Thursday, June 2, 2011

The story of Thangamapuri as told by tenth doll Kanakabhishekavalli

The story of Thangamapuri as told by tenth doll Kanakabhishekavalli.

Retold by
On the tenth day Bhoja raja after his morning duties again started climbing on to the throne of Vikramadhithya. He was stopped on the ninth step by Kanakabhishekavalli doll. It told him that he does not have great qualities of the king Vikramadhithya and is not fit to occupy the throne. Then king Bhoja asked that doll, “Doll please tell me about the greatness of Vikramadhithya. The doll started telling the following story:-
There was a kingdom called Umapuri in the valley of Mandharagiri on the banks of River Sarayu. The king there was called Chakravarthi. He had one hundred sons. One day, he went for hunting to a forest called Uchimapuri along with all his sons and all his army. After hunting was over, they all felt very thirsty. The king requested his minister to bring some water. In spite of thorough search, the minister could not find even a drop of water in the forest. When he was returning disappointed, he saw sage Vasishta doing penance in that forest. He fell at his feet and requested him to help all of them by quenching his thirst. The sage took pity on them and requested river Ganga to come to the forest. The river came as per the wishes of the sage and quenched the thirst of the king, his sons and his huge army. Now all of them felt very hungry. They again sent the minister to the sage. Then the sage summoned Kamadhenu who provided food for all of them. King Chakravarthi thought that if he catches hold of that cow all the problems of his kingdom would be solved. When they tried to catch the cow, it flew up in the air and asked the sage permission to fight with them. Once permitted, it blew fire on the army of the king and killed all of his army and went away. The infuriated king and his sons sent several weapons to kill the sage. The holy stick of the sage stopped all their weapons. Then the sons of the king tried to catch the sage. By one angry look of the sage all of them were burnt to ashes. King Chakravarthi understood that a great sage is much more powerful than all kings. He Entered in to deep penance and after lots of years became Sage Viswamithra. By nature Viswamithra was angry and used to travel all over the world. While travelling one day, he saw the city of Thangamapuri. He was attracted by the city and got down there. When another sanyasin told him about the city and its king Thangeswaran and the queen Swarnakantha roopi, Viswamithra sent the sanyasi to the king and requested him to tell the king to meet him urgently. As soon as the king heard that Viswamithra had come he started making arrangements to receive the sage in a grand manner. But when Viswamithra saw that the king was late, he cursed that al his people should turn in to statues and the king and the queen should die. The queen understood that something bad was happening and ran to the sage. When she told him about the facts, the sage told that he cannot reverse the curse but can give a boon to her. She requested that, “I should be born as a princess in my next birth. At the age of ten, I should attain maturity and should come to Thangamapuri to worship lord Sundareswara. I should also be able to marry my own husband who must be born like me somewhere.” The sage gave the boon requested by her.
As per the boon of the sage the queen was born in the great island of Nagapuri as its princess called Sanjeevi madanthai. Her husband was born as a simpleton Brahmin boy called Adhimoolam in the same town to the priest of the king. At the age of ten Sanjeevi madanthai attained maturity. From that day onwards a divine horse came every night to take her to the Sundareswara temple of Thangamapuri. After some time her father thought that the time has come to give in marriage. When some of her friends told about her father’s plans, Sanjeevi madanthai approached her father and told him, “Papa, I want only to marry the one who visits Thangamapuri and tell me the truth about that town.” The king was overjoyed about this and put a notice about it in his country and also sent notices to 56 great kings. But nobody seems to have about Thangamapuri. Because of this only very few people came to meet her. One day when she was in her balcony Adhimoolam saw her and was terribly attracted by her. He went to meet the princess. When she asked about Thangamapuri, he was not able to tell her anything. So he was driven out. But he daily went to her and told that he knew everything about Thangamapuri. Once the princess became very angry with him and he was thrown out of the town. Then some of the friends advised Adhimoolam to approach king Vikramadhithya and seek his help. Adhimoolam went and met Vikramadhithya and explained everything to him and requested him to help him. Vikramadhithya agreed gladly but he too had not heard anything about Thangamapuri. He asked Adhimoolam to hide himself somewhere for six months. Then Vikramadhithya started on his six month sojourn in the forest along with Vetala.
