Broadway (Parry’s Corner/ Flower Bazaar)

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Temples within Chennai

Temples within Chennai City

Listed below are many of the ancient temples within Chennai city that have great legendary significances

Broadway (Parry’s Corner/ Flower Bazaar)

Sri Chenna Malleeswarar Temple and Sri Kesava Perumal Temple

The temple is located between DevarajaMudali street on the east, NSC Bose Road on the North, Nainiappa Naicken street on the west and Rasappa Chetty street on the South.

This is one of the three temples that were popular even before the arrival of the British. This Shiva-Vaishnav twin temple was initially located near St George fort but the British demolished it to expand their army. Due to the public outcry, the temple was then shifted to the Devaraja Mudali street. In the process, the Vigraha of this Perumal temple got mixed up with the 4 idols of the Thiruneermalai Perumal temple and the idol of Thiruneermalai temple was brought here by a mistaken identity but remains here since then. There will always be a good fragrance of jasmine at the Malleeswarar temple. All the 63 Nayanmars are present in a separate shrine.

Sri Kandaswamy Temple or Kandakottam Sri Muthukumara Swamy Temple

This temple is located at the Rasappa Chetty Street.

When Mari Chettiar and Kandappa Achari were going to Thirupporur Murugan temple by walk, they rested at a place and a dream came to both of them simultaneously that there is a Murugan idol below the earth there. The idol was unearthed, brought here and a temple was built during 1670s. The main deity here is Thirupporur Kandaswamy and the Urchava idol is Muthukumara Swamy. Inside the temple, the ‘Saravana Poihai’ temple tank is present and surprisingly the water is at the same level as when the temple was built many hundred years ago, in spite of being located in the city’s densest commercial place.

Sri Ekambareswarar Temple

This 500 year old temple is located at the Thangasalai street (Mint street), Parktown and is one of the three temples that were popular even before the arrival of the British. A big, beautiful and well maintained temple with a temple tank (with water as well). In almost all the (ancient) temple tanks in this area, it is quite heartening to see water in spite of being in the densest commercial place. JJ’s water harvesting has paid off??.

The temple is considered equivalent to Kanchi Ekambareswarar temple, one of Pancha bootha sthalangal representing land. Lingams of all the other Panchabootha sthalams (Kalahasthi, Thiruvannamalai, Thiruvanaikaval and Chidambaram) and all the 63 Nayanmars are also present. There are 300 years old Ashwatha Tree and Kallala tree and there is a lingam shrine under the Ashwatha tree, the speciality of which being that people can do pooja to the lingam themselves. In a single sculpture, Panchamuha Vinayahar is on one side and Murugar is on the other side with a five headed Snake. The Navagraha shrine here is considered one of the most sacred shrines in the city.

Pancha Bootha Sthalams:

There are Pancha boodha sthalam equivalents in Chennai at the heart of the city which are considered very powerful and they are:

1) Kalahasthi temple at Pavalakara (Coral Merchant) street, near Mallikeswarar temple, Mannady representing Air

2) Arunachaleswara temple near Lakshmi Amman Koil stop in Thiruvotriyur bus route representing Fire. There is one more Arunachaleswarar temple at the end of Palliappan street (George town).

3) Gangadareswarar Temple, Purasawalkam representing Water

4) Chidambaranatha (Nataraja) temple near Choolai Post office representing Sky and

5) Ekambareswara Koil at Mint representing Earth

Note: Thanks to Mrs Prasanna Rajagopalan for the information

Chinnakadai Sri Mariamman or Renuka Parameswari Temple

Located at the NSC Bose road in the Mint street junction at Sowcarpet, the highlights of this tiny temple being:

* More than 200 years old, artistically done temple

* In the sanctum sanctorum, the goddess is present in two forms - as Seethala Devi in full human form and as Renuka Parameswari with her whole body below the earth and only the head above the earth.

