Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Aalala Sundara Vinayakar||Ambal / Thayar:||x|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Madurai||District:||Madurai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Madurai (1 km)||Sivaganga (10 km)|
|Virudhunagar (51 km)||Dindigul (62 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Located less than 1 km northwest of the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple, and about 1 km west of the Aadi Chokkanathar temple, this small Vinayakar temple is a popular one among locals.
This small temple is located under a banyan tree, which gives Vinayakar his prefix of Aalala (Alamaram being the Tamil for banyan tree). As with most temples in Madurai, the main deity is associated with beauty, and hence Sundara-Vinayakar. There are several Nagar murtis around the banyan tree, which itself has become part of the temple.
This is a relatively new temple – built in the past 100 years or so, with periodic renovations. However, it is famous in Madurai for the reason that when Prime Minister Nehru visited Madurai in the 1950s, he got out of his car on an impulse, and visited this temple.
The other interesting thing about this temple is the distribution of coconuts broken at this temple. At one time, the residents of four areas of Madurai near this temple – Kaka Thoppu Street, Makkan Thoppu Street, Nadar Vidyasalai Street, and Mani Nagaram – were the ones taking care of this temple. At that time, which must have been more than 80 years ago, these caretaker families had issued tokens to themselves. The tokens helped identify the caretakers, who were entitled to a share of the coconuts broken at this temple, upon payment of Rs 3 per month.
Being a popular temple, a large number devotees offer coconuts here. At the tend of each day, the temple priests collect all the coconuts and distribute them to the token-holders. The number of tokens is fixed, and is only available to families who received them initially; so, no new tokens have been issued in recent years. The holders still pay the monthly fee of Rs 3 per token. The tokens are almost like heirlooms, and are passed down the generations!