April 21, 2011

Kasi Viswanath Temple - Chennai

Kasi Viswanath Temple is a popular temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Chennai city of South India. This temple is located in West Mambalam area. As per the typical South Indian temple architecture, this temple has the east facing tower (Rajagopuram), dhwajastambha (flag staff) and bali peetha. The main shrine has Kasi Viswanath in the form of a small Shiv Linga along with the Nandi idol in front of him.

The Goddess of the temple, Visalakshi is found in a separate south facing shrine. The wall surrounding the main shrine has the small niche images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma, and Durga. The corridor (prakara) of this temple has a lot of idols of shrines for other Gods and Goddesses.

Other idols in the temple:

1) Ganesha
2) 63 Nayanmars (63 main devotees of Shiva)
3) Nalvar (four important Nayanmars)
4) Devotees/sainst such as Vallalar, Sekkilar, Pattinathar and Ramalinga Adigal

Sub-shrines in the temple:

1) Ganesha
2) Murugan along with his consorts Valli and Devasena
3) Bhairav
4) Navagraha
5) Ganesha under a tree

There is a pillar in this temple which has some important and rare images such as Narasimha, Vishnu, Adhikara Nandi, Sharbeshwara and Pratyingara Devi seated on the lion.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Kasi Viswanath Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  West Mambalam, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A famous Shiva temple in Chennai

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India

Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from any part of the city; local train facility is also available in West Mambalam
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city



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April 16, 2011

Mylapore Sai Baba Temple

Sai Baba, who lived during the second part of 19th century and the beginning of 20th century, is regarded as a great saint by Muslims as well as Hindus. Some Hindus even conside as the God and built temples for him. Sai Baba was born in a place named Shirdi, and he is generally called as Shirdi Sai Baba. There is a famous temple dedicated to Sai Baba in Shirdi. Similar to that temple, there are a lot of temples dedicated to Sai Baba are built across entire India. In Chennai, the important city of South India, there is a popular temple dedicated to Sai Baba. This temple is located at Mylapore area, the heritage area of Chennai city.

Sai Baba temple is located at Ramakrishna Mutt Road in Mylapore on the way to Mandaveli. The temple is very spacious and the walls display the images and drawings depicting the life of Sai Baba. Sai Baba deity is placed in the main shrine where the devotees are allowed to touch the deity and pray, a practice which is not followed in the other Hindu temples.

A part of fire lit by Sai Baba in Shirdi is present in this temple too. A calm and great place to visit and worship. Don't miss this.

Happy travelling.


Fast Facts:
Site Name: Sai Baba Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Mylapore, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A famous temple in Chennai

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India

Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from any part of the city; local train facility is also available in Mylapore
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

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Mylapore Hanuman Temple



Mylapore, the heritage locality of Chennai city in South India, has a lot of important temples such as Kapaleeswarar temple. Apart from a lot of ancient and famous temples of Mylapore, there is one modern day temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman, which has become very popular. This temple is located near PS School in Alamelumangapuram (a small lane near the famous Sai Baba temple).

The highlight of this moder day temple is the 16 feet monolithic granite idol of Lord Anjaneya (Hanuman). This is perhaps the tallest idol of Hanuman in Chennai city. The deity is facing the north direction.

Other shrines in the temple:

1) Hayagreeva
2) Ganesha
3) Rama along with Lakshmana and Sita
4) Garud

The corridor surrounding the main shrine has the idols of Hanuman in various forms such as Panchamukha Hanuman (five faced Hanuman) and Yoga Anjaneya.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Veera Anjaneyar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Mylapore, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A famous Hanuman temple in Chennai where 16 feet idol of Hanuman is found

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India

Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from any part of the city; Local train facility is also available
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city



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Mylapore Kapaaleeswarar Temple

Site Name: Kapaaleeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the two most important temples of Chennai; one of 274 Paadal Petra Sthalams
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India; Mylapore has a local MRTS station called as Thiru Mylai
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Chennai city is reachable by road, train, and flight; Mylapore can be easily reached by road from the other parts of Chennai
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

Mylapore is a well known locality of Chennai city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The ancient village called Mylapore is referred in the ancient texts and historical records. The 2000+ years old Mylapore has a magnificent temple for Lord Shiva called as Kapaaleeswarar Temple. This is the most popular Shiva temple in Chennai and is considered as one of the two most important temples of Chennai (the other being Parthasarathy temple of Triplicane). It is considered as the 24th among the Devara Paadal Petra Sthalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Tondai region. Let me explore about this temple in this article. 

