Enlightened Celebrities connected to Anandathandavapuram Village:
Manakanchara Nayanar, was a Nayanar saint and is generally counted as the 12th among the 63 Nayanars. Manakanchara Nayanar is dated to the 8th century and was a contemporary of Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar, a Nayanar saint who happens to be his son-in-law and also a contemporary of Sundarar. His entire life details are well described in Periyava Puranam. He was born in Kancharur and was a Vellalar, by birth. He was a great devotee of Shiva and was commander-in-chief of the Chola army. He stood as a powerful and wealthy commander. He received devotees of Shiva with Bhakti and modesty, also give them gifts.
Saint Manakanchara Nayanar
However, Manakanchara did not have a child. By praying to Lord Shiva for a child, He was blessed with a daughter named Punniya Vardhini. Since childhood She was instilled with values of devotion towards Shiva by her father. As She grew, She became a beautiful maiden, with long and beautiful locks of hair. Soon the elders of the family arranged her marriage to Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar, who was a Vellalar commander-in-chief of the Chola kingdom. The prospective groom also shared the same devotion and love for Shiva with Manakanchara Nayanar.
During wedding ceremony, while the bridegroom was on the way to the marriage venue at Manakanchara Nayanar's house, Shiva disguised himself as a Shaiva yogi with sacred ash smeared over his body, matted hair and wearing garlands of bones and skulls and a yagnopavita (Poonool) made of human hair called a panchavati. Manakanchara Nayanar welcomed and honoured the ascetic. The ascetic enquired about the festivities and in response, Manakanchara Nayanar informed him of his daughter's wedding. When she arrived and sought the blessings of the ascetic, he commented that her long hair would have been ideal for making his panchavati. Without giving it a second thought, taking the statement as a command by the yogi, Manakanchara Nayanar chopped off the hair of his daughter and gifted them to the ascetic, in an act of supreme devotion to Shiva's devotees. The daughter of Manakanchara Nayanar had lost her hair, the reason of her beauty, and faced the risk of rejection by the bridegroom. The ascetic disappeared immediately, as soon as he accepted the hair. Shiva along with his consort Parvati gave a divine vision to the family of Manakanchara Nayanar, pleased with their service. The divine couple blessed the family and disappeared. The bride's beautiful hair were also restored. Eyarkon Kalikkama Nayanar and his wedding party arrived at the place and got to know what had happened. They accepted the girl in marriage with devotion. Sundarar venerates Manakanchara Nayanar in the Tiruthonda Thogai, a hymn to Nayanar saints. He is described as generous and having hill like shoulders.
The temple of Sri Panchavateeswarar Temple, located Anandathandavapuram, Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Lord Shiva, marks the vision of Shiva to Manakanchara Nayanar. An image of Shiva called Jata Nathar (the Lord of the hair) depicts Shiva with a lock of hair - alluding to the hair of Manakanchara Nayanar's daughter - in his hands. Manakanchara Nayanar is worshipped in the Tamil month of Margazhi, when the moon enters into Swathi nakshatram.
Sri Gopalakrishna Bharathi (1810-1896), was born in Narimanam near Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. His father Sri. Ramaswamy Aiyar and grandfather both were Veena artists. He had his early education from his father in Mudikondan. In search of Sanskrit knowledge he travelled from Mudikondan to Tiruvidaimaruthur, Konerirjapuram and Anandathandavapuram before returning to Mudikondan. After a brief period he shifted his stay to Anandathandavapuram under the care of one Sri Annu Aiyar.
Thamizh Thattha UV Swaminatha Aiyar has given two sources for Bharati's life. These are a biography of the composer and his own autobiography, which contains references to Bharati, who he claims was his music teacher. He was a contemporary of the Musical Trinity and there is an episode connecting his meeting with Saint Tyagaraja and his famous krithi in Abhogi, 'Sabapathikku'.
Gopalakrishna Bharathi composed many famous works like 'Katakalatchepam' and 'Nandanar Charitram' and a number of independent kritis in praise of Anantha Koothan Thillai Nataraja. NantanAr Carittiram is a katAkALatcEpam, a genre of religious story-telling with music that was popular in Tamil Nadu in the 19th and early 20th centuries. He was never inclined to the worldly life and was devoted to Lord Shiva which took him to Shiva temples near the Kaveri River. He also loved listening stories on the Shaiva Nayanmars. Gopalakrishna Bharathi also composed musical narratives about other Shaiva Nayanmars like 'Iyarpakai Nayanar Charitram', 'Tirnnilakantha Nayanar Charitram' and 'Karaikkal Amtnaiyar '. Many of his kruthies inherently contained essence of Advaita Vedanta Concepts. They had his chosen Mudra 'Gopalakrishna'. Many musicians started using his compositions over a time period. His in the current music scenario needs no explanation. Individual songs of Gopalakrishna Bharathi became popular with Carnatic musicians. Later, Bharata Natyam dancers took up select pieces for interpretation as abhinaya. The album of the film version starring the singer M. M. Dhandapani Desigar as Nandanar, with music direction by Papanasam Sivan remains popular. Also, the story of Nandanar, as Bharati developed it, had considerable resonance with the Nationalist movement in India.
It is interesting to note that a Karaikkal based French official called Cisse helped Bharathi to bring out Nandanar Charitham in print.
