21 Maret 2012

Discover South India’s Spiritual Identity at Temple City Chennai

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Often described as the perfect amalgamation of the old and the new, the modern and the ancient, Chennai is a global city that has reconciled its past and present.  And nowhere is this happy co-existence more apparent than in the city’s multitude of Hindu temples. Frequented by pilgrims since ancient times these religious institutions are as relevant as they ever were with multitudes flocking to seek blessings from a realm beyond human understanding. Although Chennai is home to dozens upon dozens of sacred temples here are the must-see highlights that allow visitors to truly engage with the cultural identity of this ethnically diverse but equally devout South Indian heartland.

The Sri Chenna Malleeswarar and Sri Kesava Perumal Twin Temple is one of the most revered religious entities in the city and was a popular shrine even before India was colonized by the British. Located on Devaraja Mudali Street this ancient structure devoted to the gods Vishnu and Shiva always abounds with the scent of Jasmine while the 63 Nayanmars are all in attendance at a special shrine.  The Sri Kandaswamy Temple, also known as the Kandakottam Sri Muthukumara Swamy Temple is believed to have been constructed as far back as 1670.  Situated on Rasappa Chetty Street this sacred venue devoted to the worship of Thirupporur Kandaswamy and the Muthukumara Swamy Urchava idol boasts a centuries old temple tank that has maintained its water level despite the commercialization of the city in subsequent years since its construction.

The 500 year old Sri Ekambareswarar Temple on Thangasalai Street on the other hand is a grand old dame that is as resplendent as its name suggests. Highlights include the lingam symbols of all Panchabootha sthalams as well as the 63 Nayanmars while 300 year old Ashwatha and Kallala trees also give shade to pilgrims within temple grounds. A joint sculpture of Panchamuha Vinayahar and Murugar with a five headed serpent is also visible at the temple which also boasts one of the holiest Navagraha shrines in all of Chennai.

The Renuka Parameswari Temple is another point of religious interest as this 200 year old temple is famed for the statue of Chinnakadai Sri Mariamman in both incarnations within its sanctorum. Represented as Seethala Devi and Renuka Parameswari the goddess’s two forms have been artistically rendered at this temple on NSC Bose Road. Devotees can worship the Kasi Viswanathar linga and Kasi Visalakshi at the venue in addition to the ambal shrine which the goddess herself has graced according to legend.

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