Highlights:

  • Sambandhar has revered the temple in his verses in Devaram
  • Appar has refered this site as Mayilappu in his verses
  • God Kapaaleeswarar
  • Goddess Karpagambal
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Kapali Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Punnai tree
  • 24th Devara Paadal Petra Sthalam located in the Tondai region
  • Uma worshiped Shiva in the form of peahen
  • Ram is believed to have worshiped Lord Shiva of this temple.
  • One of seven Sapta Sthana Temples of Chennai
  • One of the most popular temples of Chennai
  • Arunagirinathar has sung hymns on Singara Velar of this temple in his Tiruppugazh.
  • The temple tank (called as Mylapore Theppakkulam) and the festivals of this temple are some of the important heritage symbols of Chennai.


Legend:

The word 'kapaalam' means head. Once, Brahma did not give due respect to Lord Shiva. The furious Shiva plucked the head of Brahma. Brahma came down to this site and installed Shiv Linga to please Shiva. Thus, Shiv Linga in this site obtained the name 'Kapaaleeswara'.

Due to some curse, Shiva's consort Uma had to come down to the earth. She took the form of a peahen and worshiped Lord Shiva in this site. The word 'mayil' means peahen in Tamil. Hence, the site got the name 'Mylappu' which later became 'Mylapore'.

As per another legend, Kartikeya got his divine weapon Vel from his mother in this site. 

It is also believed that Brahma worshiped Shiva in this site and got back his power of creation. Shukracharya got back his vision after worshiping Lord Shiva here. Ram worshiped Shiva in this site and performed Brahma Utsav. 


Shivanesa Chettiar was a resident of Mylapore. His daughter Poompavai got back her life due to the power of the verses sung by Tirugnana Sambandhar. 

History:


It is believed that the original temple of Kapaleeswarar was there on the seashore. It is also believed that the Pallavas might have built that temple in the 7th century CE. It is also believed that the Portuguese who had captured Mylapore in the beginning of the 16th century CE had constructed Santhome Church in the place of the original temple. Then, the temple of Shiva was shifted to the current site. It appears that the materials from the original temple were used to construct this temple. 


It is also believed that in the current site belonged to Singara Velan temple which got extended to give space to Kapaaleeswarar and Karpagambal. There is a possibility that the Vijayanagara Kings might have constructed the current temple in the 16th century CE.

Temple Layout:


Entrance:

The temple has two entrances. The main entrance is facing the east direction. It has a gigantic seven tiered Raja gopuram which has hundreds of colorful and beautiful stucco images. The west side gopura faces the Theppa Kulam. The sub-shrines of Karpaga Vinayaka and Murugan.


In front of the east facing tower, there is a mandap outside the temple. The mandap is full of pillars with sculptures.

Kapaaleeswarar:

The sanctum faces the west direction and enshrines the medium sized Linga called as Kapaaleeswarar. It should be noted that only few temples have Shiv Linga facing the west direction.

The exterior wall of the sanctum has the niche idols of Selva Ganapati, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Durga.


The small prakara around the sanctum has the idols or sub-shrines of various deities such as Polla Pillayar, 63 Nayanmars, the utsav idols of 63 Nayanmars, Nataraj-Shivakami, Somaskanda, various Utsav deities including SingaraVelan with his two consorts, small Natraj-Shivakami, Chandrasekhar-Uma, etc., Veerabhadra, Saraswati-Lakshmi-Durga, Nagas, three small Shiv Lingas, Shiv Linga with Uma,  Bhairav, Sekkizhar, Meikanda Sivam, Umapati Sivam, Maraignana Sivam, Arunantha Sivam, Surya, Nalvar and Chandikeshwara.

The flagstaff, bali peetha and Nandi Mandap are found facing towards the sanctum.

Karpagambal:

The Goddess of the temple is Karpagambal. She is found in a separate south facing shrine. Her shrine is equally big to that of Kapaaleeswarar. There is a prakara around this shrine which has just one sub-shrine of the utsav deity of Karpagambal.


Singara Velar:

The shrine of Singara Velar is big and has its own front side mandap and flag staff. Singara Velar is Kartikeya with six heads. He is found along with his two consorts Valli and Devasena on his either sides. 

There is a belief that the current site belonged to Singara Velar and it got extended to accommodate Kapaaleeswarar and Karpagambal.


Vaayilar:

Near Singara Velar shrine, a big mandap for conducting the religious recourse and other temple functions is found. Near that mandap, the sub-shrine of Palani Andavan and Vaayilar Nayanar are located. Vaayilar is one of 63 Nayanmars. It is believed that he was born in Mylapore and also attained salvation in this site.

