Though the temple is called ‘Kurakkuthali’ from the lines Kongil, Kurupil, Kurakkuthaliyai…, as the Shaivite poet Sundarar praises it in his literature Tevaram, the history of the shrine is shrouded in myths. Legend has it that the temple got its name as ‘Sukreeswarar Kovil’ after Sugriva, the king of monkeys, who carried a Shiva linga, rested it at a place and relaxed for a while. But, as he could not lift the linga from the place again, it is said he worshipped Lord Shiva there. Hence, like Patteeswara , Magudeeswara and so on, a new Eswara appeared at Sarkar Periyapalayam as Sukreeswara !
Throwing light on the trade activities of a large merchant guild at Sarkar Periyapalayam, whose name is mentioned as Mukundhanur in an epigraph, an inscription spread on the entire large wall of the shrine unfolds how the traders planned the expenses to conduct the temple festival Vaikasi Thiruvizha to worship the deity Kurakkuthali Nayanar. Interestingly, expressing their consent, as many as 64 merchants have ‘signed’ their names on the inscription. While four of them have given their signatures in the ancient Vatezhuthu (Rounded script) the rest have done it in Tamil script. The four merchants had hailed from ‘Malaimandalam’ which refers to the present day Kerala.
Poongundran, former assistant director, Tamil Nadu Archeology Department, says:
“The inscription, which contains both Vatttezhuthu and Tamil scripts, throws light on the gradual development of Tamil orthography in ancient times”
Taking a history enthusiast to the world of trade in ancient times, the inscription details the names of different commodities and the customs duty on their exports and imports.
Besides, the it also informs the names of the merchants with their native towns as Urayurudayaan Periyyayya Devan, Pandimandalathu Sundarapandiyapurathu Siriyapillai , Eralapurathu Vyapari Koothan Kannan and so on.
Pointing out the mention of the place ‘Eralapuram’ in the inscription, Poongundran informs it is none other than today’s Ernakulam in Kerala!
Source: Kongil Kurakkuthali – Sukreeswarar Kovil – Epigraphist D. Sundaram
Link to my article in The New Indian Express : http://epaper.newindianexpress.com/561112/The-New-Indian-Express-Coimbatore/09082015#page/4/1