March 27, 2016

Velichai Pasupatheeswarar Temple

Site Name: Pasupatheeswarar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:   Velichai, 3 kms from Puduppakkam, Near Tambaram and Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A rare temple where not only Shiva and Vishnu but even Jesus and Buddha are worshiped
Nearest Railway Station: Tambaram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tambaram and Chennai
Hotel: A lot of options across Chennai
Restaurants:  A lot of options across Chennai and Tambaram

Pudupakkam is a small village located in Kelampakkam-Vandalur High Road in the outskirts of Chennai city in South India. Anjaneya temple, which is located in this village, has gained popularity in the recent past. Around 3 kms from this popular temple, in a remote village named Velichai, a unique temple called Pasupatheeswarar temple is located. The route from Kelampakkam-Vandalur High Road to this temple is secluded and except for 2-3 factories, nothing else is found on the road. Public transport is not available and the villagers are residing little away from the temple. Due to these reasons, the temple remains little known. Let us discuss about this temple in this article.

History:

Pasupatheeswarar temple is actually a private temple. Originally, it was built for the purpose of private worship for a saint called Gnanacheri Gnanigal

In the 17th-18th centuries, there was an Advaita philosopher, Carnatic composer and a saint named Sadashiva Brahmendra. During that period, he was very popular in the region of the current Tamil Nadu state. It is believed that in the earlier births, he was born as Dattatreya, Ugra Pandya, Aanaya Nayanar, Vilvamangala Swamigal and Abirami Bhattar. In the later part of his life, Swamiji became a Mouna Guru and never spoke.

It is believed that Swamiji took rebirth in the 20th century in Tamil Nadu. He started a religious organization called Gnanacheri in 1979 CE and hence the devotees called him as Gnanacheri Gnanigal.

Pasupatheeswarar temple is built in Gnanacheri. The temple dedicated to Shiva and the shrines dedicated to Varadaraja Perumal, Anjaneya and Pratyangira Devi all were built for private worship for Swamiji. The kumbabhishek of the temple took place in 1999 CE


Temple Layout:

The temple is situated in a huge complex. It can be divided into multiple sections. Let me provide detailed views on all the sections of the temple.

Pasupatheeswarar Shrine

The east facing sanctum enshrines Shiv Linga called as Pasupatheeswarar. At the entrance of the shrine, small idols of Ganesha and Kartikeya are found.

In Maha Mandap, there are two shrines which face the southern direction. In one shrine, the Goddess Simha Priya is found. Another shrine enshrines the small utsav idols of Nataraj and Shivakami.

The flag staff, bali peetha and Nandi Mandap are found facing towards the sanctum.

The Pasupatheeswarar shrine is the main section of the east facing temple, which has five tiered tower (Raja gopuram). 

Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Vishnu Durga are found as the niche images around the walls of the sanctum. Chandikeshwara sub-shrine is found in its usual location.

In the prakara, the sub-shrines of Ganesha and Murugan with his two consorts are situated. Dattatreya, Adigalar, Surya, Chandra, Bhairav and Navagraha are some of the other deities found in this section of the temple. 

A small stucco idol of Hanuman in tall pillar is also situated.

Sundara Varadaraja Perumal Shrine

In the prakara of Pasupatheeswarar shrine, a separate east facing shrine along with a front side mandap is found for Varadaraja Perumal. Varadaraja Perumal is found along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi in the main shrine. There is a small north facing sub-shrine for the Goddess Kanaga Valli and two small sub-shrines of Garud and Hanuman facing towards Varadaraja are all situated in the mandap.

The wall behind the shrine has the niche image of Krishna playing flute.

Viswaroopa Anjaneya Shrine

There is a separate section of the temple which enshrines a big idol of Hanuman called as Viswaroopa Anjaneya. Opposite to this shrine, there is a shrine where Ram, Sita and Lakshman are found.

Pratyangira Shrine

Near the temple tower, there is a north facing shrine for Pratyangira Devi (the Goddess with the lion face). In the prakara, there are paintings of ferocious Goddesses are found.

Samadhi

Outside the temple tower, there is a huge open space. In a corner, the samadhi of Gnanacheriy Gnanigal is found under the holy Vilva tree. A Shiv Linga idol is installed above the samadhi.

Other Deities

In a corner in the prakara of Pasupatheeswarar shrine, a group of idols are situated in a single shrine. The list of idols that are found here include:

  • Pandurangan and Ragumayee
  • Pasupatheeswarar (Shiv Linga) and Simha Priya
  • Sundara Varadaraja Perumal with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi
  • Durga
  • Murugan with Valli and Devasena
  • Siddhi Vinayak
Importantly, near this shrine, two idols are kept separately under the trees. One is Lord Buddha and the other idol is...believe me...it's Jesus Christ. Probably, no other Hindu temple enshrines Christ. To depict that Gnanacheri Gnanigal did not differentiate the religions, I believe the idols of Buddha and Jesus are kept in this temple.

Happy travelling.

Note: The route to Puduppakkam Anjaneyar temple is given below in the Google Map. You have take the road opposite to the road where Anjaneyar temple is located and travel for 3 kms to reach Velichai temple.

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