* Kasi Viswanathar in linga form along with Kasi Visalakshi is also present

* Camphor burns always in front of the temple - It is believed that the Goddess gives dharshan in the form of light (deepam). It is believed that lighting camphor in front of the temple for Rs 5.25 during the Brahma Muhurtham (4:30 AM to 5:30 AM) will get one’s wish fulfilled within 11 days.

* The steps to the ambal shrine are very powerful since the Goddess was initially present here and later shifted backwards to accommodate more crowd.

* During Fridays, the temple will be kept open till 12 midnight

* Worshipped by Vallalar and Vivekanandhar

* Hanging a garland of a lemon with 7 green chillies at house entrance after the pooja here will remove all the dhrishties and bad vibrations.

Bairahi Madam Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Temple

This beautiful and cleanly maintained temple is located at the NSC Bose road, near the Waltax road and Kumarakottam. Thirupathi Venkatesa perumal appeared in the dream of a devotee to build a temple here so that he can be present here for him in order to avoid the difficulty of coming all the way to Thirupathi. It will be surprising for the South Indians to see the Perumal in a strange (but beautiful) dressing . The highlight of the temple being that three important Perumals - Sriranganathar, Venkatesa Perumal and Kanchi Varadharaja Perumal - are all present here. Also Lakshmi Narasimhar, Puri Jagannathar, Kannabiran and Varahamoorthy are present. Here also a clean temple tank with water as well (in the month of Jan).

Kumarakottam Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple

Located at the NSC Bose Road, the Subramanyar here was worshipped by Sage Agasthiar. Though this is a Murugan temple, Lord Shiva as Arunachaleswarar with Abitha Kuchalambal and

Sarabeswarar are also present. The Rahuhala (4:30 PM to 6:00PM) Sarabeswara Pooja during every Sunday is very special here.

Sri Venugopala Krishna Swamy Temple

Located at Pavalakara Street, Muthialupet, 1 km north of Broadway bus stand, this is a many hundred years old temple and is the only ancient Krishnan temple within Chennai city. Srinivasa Perumal and Ramar shrines are also present. Thirumazhisai Azhwar stayed here for many years and has done Mangalasasanam.

Sri Marahathambal Sametha Sri Mallikeswarar Temple

Located at the Lingi Chetty Street of Seethakathi Nagar, the temple is 700 years old. Once this temple was completely buried under the ground and the temple Kalasam just showed up during a digging. On further digging, the complete temple came into light and now the temple is present 2 meters below the ground level. When the temple was uncovered, fresh jasmine flowers were found on the Shivalingam and so the deity is called Mallikeswarar. Goddess is considered to bless devotees with boons. The temple Gopuram is very artistic and attracts foreigners. All the Navagrahas are present with their respective vahanas. Aswametha and Neem tree are grown together as a single tree. During the first Sunday of Chithirai month, 63 Nayanmars festival is being conducted in a big way, during which many Thevara groups sing Thevarams together as in the famous Thyagaraja Aradhanai at Thiruvaiyaru.

Sri Kalikambal Temple

The temple is located at Thambu Chetty Street. Chennai city was once called Chennamman Kuppam in the name of Goddess Chennaman and later Chenna pattinam. The Kali of the erstwhile Chennamman Kuppam is today’s Kalikambal. The temple was once located inside the St George fort and later shifted here during the British regime. The temple has the sanctity of the two Pancha bootha Sthalams - Kanchipuram and Thiruvannamalai.

At the foot of the Goddess is present the Arthameru installed by Aadhi Shankarar. Kamadeswarar is present in a separate shrine. Many sages Vyasar, Parasar, Agasthiar, Ankiresar, Pulasthiar and Varunan and Celestial Gods Indhran, Guberan and Viwaakarma worshipped Kalikambal. It is said that Guberan got all his wealth only after worshipping Kalikambal here

Chathrabathi Sivaji worshipped Kalikambal in 1677. Bharathiar used to worship Kalikambal while working in Suthesamithran magazine and his verse ‘Yathumahi Ninral Kali’ was sung on Kalikambal only. The famous TMS’s song ‘Ullam Uruhuthaiya’ was sung for the first time here only, in 1952 by Sri Andavan Pichai.

