January 29, 2011

Virinchipuram Margabandeswarar Temple - South India

Virinchipuram is a small village located near Chennai city in South India. You can reach this temple if you travel in Chennai-Bangalore Highway. It is located at a distance of around 10 kms from Vellore city. Virinchipuram has the architecturally beautiful Margabandeswarar temple. Margabandeswarar temple is around 1300 years old and is very rich in extraordinary sculptures and artistic pillars.

Simha tank aka Simha teerth, the tank with the lion faced sculpture in the entrace which is located inside the temple is very popular. Every Karthigai (Tamil calendar month) last Saturdays, thousands of female devotees take bath in this tank and sleep in the temple mandaps with wet clothes. It is believed that if God appears in their dreams, their wish come true.

The temple has a beautiful tower in the east direction. In addition to that there are other towers facing the other directions. The highlight of the temple is two Kalyana Mandaps (halls) located on either side of the outer prakara (corridor). Both the mandaps are full of artistically beautiful pillars and sculptures. You can find the various forms of Shakthi, Shiva, Vishnu and other Gods in the form of beautiful sculptures in the pillars of these mandaps. Narasimha coming out of pillar, Narasimha killing Hiranya, Vishnu with musical instruments, and other such rare sculptures are carved in these mandaps.

As per the legend, Brahma and Vishnu competed among themselves to find the head and foot of Lord Shiva respectively. Vishnu admitted that he failed in his attempt. However, Brahma lied as if he saw the head of Lord Shiva. Hence, he was cursed and was born as Shiva Sarma in a Brahmin family in Virinjipuram. Shiva Sarma's father died when he was five years old. His relatives tried to get the rights of doing temple Poojas by deceiving Shiva Sarma. The Lord appeared in Shiva Sarma's mother's dream and on the next day he appeared as an old man. The old man performed upanayan for the boy. The boy did all the required poojas in the temple properly. However, he couldn't do abhishek to the tall Shiv Linga. Hence, the Shiv Linga tilted slightly towards the boy. You can still find the Shiv Linga idol tilted.

The Goddess of the temple is Maragadambal. Both the God and Goddess are east facing and both have separate flag staff. It appears that the temple should have been built or renovated by Sambuvarayan, the representative of Chola king in 1239 AD. Bomma Nayakkars, who built the Vellore Jalagandeswarar temple, should have built the beautiful kalyana mandaps of the temple.



As the temple is being renovated when I visited in 2010, I am unable to give more details about the idols of the temple. If I get a chance to revisit this temple, I will provide those details.

Happy travelling.






Fast Facts:
Site Name: Margabandeswarar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Virinchipuram,near Vellore city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: Architecutral marvel; Beautiful sculptures
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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