February 14, 2011

Thirumullaivayal Masilamaneeswarar Temple - Chennai, South India

Thirumullaivayal is a small village located between Ambattur and Avadi in the northern part of Chennai city of South India. Thirumullaivayal has an important temple named Masilamaneeswarar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is too old and it is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams (275 important temples of Lord Shiva).

Thirumullaivayal Masilamaneeswarar temple has an artistically beautiful tower facing the northern direction. Even though the temple tower and the entrance are in the north direction, the sanctum of Masilamaneeswarar faces the east direction.

There is an interesting legend associated with this temple. Aathondai Chakvarthy aka Thondaiman was the son of Chola king Killi Valavan and Peelivalai of Naga dynasty. Killi Valavan divided his kingdom into two and made his Chola son as the king for the southern region (Chola kingdom) and made Thondaiman as the king of the northern region (Thondai Mandalam). Thondaiman was ruling the kingdom from Kanchipuram. During his period, there was trouble from Kurumbur. The leaders of Kurumbur were Vanan, Onaan, and Kanthan. They were ruling the Puzhal area. They used to worship Bhairav as their God. Thondaiman was trying to win them, however he was not successful. On the way back to Kanchipuram, he passed through Thirumullaivayal. The legs of his elephant got entangled in the jasmine shrub. (As per the another version of the story, it was car (Rath) and not elephant.) When the king was trying to clear off the shrub using his sword, he found the blood oozing out. On checking further, he found the idol of Shiv Linga. He was shocked and wanted to cut down his own arm. Lord Shiva appeared along with Parvati and stopped him from doing so. Shiva sent Nandi along with Thondaiman. Nandi also got the sword from Parvati. Along with Nandi, Thondaiman fought against the Kurumbar and destroyed them. He brought the Erukka pillars from Kurumbar and installed them here. You can still find these old pillars inside the shrine of Masilamaneeswarar. These are considered to be stronger than teak. Another unique feature in this temple is that Nandi idol is not facing Shiv Linga. Instead, Nandi is facing the direction where Puzhal, the land of Kurumbar, is located.

Similar to the main temple tower, the other towers of the temple are also artistically good. The sanctum vimana is Gajaprshtha style. Masilamaneeswarar is found in the form of a big Shiv Linga idol in the sanctum. The idol is always covered by sandal. The scar due to sword cut is found on the idol. The wall surrounding his shrine has the big and beautiful niche images of Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Durga. Chandikeswarar is found in his usual location near Brahma.

The goddess of the temple is Kodi-idai-Amman. Kodiyidai Amman is in fact more popular than Masilamaneeswarar. She is considered as one of the three important Goddesses of Chennai region. A lot of devotees visit all three Goddesses, Melur Thiruvudai Amman, Tiruvottiyur Vadivudai Amman, and Thirumullaivayal Kodiyidai Amman on the same day. Kodiyidai Amman is considered as the Kriya Shakthi.

At the entrance of Masilamaneeswarar, Dwara Palaks idols look beautiful and magnificent. Vishnu is found along with his consorts near Dwarapalaks. Rasa Lingam is also found near Vishnu idol. The idol of the king Thondai Mandala Raja is also found in the same place. There is a shrine for Nataraj with Sivakami.

The corridor of Masilamaneeswarar has a lot of idols such as Ganesha, Murugan, Lakshmi, many Shiv Lingas, Nagas, 63 Nayanmars, Bhairav, Surya, Veerabhadra, and Arunagirinathar.

The big corridor (prakara) of the temple is a vast open space. It has a shrine for Prasanna Ganapati. In fact, this is the first idol you would see once you enter through the temple tower. There is a big separate shrine for Murugan with Valli and Devasena. The beautiful ancient idols of Surya and Bhairav are also found in the big corridor. There is a separate shrine for Shiv Linga named Kusalavapureeswarar and another shrine for Choleswarar. The temple tank is found outside the temple. Navagraha is not found in this temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Masilamaneeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Thirumullaivayal,near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: An ancient and artistically beautiful Shiva temple; one of 275 paadal petra sthalams of Lord Shiva; One of the three popular goddesses of Chennai region - Vadivudai Amman
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: Chennai is reachable by road, train, and flight; Thirumullavayal is located at the northern side of the city; It is easily reachable by road
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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