- May 21, 2021
🛕 Kachaleeswarar Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva located in George Town area of Chennai, the capital of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Temple is also known as the Great Kachali Pagoda during British Period. The Temple is located in Armenian Street, in the neighbourhood of Parrys Corner. The temple is modelled on the Kachaleeswarar Temple at Kancheepuram.
🛕 The Temple was constructed on land belonging to Dubash Kalavai Chetty in 1725, the temple belonged to the left-hand castes and was the site of the first major conflict between left and right-handed castes in the then Madras city. Presiding Deity is called as Kachaleeswarar / Kachabeswarar and Mother is called as Soundarambikai / Azhakambigai.
🛕 After worshipping Lord Shiva as Kachaleeswarar at Kanchipuram, Dalavai Chettiar, a devotee was returning home. It was raining heavily and the River Paalaaru was in spate. He became anxious as he had to return home to look after some important business. The heavy rains continued for a week and even after it stopped, it took another week for the waters in the river to subside. The devotee placed his faith in Lord Siva and prayed fervently and finally, when the waters receded, he returned home.
🛕 To his utter surprise all the jobs that had needed his attention were completed satisfactorily. Lord Shiva had assumed the devotee’s persona and had finished all the work. In gratitude, the devotee performed the Shivalinga pooja and then built a temple for Kachabeswarar in Chennai. It took him eight years and the temple was completed in 1720 CE. In due course, the name of the Lord became Kachaleeswarar.
🛕 When devas and asuras churned the Milk Ocean, the Manthira mountain that was used as the churning stick got drowned in the ocean. At that time, Lord Vishnu took the form of a tortoise and supported the churning stick, Manthira mountain. Lord Siva worshipped by him then is called ‘Kachabeswarar’ or ‘Kachaleeswarar’. ‘Kachapa’ means tortoise. The lingam here is on the five seats, Koormam (tortoise), Nagam (snake), Simham (lion), Yugas (the eons) and Padmam (lotus).
🛕 Such appearance of Lord Siva is a rare sight. Those who have ‘Sarpa Dosham’ (snake curse) and those who are afraid of poisonous creatures can perform abhishekam to this Lord and worship. Behind this lingam on the sanctum wall is Sadasivamurthy. The belief is to worship this form of Lord Siva and the formless Linga together in the same sanctum will alleviate all sins and render Mukti.
🛕 The temple was built in 1725 by Kalavai Chetty, a Dubash working for the British East India Company, on a land belonging to him. A huge retinue of dancing girls were attached to the temple in the earlier days. These dancing girls resided in a quarter adjoining the temple. A plaque in the temple records the year of the first Kumbabishekam (consecration) as 1728. Post-Independence, a Mahakumbabishekam (great consecration) was held on 8 July 1962. A major renovation of the temple began on 20 February 1984 and another great consecration was held on 9 July 1989.
🛕 Presiding Deity is called as Kachaleeswarar / Kachabeswarar. Lord is portrayed with five seats – Koormasanam (tortoise), Ashtanagasanam (eight serpents), Simhasanam (lion), Yugasanam (time), and Kamala Vimalaasanam (lotus flower). Lord Shiva is portrayed as lingam in all the South Indian temples. But in this temple, at the back side of the lingam, Lord Shiva is portrayed with five heads as Sadasivamurti along with his consort Manonmani. This is something rare which cannot be found in the other temples.
🛕 Also, the tortoise at the foot of Shiva Linga is Lord Vishnu. Balipeedam, Dwajasthambam and Nandi can be found facing the sanctum. The Vimana is Chaturanga Vimaanam. Mother is called as Soundarambikai / Azhakambigai. She is housed in a separate shrine. Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswathi can be found on both sides of Mother Shrine. Worshipping all the three Shakthis (female power deities) at the same time is believed to bestow a person with good education, wealth and great potential for development.
🛕 There is a heavy Urchava Moorthy, Somaskandar in the Temple prakaram. Because of the heavy weight, he is being taken on procession only twice in a year. Somaskandar here is said to as sacred as that of Thiruvannamalai. Adjoining this Utsavar Shrine, Sthala Kachapa Maha Ganapathy Shrine can be found. History says that this deity had been installed on the banks of the adjacent tank even before this temple was built. Next to this Sannadhi, Lord Muruga is portrayed with his two consorts Valli and Devayani. Utsava Idol of Durga can be found after this Lord Muruga Shrine.
🛕 The Navagrahas in this temple are unique in their nature in that they have been made as per astrological calculation. The Navagrahas (nine planets) are standing in a separate shrine in standing posture. The Sun God Surya is at the center and he alone is depicted with his wives, Usha and Pradyusha. At the roof of the mandapam are sculpted the 12 zodiac signs, 27 stars, 60 years, the four yugas and the Ashtathik Balakas (the angels of the eight sides). Those with planetary affliction, if they worship here, the misery will ward off. People celebrate their sixtieth birthday before these Navagrahas. The boosts up their longevity is the belief.
