January 12, 2011

Tiruvotriyur Dakshinamurti Temple - Chennai, India

Chennai, the gateway to South India, is a city which has a lot of tourist sites in and around. The tourist sites in Chennai include some important Hindu temples. Tiruvotriyur is a small town near Chennai, which is popular for the past 2000 years mainly due to the magnificent temple of Tyagaraja and Vadivudai Amman. Near the famous temple of Tyagaraja and Vadivudai Amman, there is a small temple dedicated to Lord Dakshinamurti is located.

Dakshinamurti is none but Lord Shiva who is found in the form of doing meditation. He is considered as the Lord of Knowledge, and you can find the Dakshinamurti image in all Shiva temples in South India. He is found as the niche image facing the southern direction on the wall of the sanctum. There are few temples in South India, where you can find separate shrines for Dakshinamurti. You can find the Asura Muyalakan under his foot and also four saints accompanied. There are few temples where the posture of Dakshinamurti is different or where Dakshinamurti is found with his consort or where there are no saints or the Asura. However, as long as I know, there is no separate temple for Dakshinamurti and none of the Dakshinamurti idols face north direction. All the Dakshinamurti idols face the southern direction. The Dakshinamurti temple at Tiruvotriyur is a unique one as it has the idol of Dakshinamurti which faces the north direction.

Dakshinamurti temple of Tiruvotriyur is a unique temple built by a Siddhar (a saint) around 400 years ago. It is unique because no where else you can easily find the temple for Dakshinamurti. (There are exceptions - one temple is there in down South and there is another temple near Ambattur in Chennai). Another unique feature of the temple is that the idol of Dakshinamurti is very big and he also faces the north direction.

The temple also enshrines a unique idol of Lord Ganesha with five heads seated on a lion (Vallabha Ganapati). There is a metal idol of Dakshinamurti which is lively and very beautiful. There is a small Shiv linga idol found near the main Dakshinamurti's foot.

When you happen to visit Tiruvottiyur, don't visit just the popular Tyagaraja temple. Ensure that you also visit this unique temple of Lord Dakshinamurti - the Lord of Knowledge.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Dakshinamurti Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Tiruvottiyur,near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: Temple dedicated to Dakshinamurti; Dakshinamurti facing north direction; big idol of Dakshinamurti
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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