More details in Vikatan Publication’s ‘ Nimmadhi Tharum Sannidhi Part 1‘ book.

Sri Kachaleeswarar Temple

The temple was built in 1720s and is located at Aranmanaikaran street. Thalavai Chettiar used to go to Kancheepuram to worship the Kachabeswarar there and on one such trip, he was held up due to heavy rain. But on return, he found all his works were completed properly and so he built this temple. The main deity is Shivalingam present on a 5 tier base, the bottom most being Mahavishnu as Tortoise (Kachabam). Mahavishnu worshipped Shiva in the form of Tortoise during the churning of Parkadal (Milky Ocean). Behind the lingam is present the Sadhasivam idol - Shiva with five heads in human form (make sure you have a dharshan of Him by requesting a Deepa Aradhanai since He is not visible normally). The Somaskanda moorthy here is said to as sacred as that of Thiruvannamalai. Polla pillaiyar, created without using sharp tools, is seen here. 63 Nayanmars are present in a beautiful exclusive mandapam.

Sri Vasavi Kanniha Parameswari Temple

Located at the Aadhiappa Naickan street this temple has a rich legend. The legend has it that along with Kanniha Parameswari, Vaisya couples from 102 Gothrams took firebath and attained salvation. The names of these 102 couples have been inscribed in the temple. Vasavi Kanniha Parameswari’s janma sthalam is Benukonda which is about 400 kms from Chennai but one can worship the same Goddess here at Chennai.

Sri Kasi Viswanathar Temple

This 200 years old temple is present in the George Town Mint street.

Sri Arunachaleswarar Temple

This 250 years old temple is present in the George Town Palliappan street

Sri Kalatheeswarar Temple at Mannady

This temple is located near Mallikeswarar Temple at Pavalakara (Coral merchant) street.

Sri Angallamman Temple at Choolai

This is a very popular, ancient and very big temple. There is a big temple tank as well. The Goddess is very powerful and people throng the temple on auspicious occasions and during mid-night poojas on Amavasai. Recently the temple is given a new look with the constructions of Gopuram.


Sri Parthasarathy Temple

This is one of the 108 Divya desams. The name of the place came from the term - Allikkeni, meaning the temple tank of Alli flowers called Kairavinisaras. Per Legend, Thiruvengadamudayan gave dharshan as Krishnan to Chola king Sumathirajan per his request and so the deity is called Venkatakrishnan and the vigraha was installed by Attreya maharishi. The main deity is in the form of charioteer and so has a big moustache and the whole family of Krishnar - consort Rukmani, elder brother Balaramar, younger brother Satyaki, son Pradhyumna and grandson Anirudha are present in main shrine which can not be seen anywhere else. Since Krishnar promised not to take any weapons in His hands during the Mahabharatha war, He is seen here with Sangu only (without the Chakra). The Utsava vigraham bears scars supposed to be from the arrows of Bheeshmar, when he was the charioteer to Arjuna in the Mahabharatha war.

The special significance of the temple being that the perumals of the 5 divya desams - Thirupathi Venkatesa Perumal, Srirangam Ranganathar, Kancheepuram Varadarajar, Ahobilam Narasimhar and Ayodhi Ramar - are present in separate shrines. As a rarity there are two dwajasthambams one for Sri Parathasarathy and the other for Sri Narasimhar. Also during Brahmosthavams, the temple car will run twice.

Ramanujar’s father AasuriKesavacharyar conducted an yagna here and got Ramanujar as his son. Thyagarajar, Muthuswamy Dhikshithar and Bharathiar lived here. ‘Bharathiar Illam’ is very nearby and all Bharathiar songs on Krishnar are based only on this deity. Viveknandhar also visited this temple.