🛕 There is a shrine for Panchamukha Vinayaka (Ganesha with five faces) along with his consorts in front of the Sanctum. He is also called as Herambha Vinayagar. Lord Vinayaga is on his Simha vehicle (lion and not mouse) carrier. Standing next to him are his consorts Siddhi and Buddhi. The traditional belief is that when this Ganesha is worshiped, it engenders greater unity between a married couple.
🛕 There is shrine of Lord Ayyappan in the Temple premises. When the sanctum of Lord Ayyappan in Sabarimala caught fire, a new image of the god was carved and taken from Tamil Nadu. That image was brought to this temple for pooja and when they tried to take the deity out of the temple something or the other stopped it from leaving the premises. Ayyappa had to stay in the George Town Kachaleeswarar Temple in Chennai for three days. On all these three days, poojas were performed to Lord Ayyappan. In memory of this special event, a separate sanctum has been built for Lord Ayyappan. The celebration of Ayyappan’s famous festival, Jyothi Darshan in January, is performed at the same time as it happens in Sabarimala.
🛕 Sculpture of Dalavai Chettiar and his wife Sundari can be seen on a pillar in the south praharam. Colorful paintings depicting the Thiruvilaiyadalgal (Shiva’s Play) of Lord Siva are seen on the walls of the inner praharam and Alankara mandapam. Devaram songs are written on the walls of the temple. There is a shrine for Durga in the north praharam. She blesses her devotees with the fortune of marriage, children and property. The twelve Thirumurai Vedas and Chidambara Ragasyam are there at the Nataraja Shrine. Govinda Raja Perumal has been portrayed at the right side of its entrance.
🛕 Lord Vinayaga here is Varasiddhi Vinayagar. Jaggery rice is offered to him. There are shrines for Moolakeswarar, Shanmukha with his consorts, Subramanya, Adi Shankara, Hanuman, Nalvar, Shasta along with his consorts, Nataraja with Sivakami, 63 Nayanmars, Dakshinamurthy, Lingothbavar, Brahma, Chandikeswarar, various forms of Shakthis (Durga), Agora Veerabhadra, Bhairava, Saraswathi, Lakshmi, Varadaraja (Vishnu) and Dattatreya in the temple premises. Sthala Vriksham is Kalyana Murunkai and Theertham associated with this Temple is Sivagangai Theertham.
🛕 The Temple remains open from 6.30 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
🛕 Daily worship services are being carried out as per Veda Aagama Procedure. Pradosha abhishekam, Pujas, Veda Parayanam, Sivapuranam, the procession of the deity on Rishaba mount are conducted regularly. On Tuesdays and Fridays parayanam by women and songs are done for the welfare of the people. Worship of Durga during Rahu Kaalam on Tuesdays is believed to relieve people from their travails. And, for the welfare of the world, Ayyappa bhajans are conducted on Saturdays.
🛕 The special abishekams on the nights of new moon days to Kaala Bhairava is believed to drive away sorrow. Brahmotsavam or the main temple festival is celebrated in Chithirai (April-May). Other important festivals include Vaikasi Visakam, Aani Thirumanjanam, Aadi Pooram, Avanai Utsavam, Navarathri, Kandha Sasti, Ayyappan Poojai, Dhanurmatha Pooja, Pongal, Maha Shivarathri and Panguni Uthiram.
🛕 This is a holy place worshipped by those who face impediments in getting married and those with no issues. By performing Rudrabhishekam to the Lord, hurdles in marriage will be eased and the wishes will be fulfilled. Worshipping Ambal by smearing oil on her, the person is blessed with an offspring is the belief. Devotees who have Sarpa Dosham (snake malfeasance) and those who are afraid of poisonous creatures perform abishekam to Lord Kachaleeswarar. Behind the lingam on the sanctum wall is Sadasivamurthy.
🛕 The belief is when this form of Lord Siva and the formless Linga are worshiped together in the same sanctum, it will help alleviate all sins and give Mukti (salvation) from rebirth. Devotees with planetary afflictions come to pray and find relief for their misery. People celebrate their sixtieth birthday (a century in the Hindu calendar) before the Navagrahas or nine planets and pray for good health and happiness.
🛕 Kachaleeswarar Temple is located at Armenian Street in the George Town area of Chennai, South India. The Temple is located at about 400 meters from Loyer Square Bus Stop, 700 meters from Parrys Corner Bus Stop, 800 meters from Chennai Beach Railway Station, 1 Km from Mannady Metro Station, 3 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station, 5 Kms from Egmore Railway Station, 13 Kms from Koyambedu Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus and 21 Kms from Chennai Airport. The Temple is located very close to the Mannady Metro Station. You can proceed on foot to this Temple from the station. From other parts of the city, you can take a Cabs, Auto Rickshaw, Bus, Local Trains and Metro Trains to reach the Temple.
Armenian Street, George Town,
Chennai – 600 001,
Phone: +91 44 – 2522 7177.