Chennai – Though a modern city, it continues to be traditional and conventional in certain ways. Traditional music, dance and all other art forms of Tamilnadu are very popular in the city. One can find a unique blend of culture from traditional foods to fast foods, from ancient temple architecture to modern high-rises and from classical music and dance to the growing nightlife in the city.
So today through this post I will take all of you to the few temples of Chennai. Chennai city is full of temples. Every street, every road will have one or two temples. There are many famous temples in Chennai. So, today we will see ISKCON Temple, Shirdi Sai baba temple, Marundeeshwar Temple. All these temples are on ECR, and can be clubbed easily for visiting.
ISKCON Temple – ISKCON is famous all over the world for its Radha Krishna temples which are acclaimed for their breath-taking beauty, high standards of worship and cleanliness, and satisfying spiritual vibrations. Chennai ISKCON temple was recently opened and still some part of it is under construction. For the construction of temple 6.5 acre of land was acquired at Injambakkam, Chennai. The temple has Basement, Ground floor, mezzanine floor and first floor. The ground floor houses a beautiful cultural hall, mezzanine floor will have rooms for guests and offices and on the first floor is the beautiful temple. Basement is a big prasadam hall. Temple houses beautiful deities of Lord Balbhadra, lord Jaggannath and Goddess Shubhadra, Lord Krishna with Goddess Radharani and their sakhi Lalitha and Vishakha and Lord Chaitanya & Lord Nityanand (Gaur-Nitai).
Address: Hare Krishna Land, Bhaktivedanta Swami Road, off ECR, Akkarai, Sholinganallur, Chennai -119
Phone number: 044-24530921
Temple timings: 0400 to 1300 hrs, 1630 to 2030 hrs
Best time to visit : Sunday afternoon, so that one can enjoy the tasty Prasadam.
How to reach : This temple is on ECR, Akkarai and is approximately 25 kms from Chennai railway station. If you are visiting Mahabalipuram or Pondicherry via ECR then this temple will be in your route.
It is a very beautiful temple with numerous fixed glass windows permitting maximum sunlight thus saving lot of energy. All windows are nicely painted with mythological pictures. Beautiful wall painting, pillars and a huge darshan hall makes this temple very attractive. I really like the wooden doors of the enclosures where deities reside. It is a huge wooden door with beautiful carvings. Every Sunday , a special programme is held in this temple which includes bhajan, Bhagwat Gita course, Aarti and at 1315 hrs lunch Prasadam for everyone. We generally visit this temple on Sunday so that we will be blessed with Krishna’s prasadam. Sambhar rice has been served as Prasadam here and I must tell ; for me this is the best Sambhar rice I ever had. The main reason for such a wonderful taste is that because it is a Prasadam and I just love this Prasad. One good thing about this temple is that there are no security checking and even photography is allowed.
Next Temple is Shirdi Sai baba temple at Injambakkam.
SHIRDI SAI BABA Temple: This temple is 17 years old and is situated at Injambakkam, in a lavish seven acres of land, ECR, Chennai. This temple has huge car parking area inside the temple premises.
Address : Shirdi Sai baba temple, Saipuram, near food village restaurant , Injambakkam, ECR,Chennai.
Phone number : 044 – 65684808
Temple timings : 5.30 A.M to 1.30 P.M and 4 P.M to 9 P.M
How to reach: This temple is also on ECR .If you are coming from Chennai then it is on your left side.
Photo courtesy : www.shirdisaibabakripa.org
After parking our car, when we moved further in this temple we come across Lord Ganesh temple and other shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati, Durga mata ji, Hanuman ji, Sita, Ram & Lakshman ji, Balaji, Navagrahas, Radha Krishna and Murugan Bhagwaan.
The main temple of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba is an elegant hexagonal structure of white marble, towering over a height of 100 ft. The image of Shri Sai Baba is handcrafted in pure white marble in his famous sitting posture.
After taking darshan when we moved further we saw another place which is called as holy fire (Dhuni) and it says that it is also burning uninterruptedly at Saipuram. After seeing this we moved further and saw wish fulfilling tree. Devotees tie turmeric dipped string around the tree on for their wishes to get fulfilled. There are other temples like Gayatri mata temple, Jhulelal ji temple and Gaushala inside the premises.
