June 3, 2018

Kulathur Kalyana Ranganathar Temple

Kulathur is a quiet and remote village located at around 2 kms from Mambakkam junction on the Vandalur-Kelambakkam Highway. From Tambaram, the distance to this village is around 21 kms. There is a huge pond situated in the center of this village. Probably, the village is named as Kulathur due to this (the word Kulam means pond in Tamil language).

In this village, there is an old Vishnu Temple. We have always seen Ranganatha in the reclining posture. However, in this temple, he is found in the standing posture. It's a small murti. He has four arms and hold conch and discus in his upper arms. His two consorts are found on his either sides.

The bronze icons of Kalyana Ranganath and his two consorts, Ranganayaki and Andal are also found in the same sanctum.

In Ardha Mandapa, the bronze icons of Hanuman, Ramanuja, Nammalvar and Desikan are located.

In Maha Mandap, the big Dwarapalas are found. In addition, a small stone image of Andal and the idols of Ramanuja, Desikan and Nammalvar are located.

In the prakara, the Goddess Ranga Nayaki is found in a separate sub-shrine.

The flag staff, Garud's sub-shrine, bali peetha and a tall stone lamp post are found one after the other facing towards the sanctum.

A small sub-shrine for Hanuman is also located in this temple.

The east facing temple has three tiered tower. The big pond is located on the road backside to the temple.

The locals claim that the temple is 800 years old. However, I personally think this temple could be 300-400 years old and probably built by the Nayakas. As the entire temple is renovated and painted and due to unavailability of any inscription, there is no way that we could ascertain the actual date of the temple.

At about 500 meters from this temple, there is an unknown Shiva temple is located in the same village. Shiva is named as Somanatheeswarar temple. It is supposed to be an old temple. But, the temple is completely renovated and reconstructed in the recent years and hence we could not appreciate any heritage value in this site.

The east facing temple has no gopuram. Somanatheeswarar is found in east facing shrine. His consort Amritambikai is found in a separate south facing shrine. The temple is a typical Shiva temple with regular Koshtams such as Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Durga along with the sub-shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya, Navagraha, Surya, Chandra, Bhairav and Chandikeshwara.

The idol of Ayyappan (Shasta) alone appears to be an old idol. Chandra is found in Anjali Mudra in front of a Shiv Linga to depict the legend that he got rid of his sin by worshiping Shiva in this site.

There is a temple pond nearby. The area is very quiet with so many trees surrounded.

It should be noted that Chennai has another Kulathur near Villivakkam. There also, there is a Shiva temple named as Somanatheeswarar.

Happy travelling.

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