Holy Pilgrimage –Temples in Tamilnadu (Chennai City) -6

Holy Pilgrimage –Temples in Tamilnadu (Chennai City)



Shirdi Sai Baba Temple, Mylapore


Shirdi Sai Baba Temple is a Hindu temple located in the neighbourhood of Mylapore in Chennai, India. It is dedicated to the Indian saint Sai Baba of Shirdi.
The temple was built in 1952 by one Narasimhaswami, a Salem and Sai Baba devotee out of money donated by a Chettiar merchant .This is the most trusted temple considered in India. The temple is the headquarters of the All India Sai Samaj.


Sri Balaji Temple, T. Nagar


Venkatnarayana Road Sri Balaji Temple (Tamil: ஸ்ரீ பாலாஜி) is a famous Hindu temple located inside the premises of TTD Information Center, Venkatanarayana Road, T.Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. This temple is famous for its main deities Lord Venkateswara and Alamelu Manga – both the gods worshipped at one place.
Lord Venketeshwara has a beautiful crown adorning his head embedded with precious stones and he has a smiling face. Devotees can stand close to the lord and see the omnipresent lord looking divine and powerful. Goddess Lakshmi is also adorned with jewels and a beautiful silk saree. Devotees can get a close glimpse of the goddess and pray for prosperity and wealth.
It is a belief that devotees who visit this temple feel that they have visited the famous Tirumala Tirupati temple. The deity Lord Venketeshwara looks very similar to the one in Tirupathi. The beneficial factor for devotees is here we can stand really close to the deity and pray for a few minutes.
This temple is also famous for New Year darshan during midnight. Every New Year’s eve, the volunteers at the temple decorate the entire premises with flowers and lights. There will be a long queue stretching across the main road for darshan during midnight.
As you enter the temple, you find the following gods Lord Venkateswara and Alamelu Manga in the main worship place. Before reaching the main god, you can see Hayagriva lord engraved in gold and silver. As you exit after the main darshan, you see Lord Ranganatha (Lord Vishnu in his resting posture) along with Goddess Lakshmi, Bhumi Devi, and Lord Brahma. Every Saturday in this temple they sell the famous Tirumala Tirupati Laddu, just like the Prasad offered in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.




Thiruneermalai, Chennai


Thiruneermalai is a panchayat town in Kancheepuram district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is popular for a temple on a hill. From the top of the hill, one can view the entire Pallavaram area.This place is very close to Chennai city (4 km from Pallavaram GST road).
The area is one of the 163 notified areas (megalithic sites) in the state of Tamil Nadu.


 This Divya Desam is located in the outskirts of Chennai, near Pallavaram. It is a complex of two temples, one on top of a small hill reached through a flight of stairs, with three shrines, and one at the bottom of a hill, with one shrine. The Divya Desam in the city of Chennai is Tiruvallikkeni. Located near Meenambakkam nearby is Tirisoolam, with an ancient temple (from the Chola period)   dedicated to Shiva.
The name Neer malai arises from the legend that when Tirumangaialwar visited this shrine, a moat of water surrounded the hill, and that he had to wait in the village down below for a six month period until the water receded.
Legend has it that Valmiki worshipped the three forms of Vishnu on the hill, and upon meditating upon Rama after climbing down the hill, Ranganathar manifested himself as Rama, Lakshmi as Janaki, Adiseshan as Lakshmanan, the conch and the discus as Shatrugna and Bhararata, Viswaksena as Sugreeva, Garuda as Hanuman, and appeared before him.
Deities: The temple at the bottom of the hill enshrines Neervannan or Neelamukilvannan in a standing posture facing south, while Taayaar who is in her own sanctum, is Animaamalar Mangai. There is also a sanctum for Chakravarti Tirumagan in this temple. This temple has a single prakaram and a three tiered rajagopuram.
The hill temple accessed via a flight of 200 steps has three sancta. The first of the Moolavar images is that of Shanta Narasimhan, in a seated posture facing east. The second is that of Ranganathar, in a reclining position, facing south. Taayaar here is Ranganayaki facing east, in her own sanctum. The third sanctum is that of Trivikraman (Nadandan) in a standing posture facing east. (Thus in terms of iconography all three positions described by 'irundaan', 'ninraan', 'kidandaan' are seen here in the hill temple).The  Divya Desams enshrining Trivikrama are Tiru Oorakam (Kanchipuram) , Tirukkovilur, Kaazhicheeraamavinnagaram and  Tiruneermalai.
Festivals: Two worship services are carried out each day here. Annual festivals are held in Panguni and in Chittirai with emphasis on Panguni Utthiram and the tamil new year.

