Kandhakottam. Kandaswami Temple, George Town, Chennai

Parrys in Chennai is a business/commercial area and it’s a painful process to actually find a parking slot on any of the roads. But since it was a Sunday and it was just dawn, we decided to take a drive in our car to Rattan Bazaar.  Google takes you there without any hitches.  What luck! The parking slots near M.A Ethirajulu Naidu Stores near Kandha Kottam/Kandaswamy Koil were practically empty. We walked into the lane discussing that on week days especially after 10 AM, perhaps we have to walk sidewards like snails as this area would be teeming with people.

We reached the 5 tiered Raja Gopuram, entered the temple and realized that we were among the first devotees to visit. Abhishekam was going on. Lord Kandaswamy/Muruga is said to be about 2 feet high with his consorts. There were separate shrines for Valli and Devasena. Ganesha gave us darshan from a separate enclosure. There was a beautiful Panchaloka peacock opposite the Moolavar sannidhi and a person was very sincerely polishing it. A stone Elephant vahanam was also present. While we waited for the Alangaram to get completed, I walked around and reached an enclosure where all the Utsavars were enshrined. All the idols were absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t take my eyes off each one of them. The roof was very different and had ventilation which allowed light and air.

The temple was built by Maari Chettiyar and his friend Kandappa Achaari in 1673. Both of them often used to go to the Thiruporur Kandaswamy temple and on one occasion they found this idol covered in an anthill below a Peepal tree. They took the idol and installed it in the current place which originally belonged to Mathiyalu Naicken. The place where Lord Muruga was consecrated already had a Vinayagar temple. Maari Chettiyar sold his wife’s jewels to build this temple. Naicken subsequently donated the 8 acres to this temple.

By now, more early bird devotees had arrived. So we queued up to receive the Vibhoothi prasdam and then walked out to do the Pradikshana. There was a lineup of Gurus in smaller shrines (perhaps added later) on one side. Chidambaram Swamigal, Pamban Swamigal, Ramalinga Adigalar and Dhandapani Swamigal.

Ramalinga Adigalar/Vallalar moved to Chennai from Chidambaram after his father’s death. His spiritual journey started from this temple.

Pamban Swamigal, an ardent Murugan devotee had a fall in Dec 1923 at Thambu Chetty street, Chennai. He was admitted to General Hospital and was getting treated for an ankle fracture. British doctors treating him gave up hope and said that amputation was the only option. But the swamigal declined the suggestion. On the 11th day the swamigal saw a peacock outside his window and a little boy with a divine face sitting beside him. Miraculously he was completely cured of his fracture. Even today doctors talk about this event which only prove that the symbols of Murugan, Vel and Peacock are always guarding the devotee who seeks.

Bharathiyaar and Arunagirinathar have also visited this temple several times.

As we moved further we noticed another entrance.

There are two entrances to the temple. East facing and North Facing. The Kodi maram/Dwaja Stambam is present at the North entrance. While praying to Lord Dakshinamurthy who sat in penance at one of the Goshtas/wall enclosures, a beautiful rooster came up very close and stood staring at me. I wish I had the nerve to take out my mobile and click a picture. But never did! And the moment passed. But I will forever remember the Seval, the symbol of Lord Muruga perched there with brilliant feathers with its eyes locked with mine! I came out of the trance when I heard Senthil calling out for me…”Never realized this temple is so big, there are several more sannidhis to visit…”

Sure enough we reached behind the core temple area which housed a mandapam and further down we reached the Saravana Poigai, the temple tank. It was filled with water to the brim. Never have I seen a temple tank which is completely land locked with buildings on all sides. It looked so different.

Further down the Saravana Poigai was a shrine for Kulakkarai Vinayagar with his consorts Siddhi and Budhi. The alankaram after the morning abhishekam was done and the priest performed the deepa araadhanai for Ganesha as well as Kasi Viswanathan who was adjacent and his consort Visalakshi. The goddess could not be seen, she was hidden but could be viewed via a strategically placed mirror.

Walking back to the entrance, one gentleman beckoned to us to enter another sub shrine. We were momentarily taken aback by the absolute beauty of 6 faced Lord Muruga with his consorts. The Lord wearing a turban was dazzling in grandeur and had a slight smile. True to his name Murugan meaning Beauty he stood there assuring all devotees that he will indeed bless them abundantly. No wonder Ramalinga Adigalar was moved by the divine beauty of Muthukumaraswamy the Utsavar, and composed the ‘Deiva Mani Maalai’ here.

After a quick round where we saw more shrines, obviously added later, as well as doing our ‘Couple Namaskaram’ near the Kodi maram, we were ready to head back to the car, the next stop being Kalikambal Temple.

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