January 16, 2010

An unknown temple of 700 years old - Mallikeswarar Temple, Chennai, India

When I visited the 700 years old temple of Lord Mallikeswarar Temple located in Chennai, South India, I was wondering why this temple is being ignored by the public and remains unknown to the most of the people even in Chennai city. The temple tower is very artistic and beautiful and the temple complex is big and attractive.

Mallikeswarar Temple is located at the Lingi Chetty Street of George Town area. The temple is hardly 3 kms from the Chennai Central Railway Station.

Mallikeswarar Temple is believed to be 700 years old, although no further details of the temple history is found. The temple was once completely buried under the ground and the top most portion of the temple just showed up during a digging. On further digging, the complete temple was discovered. When the temple was uncovered, fresh jasmine flowers were found on the main deity (Lord Shiva in Linga form) of this temple. Hence, the deity is called as Mallikeswarar (the word “Malli” means jasmine in Tamil language).

The east facing temple has a Raja gopuram (tower). It looks very artistic and majestic with a lot of good stucco images. The front side mandapa that is located in front of the tower has many pillars with beautiful carvings.

The temple tank is located inside the temple complex. On the banks of the tank, a sub-shrine of Ganesha is found.

The sanctum sanctorum enshrines Shiva Linga called as Mallikeswarar, who is the presiding deity of the temple. The Goddess of the temple Maragambal is found in a separate south facing shrine adjacent to the sanctum.

A small idol of Ganesh is found at the entrance of the main shrine. The shrine of Maragambal has Ganesha and Subramanya at the entrance.

Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga are found as the niche images around the sanctum.

The temple also has the sub-shrines and idols such as Shiva Linga, Chandikeshwara, Vishwanatha-Vishalakshi, Mahadeva (Linga), Shanmukha, Shanmukha as utsava idol, Kailasanathar (Linga), Adipureeswarar Linga, Saraswati, Nalvar, Nataraj-Shivakami, Lakshmi-Vishnu, 63 Nayanmars, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Nagas, Surya, Chandra, Bhairav, Shaneeswar, Ananda Vinayaka, Bala Vinayaka, Bala Muruga and Navagraha. All the Navagrahas are found along with their respective vahans, which is not usual in all other temples.

When you find time, please go and visit this ancient beautiful temple. It makes sense to support the existing temples rather than coming up with new temples.

Happy travelling.

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