January 3, 2011

Chenna Malleeswarar Temple, Sowcarpet, Chennai, India

Chenna Malleeswarar Temple is one of the few temples in Chennai city of South India, which was built during the British period.

When the British East India Company occupied Madras (Chennai), they had to destroy Chenna Kesava temple, a Vishnu temple. Currently, you can find Madras High Court in the same site. Due to public outcry, the British donated money and land to Manali Muthu Krishna Mudaliar, the last chief merchant to East India Company. He started constructing Chenna Kesava temple in 1762. Along with the Chenna Kesava temple, he also constructed a temple for Lord Shiva named Chenna Malleeswarar temple. Thus, the twin temples of Chennai of British period came into existence. There is a theory that the city Chennai is named after these twin temples of Chenna Malleeswarar and Chenna Kesava. They are even referred as Pattinam temples.

There is no Rajagopuram or temple tower for Chenna Malleeswarar temple. In the entrance, you can find a big area with flower and fruit merchants on both the sides. Once you enter into the temple, you can find Prasanna Vinayak shrine to your left. There is a small shrine for Lord Surya (the Sun God) near Vinayak (Ganesha) shrine.

As usual, you can find Gajastambha and Nandi statue in front of the main shrine. There are two Ganesh idols found on the either sides of the entrance to the main shrine. The main shrine has the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Malleeswarar - who is in the form a very big Shiv Linga. There is a small corridor (prakara) surrounding the sanctum sanctorum within the main shrine. The corridor has various idols such as Ganesha, Linga, Polla Pillayar, Nayanmars, Sekkilar, and small shrines for different forms of Shiv Lingas, Bala Murugan with Linga, Bikshadanar, Somaskandar, and Natraj. The wall of the inner corridor has the idols of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma, Durga, and Chandikeswarar. Navagraha is also found within the main shrine.

There is a big corridor (prakara) where there is a shrine for Subramanya with his wives Valli and Deivayanai. The goddess of the temple Brahmarambikai is also found in a separate shrine in the corridor. (Usually, in Shiva temples you can find the Goddess inside the main shrine). There are also shrines for Utsav (metal) Shanmukha with consorts, and Utsav Adi Shankara, and also a small Ganesha idol in this prakara. There is a passage in the corridor which takes you to the next temple - Chenna Kesava Temple.

Don't miss to visit this temple of British period - it's a heritage temple indeed.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Chenna Malleswarar temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Sowcarpet, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: One of the twin temples of Chennai; The temple constructed with the fund from the British
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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