Thiruvalluvar Temple, Chennai

Thiruvalluvar Temple is a Hindu temple in the neighbourhood of Mylapore in Chennai, India. The shrine is dedicated to the poet-saint Thiruvalluvar. Believed to have been constructed in the early 16th century, the temple was extensively renovated in the 1970s

It was the temple dedicated to Thiruvalluvar in a street called after the great Tamil poet-saint, off Mundagakanni (corrupted from the original Sanskrit – Mandhakini) Amman Koil Street and behind the Thanithorai market in Mylapore.

The way to it was surely nothing compared to what the environs would have been in Thiruvalluvar’s times (see box), but amongst the usual eyesores of haphazard buildings we noticed four pre-1930 constructions that we hoped would continue to remain till readers visited the temple after reading this article. The temple is not a place for the student of architecture. The entrance archways are poor specimens of cement art with garish bas reliefs. To the left was a dilapidated building titled the library and the opening hours had been carefully painted out so we weren’t sure whether it functioned at all!

Crossing the threshold, the main shrine is Thiruvalluvar’s. It is a simple, two-roomed shrine enclosed by an open-pillared portico. To the left are what were probably the original shrines for Shiva (Ekambareswarar) and his consort (Kamakshi). The temple has several sub-shrines, most of them in small niches in the wall. To the rear, near a neem tree surrounded by snake stones, was a shrine for Amman. All these suggest that the temple was originally a village temple that slowly gained prominence as a Shiva temple and then became the shrine for Thiruval­luvar.
Possibly testifying to times when the temple was more patronised is a separate Palli Arai, or divine bedchamber. This was an important nightly ritual when the processional deities were symbolically laid to rest for the day.

Festivals in the temple fall into two categories, one for the Shiva temple and the other for the Thiruvalluvar shrine itself. The temple has no property and depends entirely on the Mundagakanni Amman Temple. In the Shiva temple, all festivals celebrated in a Shiva temple are celebrated, except the grand 10-day Brahmotsavam.

In the Thiruvalluvar shrine, Chithra Pournami (full moon night in the Tamil month of Chitrai – March/April) is an important date. On this day, a symbolic marriage of idols of Thiruvalluvar and his wife Vasuki is conducted. Thiruvalluvar Day, a day notionally fixed by the Government, also has special poojas. The 8th day of the 10-day festival of the Kapaleeswarar temple in the month of Panguni (March-April) is an important one for the Thiruvalluvar temple. On this day, the image of Thiruvalluvar is taken in a palanquin to the Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore and he becomes the 64th saint who is taken in procession along with the other 63 saints who devoted their lives to Shaivism and are commonly called the Nayanmars. This is an important honour, since Thiruvalluvar is not one of the Nayanmars.

All the festivals are funded by devotees of the temple and funds from the Amman temple – “it’s always touch and go,” says the priest. The functions in the Valluvar shrine are in part sponsored by a Mudaliar family whose ancestors were Tamil scholars. The family members themselves don’t know much about it, but it is likely that their ancestors may have even donated the bronze images in the Valluvar shrine.

To one side is a chamber with a large pedestal with ugly cement images of Thiruvalluvar and a cylinder inscribed in Tamil that reads, “This is the base of the illupai tree near which Valluvar was born.”

We caught up with Bala Kumar, the son of the priest, who could not give us much information except that his family had been associated with the temple for five generations and that it was endowed by one family. He mentioned the Government taking away the original Thiruvalluvar statue that had been damaged and a box with palmleaf manuscripts. He also regaled us with several rather fanciful stories of Thiruvalluvar, which went well with popular legend!

Except for the stone idols, there are no traces of the structure of the original temple after the renovation by the Government. The processional deity of Ekambareswarar is stored in a temple vault and the ones of Thiruvalluvar and Vasuki are clearly a century or two old.

