November 30, 2015

Shatrughanesvara Temple - Bhubaneswar

Site Name: Shatrughanesvara Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Bhubaneswar city, Odisha state, India
Highlights: Architecturally beautiful ancient temple
Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar
Nearest Airport: Bhubaneswar
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: There are many options across the city
Restaurants: Varieties of options

Bhubaneswar, which is the capital city of Odisha (formerly Orissa) state of India, is called as 'the City of Temples'. It once had around 3000 temples and even today hundreds of temples are located in every nook and corner of this heritage rich city. The city is called as Ekamara Kshetra as it has so many Shiva temples. Let us explore an ancient and little known temple named Shatrughanesvara temple in this article.


Shatrughanesvara temple is located at a distance of around 2 kms from Lingaraja temple. It is located on the right side of the road leading from Kalpana square to Lingaraja temple. It is one of the three temples located in the same complex. It is located opposite to Ramesvara temple. 


Shatrughanesvara temple is one of the very ancient temples in Bhubaneswar. There are three temples located in the same complex and they are all located opposite to Ramesvara temple. The other temples that are located in the complex apart from Shatrughanesvara temple are Lakshmanesvara temple and Bharatesvara temple.


As per the legend, after winning over the demon Ravan, Ram and Sita were back to Ayodhya. The sage Vashishta asked Ram to worship Shiva. Ram chose Bhubaneswar for the same. He installed one Shiva Linga, which is present in the form of Ramesvara. His brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughna also installed Shiva Linga idols in a row opposite to the one installed by Ram. Later, three temples were built for those deities and were named after who installed the Linga as Lakshmanesvara, Bharatesvara and Shatrughnaesvara.


The temple was built by the Sailodbhavas in the later part of 6th century CE. This temple is an example earliest Kalingan temple architecture style.

Temple Layout:

The west facing Shatrughanesvara temple is the third temple in the Lakshmanesvara group of temples. It is located in the southern most corner in the premises.

Few years ago, all the three temple were just a heap of rubble. All the temples were renovated by the State Archaeology Department. Although Shatrughanesvara temple was restored with modern materials mostly, it is the most complete temple among all the three temples. Hence, it gives us an idea about the decorative features of these earliest Kalingan temples. 

The temple is a living temple enshrining Shiva Linga idol with Nandi idol facing towards the deity. The temple is tri ratha by plan and trianga bada in elevation. It has a rekha vimana.

This is the most beautiful temple in the complex as comparatively it has the original architecture features. 

The doorjambs have the design works and the dwara pala images. The lintel does not have Lakshmi or Navagraha panel like other temples. Instead, the panel depicting the scene of Shiva and Parvati seated and accompanied by Ganas, Nandi and female attendants is found there.  

The front side of the Vimana has the sculpture of Ravana trying to lift Kailasa mountain where Shiva and Parvati are seated. Ganesha, Kartikeya and other Ganas are also found along with the divine couple.

Above the sculptures of Ravana Anugraha Murti and others, a sculpture of Nataraja is found in the front side of Vimana. 

The other sides of Vimana have many sculptures and designs such as Lakulisa, Nataraja along with a cute tiny Kartikeya on peacock, rare dancing Ardhanareeswara, Ganesha, marriage scene of Parvati and Shiva, Linga pooja by devotees, royal procession, fighting scenes, amorous couples, hamsa motif, makara motif, etc. 

Only Kartikeya is found as the niche image and the other niches are empty without any idols.

Happy travelling.

November 29, 2015

Devi Pattinam Navagraha Temple

Site Name: Navagraha Temple
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:  Devi Pattinam, near Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A unique temple located inside the sea
Nearest Railway Station: Rameswaram
Nearest Airport: Madurai
How to reach: Well connected by road 
Hotel: Mostly mid-range options in Rameswaram; for better options, go to Madurai
Restaurants: All sorts of options are there in Rameswaram

Rameswaram is a popular town located in South India. It is famous mainly due to the temple of Rameshwar (Lord Shiva). People from all over India visit Kasi as well as Rameswaram as part of their pilgrimage. Near Rameswaram, there is a small village named Devi Pattinam. Navagraha temple located there is unique.

As per the legend, Lord Ram installed nine stones in the sea and worshiped them as Navagrahas (nine planets) before waging war on Ravan of Lanka. 

The temple does not have tower, vimana, mandapa, pillars, ceiling or even the building. No sculpture is found; no design work is found; still, it is a temple visited by thousands of devotees everyday. Nine stones worshiped as Navagrahas right inside the sea is the temple. The devotees circumambulate Navagrahas by getting down into the sea. There is no platform for the deities or the devotees. This is definitely a unique temple.

Happy travelling. 

