January 7, 2011

Thirumazhisai Nagar Othandeswarar Temple

Chennai, the city which is considered as the gateway to South India, has a lot of tourist sites and temples in and around. Thirumazhisai Nagar is a small town located on the route of Chennai to Tirupati. It is located at a distance of around 25 kms from Chennai city. Thirumazhisai Nagar got its name from Tirumazhisai Alwar, one of the twelve alwars (important devotees) of Lord Vishnu, who was born here. Othandeswarar temple located on the Chennai - Tirupati high way at Thirumazhisai Nagar is one of the two important temples of Thirumazhisai Nagar. The other important temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu named as Jagannath.

Sri Othandeswarar temple of Thirumazhisai Nagar is around 1000 years old temple. It is built in the Gajaprshtha (back side of the sleeping elephant) architectural style by the Chola kings.


As per the legend, when almost all the Devas gathered at the Himalayas to attend the divine wedding of Lord Shiva and Parvati, the earth lost balance and tilted. To set the balance of the earth right, Lord Shiva ordered the sage Agastya to travel towards the south direction. Later, the sage Agastya witnessed the divine marriage in a place named Tiruverkadu. (You can find similar legends in various temples of South India.) However, Agastya's disciples including Pulastya didn't get a chance to watch the marriage of Lord Shiva. As per their request, Agastya along with them, selected a site near to Tiruverkadu. The site was a forest full of Azhinjal trees. He formed a Shiv Linga idol and worshipped, and then all of them got the sight of the divine marriage in the site. That site is believed to be today's Thirumazhisai Nagar.

In due course, the idol of Shiv Linga got submerged and the site turned into a forest. When Karikal Chola was ruling this region, he had to fight against a group called Kurumbar. When he was passing through this forest in his elephant, his elephant couldn't move as a creeper encircled its leg. Karikal Chola got down and tried to cut down the creeper using his sword. Immediately, the blood was oozed out of the place and he found the Shiv Linga there. He felt guilty and cut his own arm using his sword. Immediately Lord Shiva appeared in front of him and he got his arm back. There are some people who claim that it was Kulothunga Chola II and not Karikal Chola. As the Lord gave back hand to the king, the Lord (Othandeswarar) is also called as 'Kai Thanda Piran' (meaning the Lord who gave hand in Tamil language).

Temple Layout:

Sri Othandewarar temple is located on the high road connecting Chennai and Tirupati. The east facing temple has a tower.

Once we enter into the temple, we could find the small shrine of Devaraja Ganapati (Ganesha).

Facing the east facing shrine, the flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi mandap are located. The holy tank is also found nearby.

The east facing sanctum enshrines  Othandeswarar in Linga form. Behind the Shiv Linga idol, the images of Lord Shiva and Parvati depicting the marriage scene are found. There is a separate shrine for the goddess Kulirnda Nayaki facing south. Othandeswarar is also called as Agasteeswarar. The goddess also has another name - Seethalambikai.

The prakara has many shrines such as  utsav (processing/metal) idols of Nataraj with Sivakami, Somaskandar and Rishaba Vahanar.

The wall surrounding the sanctum of Othandeswarar has the niche images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga. The prakara also has the idols/sub-shrines of Surya, Chandra, Bhairav, Chandikeshwara, Adikara Nandi, Nalwar and Murugan along with his consorts Valli and Devasena.

The outer  prakara has a separate shrine for another Shiv Linga called  Gangadareswarar along with the Goddess Parvathavardhini. It is believed that Gangadareswarar was installed by the saint Pulastya. The prakara also houses the shrines of Navagraha, Shaneeswarar and Siva Subramanya along with Valli and Devasena.

The temple tank is named as Agastyar Teerth or Kalyana Teerth. The sthala vrukshams of the temple are Azhinjil, Vilvam and Parijatham.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Othandeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Thirumazhisai Nagar, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: 1000 years old ancient temple built by Chola king
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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