Celebrities of this Generation:
There were and are number of persons who are known to the Vathima Community as such. The list includes Mantramurthy Sri Rengasamy Aiyangar (called Anandaram Aiyangar), Sri Rasigamami Subbu, Pattamaniyam Sri Sundaresan Aiyar, Sub Judge Thyagaraja AIyar among others. Sri Ramadoss Aiyar, a versatile spokesman of the village was an authority on Sastras and Rituals.
Mantramurthy Sri Rengaswamy Bhattachariar:
When any person is facing with any sort of problem, especially with respect to health, it is said that there are three ways- Mani, Mantram and Oushadam to sort them. Sri Rengaswamy Bhattachariar, popularly known as Anandram Aiyangar was the most used source for the second one Mantram. He was the one who had provided solutions using his Emerald Ring for many cases. When people followed His advices, they got relieved from their problems. As He was a Popular Personalit, He used to organise Radha -Madhava Uthsavam known as Sri Radha Kalyanam. It was so famous that all the Musicians would love compete to get a chance to sing in that Uthsavam. The celebration of this function continues even today.
Rasigamami Subbu Mama:
He was a great person always seen with a smile on His face and would love to interact with any one irrespective of their age. He being a speaker, would love to deliver introductory remarks or valedictory speech for almost all functions connected to these 18 villages. Some of His catch words 'Gir Coffee', 'Chanadana Pela', 'Thanga Tampalam' and like were used for youngsters. He had an immense knowledge in Mythology due to which He was appreciated by none other than Upanyasaka Chkravarthy, Sri Sengalipuram Anantharama Dheekshitar and in his discourses. If Rasigamani was present on any occassion with Sri Dheekshitar, He used to request Rasigamani to speak a few words. He was popularly known as SAS mama, who took sanyayasam in the final phase of his life. He had undertaken a lot of services to improve the facilities of this village.
Pattamaniam Sundaresan Aiyar:
Sri Sundaresa Aiyar was the one and only son of Pattamaniyam N.Subramanya Aiyer of Anandathandavapuram. He was a self made personality who had a good command over English, Hindi and Tamil without formal education. He was married to Ms.Janaki Ammal from Thippirajapuram. When Gandhiji called for HARIJAN Seva, He liberally donated a big sum and started an endowment in Annamalai University which made possible to pursue the course every year for two socially and economically back ward students. Mrs. Maragadham Chandrasekar was one among the earliest graduate who was a Former minister and congress leader. He was an instrumental in renovating the Sivan Koil Tank, for which He got awarded with a title 'POORTHAVIDHYADHURANTHARA' by Kanchi Paramacharya. He was very close to Sachivothama Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyer. He constructed a General Ward and donated to Mayavaram Govt. Hospital. It was inaugurated by Sir C P. His association with high profile people can be observed in photograph placed at his house where He is seen seated with Sir C.P. and Field Marshall Cariappa in the Thaazhvaram of his house. Once when He visited to Varanasi, He got very fond of it and started visiting every year. He thus constructed a room in Kanchi mutt and donated that also. In the later years He started a trust on the name of 'Gita Bhagavatha Trust'. Every year He used to conduct Pravachanams based on Gita. This process is continued till date by His Son S.A.S Balaganesan who is residing in Bangalore.
Kamatchi Patti a resident of this village was a venerable lady who had immense faith and Bhakti in Pramacharya. She was the one who provided PORI (ெபா$) regularly for the use of Maha Priyava. She had a Padhuka of Maha Periyava to which she did puja regularly.
Anai Su Kunchithapatham:
He is one of the famous short story writers of 50's and 60's, born to Athananiyathu Sundaresa Aiyer and Neelambal. He wrote around 20 to 25 stories.
All his stories came in Ananda vikatan, Kalki and Kalaimagal. When Anandavikatan started giving prize for the best short story from each district he got it for his story "THURAVI PAYANAM'. This story deals with how Gandhism influenced the masses and paved way for a change in the country and society. When Writer Maalan brought out the best 100 short stories of the century during the millenneum 2000 -2001 this story was added in that anthology. Later He stopped writing stories and made foray into the field of Agricultural Research. Series of articles appeared in Kalki and He designed a harvesting machine which was lying in the Thinnai of his house till recent times. Personally He was a very humble person and never boastful of his achievements. He was somewhat agnostic about the religious rituals which was followed. His son Dr.K.Swaminathan is now heading the Department of Biological Science in National university of Singapore and he did his Doctoral studies in IIT MUMBAI and later in University of Pennisylvenia.
Smt. Gnanam Balasubramanian- was a versatile actor, play writer and director native of Anandathandavapuram. She was popularly known as Bombay Gnanam and was married to Sri Balasubramanian of Kothavasal who worked for Income Tax department at Bombay. This city became the ultimate platform in showcasing her talents as a stage drama artist.
She didn't take any formal training in Acting, She got inspired by some eminent actors when they commented why do ladies never write or direct dramas?
Mahalakshmi Ladies Drama Group was founded by Her in 1989 and it is running successful till date. It is completely an ALL LADIES Group, where the male part in the drama is also enacted by women. Till now this group has hosted several dramas under different themes related to women welfare (dowry problem, widow remarriage etc), children welfare and spiritual ones. Most admired is the SRI BHAGAWAN NAMA BODHENDHRAL.
She had received a numerous awards few of them are-
Nataka Choodamani from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Chennai
Nataka Padhmam from Sri Brahmma Gana Sabha, Chennai
Mylapore Academy Award-for her contribution to Tamil Drama, Chennai
Kalaimamani from Government of Tamil Nadu
Vani Kala Sudhakara from Vani Mahal, Chennai