In his book called Thirumayilayin Thirukoilgal, published in 1989, Dr. S. Rajendran believes that the temple was built in the early part of the 16th Century. This is not evident, as the temple was extensively renovated in the early 1970s and most of the stone structures were replaced by concrete. The book also mentions that the temple’s history is documented in a book called Thirumayilai Thalapuranam by Nathamuni Mudaliar in 54 songs. I had little hope of finding this book but was delighted when the librarian at the U Ve Sa library showed me a thin volume. The work was in Tamil verse and chronicled the Puranas or many of Mylapore’s Siva temples. Parts of the book had been published earlier but the full version was published in 1929 by the author’s son, N. Singaravelan Mudaliar. The publishers were “Noble Press in Triplicane” and the cost of the book was 8 annas. Copies were to be had from the author, who resided in ‘Nattu Subarayan Mudaliar St, Myilai, Chennai 600 043’.

The chronicle itself has no historical insights to offer. The 54 songs on Thiruvalluvar are standard stories for many saints. The poet’s description of Mylapore is rather imaginative.


Tiruvalithayam, Chennai

Tiruvalithayam is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in Padi, Chennai, (India). It is one of the Paadal Petra Sthalams, 275 temples that are revered by the verses of Saiva Nayanars in the 6th-9th century CE and are amongst the greatest Shiva temples of the continent.



The temple is closely associated with Rajaraja Chola III. Padi historically is referred to the place used to store armory. The God here is worshipped by Ramar, Bharathwajar, Anjaneyar, Surya, Moon, Indran and Valiyan.


Jupiter(Guru), Sage Bharathwaja and Hanuman are believed to have worshipped the lord here. This temple is believed to be Guru dosha nivarthi stalam.  Sambandar has sung praises of the God here.


The temple can be reached by bus towards Padi. The railhead from Ambattur is 4 km away from the temple.


Vadapalani Andavar Temple, Chennai


Vadapalani Andavar Temple is located in Vadapalani, Chennai. The temple is dedicated to Lord Muruga. The temple was renovated in 1920s and a Rajakopuram was built during that time. The temple has grown in popularity believed in part due to the patronage of cinema stars.


Built about 125 years back, this much-hallowed and regularly frequented Lord Muruga sannidhi has emerged from a thatched shed, an unostentatious one enshrining a Murugan picture only, and established for itself a name on par with ancient places of worship. Around 7,000 couples are married here each year.


According to the sthalapurana, one Muruga devotee by name Annaswami Nayakar with his limited means built a small thatched hut and kept a Murugan painting for his personal worship primarily. During his meditation and worship, he used to experience some divine power entering his body and inspiring him to utter some mysterious things—whatever he said in his trance was found true. His utterance went by the name of 'arulvakku' ('God blessed statements') and relieved people in several ways, like curing diseases and getting jobs, solemnising marriages, etc.
Once he fell ill suddenly. At the instance of a sadhu, he visited Tiruttani and prayed to Muruga offering a part of his tongue cut with a knife at Balipeeta. On his return, the disease took to flight.
He paid a visit to Palani by foot and had some strange experiences there. He continued his worship in the hut he built, and when he felt his end was nearing he requested a close friend by name Ratnaswami to continue the devotional activities to the painting he was worshipping. Strangely enough, this Ratnaswami too started giving arulvak after building a small shrine and worshipping as promised to his friend.
The money that public gave was put to building purpose. But Ratnaswami also passed away before completing it. Another like mind took the building project with the money he was getting from arulvak just like his predecessors. Unluckily, he too passed away.
Then entered into the arena some humanist philanthropists who metamorphosed that simple hut into a superb spiritual abode. Among the builders, the renowned Saiva Pravakta Kripananda Variyar's name takes first place. Thus emerged this great Muruga kshetra, and now a great temple drawing a steady streams of pilgrims throughout the year.

Sannidhis(Dieties) of the Temple

There are very many sannidhis in the vast courtyards of the temple, like Varasiddhi Vinayaka, Chokkanāthar, Meenakshi Amman, Kāli, Bhairava, Shanmuga with Valli and Devasenā.
The moolavar in standing posture resembles the Palani Muruga in every respect. In the inner prakara, there are many niches housing Dakshina Murti, Chandikeswar, Mahalakshmi, et al. It has a spacious hall used for conducting marriages and religious discourses. It is one of the most-frequented Murugan shrines in the city of Chennai.
The entrance to this temple is crowned with a rajagopuram adorned with several stucco images depicting legends from the Skanda puranam. In front of the temple is the temple tank. The eastern tower rises to a height of 40.8 metres. The 108 bharata natyam dance gestures can be seen on the eastern tower as well.

