September 18, 2009

A 12th century temple near the public market - Kurungaleeswarar temple, Koyambedu, Chennai

Koyambedu - the congested area of Chennai is famous for its bus terminus. You can get buses to almost all the cities/towns in South India which can be travelled by bus, from this bus stand. Another reason why Koyambedu is popular is due to the wholesale market where one can buy fruits, vegetables, and flowers at cheaper rates. Only few people know that Koyambedu is famous not only for market and bus terminus, but it has two ancient temples belonging to  the 12th century CE.

Kurungaleeswarar Temple is one of the twin temples of Koyambedu. The main deity of the temple is Kurungaleeswarar (Lord Shiva). As per the legend, Lord Rama's sons Kush and Luv worshipped Kurungaleeswarar. This place was named as Kusha Luva Puri which later got corrupted to Koyambedu. It is also believed that the sage Valmiki lived here and he brought up Luv and Kush along with their mother Sita when she was exciled to the forest by Rama.

Dakshinamurti, Brahma and Durga are found as the Koshta idols. Chandikeshwarar is found in his usual location near Durga. The shrines of Ganesh, Navagraha, Shasta, Subramanya with his consorts and Nalvar are also found in this temple.

The Goddess Dharmasamvardhini is found in a separate shrine. Her left foot is slightly projected forward. It is believed that she put her left foot forward before leaving her abode to kill a Rakshasa.


The temple is believed to have been built by Kulothunga Cholan III during 12th century CE.The pillars of Kurungaleeswarar temple are artistic and have beautiful sculptures. Sharbeshwara sculpture in a pillar has become very popular in the recent years and it attracts hundreds of people to this temple.

The temple is located very near to the Koyambedu bus stand and you can reach this place very well either in auto/taxi or by public transport.

Happy travelling.

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