Sri Thiruvetteeswaran Temple

This temple at Thiruvetteeswaranpet (part of Triplicane) is a 500 years old temple. When the forest in this area was cleared off to expand the Nawab’s Chepak palace, the axe fell on a Shivalinga by mistake and blood oozed out. This temple was then built. Kasi Viswanathar and Visalakshi are also present.


Sapthasthana Temples of Shiva:

There are seven Sapthasthana (Saptha meaning seven) temples for Shiva in Mylapore worshipped by the Saptha rishis - Adri, Brigu, Kutsa, Vashishta, Gautama, Kasyapa and Angirasa. Originally they were all part of a single temple but in due course they have become separate temples. It is highly powerful to worship all the seven deities in a single trip.

More details on the Sapthasthana temples here

1. Kapaleeswarar Temple

Worshipped by Sage Kasyapar, this is the most popular of the Sapthasthana temples. This is one of the 275 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams; out of these, this is one of the 40 temples that have west facing Shiva shrines. The original temple was located near the sea but got submerged in the sea and the current temple was built around 350 years back. Parvathi Devi worshipped Shiva here in the form of Peacock. The 63 Nayanmar festival is highly popular.

2. Sri Velleeswarar Temple

Worshipped by Sage Angeerasa, this temple is located at the South Mada street very close to the Kapaleeswarar temple. The legend has it that Asura Guru Sukracharyar worshipped Shiva here in order to regain his vision.

3. Sri Valiswarar Temple

Worshipped by Sage Gautama, this 2000 years old temple is located at Gopathy Narayana Chetty Street opposite to Kolavizhiamman Temple. Vali got all his powers after his tapas towards Easwaran here. Pancha lingams came out from the earth as seen in a separate shrine which is an appropriate place for meditation. There are shrines for Vinayahar, Natarajar, Goddess Sivahami, Murugar with Valli and Deivanai, Chandeeswar, Anjaneyar, Vishnu, Durgai, and Ayyappan. Navagrahas with their respective vahanas and Saneeswarar separately are present in different shrines. In the Southwest of the outer praharam, a lizard has been carved out to indicate that this is a Parihara sthalam.

4. Sri Theerthapaleeswarar Temple

Worshipped by Sage Adri, this temple is located in the Dr.Natesan street of Krishnapet, Triplicane Mirsahib market area opposite to mosque. The temple has significance that when the seven deities of the Sapthasthana temples take bath in the sea during the Theerthavari festival in the tamil month of Masi, this deity takes the first place. Sage Agasthiar worshipped Shiva here.

5. Sri Karaneeswarar Temple

Worshipped by Sage Vasishta, this 12th century temple is located in the Bazaar street of Karaneeswararpet. The Shivalingam here is in square shape as seen in only Thirukkadaiyur and Kalahasthi. Since Shiva is the ‘reason’ for everything, He is called Karaneeswarar (Karanam in Tamil means reason).

6. Sri Virupaksheeswarar Temple

Worshipped by Sage Kutsa, this is the oldest temple of Mylapore and is near Karaneeswara temple and Mundakkanni Amman temple. Sivanesan Chettiar, who built this temple, had a daughter called Poompavai and when she died, Thirugnana Sambandhar brought her back from her burnt bones. ‘Viroopam’ means ‘Contradicting the Nature’ and since Shiva’s third eye contradicts the nature, He is called Virupaksheeswarar.

7. Sri Malleeswarar Temple

Worshipped by Sage Brigu, this temple is located near the Karaneeswara temple. This was once a forest of Jasmines and so the Easwaran here is called Malleeswarar. Prarthan, King of Ayodhya, was in tapas and conducted a Yagna here towards Shiva. Indhran tried to sabotage his tapas but could not. In praise of the intensity of his tapas, Shiva appeared before him along with his consort. Neem and Aswatha trees are grown together as a single tree.