Daily Pujas

Daily pujas:
  • 0500 am: Nadai
  • 0530 am: Palli Arai
  • 0700 am: Milk Abhishekam
  • 1000 am: Vibhuti Abhishekam
  • 1100 am: Santanam Abhishekam
  • 1200 noon: Uchi Kâla Puja
  • 0900 pm: Palli Arai Puja

Location: Andavar Koil Street, Vadapalani, Chennai
Main deity: Palani Andavar
Other deities: Arunagirinathar, Chokkanatha, Ganapathi, Kaliamman, Kasi Viswanatha, Kuthuvar, Manikkavachakar, Meenakshi Amman, Six-faced Muruga with Valli and Devanai, Vairavar, Varasiddhi Vinayaga, Virabagudevar, Virabhadra, Visalakshi
Festivals: Skanda Sashti is celebrated here in the month of Aippasi. Other festivals celebrated here include Panguni Uttiram. The Karttikai asterism in each month attracts large crowds.
Phone: (91) 44 483-6903 or 530-1230, Office hours: 4 pm - 9 pm


Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple, Chennai


The Varasiddhi Vinayakar Temple in Besant Nagar, Chennai, India is a famous Hindu temple, located near the beach in Besant Nagar. It is dedicated to the Hindu elephant god Vinayaka or Ganesha. The temple participates in activities such as feeding the poor and holds poojas frequently.
The first Kumbabhishekam of the temple after extension activity was held in April, 1979 before which the idol was being workshiped at a site opposite to the present site of the temple, within the CPWD Quarters compound. In fact, in the sanctum sanctorum, we see the idol of Valampuri Varasiddhi Vinayakar with Consort Siddhi held at His left. Over this idol, we see a small Ganesh Idol. This was the original idol that was being worshipped at the original site. Subsequent developments took place rapidly, like, construction of an auditorium behind the praharam on the eastern side and Goshala. The Temple conducts music program during Vinayakar Chathurthi time in this auditorium, which is also permitted for the conduct of musical / cultural programs by other organizations.


Velleeswarar Temple, Chennai


Velleeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple in Mylapore, Chennai. The presiding deity is Shiva in the form of Velleeswarar.


According to popular legend, when the king Mahabali was about to grant Vamana, an incarnation of Vishnu, gifts of land, Sukracharya, the preceptor of the Asuras, tried to stop him. As a result, Vama blinded Subracharya with blades of darba grass. Sukracharya meditated upon Shiva at Mylapore and got his eyesight back.



Velveeswarar Temple, Chennai

Velveeswarar Temple, also known as Agasteeswarar Temple, is a Hindu temple located in the suburb of Valasaravakkam on the outskirts of Chennai, India. Situated adjoining the Arcot Road, the temple encloses a laerge pond and is dedicated to Shiva. The temple is of considerable antiquity and is believed to have been constructed by Kulothunga Chola.

A very big lotus pond inside the temple complex was once a visual delight.
The space here is often used for dance/music recital


Vengeeswarar Temple, Chennai


The Vengeeswarar Temple is a Hindu temple situated in the neighbourhood of Vadapalani in Chennai, India. Though the sthalam dates back to vedic age, the temple structure is over 1000 years old and one of the oldest Hindu temples in Chennai city. The temple is dedicated to Shiva who is called Lord Vengeeswarar and the goddess is called Saanthanayaki Ambal. The entrance to this temple is crowned with a big rajagopuram adorned with several stucco images. Other deities: Ganapathi, Kasi Viswanathar and Visalakshi, Bairavar, Lord Subramanya, Goddess Gajalakshmi. There is a separate shrine for Lord Saneeswarar. With Chennai city expanding, the elegance of this temple has dwindled. Much of its space has been lost to road widening and metro rail over the decades.


Pradhosha pooja is one of the most important among the poojas performed to the Graceful Lord Shiva. In Shukla Paksha (15 moon days from New moon to Full moon) and Krishna Paksha (15 moon days from Full moon to New moon) the evening of the trayodasi (thirteenth moon day) between 4.30 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. is called Pradhosham. It comes once in fifteen moon days. Pradhosha time is especially meant for praying Lord Shiva. Praying during that time is believed to free the believers from their sins and gives 'moksha' (heaven) finally (hence the name Pradhosham).


