January 26, 2011

Poonamallee Vaideeswarar Temple (Angarak/Chevvai Kshetra)

Poonamallee is a well known locality located at a distance of around 25 kms from Chennai city, the gateway to South India. The original name of Poonamallee was Poovirundavalli. Poonamallee has two important ancient temples one for Lord Vishnu and another for Lord Shiva. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Poonamallee is called Vaidheeswaran temple. There is another popular temple named Vaidheeswaran near Kumbakonam in central Tamil Nadu. Hence, the Vaidheeswaran temple of Poonamallee is also called as 'Uttara Vaidheeswararn' temple. (Uttara means Northern).

Similar to the southern Vaidheeswarar temple, this northern Vaidheeswarar temple is also considered as the Navagraha Sthalam for Angarak (Sevvai). (Angarak = Mars; Navagraha = Nine planets). (For the sake of those who are not aware of Navagraha sthalams, there are nine temples near Kumbakonam town in Central Tamil Nadu state of India, which are considered as special temples for each planet. Those nine temples are together called as Navagraha sthalams. Similar to that, there are nine temples in and around Chennai city, which are considered as Navagraha sthalams.)

The temple has the tower and a tank inside the complex. The presiding deity of the temple is Vaidheeswarar in the form of big Shiv Linga facing east direction. Near the sanctum, the goddess Thaiyal Nayaki is found in a separate shrine which is facing the southern direction. The main entrance of the temple  has some beautiful wall carvings. Opposite to the sanctum, the flag staff and Nandi idol are located. Nandi is named as Vishnu Nandi in this temple. The Sthala vruksha (the sacred tree of the site) for this temple is Thaazhi Panai Maram (Palm tree).

The 1000 years old temple of Vaidheeswaran has a lot of architecturally beautiful sculptures inside the inner corridor. The entrance to the courtyard has the idols of Ganesha and Murugan on either sides.

 The entrance of the sanctum of Vaidheeswaran has the idol of Alagu Vinayak (Ganesha) on one side and Sevvai Padham (the foot prints of Angarak) on the other side. I am not sure if Angarak foot prints are present in any other temple. This is a rare symbol to find. Please note that this is believed that Angarak worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple.

The inner corridor has the idols of Surya (sun), Veeran, Vinayak, Vishwanath with Vishalakshi, Kumbeswar, Kailasanathar, Annapoorni, Mahalingeswarar, Adi Shankar and Maha Lakshmi. Another highlight of the temple is that it has Subramanya Chakra, Sri Chakra and Shiva Chakra installed by the great saint Adi Shankaracharya. The inner corridor also has the shrines of Nataraj with Sivakami, Somaskanda, and Muruga with his consorts Valli and Devasena. Navagraha, Bhairav, Chandikeshwara,Nalvar and Chandran are also found in the inner corridor of the temple. The walls surrounding the shrines has the niche images of Nardana Vinayak, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga. The outer corridor doesn't have any idol except for one big Shiv Linga.

Another highlight of the temple is that on the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th of Maasi month of Tamil calendar, Sun rays directly fall on the presiding deity around 6 am in the mornings.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Vaideeswarar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Poonamallee,near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: Angarak/Chevvai Kshetra, 1000 years old temple, foot prints of Angarak
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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