November 11, 2018

Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganesha Temple of Chennai

We would have observed Saraswati, Lakshmi and Ganesha being depicted together in so many calendar images and pictures. But, it is not common to find such depiction in temple. In Chennai, there is a temple which depicts all of them together as the presiding deities.

In Selaiyur Indira Nagar East area, which is located at a distance of around 5 kms from Tambaram Railway Station, this small temple is located. This locality, like any other locality in Tamil Nadu, has many small Ganesha temples. But this temple is unique as Ganesha in the sanctum has Saraswati to his right side and Lakshmi to his left side. This temple seems to have been built 10-15 years ago. The location is serene and it gives a positive vibration.

In the prakara, the sub-shrine of Kartikeya-Valli-Devasena is found. Navagraha is also found in the temple. Dakshinamurti and Vishnu Durga are depicted as the niche images.

There is a big holy peepal tree in front of the temple entrance, under which few Nagas' images are placed.

Happy travelling.

November 10, 2018

Brahma Teerth, Nedunkundram (Waterbodies of Chennai - 11)

Nedunkundram in a small village located near Tambaram in the southern outskirts of Chennai. It has an old temple for Lord Shiva, Agasteeswarar temple.

The temple has a huge tank that covers an area of around 1.5 acres. It is called as Brahma Teerth. The tank must be as old as the temple. The site is calm and serene. It is rare to find such a beautiful locality with the tank full of pure water flowing in this city.

Happy travelling.

Note: As per a report, there were about 650+ waterbodies in Chennai region till 1980s. Today, only a fraction of them exist. And, most of those surviving waterbodies hardly have water and even some of them that  have water had been shrunk badly. In Chennai, there are tank roads without tanks nearby and lake view roads without any lake in the vicinity. There is a high possibility that even the few waterbodies that we have today might vanish in the near future. I thought of visiting the currently surviving waterbodies of Chennai and its suburbs and write about them in my blog as a series.

Nedunkundram Agasteeswarar Temple

The citizens of Chennai would hardly heard about this sub-urban locality called Nedunkundram. Two to three years down the line, this location might become one of the most happening places of the city,  thanks to the real estate giants who focus this part of the outskirts.

In this tiny hamlet, an old temple of Lord Shiva is located. The temple is called as Agasteeswarar temple. It is a serene location surrounded by trees and a big temple tank with full of pure water. It is indeed a rare sight in Chennai to find pond with water.

Around 5 kms from Perungalathur railway station, a narrow street called Iswaran Koil Street that branches out from the Gandhi Road, leads us to this temple.

The temple is east facing. It has no Raja gopuram (I heard that the tower would be constructed shortly by a real estate company which is promoting its project in this village). There are two entrances to the temple, one at the east direction and another at the south direction. At the eastern entrance, there is an idol of Ganesha located. To the true left side of the temple, the big temple tank named as Brahma Teerth flows. In between the tank and the temple, the holy banyan tree is found. It is the Sthala Vruksha of this temple.

The villagers claim that the temple is 1000+ years old (it is definitely not that old though). I inquired about the possibilities of the inscriptions. But, no one could provide solid response. I believe the inscriptions were lost during the renovation of the temple. I understand that the original temple was a stone temple in dilapidated state and it was renovated in the early 2000s.

The current concrete modern day structure does not give even an iota of  clue on the period of the temple. I think that the original temple might have been a later Chola period temple. Except for Shiv Linga and Chandikeswara, I don't see any other old sculptures in this temple. Probably these are the idols which were there even in the original temple. The scholars could throw light on the age of the temple from these sculptures.

The presiding deity is Agasteeswarar. He is found in the form of a big Shiv Linga in the east facing sanctum. It is believed that it was installed by Agastya Rishi. It is said that the Rishi installed 108 Shiv Lingas in Thondai region and it must be one of them.

There is a small Ardha Mandap. The Maha Mandap is bigger in size. At the entrance of the Ardha Mandap, Bala Ganapati and Subramanya are found. There are no Dwarapalas found.

The south facing shrine of Goddess Tripura Sundari is located in the Maha Mandap. At the entrance of the shrine, the idol of Bala Sundari is found. I believe, this idol was originally the Goddess. During renovation, it would have been shifted here.

Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as the niche images around the sanctum. Maha Vishnu is very attractive. Chandikeswara seems to be an old icon.

The sub-shrines of Iyappa, Murugan-Valli-Devasena, Maha Lakshmi, Navagraha, Bhairav and Shaneeswara are found in the prakara. The stone idols of Nalvar are located in Maha Mandap.

All the utsav (metal) icons which include, Nataraj-Sivakami, Uma-Chandrashekhar, Ganesha, Chandikeswara and Somaskanda are all located in Maha Mandap.

Nandi Mandap and a very tall flag staff are located facing towards the sanctum.

The locality is very calm and there is hardly any devotee found.

Due to proximity to Vandalur Zoo, there are many monkeys that roam around the temple complex. Due to fear of monkeys, I could not shoot good photographs.

Happy travelling.