It is again very nice temple where you will find lots and lots of peace.
Next temple is Marundeeswar temple.
MARUNDEESHWAR Temple :
Address : Sri Marundeeswarar Temple, Tiruvanmiyur, Chennai.
Phone numbers: +91 – 44 – 2441 0477.
Temple timings : 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m
How to reach : This temple is also at ECR , 2 minutes distance from Thiruvanmiyur bus stand, Chennai.
The Primary deity, The Marundeeswarar Lingam is said to be naturally formed and not sculpted by anyone. It is believe that Lord Shiva taught Sage Agasthya the medicinal qualities of herbals and the medicines for various diseases, hence is also praised as Marundeeswarar – Marundhu in Tamil means medicine and Eeaswara God – God of Medicines. In this temple devotees perform milk abishek to Lord and consume the Vibuthi (sacred ash) Prasad for cure from prolonged illness and relief from sins.. In the Mahamandapam (Main temple) where the deity resides, there are many shivalings, 70-80 god idols and the replicas of the five lingams of the five elements. The divine cow Kamadhenu is believed to deliver milk to the lingam daily and hence the lingam is white. Another name for the lingam is ‘Paalvannanathar’ (in Tamil, ‘Paal’ means milk, ‘Vanna’ means colour). And hence, Paalvannanathar means ‘one whose colour is that of milk’. As per history available Lord Marundeeswarar is known so because he taught sage Agastya about some magical medicine. Since then the Marundeeswarar temple has been a place of worship for people with diseases and various problems with their health. It is said that even The Sage Valmiki, who wrote The Ramayana , came here to The Marundeeswarar temple to worship The Lord. Sage Valmiki was said to be blessed here. After this incident, this place was to be known as Thiruvalmikiyur, after a long period of time, the name gradually changed to Thiruvanmiyur. There is a place present in Thiruvanmiyur called Valmiki Nagar in his honour.
I really like this temple because of its stone work, stones pillar and 7 tier beautiful Gopuram.The presiding deity in this temple is Lord Shiva. There are small temples of Lord Vigneswara, Lord Murugana and Goddess Parvathi and Nagdevta.Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside the temple premise. It has two gates for entry. First one on the ECR and the other one is on the rear side of ECR (West Tank Street) which is actually main gate. At the entrance on the right side big tank (Kund) of this temple is located. The big tank of temple is outside the temple premise. As soon as we enter in the temple there is a big lobby. On the left side of lobby is another small tank of temple and on the right side is the stage with lord Nataraja picture painted on wall. The ceiling of this lobby is beautifully painted with the pictures of Lord Murugan, Kaamdhenu cow and other god and goddess. At the end of lobby is the second gate of the temple. Right opposite the second gate is Lord Ganesh and Lord Murugan temples and on right side is Goddess Parvathy temple. On the left as we walk little further Lord Shiva temple comes. First comes lord Nataraja temple and then inside the temple, Garbha grah has main shivalinga. The old style is very well maintained in this temple and only alteration done inside the temple is CFL lights. Otherwise it is same old style temple with black stone walls, pillars and ceiling. This temple covers approximately 1 acre of area.
When we first visited this temple in the month of October (Dusshera festival) there were navaratri programmes of Bharatnatyam and Classical music were performed in this temple. It gave us such a good feeling that we are so close to culture. During Navaratri Golu or Kolu is (a toy festival ) celebrated in Southern India. This is an exhibition of various dolls and figurines in odd (usually 7, 9, or 11) numbered tiers. Kolu or Golu in Tamil means Divine Presence. Kolu represents the divine presence of the Goddesses Saraswati, Parvati and Laxmi in their houses during Navaratri (Nine nights).
If you happened to visit this temple in evening, do not forget to buy enjoy Prasad like Pullyiodharai (Tamarind Rice) and Chakra pongal (Sweet dish made of Moong dal ,rice and Jaggery) (Rs 10/- each).
So here I stop my post here. Still many more places to be discovered at Chennai.
“Chennai Diaries” continued…
In my next post I will take you to few more temples, beaches, wildlife, Chennai food, amusement parks, excursions and heritage structures. Till then my greening tip below:
Collect water used for washing fruits and vegetables and used them for watering plants.
PS: Few details taken from Wikipedia/Google search