January 17, 2016

Kovilancheri Muneeswaran Temple

Site Name: Muneeswaran  Temple
Site Type: Hindu Village temple
Location:  Kovilancheri, near Tambaram, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A village temple with 51 feet gigantic idol of Muneeswaran
Nearest Railway Station: Tambaram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road, rail and air
Hotel: All sorts of options are available in Chennai and Tambaram
Restaurants: All sorts of options are available in Chennai and Tambaram

Tambaram is a prominent town, which is considered as the sub-urban locality of Chennai city, the gateway to South India. Around 9 kms from Tambaram railway station, between Padhuvancheri and Madurapakkam villages, a small village named Kovilancheri is situated. In that little known village, there is a village temple for Muneeswaran. Let us explore that temple in this article.

Muneeswaran is a village deity popular in the northern part of Tamil Nadu, especially in and around Chennai. The temples of Muneeswaran can be found all over Tamil Nadu and even in Karnataka, Singapore and Sri Lanka. Most of those temples are very small in size and  the idols of Muneeswaran might not be very big. However, in Kovilancheri village, the highlight is the gigantic 51 feet high idol of Muneeswaran. This is the largest idol of Muneeswaran in and around Chennai.

There is a small temple named Delhi Balatchi Amman situated in this village. On the banks of the temple tank, there is an old tree which is considered as sacred. For the past 200+ years, the villagers have been worshiping a small idol of Muneeswaran placed under this tree. 

A devotee from this village got a dream in which he was ordered by Muneeswaran to install a gigantic idol for him. Accordingly, the devotee with the help of the others from this village and outside village, sculpted and installed 51 feet tall gigantic idol of Muneeswaran. It was constructed in 2010 CE.

Muneeswaran is found in the sitting posture and holds sickle in his right arm and mace in his left arm. His complexion is green and his right foot is resting on a demon. He looks ferocious and is sporting a big mustache. His crown has the images of Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma on all the four sides. 

Although his seat is not resembling a chariot, there are seven horses and a charioteer (similar to that of Aruna, the charioteer of Surya) found in the front side. The sides of his seat have the stucco images of deities in all the remaining three sides. In one side, Ganesha, Kartikeya and Goddess (Amman) are found. In another side, seven Goddesses (Sapta Matas?) are found. At the back side, seven different forms of Muneeswaran seated in different postures and holding different weapons are found.

In front of Muneeswaran, there is a  Linga found. It is actually Muneeswaran, and not Shiva. The  Linga idol has the face of Muneeswaran embedded on it. Nandi is found facing Linga and Muneeswaran. As it is believed that Muneeswaran was created by Shiva and as per another version he was form of Shiva, he is also found in the form of Linga and has Nandi in front of him.

Some figures like soldiers fighting with the lions and the mythological animal Yazhi along with elephant are found around the main deity.

Comparatively, a small sized idol of Karuppanna Swamy in the sitting posture holding sickle in his arm and resting his right foot on the face of a demon is found near the main deity.

The temple has no vimana, tower or even ceiling. It's a open space village temple.

There is a small temple of Delhi Balatchi Amman situated nearby. The big temple tank is found behind the idol of Muneeswaran.

Visit this temple to get a unique experience in Chennai.

Happy travelling.

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