November 23, 2014

Navagraha along with their wives in Chennai

Site Name: Bala Murugan Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Thendral Colony, West Anna Nagar, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A rare temple where Navagrahas are found along with their consorts
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 as this is centrally located in 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

Chennai is considered as the gateway to South India. The capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India has hundreds of tourist sites which include museum, British period monuments, temples, beach, etc. Let us explore a little known temple called Bala Murugan temple located in Chennai.

Temple Layout:

Bala Murugan temple is located near Anna Nagar railway station in West Anna Nagar area in Chennai city. Although it is popular in this locality, it remains unknown to the people from the other parts of Chennai. The highlight of the temple is Navagrahas are found along with their consorts. It is unique and it is one among very few temples having Navagrahs along with their wives.

The south facing temple has a small tower. All the mains shrines face the east direction. The sanctum sanctorum has the beautiful idol of Bala Murugan. To the right side of this shrine, there is an equally big shrine dedicated to Lord Ganesha. The wall around the main shrine of Murugan has the niche images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Vishnu Durga. A small Chandikeshwara sub-shrine is also found in this prakara. It should be noted that all these niche idols are usually found only for Lord Shiva. It is rare to find all these deities as Koshta (niche) deities around the shrine of Subramanya.

The left side of the main shrine has four small sub-shrines dedicated to Ayyappa, Vishwanatha (Shiva Linga), Vishalakshi and Nataraja. The Ayyappa idol is stone idol which is not usually found in other temples. 

There is a big shrine dedicated to Lakshmi Narayana.

The temple also enshrines Lakshmi Hayagreeva, Kubera Bhairava with his consort, Nagavalli Amman found in front of an anthole, the bust idol of Nagavalli Amman, Danvantiri, the utsava deities of Murugan and other Gods, Sudarshana with Narsimha on his back and importantly Navagrahas (nine planets) along with their respective consorts. 

The highlight of the temple is Navagrahas, the nine planets. Surya is found with his two consorts. All other eight planets are found along with their respective consorts. It is very rare to find planets with their wives.

The details of planets and their consorts are given below.

Surya - Usha and Chaya
Chandra - Rohini
Mangal (Sevvai) - Shakti
Budha - Ila
Guru - Tara
Shukra - Sukirti
Shani - Neela
Rahu - Simhi
Ketu - Chitralekha

Happy travelling.

Little known Nimishamba Temple of Chennai

Site Name: Nimishamba Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Kasi Chetty Street, Sowcarpet, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A rare temple of Nimishamba in Chennai city
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 as this is centrally located in 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

Chennai is considered as the gateway to South India. The capital city of Tamil Nadu state of India has hundreds of tourist sites which include museum, British period monuments, temples, beach, etc. Let us explore a little known temple called Nimishamba temple located in Chennai.

Nimishamba is another name of Goddess Parvati. It is believed that the Goddess would remove the troubles of her devotees within a minute and hence she is named as Nimishamba (nimisha means 'minute'). As per the legend, the Somavanshi Mutharasa King Muktharaja was blessed with the boon that Nimishamba would come to his aid in his fight against the demons in a minute. There is a temple dedicated to Nimishamba built during the reign of Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar in the 17th century CE. The temple is found near Srirangapatna. There are few temples of Nimishamba built in many places in Karnataka state later. One such temple was built probably in the 18th century CE in Chennai city in Tamil Nadu state. The temple is situated in the congested Kasi Chetty Street in Sowcarpet area in Chennai.

Sowcarpet is a highly crowded area. It is difficult even to walk in the streets. This temple is located along with other shops and hardly anyone visits this temple. In fact, only few would know about the existence of this old temple in such a busy area. 

The temple has a small tower and the entire structure is recently renovated. The main shrine has Nimishamba in standing posture. There are sub-shrines of Mukteeshwara (Shiva Linga), Ganesha, Subramanya, Vishnu-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi, Hanumana and Navagraha. The niche idols of Ichcha Shakti, Kriya Shakti and Gnana Shakti are found on the walls of the main shrine.

Happy travelling.


November 16, 2014

Thanjapureeswarar Temple

Site Name: Thanjapureeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Outskirts of Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: The city Tanjore is named after the main deity of this temple; supposed to be the original temple of Tanjore
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road and rail
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire Tanjore city
Restaurants: A lot of options across the entire Tanjore city

Those who know about Thanjavur (Tanjore) city is South India know mainly about the great Brahadeeswarar Temple built by Raja Raja Chola around 1000 years back. However, there are many rare and interesting sites found across the entire city. Let us explore about Thanjapureeswarar temple, which is supposed to be the original temple of this city. It is believed that the city was named after the main deity of this temple. Also, it is believed that the temple must have existed even before the Brahadeeswarar temple was constructed.

Highlights:
  • Supposed to be the original temple of Tanjore. The city Thanjavur was probably named after the main deity of the temple, Thanjapureeswarar.
  • God - Thanjapureeswarar aka Kuberapureeswarar
  • Goddess - Anandavalli
  • Stala Vruksha (holy tree) - Vanni tree
  • It is believed that this temple is older than the temple of Brahadeeswara.

Legend:

As per the legend, Kubera lost his kingdom and treasure to his half brother Raavan. Kubera started visiting various Shiva temples to get back his glory. He visited this temple which was a small temple then. It is said he did not have to visit anymore temple after this. As Kubera surrendered to Lord Shiva here, Shiva is called as 'Thanjapureeswarar'. The town was also named after the deity as Thanjavur.

Temple Layout:

Although it is believed that the temple must be older than Brahadeeswara temple, there is no visible evidence. The structure appears to be comparatively new. 

The temple has west facing entrance with a small tower. The west facing sanctum sanctorum enshrines a big Shiva Linga named as Kuberapureeswarar aka Thanjapureeswarar. At the entrance there are idols of Ganesha and Subramanaya apart from the big attractive idols of Dwarapalas. As usual, the bali peetha, Nandi mandapa and flag staff are located facing towards the sanctum.

There is a separate south facing shrine for the Goddess Anandavalli. At the entrance of this shrine, there is a Ganesha idol and two big and beautiful idols of Dwarapalikas (females). Nandi is found facing towards her shrine.

At the entrance of temple below the tower, the idols of Ganesha, Subramanya and Ayyappa are located. 

The wall around the sanctum sanctorum enshrines the niche images of Dakshinamurti, Nataraja, Brahma and Durga. It is rare to find Nataraja as a niche (koshta) idol. There is a small sub-shrine of Chandikeshwara located. 

In the outer prakara, there are many ancient idols which were discovered nearby are kept. The idols such as Saraswati, Ganesha, Brahma, Dakshinamurti and Shiva Lingas are beautiful.

The sub-shrines of Nataraja-Sivakami and Navagraha are also located in this temple.

On the way to the Goddess shrine, the idols of Lakshmi and Kubera performing pooja to Shiva LInga are found. It is very unique.

Happy travelling.