseases. Thirumoolar and Agasthiar were also Alchemists like Bogar. Bogar was an expert in medicine, astrology, spritiuality and yoga .It is also reported Bogar's desciple Pulipani Siddhar helped Bogar to collect the rare herbs for preparing Navabhashanam .Pulipani is also believed to have visited China later to bring back his Guru Bogar to India . Bogar has written about 16 documents in Tamil giving details about various techniques practiced by him . But Agasthiyar has mentioned in one of his works that Bogar was a Chinese alchemist . But it is an undisputed fact that Bogar made the navabhashana Lord Muruga idol at Palani temple and Bogar attained sidhdhi at Palani.It is believed Bogar made 2 navabashana Murugan idols and the second one is at Poomparai Kuzhanthai Velappar temple near Kodaikanal in the Palani hills .This temple is also administered by the Palani temple . This temple is also believed to be very ancient . There is a temple dedicated to Bogar's teacher Kalangi at Kanchamali in Salem district.
Here is a another dimension to the age old Tamil - Chinese ties.Panniru thirumurai is the collection of twelve holy scriptures written by twenty seven marvelous devotees in Tamil language.Transcription of Tamil to Chinese is now available for the Panniru Thirumurai . Also all the 18,266 hymns of Thirumurai can be read in Chinese Pinyin now. Dr. Goh Yeng Seng of the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technical University, Singapore has done this.Many persons of Chinese origin, now in Singapore and Malaysia recite Tamil thirumurai and are practicing as singers.This effort in transcription is to support those singers and the globalised Chinese community in delving into Tamil songs.
Even today the Tamil-Chine ties are strong . The state run China Radio International runs a Tamil service .Last August they have celebrated the golden jubilee of their Tamil service . The CRI was formerly known as Radio Peking . The CRI Tamil service include operations on a multimedia communication platform with a mixture of shortwave broadcasting service, FM service, website, mobile and magazine services. At VIT university Vellore one can find a little China .There are over 400 Chinese students from Beijing and Shangai studying commerce and computer science .


  1. This is new to me. Very informative post. Thanks!

  2. All great leaders and civilisations always assimilated different cultures. Examples like this can be seen in all great civilizations across ages.