Navaneetha Krishna Temple, Melaseval – History
Constructed by the Maharaja of Travancore Samasthanam about 700 years ago, the granite edifice is structured in the Vaishnava Agama style. Most parts of the present Tirunelveli district on the southern side were under the control of the Travancore Samasthanam. Though no inscription is available anywhere to find out the year and the period of construction, the Gazetteer of Tirunelveli District in 1781 under the then British Government, credits the construction of this temple to the Chera kings, 500 years prior to the date of publication.
As per the inscription found in the Navaneethakrishnan temple, there is a mention of the Saga year 1147. The present Saga year being 1924, it is presumed that this temple is 777 years old. Enchanted by the beautiful surroundings, fine architecture, sculptural work in the mandapam and beautiful posture of the main deity — the ISKCON made an offer in 1980 to convert the whole area into a Brindavan, provided the temple was handed over to them. But it was not decided in their favour as the temple is under the supervision and control of the State Government.
Sri Isakki Konar, aged 94 years, (deceased on 22nd Jan 2008) the resident of the village from his birth (the only Konar in his community and in his days to learn English) recalled that the village had two Agraharams occupied by Vedic scholars on all the four Vedas. Villiputthurar, for writing the Villi Bharatham in Tamil, stayed in this village for many months to exchange his views and compare notes on the Mahabharata with these Vedic scholars before finalizing his work.
The presence of large numbers of Vedic pundits in the village inspired Yatrikas from various parts of the country to take the route through village to reach Kanyakumari. There were two choultry to provide food and shelter to them. The temple was donated fertile lands, coconut groves and mangroves and revenue from these estates used to take care of the maintenance of the temple. But unfortunately, the present records do not indicate the details of these properties and the persons enjoying the fruits of the property.
It was maintained with the help of the State Government's grant of Rs. 25,000 under the scheme for maintenance of one time puja. The annual interest earned from this deposit is inadequate. Due to the vagaries of nature and lack of proper maintenance, unwanted vegetation damaged the terrace and the mandapam was under a threat of severe cracks and damage. A collapse was imminent unless repairs were carried out.
Lord Navaneethakrishnan is said to have appeared in the dream of an old woman who was married into the family of this village and, stating that he was starving and requested that he be provided with food every day. Similar things appeared in the dreams of few other people also to whom the deity was the `Kuladeivam'. A committee was, therefore, formed by the members of these families in October 1998 under the leadership of S. V. Bhaskara Mudaliar, mirasdar of this village and T Narayana Iyer, Retd. Dy. Collector. Voluntary donations were made by the current descendants of the past residents of the village and also by the local community.
Complete renovations were carried out costing an estimated Rs. 4 lakhs. Maha samprokshanam was performed on January 21, 2000. At Present, regular puja — in the morning and the evening — is conducted besides Naivedya to the deity every day with the help of the interest earned from the corpus fund. The temple is visited by devotees in large numbers. The Melaseval Navaneethkrishnaswami Temple Seva Trust aims at running Vedic Patasala, educational institutions and hospitals/clinics for the benefit of the community surrounding this village. Kalasabishekam is conducted every Year of the day of Thai Poosam and many devotees from all the places attends this pooja.