May 26, 2017

Lakshmi Balaji Temple - Chennai

Kamakoti Nagar is a new locality in Velachery in Chennai city, which was developed as a residential area in the last 20+ years. In this area, there is a lesser known temple of Lakshmi Balaji.

Balaji is the name of Tirupati Venkatachalapati. In this temple, which was built around two decades ago, the deity is named as Lakshmi Balaji. He is more than seven feet high and looks gigantic. The unique feature of the idol is that Balaji has the icon of Lakshmi in his lower half of his body. As Shiva and his consort appear in single form as Ardhanareeswara, in this temple, Balaji along with his consort appear in single form like this.

Alarmel Mangai a.k.a. Alamelu Manga is found next to Balaji in the sanctum.

The temple also enshrines the bronze idols of Ramanuja, Hanuman, Andal, Sudarshan and Lakshmi Narasimha.

Garud is found facing towards the sanctum. There is no tower for this temple. The flag staff and bali peetha are there. There is a separate shrine for Hanuman.

Happy travelling.

May 25, 2017

Malola Narasimha Temple of Chennai

The hustle and bustle of the busy Velachery locality of Chennai has not affected this beautiful temple of Malola Narasimha. This is located in a calm street of Balaji Nagar surrounded by the most happening Phoenix Mall, the congested Velachery lanes and the busy By-pass Road. Not many of the citizens know about this temple. Let me discuss about this site in this article.

Malola Narasimha is one of nine forms of  Narasimha. It should be noted that there is an old Yoga Narasimha temple located in Velachery. This is another temple for Narasimha in the same locality. Do not confuse that temple with this one.

This temple is located in a two storied structure, which looks like a typical independent house. There is no tower or even vimana on top of the sanctum. In 1994 CE, Sri Narasimha Dasar, founded Narasimha Peetam in this building. In 2002 CE, the math was elevated to the status of the temple after installation of a stone idol and utsav idol of Narasimha.

The male devotees should strictly wear dhotis and the female devotees should wear only sarees to be allowed to enter into the temple. This is very strictly followed. Leather products are also not allowed in this temple.

The temple has two floors. The ground floor has very few small stone idols such as Ganesh, Nagas, Hanuman, Mari Amman and the founder of this peetam (or his Guru?).

The sanctum is located on the first floor. The sanctum enshrines the gigantic seven and half feet high Akasha Narsimha along with Lakshmi. The idol looks majestic.

The bronze idol of Narasimha along with Lakshmi is also enshrined in the sanctum. He is named as Malola Narasimha. The temple is named after this utsav deity. Garud is found facing towards the sanctum.

Beside the sanctum, there is another sub-shrine that enshrines a lot of idols such as the Panchaloha idols of Garud, Prahalada and Narasimha with his two consorts. In addition, the beautiful Kalyana Narasimha (Narasimha and Lakshmi seated on a seat), Yoga Narasimha and Hanuman idols made out of Fig wood are also found in the same shrine.

Happy travelling.

May 23, 2017

Velachery Pidari Temple

Pidari Amman Temple in the most happening Velachery of Chennai city is not a roadside temple. Not many of the residents know that this is one of the oldest temples of Sapta Matrikas in entire Tamil Nadu.

Sapta Matas worship is a very old tradition. In Tamil Nadu, we could find hundreds of temples of Sapta Matas in the name of Pidari Amman or Chelli Amman. However, this particular temple of Sapta Matrikas in Velachery is very special. It had the stone inscriptions of Parthivendra Varman dated 966 CE. (This person is believed to have beheaded Vira Pandya; it is also believed that he belonged to the ancient Pallava dynasty). Another inscription dated 967 CE belonged to the period of Aditya Karikalan. The temple is completely renovated now and the inscriptions seem to be missing.

It is such an unfortunate thing. An ancient and historic temple of a Grama devta in Chennai city has lost its identity in the name of renovation.

The temple is located at a distance of around 200 meters from Dandeeswarar temple in Velachery. The small temple has a tower, which is completely painted as part of renovation. The sanctum enshrines Sapta Matas, namely Brahmi, Maheshwari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Varahi, Indrani and Chamunda. Out of these seven divine females, Chamunda is considered as Pidari or Chelli Amman (also written wrongly as Selli Amman by many writers). All these images are Chola period sculptures. The utsav icon of Pidari and the stone idols of Ganesh and Veerabhadra are also found inside the sanctum.

In the prakara, the recent time idols of Dakshinamurti and Navagrahas are there. Seven bricks, a very old tradition of representing Sapta Matas, are also found in this temple.

Happy travelling.