January 29, 2011

Shenbakkam Selva Vinayakar Temple - Near Vellore, South India

Shenbakkam, a small village near Vellore, on the route of Chennai to Bangalore in South India, is famous due to its rare temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha.

Lord Ganesha, the son of Lord Shiva, is named as Selva Vinayakar in this temple. Shenbakkam Selva Vinayakar temple has totally 11 Pillayar (Ganesha) idols. The highlight is not the number of idols but the shape of those idols. All the idols are shapeless and formless. They are considered as Swamyambu - meaning which formed on their own. You cannot find a proper shape for any of those Ganesha idols. That is the highlight of this temple.

The original name of the village was Shenbagavanam as there used to be a lot of Shenbaga trees. The name got diluted to Shenbakkam later. As per a legend, Adi Shankara on his way to Virinjipuram Margabandeswarar temple visit, he came to this site and installed Sri Chakra. However, the Chakra is nowhere found in the current temple. It is also believed that all the idols were buried into the ground in due course. It is believed that the axle of the chariot of a Marati minister named Thukoji broke down here and the blood was oozing out from the ground. Ganesha appeared in the dream of Thukoji and disclosed his presence. Thus, the idols were discovered and the temple was built.

Shenbakkam Vinayakar temple has a tank outside the temple structure and a small tower. Munjur (mouse) is the vaahan of Ganesh. In this temple, in front of 11 swayambu Vinayak idols, there are four mice and one elephant standing as vaahans. Another highlight of the temple is that the flag staff is present right inside the main shrine. Behind the 11 Vinayak idols, there is a shrine where Meenakshi, Sundareswarar, and Mariamman are found. The temple also houses the idols of Dakshinamurti, Nalvar, Chandikeswarar, Viswanathar, Vishalakshi, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu and Murugan with Valli-Devasena. There are a lot of "sudhai" idols in the temple walls depicting various forms of Ganesha. Some of them are really rare forms such as Five faced Ganesha, and Ganesha on peacock. There is a shrine where all the metal utsav idols are kept. Navagraha is also found in the temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Selva Vinayakar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Shenbakkam,near Vellore city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 11 Swayambu idols of Ganesha without any proper shape
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 from Chennai or Bangalore
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai; Many decent and budget hotels are available in Vellore
Restaurants: Saravana Bhavan in Vellore is one of the good vegetarian restaurants in Vellore; apart from that, there are only few good options available in Vellore

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