Poompaavai:

As per the legend, Shivanesan Chettiar, the resident of Mylapore, had a daughter named Poompaavai. She died due to snake bite. Shivanesan had preserved the ashes of her dead daughter in a pot. Later, Tirugnana Sambandhar sang hymns praising Kapaaleeswarar and brought her alive from the ashes. 


A sub-shrine depicting the above legend with the idols of Poompavai and Sambandhar is found near the flagstaff.

Sthala Vruksha:

The holy tree of Punnai along with a shrine depicting Karpagambal in the form of peahen worshiping Shiv Linga is found in the outer prakara.

Outer Prakara:

The huge and spacious outer prakara has many sub-shrines. Apart from the deities mentioned above, the following idols are also found in this area.

  • Nardana Vinayaka in the east facing shrine; this is the first shrine found as one enters through the east facing tower.
  • Annamalai - a big sized Shiv Linga along with his consort Unnamulai in a separate shrine
  • Navagraha
  • Arunagirinathar
  • Jagadeeswara (Shiv Linga)
  • Sundaresha (Shiv Linga)
  • Shaneeswara

Happy travelling.














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May Day Park



The May Day Park is one of the important parks of Chennai city in South India. This park is located in Chintadripet locality in Chennai.

The May Day Park which is spread around 15 acres is divided into two regions - one is used as a proper park and another region is used as a play ground. The park was named as 'Napier Park' in those days. As the may day processions used to happen in this park every year, the park got the name 'May Day' park. Even today, a lot of political parties and labour unions held their meetings and processions in this park.

Happy travelling.





Fast Facts:
Site Name: May Day Park
Site Type: Park
Location:  Chintadripet, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A famous park in Chennai

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India

Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from any part of the city
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city




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April 9, 2011

Agastya Temple - Chennai


Agastya (written as Agasthiar in South India) was one of the most famous mythological saints of Hinduism. The stories related to this great saint could be found in North India as well as South India. Due to his connection with a lot of mythological events in South India, you can find the idol of Agastya in many South Indian temples. There is a temple in T Nagar area of Chennai city, which is named as Agastyar temple or Agastyar ashram.
Agastyar temple aka Agastyar ashram is a popular temple in the T Nagar locality and it is located very near to Pondy Bazaar. Although the temple is called as Agasthiar temple, the presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. It is not known who built this temple and how many years old. However, this temple remains as a popular one in this region for many years and it is evident that the current structure of the temple and expansion are done in the modern days.

The temple has a tower. Once you enter the temple, you can find the shrine of Ganesha named as Nityananda Ganesha who is found along with his consorts Siddhi and Buddhi. The walls surrounding the shrine of Ganesha are full of beautiful stucco images and sculptures. Some of them are very rare figures such as Ganesha on a peacock, Ganesha fighting with Asuras, Ganesha as a crow along with the saint Agastya, etc. The idol of Bhairav is also found near the shrine of Ganesha.

There is a separate shrine for Lord Subramanya who is found along with his consorts Valli and Devasena. Near the shrine of Subramanya, the separate shrines for Agastya and his consort Lopamudra are found. Perhaps due to this shrine of Agastya, this temple is called as Agastya ashram.

The unique feature of this temple is that all the Navagraha idols (nine planets) are found along with their respective vaahans.

As mentioned earlier, the presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. He is found in the form of a Shiv Linga and named as Vanibeshwarar. The Shiv Linga is found in the lower region slightly under ground and behind Shiv Linga the idols of Shiva and Parvati are found. It is very rare to find Shiv-Parvati figures behind the Shiv Linga in South Indian temples. There is a separate shrine for the Goddess Vadivambikai. As per the name, the idol of the Goddess is extremely beautiful.

Another unique feature of this neatly maintained temple is that you can find the figures of national leaders and spiritual leaders such as Variyar, Bharatiar and VOC in the temple tower.

Other shrines in the temple:

1) Lakshmi Narayana
2) Kalyana Varadar; this shrine also has the bronze idol of Lakshmi and an idol of Ganesha
3) Dakshinamurti
4) Ayyappa
5) Nagaraja
6) Chakrathalwar and Narasimha
7) Durga
8) Chandikeswara
9) Hanuman
10) Utsav idols

Visit this unique temple once to get a different experience.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Agasthiar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Opposite street of Pondy Bazzar Saravana Bhavan restaurant, T Nagar, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A famous temple of Shiva in Chennai

Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India

Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from any part of the city
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city


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