Vikrama asked Vetala, “Hey Vetala, you are very knowledgeable. Can you tell me about Thangamapuri?” Vetala told him that though he has been almost all the places in the world, he does not know anything about Thangamapuri. When they were moving about in search they saw a very lonely forest. In the middle of the forest in a huge vessel large amount of ghee was boiling. When Vikrama asked Vetala about he told, “There are seven sages in this forest. They take turns in lighting the fire and boiling it daily. That man will take bath in the lotus pond nearby and jump in to the boiling vessel of ghee. Then the other six sages would take bath in the lotus pond cut seven banana leaves and sit around the vessel. Then they will call the name of the sage who has fallen in the vessel. He will come out with great sparkling body and occupy the seventh leaf. Then they will eat the body that is fried in the ghee. “Vikrama thought of a plan. When the allotted sage was about to jump in the vessel, he prevented him from jumping and jumped him in the vessel of boiling ghee. When the other sages came back after bath with seven leaves, they were surprised to the seventh sage. The seventh sage narrated all that happened. So they brought one more leaf, called Vikramadhithya by his name. Vikramadhithya came with a much more glorious body and all of them ate the fried body of Vikramadhithya. Then the sages asked Vikramadhithya what he wanted. He told them that, he was in search of a town called Thangamapuri. They told him that they also have not heard about a great saint who was doing penance in a place 500 miles from there. They felt that he may know something about that town. When Vikramadhithya went and met that great saint and enquired he told Vikramadhithya “I have heard about the town but I do not know how to go there. Please go to a deep forest 100 miles from here , where huge gigantic birds called Elephant lift birds live. Please go and hide there at night without their knowledge. They will daily discuss about the places visited by them. Possibly one of them will talk about Thangamapuri. “Vikrama travelled to that deep forest and after entrusting his body to Vetala entered the body of a dead bee and hid among the elephant lift birds. That night one bird told, “We crossed the seven seas and travelled five hundred miles further and searched for food in Thangamapuri. The town is strange. No one seems to live there though the town sparkles like gold.”
Then other birds also wanted to go there. Vikrama as a bee attached himself and reached Thangamapuri. He then detached himself from the bird and assumed his own body. He and Vetala then wandered round the town. They could not find any single living being there. But there were three very big sparkling temples there. The night set and a very pretty girl riding on a flying white horse came. She went inside the Sundareswara temple offered worship, cried a lot on seeing the dolls of people and went back. Vikramadhithya assumed that, this must have happened due to the curse of the sage, Next day he returned to the place Adhimoolam and told him about Thangamapuri and asked him to approach princess Sanjeevi madanthai and tell her about it. As per the advice Adhimoolam went to the palace of the princess and rang the calling bell. When she saw it was again Adhimoolam, she thought of driving him out but when Adhimoolam told that he now really knows, she asked him to tell about Thangamapuri. Adhimoolam then gave the exact description of the town and also gave a good description of her visit to the town. The princess was very happy and told him, “You are my husband of my previous birth, the king of Thangamapuri. We were cursed by sage Viswamithra and have attained this position. We should now together save the town. You please first go there and wait for me. I shall come and marry you there in the Sundareswara temple.” Overjoyed Adhimoolam went and south the help of Vikramadhithya. Vetala carried them both but on the way they happened to see sage Viswamithra. Vikrama went and saluted the sage and requested him to help Adhimoolam. The sage agreed and gave life to all people of Thangamapuri. Adhimoolam and the princess got married there and were crowned as the king and queen of Thangamapuri.
The doll then told, “Oh king Bhoja, this is the greatness of Vikramadhithya who occupied this throne. If you think that you are equal to him, then you can definitely go up. Bhoja returned back that day without further climbing

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