Pudhu Mantralayam - Selaiyur

In Selaiyur near Tambaram, a southern suburban locality of Chennai, Pudhu Mantralayam, meaning "the New Mantralaya", is located. It is a new temple built in 2019 CE for Raghavendra Swami Temple.

The temple is large in size. It has a single shrine in the middle of a huge hall and has no other sub-shrine.

A large Brindavan of Raghavendra is enshrined in the center. The small metal icons of Raghavendra in the standing posture and Vyasraja are kept near Brindavan. Tiny metal icons of Vishnu-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi, Lakshmi Narasimha and Panchamukha Anjaneya also grace the devotees. Besides, the small stone idols of Hanuman and Lakshmi Narasimha are also found here.

Happy travelling.

Keelkattalai Srinivasa Perumal Temple

Padmavati Samatha Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Keelkattalai, a southern suburban locality of Chennai, is a new temple. There is no history or architectural significance. However, certain unique features of the temple lead me to write this article.

In Vishnu temples in Tamil Nadu, we generally cannot find Ganesha. Visvaksena, the elephant-faced Vaishnavite icon, is typically mistaken for Ganesha. However, in this temple, Ganesha is found in a separate shrine, which is as big as the main shrine.

Another unique feature of the temple is the position of Navagrahas. Navagrahas are unusual for a Vishnu temple in Tondai region, but it is not uncommon. What makes this temple unique is how each planet (graha) is positioned. Usually, Surya takes the central position and the other eight grahas surround him; the direction of each graha would be different and they do not face each other. In the temples in Chola region (and in very few temples outside Chola region), Surya takes the central position …

Keelkattalai Neelakantheswara Temple

Keelkattalai is a southern suburb of Chennai city. Neelakantheswara Temple is one of the most famous temples of this locality. Although the temple is new, the Shiv Linga and few other idols are few centuries years old. The footprints of Shiva are found, which cannot be seen anywhere else. Go through the article to know the details.

In a narrow street in the congested Keelkattalai area, Neelakantheswara Temple is located. The east-facing temple has a tall five-tiered gopuram (tower) at the entrance.

The sanctum enshrines a big Shiv Linga, named as Neelakantheswara. The idol appears to be 300-400 years old.

The four-armed Goddess Neela Nira Umaiyammai in the standing posture is found in a south-facing shrine.

In the maha mandapa, the stone idol of Nataraja with his consort Sivakami and devotee Manickavasagar is found. Mostly, bronze icons of Nataraja-Sivakami icons are found in temples and only a few temples have the stone idols of Nataraja. However, these idols are very new that were …

Madampakkam Kagapujandar Temple

In Madampakkam (in the southern outskirts of Chennai), there is a lesser-known temple of Kagapujandar. Before I delve into the details of the temple, let me give a brief introduction to Kagapujandar.
Kagapujandar is one of the Siddhas. As per the legends found in the Siddha tradition, he is the son of Brahma and Saraswati. The Supreme God, Shiva, created him, to guide and help Tri Murtis (Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra) on their tasks. He is immortal and has seen multiple Kalpas. (In Hinduism, a Yuga is an era, and there are four Yugas in each cycle; Kalpa is equivalent to 72 Yugas). As he has been living for many Kalpas, he has advised various Trimurtis. (Even Trimurtis have an end, but this Siddha does not have the end.)
Kagapujandar has sixteen arms and Bagula Devi is his consort. She is the daughter of Sambuga Rishi. She is also depicted with sixteen arms. Ramosa Rishi was their son. 

It is unusual to find Kagapujandar in any regular temple. There is a separate temple dedicated to him in C…

Vengaivasal Swarnapureeswarar Temple

Tiru Nageswaram Temple is a famous temple in Tamil Nadu. There, the milk that is offered for abhisheka to the diety turns into blue color. Similarly, there is this lesser-known temple of Lord Shiva located in the southern outskirts of Chennai, where the milk that is poured on Shiva Linga turns into blue color.

Vengaivasal - not many from Chennai would know about this locality. It's not a popular one. It is located at a distance of about 10 kms from Tambaram. In Vengaivasal, after passing through many narrow streets and lanes, we could reach to Swarnapureeswarar Temple. (Please refer to the Google map embedded at the end of the article to find the exact location.)

It is a modern-day temple built in the first decade of the 21st century CE. However, Shiva Linga and Nandi are few centuries years old. They were discovered from the land near the village tank. Ultimately the villagers decided to build this temple. Initially, they wanted to name the deity as Vengeeswarar, but later they …

Nanmangalam Neelavarna Perumal Temple

Located near the reserve forest of Nanmangalam, this lesser-known temple of Vishnu is believed to have been built originally in the 9th century CE, possibly by the Pallavas. A Pallava period stone inscription in a separate stone slab is kept at the entrance.

The presiding deity is known as Neelavarna Perumal. The three feet tall stone idol of Perumal is flanked by his consorts, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. Vishnu is found in the standing posture. He has four arms; his upper arms hold conch and discus; his lower arms are in abhaya and kati hasthams.

The sanctum also enshrines the utsava (metal) idols of Perumal-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi and Vedavalli.

The structure of the east-facing sanctum and Ardha mandapa (partially) are old structures that cannot be older than 300-400 years. The rest of the temple's structure is completely renovated in recent times.

The entrance does not have Dwarapalas. Instead, two old bas-relief images of Hanuman are located on either side of the entrance.

The stone i…

Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswara Temple - The Grand Temple of Temple City

When you hear about Madurai, you would automatically think about Meenakshi. Meenakshi has been a synonym for the historic city for hundreds of years. Meenakshi Sundareswara Temple - do we have anyone in this nation (India) who has not heard about this gigantic temple? Else, do we have any visitor who was not carried away by its extraordinary beauty? This temple is one of the largest and famous temples in the entire nation. It is the pride of Tamil Nadu. Due to this temple, the whole city, Madurai, is referred to as the Temple City of India.

I know it is not easy to pen down about the glory of such a magnificent temple. That's why I took about one year to write this article. It was like a penance; I visited the temple multiple times. I always have my camera and mobile phone to capture details and take notes. But, they are not allowed in this temple. I stood in front of every hall and tower for many hours patiently to note down the details on architecture and iconography manually. I…