September 29, 2017

Mannivakkam Manneeswarar Temple

Mannivakkam is a village located at a distance of 9 kms from Tambaram in the southern outskirts of Chennai. There is an ancient temple for Shiva called as Manneeswarar located in this village.

It is said that this temple was built by Kulotunga Chola I towards the end of the 11th century CE. It is believed that he built 108 Shiva temples in Thondai Mandalam. Some of the other temples built by him include the temples of Manimangalam, Somamangalam and Tirumazhisai.

I personally could not find any historical record or reference that this temple is a Chola period temple. Except for the idol of Dwara Murugan, which appears to be Chola period, everything else in the temple appears to be later period.

The temple has an inscription on the outer wall of the sanctum which belongs to the Nayaka kings in the beginning of the 16th century CE.

A small kalyana mandap within the temple has an inscription dating 1818 CE. The mandap was built by Pachai Ammal, the wife of Periyalingappa Mudaliar.

Kanchi Puranam talks about a river called Manniyaru which was running across this village in those days.

The village is a quiet and calm place. The east facing temple has no tower but few stucco images on the facade of the entrance are found. The east facing sanctum enshrines the four feet high Shiv Linga. He is named as Manneeswarar and Mrityunjeswarar.  At the entrance of the Ardha Mandap, the idols of Ganesh and Kartikeya are found.

In Maha mandap, there are two sub-shrines that have the bronze idols of Nataraj-Sivakami, Uma-Chandrasekhar and others. The pillars of the Maha Mandap are circular in shape.

The entrance of Maha Mandap has the ancient idols of Dwara Ganesh and Dwara Murugan. Murugan appears to be of Chola period. He holds Vajra and Akshara Mala in his two upper arms.

Maragambikai is the Goddess. She is found in a south facing shrine.

Nandi is also facing the eastern direction and not towards Shiv Linga. It is said that Nandi was helping the Chola king in some battles and hence it is facing towards the exit. The bali peetha and the flag staff are located near Nandi Mandap.

An old sculpture of Nandi is additionally found in a corner in this temple.

Surya and Chandra are found facing towards the sanctum. Navagraha and Bhairav are also found in the temple.

Kannimoola Ganapati's sub-shrine is located in the prakara.

Ganapati, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu, Brahma and Vishnu Durga are found as the Koshta images. Chandikeshwara is found in his usual location near Brahma and Durga.

Happy travelling.

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