Sri Madhava Perumal Temple

Located to the east of Sanskrit College and north of Kapaleeswarar temple it is very near the Mundakkanni amman temple. The temple is amazingly clean, aesthetically painted, well lit and very well maintained. Peyazhwar was born near this temple and worshipped Madhava Perumal daily. Also Thirumazhisai Azhwar was enlightened by Madhava Perumal. The legend has it that Goddess Sridevi was brought up in Bruhu Maharishi Ashram here and Madhava Perumal married her. The temple tank Sandhana Pushkarani here is the erstwhile pond of Bruhu Maharishi’s Ashram.

Sri Adhikesava Perumal temple

This is one of the oldest temples of Mylapore. As a contrast to the Madhava Perumal Temple, this is being maintained poorly.

Sri Vedhantha Desikar Temple

This is located very near the Adhikesava Perumal temple. Initially there was only Vedhantha Desikar shrine but later Srinivasa Perumal shrine also came in.

Sri Mundakkanni Amman Temple

Located at about half a kilometer north of Kapaleeswarar Temple and at a few hundred meters to the east of Sanskrit College, this is a very popular and powerful Amman temple. Amman is a Swayambu putru.

Sri Kolavizhiamman Temple

Located at Gopathy Narayana Chetty Street opposite to Valiswarar temple and to the east of Mundakkanni Amman Temple, this is a 1000 years old temple. It is said that a British lost his vision after photographing the Firewalk festival and regained his vision only after worshipping this Goddess.

Sri Ramakrishna Math Temple

The place where the temple is located is the place where Thirugnana Sambandhar brought back the daughter of Sivanesan Chettiar, Poompavai, to life after she reduced to ashes. Also Mother Sharadha Devi stayed here for a month in 1910. The specialty of the temple being that it has the combined architectural styles of Buddha, Jaina and South Indian Temples. There is a big and beautiful prayer hall where Sri Ramakrishnar’s life size marble idol is present and is being decorated very neatly and beautifully. It is a pleasure to sit there for a meditation during the evening Aarthi. The bhajans set in vibrations that can not be explained by words. It could also be an enchanting experience if one sits in the outer praharam amidst the garden (a nice sound system is there) especially with family and relatives. A beautiful place for a peaceful evening - Experience it.

Just by the side, the old temple is also present.

Sri Gnanasundara Vinayahar Temple

This is a 400 years old popular temple. Located at the junction of the St Marry’s Road and Ramakrishna Math Road, this has the following legend: The main deity here was once lying along other stones at the Dharga in Ramakrishna Math road. When Arcot Nawab was going through this route, his horse was tied to this stone but the horse got the ‘Valippu’. When the horse was untied, it came back to normalcy but when it was tied again to the stone, it got the ‘Valippu’ again. They then identified the stone as the Vinayahar idol and this temple was built.

Sri Thiruvalluvar Temple

Located very near to the Mundakkanni amman temple, this is the birthplace of Thiruvalluvar and little known even to the locals. A more than 2000 years old Iluppai tree under which Thiruvalluvar is said to have born got damaged in 1935 and the base of the tree is being protected with a cover. There is a famous incident in Thiruvalluvar-Vasuki life in which, while Vasuki was fetching water in a pot from a well, Thiruvalluvar called her and she went leaving the pot as it was but incidentally the pot remained half way as it was. This historical well can be seen here.

Ekambareswarar and Kamatchi are the main deities along with Vinayahar, Murugar, Navagrahas and Saneeswarar shrines. The Ekambareswarar shrine is considered as the birth place of Thiruvalluvar by some researchers and as the Samadhi by others.

While Thiruvalluvar is considered as the Tamil God, it is surprising that his original birth place is being maintained so poorly. What’s the point in installing a 133 feet Thiruvalluvar status at Kanyakumari keeping this place so badly? How many Tamils know that there is a temple for Thiruvalluvar right at the heart of the city? This being a temple is the only reason for this neglect by both the Dravidian parties?

Sri ApparSwamigal Temple

Located just opposite Sanskrit College

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