April 9, 2011

Agastya Temple - Chennai

Agastya (written as Agasthiar in South India) was one of the most famous mythological saints of Hinduism. The stories related to this great saint could be found in North India as well as South India. Due to his connection with a lot of mythological events in South India, you can find the idol of Agastya in many South Indian temples. There is a temple in T Nagar area of Chennai city, which is named as Agastyar temple or Agastyar ashram.
Agastyar temple aka Agastyar ashram is a popular temple in the T Nagar locality and it is located very near to Pondy Bazaar. Although the temple is called as Agasthiar temple, the presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. It is not known who built this temple and how many years old. However, this temple remains as a popular one in this region for many years and it is evident that the current structure of the temple and expansion are done in the modern days.

The temple has a tower. Once you enter the temple, you can find the shrine of Ganesha named as Nityananda Ganesha who is found along with his consorts Siddhi and Buddhi. The walls surrounding the shrine of Ganesha are full of beautiful stucco images and sculptures. Some of them are very rare figures such as Ganesha on a peacock, Ganesha fighting with Asuras, Ganesha as a crow along with the saint Agastya, etc. The idol of Bhairav is also found near the shrine of Ganesha.

There is a separate shrine for Lord Subramanya who is found along with his consorts Valli and Devasena. Near the shrine of Subramanya, the separate shrines for Agastya and his consort Lopamudra are found. Perhaps due to this shrine of Agastya, this temple is called as Agastya ashram.

The unique feature of this temple is that all the Navagraha idols (nine planets) are found along with their respective vaahans.

As mentioned earlier, the presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva. He is found in the form of a Shiv Linga and named as Vanibeshwarar. The Shiv Linga is found in the lower region slightly under ground and behind Shiv Linga the idols of Shiva and Parvati are found. It is very rare to find Shiv-Parvati figures behind the Shiv Linga in South Indian temples. There is a separate shrine for the Goddess Vadivambikai. As per the name, the idol of the Goddess is extremely beautiful.

Another unique feature of this neatly maintained temple is that you can find the figures of national leaders and spiritual leaders such as Variyar, Bharatiar and VOC in the temple tower.

Other shrines in the temple:

1) Lakshmi Narayana
2) Kalyana Varadar; this shrine also has the bronze idol of Lakshmi and an idol of Ganesha
3) Dakshinamurti
4) Ayyappa
5) Nagaraja
6) Chakrathalwar and Narasimha
7) Durga
8) Chandikeswara
9) Hanuman
10) Utsav idols

Visit this unique temple once to get a different experience.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Agasthiar Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Opposite street of Pondy Bazzar Saravana Bhavan restaurant, T Nagar, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: A famous temple of Shiva in Chennai

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 any part of the city
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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  2. South Indian Temples are Heavens, must visit once in your life time to know the tradition , arts, music and most immpartent Marvelous engineering in building the Great Goupurams of these Temples.

    I salute the Shilpi's who built this!!!!!!!