November 28, 2015


Site Name: Tirumagaraleeswarar temple
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:  Magaral, Near Uthiramerur, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of 274 Paadal Petra Stalams (the most important temples of Lord Shiva)
Nearest Railway Station: Kanchipuram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Kanchipuram and Chennai
Hotel: Go to Uthiramerur for mid-range hotels; for better option, go to Kanchi or Chennai
Restaurants:  Limited options in Uthiramerur

Magaral is a village located at a distance of around 10 kms from Uthiramerur town, which in turn is located near Kanchipuram city in South India. A popular temple called Tirumagaraleeswarar temple is located here. It is considered as the 7th among the Tevara Paadal Petra Stalams (274 most important temples of Lord Shiva) located in the Tondai region.

  • Sambandar has revered the temple in their verses in Tevaram.
  • God Tirumagaraleeswarar 
  • Goddess Tribhuvana Nayaki
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Agni Teerth
  • Stala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Lemon tree
  • One of 274 Paadal Petra Stalams
  • Shiva Linga is in the form of monitor lizard.
  • Other names of Shiva - Adaikkalam Kaththa Nathar, Magam Valviththavar, Udumbeesar, Paaraththalumbar, Puttridam Kondar, Nilaiyitta Nathar, Mangalam Kaththavar, Parindhu Kaththavar, Agasteeswarar (Most of the names are pure Tamil names)
  • Skanda is found seated on elephant.
  • Inscriptions of Kulotunga Chola and Sundara Pandya are found

Rajendra Chola and jack fruit

There is another legend associated with this temple. Lord Brahma performed poojas to Shiva in this site and planted a magical jack tree which would yield only one fruit everyday.

The King Rajendra Chola used to get that fruit as the prasad daily. Traditionally, the fruit from Magaral temple complex was taken to Chidambaram temple for naivedya and then it was given to the King as prasad. After some time, the King did not get the prasad as usual. He found out that the people working in the Magaral temple had burnt the tree. He wanted to punish them. As they were working in the Shiva temple, instead of imprisoning them or punish them in any other way, he ordered his soldiers to take those temple staff from Magaral and migrate them to the place where they would reach the other day morning. The place where they migrated is called as Vidi Magaral. It is located near Tiruttani.

Shiva as monitor lizard

A slightly different version of the story states that the King ordered the people of Magaral to carry the jack fruit from Magaral to Chidambaram and then to his palace everyday. Each family of Magaral used to do that in rotation. One day it was a Brahmin boy's turn to take the fruit to the King. The boy thought that the King should ideally assign his men to do this task instead of troubling the public. Hence, he burnt the tree. 

The King got angry and exiled the boy. He was personally taking the boy out of the town. Then, Lord Shiva took the form of monitor lizard and appeared before the King Rajendra Chola. When the King was chasing the lizard, it ran faster and hid inside an ant-hole. The King tried to demolish the anthill. It started to bleed and an asariri voice condemned the act of King. Then, it appeared in the form of Shiva Linga. The King built this temple for Shiva Linga. Hence, Lord Shiva is called as Magaraleeswarar in this temple. The word 'maagaral' means monitor lizard. (Udumbu is another word used in Tamil language for 'maagaral').

Subbaraya Pillai's disease

A person named Salem Subbaraya Pillai was affected by a disease due to which his body parts below his hip stopped functioning. He went to various religious sites and also tried getting treatment from different medical practitioners. However, he was not cured. He ultimately came to this site and worshiped Shiva everyday. He completely got cured from his disease.

Makkiran's story

There is another legend which gives different reason for the name of the deity. A demon named Makkiran was performing poojas to Lord Shiva when Skanda destroyed Surapanma and other demons. Thus, he escaped from Skanda. Lord Shiva was named after this demon as Makkiran. In the later years, the name got changed to Magaraleeswarar.

Temple Layout:

The east facing temple has five tiered Raja gopuram (tower). The tower is full of beautiful stucco images. The sanctum sanctorum is built as per the Gaja prashta architecture style. There are two prakarams (corridors) in the temple.

The main shrine is found in a raised platform (mada kovil sytle). In the sanctum sanctorum, the Shiva Linga named Magaraleeswarar is found. It is not in the typical Linga shape. It is slightly tall and thin resembling the monitor lizard.

The Moolasthan, Ardha Mandapa and Maha Mandapa are all big in size. The idols of Ganesha and Murugan are found at the entrance of the sanctorum. Two very big stucco idols of Dwarapalas are found at the entrance of the main shrine. 

The typical elements such as flag staff, bali peetha, Nandi mandapa and Ganesha at the flag staff are all found facing towards the main shrine.

The Goddess Tribhuvana Nayaki is found in a separate south facing shrine.

Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as the niche images around the main shrine.

Some of the idols that are found in the inner prakara include Bhairav, Navagraha, Chandikeshwara and a rare Murugan idol seated on elephant.

The sub-shrines of Nataraja-Sivakami, Valanchuzhi Vinayaka, Shanmukha with his consorts and Murugan with his consorts are all located in the inner prakara.

The outer prakara does not have any idol. The tank is present inside the temple complex.

Happy travelling.