Spritual researcher, photographer, poet and writer, S.Chandrasekar writes:
In Thretha yugam, Adisesha, the serpent of Vishnu had a desire to see the divine thandavam of Lord Nataraja. He was blessed and was born as Pathanjali. Lord Shiva blessed saying that Pathanjali will come to Chidambaram along with Vyagrapathar to see his dance. Both rishis, பதஞ்சலி Pathanjali (with snake's feet) and வியாகரபாதர் Vyagarapathar (Tiger's feet) worshipped the lord at this temple. Vyagarapathar was called so because he asked for a boon that he wished to have tiger's feet to climb trees and pluck flowers before dawn for pooja. Hence the Siva lingam is called 'Vengeeswarar or Vyagrapathar', the consort is Saanthanayagi.
After several years, it was so destined that both went to Thillai (chidambaram) to enjoy the dance of lord siva. Nandhi stood obstacle to their darshan, teased and humiliated that they have no legs and horns like him. Soon Pathanjali came out with a scintillating beat tuned to thandavam. The letters in his composition have no charanam (leg) or srunga (horn). Lord was so happy with the song 'Nataraja Sthothram' and performed his cosmic dance to the rishis. Thus Nandhi was instrumental in bringing out the special talent of Pathanjali through this song. It is the 'Atha Charana-Srunga rahitha Nataraja Sthothram.' (Follow the rhythm meter: DamDamaru DamDamaru DamDamaruDam, DamaDamanDamaru Damaru DamDam). The slokam starts like this: சதஞ்சித முதஞ்சித நிகுஞ்சிதபதம் ஜலஜலஞ்சலித மஞ்சு கடகம் ; பதஞ்சலி த்ருகஞ்ஜன மனந்ஜன மசஞ்சலபதம் ஜனன பஞ்ஜன கரம்...
Later around 10th century A.D, Kulathunga Chola II renovated and built this temple with Gajaprushtam architecture. It is learnt that he renovated and rebuilt many shrines in Tirumazhisai (Othaandeeswarar), Tambaram-Maadambakkam (Dhenupureeswarar), Tiruvanmiyur (Marundheeswarar), Tiruninravur (Hrudhayalleeswarar) etc. All temples are unique with the same architecture where the vimana of sanctum sanctorum resembles the forehead of elephant. They have the same design and walk way on circumambulation. In these temples, we can experience the divine vibration flowing into us on pradosha kaalam and shivrathri day.
At present the temple is being renovated and painted for the Kumbabishekam that is to happen in 2013. It is hearsay that Kodambakkam derives its name from karkodagan serpent that worshipped the lord here.
The following verses were composed by S.Chandrasekar, the author of 'அதிசய சித்தர் போகர்' (Karpagam Puthakalayam, T.Nagar, Chennai)
  • வையம் போற்றும் பழமைக்கொண்டு
  • வியாக்ரபாதர் பாடி வரம் பெற்று
  • பஞ்சபூதமும் நல் வடிவம் எய்தி
  • பதஞ்சலி வேண்டியே தவம் செய்து
  • ----------------------------------
  • யுகம் தோறும் சிறப்புக்கள் அடைந்து
  • யுலகிற்கு உணர்த்திய லீலைதனை
  • சகலரும் அறிந்து சித்தியை அருளும்
  • சாந்தநாயகி சமேத வேங்கீஸ்வரரே
On entering Siva temple, one should not speak anything except the chanting of “Om namasivaya”. First, stand before the dwajasthambam (kodimaram) and drop all bad thoughts on Balipeetam. Then worship Nandhi and seek his permission to have darshan of his lord. Chant the Nandhi gayathri “Om thathpurushaaya vithmahey, chakra thundaaya dheemahee, thanno nandhi prachodhyaath”
நெற்றியில் திருநீறு அணியும் முறை
Receive vibuthi on right hand palm placed above lefthand palm with respect. Close your eyes, chant mantra, raise your head up and smear on forehead. Never transfer the vibuthi on to left hand and apply the holy ash with single right index finger on forehead. விபூதியை வலது உள்ளங்கையில் வாங்கி, அண்ணாந்து தலையை மேல தூக்கி,கண்களை மூடி, அப்படியே நெற்றியில் பூசிக்கொள்ளவும். See to that the vibuthi particles do not fall down on earth. Never stamp on flowers or vilva leaves offered to lord. Look down and walk carefully without dashing on anyone. Have the presence of lord in mind and heart till your come out of the temple. Mobile ringtones often distrub devotees inside and they are unable to scold them. Keep chanting OM NAMASIVAYA and the Shiva gayathri "OM Thathpurshaaya Vithmahaey, Mahadhevaaya Dheemahee, Thanno Rudhra Prachodhyaat"


Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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