Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Kailasanathar||Ambal / Thayar:||Kanakavalli|
|Timing:||7 to 10 & 4 to 7||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Kovalam||District:||Kanchipuram|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Chennai (40 km)||Tiruvallur (67 km)|
|Kanchipuram (75 km)||Vellore (153 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is one of the lesser-known temples around Chennai, and is located in Kovalam, quite close to the Nitya Kalyana Perumal Divya Desam temple at Tiruvidanthai.
What makes this temple most interesting to devotees and historians alike, is the presence of inscriptions on the avudai – the base on which the Lingam / banam is mounted. The inscription reads “Sri Sattheruman Murthiper” – referring to a trade / commerce guild. Given that this place is close to the sea, it is likely that this was a trading port. The ASI has dated this inscription and the temple to the 13th century.
The story that is told of this temple is that a temple was built by the traders living in the region. Over time, this temple fell apart, and parts of it – including some of the murtis – ended up being buried under the sand. Then, at some point, a Pallava king was ruling over the place, and he had a dream in which Siva appeared, and asked him to locate a Lingam and other murtis buried under the sand, near the sea. After much searching by his troops, they discovered the murtis, which were now more inland than earlier. The king then built a temple here, which is regarded as the present-day temple, which underwent renovations, modifications and additions later on.
The temple has a main eastern entrance, followed by a dhwajasthambam and bali peetham, but this entrance is almost always kept closed. Instead, the southern entrance is used on a regular basis. There are lots of interesting elements to the architecture, iconography, history and worship practices followed here.
This temple is a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married. The procedure to do this is rather interesting! Young women tie mangalsutras to Amman, while young men tie it on the Nandi opposite the moolavar, praying that they find a suitable life partner soon!
There are 3 Vinayakar murtis in the temple. The north-facing Kubera Ganapati is worshipped for material prosperity; Vijaya Ganapati is prayed to for success in academic and professional / business endeavours; and Sivasakti Ganapati is the one in the koshtam. In addition, there are shrines for Vishnu as Venkatesa Perumal, Suryan, Kali, Swarna Bhairavar, etc. The presence of Vishnu here on its own is not special (rather common in many Siva temples), but combined with the Kubera Ganapati and Swarna Bhairavar, goes further to suggest a link to material / financial prosperity and the connection to the trade guild mentioned earlier.
Some of the sculptures on the pillars in the temple are also breath-taking – for instance, the depiction of various scenes from the Ramayanam, as well as a sculpture of Siva kicking Yama to protect His devotee Markandeya (associated with Tirukadaiyur). Devotees worship the latter for longevity.
While the temple seems to be reasonably well maintained overall, there are some clear signs of wear and tear, largely due to the fact that this temple is made of lime-sand bricks as opposed to granite or other harder stone, and also considering its proximity to the sea, which causes weathering of the stone.
Other information for your visit
The priest lives a short distance from the temple. Locals can point out to the location of the priest’s residence, in case the temple is closed during visit times.
Phone: 98403 64782; 044-27472235