January 10, 2011

Bairagi Mutt Temple - Sowcarpet, Chennai, India

Chennai, the gateway to South India, has a lot of important historical sites and temples. One of the interesting sites is Bairagi Mutt (called as Bairagi Madam in Tamil language, the language spoken in Chennai). It is interesting to know that the Bairagi Mutt temple, located in the congested Sowcarpet area, the original Chennai (Madras) city, was built in the current form by a saint from Lahore in Pakistan.

Sowcarpet is a congested area in Chennai city and it has a lot of North Indian population. You can find a lot of old and big temples in Sowcarpet area. One of such big and old temples is Bairagi Mutt temple. It is basically a mutt (the place where the devotees can stay, or the place where the saints stay). The mutt also houses a small shrine for Lord Venkateswara with two consorts on his either side, and two more females also. There are small idols for Rama, Lakshman, and Sita, and also for Ganesha and Hanuman carved in the temple wall. This mutt is a North Indian mutt and hence the shrine as well as the idols are all in the North Indian style.

Bairagi Mutt is believed to be present for the past 400+ years. Around 1800 AD, a saint from Lahore started staying in this mutt. One day, Lord Venkateswara came in his dread and ordered him to renovate the temple and build shrines for him. He started collecting money from people and also converted copper into gold and started raising money by selling that gold. Thus, the adjacent temple of Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal was constructed. This temple was built in South Indian style.

Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple has a tower and flag staff (Dhwajasthambha). The sanctum has the big gigantic idol of Lord Venkatesa. There is Garud found in a small shrine opposite to Venkatesa. Adjacent to the main sanctum, there is a shrine for Ranganath with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi along with Brahma. There are shrines for various Alwars, and Tirumangai Alwar with Kumudavalli.

The corridor (prakara) of the temple houses the shrines of various Alwars and devotees, Hanuman, Rama with Lakshman and Sita, Varadarajar with hsi consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi, Kannan aka Krishna with his two consorts, Varaha, and Lakshmi Narasimha. It is very rare to find various forms of Lord Vishnu in the same temple. The goddess of the temple Alar Mel Mangai is found in a separate shrine. There is also a separate shrine for Andal.
Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Bairagi Mutt Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Sowcarpet,Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A Hindu temple built by a Pakistani saint
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

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