December 10, 2012

Trisulanathar Temple - Chennai


Site Name: Trisulanathar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Trisulam, Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A lesser known 12th century temple built by Chola kings near Chennai airport
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air; Chennai is the gateway of South India
Hotel: A lot of options across the city 
Restaurants: Hundreds of options and varieties across the entire city


Thousands of people take flights from Chennai domestic airport and international airport. However, hardly few might know about the 800 years old ancient temple built by the Cholas, which is located near the airport. It is hardly two kms. from the airport, the temple of Trisulanathar is located in Trisulam area of Chennai city. Trisulanathar is the name of Lord Shiva in this temple.

As per the legend, Lord Brahma chose this place to worship Lord Shiva as it was surrounded by four small hills  depicting four Vedas. The town was originally named as Brahmapuri or Chadurvedi Mangalam. The Chola King Kulotunga I built the temple in this site in the 12th century CE.

Although the temple is an ancient Chola temple, there is no temple tower (gopuram). The dhwajastambha (flag staff) is found in front of the sanctum. There is a small Ganesh idol near the flag staff.

The east facing sanctum sanctorum enshrines the main deity Trisulanathar in the form of a big Shiv Linga idol. Trisulam is the name of weapon carried by Lord Shiva. Trisulanathar means the one who carries Trisulam. The Goddess Soundarambikai is found along wih Shiv Linga. Ganesh and Subramanya idols are found in the either sides of the main shrine.

The tall idol of the Goddess Tripura Sundari with four hands in the standing posture is found in a separate shrine facing the south direction.

The main shrine was built in Gajaprshtha aka Thoonganai style of architecture which looks like the back side of an elephant. The outer walls of the main shrine has the relief images of Naga Yagnopavita Ganapati (Ganesh wearing snake as the sacred thread - a rare idol), Dakshinamurti (with his left leg lifted unusually), Lingobhava, Brahma and Durga. Chandikeshwarar is also found in the usual location.

The inner prakara has few other shrines such as Srinivasa, Ganesh, Vishwanatha - Vishalakshi, Shanmukha with his consorts, Muthukumara Swamy, Markandeya (Shiv Linga), Nalvar (four important devotees) and Nataraj-Sivakami. Some idols such as Surya, Chandra and Bhairav are also found.

The shrines that are found in the outer prakara include Adi Shankaracharya and Shaneeswara. The temple tank is called as Brahma Teerth.

There is a pillar with a rare image depicting Sharbeshwara with two heads.

When you happen to travel to Chennai by air next time, spare some time visiting this lesser known old temple.

Happy travelling.




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