Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Temple Visit - Kandakottam

“Kovil Illatha Ooril Kudi Irukathe” – Please don’t reside in a place where there is no temple. The Statement of our forefathers is sacro sanct because the temple indicates that the community is graced by the presence of God and that its Citizens form a moral community. A Community identifies and is identified by others with its temples.

There are lots of temples in and around the Metropolis of Chennai. Chennai has vaishnavite divya desams, thevara shivite temples and even Navagraha temples in and around the city. I recently happened to visit Kanda Kottam a shrine dedicated to Lord Muruga located on the heartthrob of Chennai.

The temple is situated amidst the narrow lane of “Rasappa Chetty Street” in the Park Town which is located near the Ratan or Evening Bazaar between Chennai Central and Parry’s Corner. The temple has the legend dating back to 15th Century and is managed by Ayira Vysya Beri Chettiyar Community.

This temple was frequented by the Saint Poet “Vallalar” Ramalinga Adigal who has sung “Deiva Mani Malai” a devotional poem on the Lord Kandasami.

Thought of sharing the details of the temple.
Please read on to know more about the temple and its legends.
Happy Reading!
Warm Regards
A.V. Devan
Chennai – July 7th 2010


Kandasami temple was founded by two old friends Velur Mari Chettiar a Beri Chettiar and Kandappa Achari a Viswakarma man. According to the legend, the two friends were on their monthly pilgrimage to worship Lord Murugan at Tiruporur, fifty six kilometers away situated on the Old Mahabalipuram Road when they miraculously discovered the idol of Kandasami hidden in an anthill and brought it back to Madras. There on an auspicious day in 1673 they installed and consecrated the deity in a temple dedicated to the elephant God Vinayakar located in the garden of one Muthiyalu Naicken of Pedda Naickenpet. Subsequently when Mari Chettiar sought to build a temple for the deity funded in part by his wife’s generous gift of her jewelry, Muthiyalu donated the Park Town lands on which the temple now stands.

When Mari Chettiar completed the Temple, he handed its management and that of its financial trusts to the “Eighteen Group” Beeri Chettiars, the eighteen named clusters that composed the Town Beeri Chettiar community at that time. In commemoration of his services, the Beeri Chettiars installed a statue of Mari Chettiar near one of the Temple’s sanctums, where he is worshiped today as a God. Here we see an individual Mari Chetti, being commemorated for what he had done. From archival materials, endowment records and stone inscriptions in the temple we do know that Beri Chettiar control of the temple is more than two hundred years old. F.L. Conradi’s map of “Madraspatnam” as the city was then called depicts a small unnamed shrine at what is the temple’s location today.

“Vallalar” Ramalinga Adigal & Kandakottam

After losing his father at an early age Ramalinga Adigal’s family migrated from Chidambaram to Chennai. Ramalinga showed no interest towards formal education but rather prefer to spend his time in the precincts of Kandasami temple at Kandakottam. Sabhapati, his elder brother was upset with the behavior of his younger brother Ramalinga and as a punitive measure he instructed his wife not to give his daily meal. However the compassionate sister-in-law secretly fed him food and softly advised Ramalingam to pursue his studies at home. Ramalingam relented with a condition that he is given a separate room of his own which was agreed. Now in the solitary confines of the room Ramalingam set up a mirror and in front of it lit a small lamp and start mediating relentlessly and this was the beginning of the young Ramalinga’s spiritual journey.

The first reward came in the form of a vision of Lord Muruga and in the saints own words “The beauty endowed divine faces six, the illustrious shoulders twelve”. Ramalingam spent most of his time in his room. Sitting before a mirror, he used to meditate and compose poems. As he meditated his individual self had disappeared and the Lord he realized within revealed himself in the reflection on the mirror. Visiting the Kanda Kottam Murugan temple became the daily routine and he felt intensely emotional and poured out his devotion in the form of Deiva Mani Malai, Kandar Sarana Pathu, Shanmugar Kalaipathu etc., The temple trust has recorded “Deiva Mani Malai” sung by Seerkazhi Govindarajan which is available for sale in the temple.

Temple Facts

The area covered by the temple is about eight acres. The moolavar Sri Kandaswamy, which was brought from Thiruporur is two feet high and Sri Valli and Sri Deivayanai are on either side of this presiding deity. There are also other shrines in the temple. The Uthsava moorthi is known as Sri Muthukumaraswamy with consorts Valli and Deivayanai and is enshrined in a separate shrine before a big uthsava mandapam. There is also a separate shrine near the temple tank for Sri Kulakkarai Vinayagar with Siddhi and Buddhi as his consort’s shrine. Near this Vinayagar shrine there is also a separate shrine for Sri Kasi Viswanathar and Goddess Visalakshi. At the entrance of the temple, there is a hall called Parivedan mandapam. Sculptured image of Vezhmugathu Vinayakar in sitting and standing postitions are kept on either side of the mandapam. To the front of the Artha mandapam, there is a dwajasthambam (Flag Staff).

The Mukha mandapam is where the idols of Sarva Siddhi Vinayakar, Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Idumban, Arunagirinathar, Sri Vallalar, and Pamban Swamigal are found along with the image of Mari Chettiyar. The jewelry adorning the images of Skanda are of great beauty. The entrance to the temple is crowned with a Rajagopuram and there is a tank within the temple premises. Four worship services are offered each day here.

The annual Bhramotsavam is celebrated in the month of Thai. The eighteen group sponsor each day of the function like 6th day function by Gold Merchants (Kassu Kadai varthagarkal) 18th day by country-drug (Naattu Marunthukadai) merchants. The day following the Thai Poosam festival, witnesses a procession of Subramanyar to the Kachabeswarar temple in George Town, for the float festival (celebrated during times of plenty). Vasanta Utsavam is celebrated in the month of Vaikasi. Arudra Darisanam is celebrated in the month of Margazhi where the processional image of Nataraja is taken out in a grand procession through an exceptionally long processional route. The main festivals celebrated here are Skanda Shashti, Thaipusam and Vaikasi Visakam.

Saints like Dharmapuram Swaminathan (Oduvar), Thirumuruga Kripananda Variyar Swamigal, Purasai Arunagiri, Pithukkuli Murugadass were among the few who have frequently visited the temple and gave their performances like discourses, concerts etc especially during the festive season.

Please do visit and get the blessings of Kandasami!


Public faces, private voices : Community and individuality in South India - By Mattison Mines, Professor of Antrhopology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


  1. 2 times visited kanda swamy temple. at one place mirrors show a person six faces which convey to us the idea of 6-faced lord muruga of the six krittikas mothers. call me to temple one sunday to meet. mani 0-9967384216

  2. A wonderful account of the temple history.I am delighted to note my Guru 'Sri Purasai Arunagiri's name also figures here.Glad to inform i performed with my Harmonium here today [6th Nov 2013] .
    S Chandrsekaran /Harmonist/ Retd BHEL executive

  3. Thanks....Very Useful one........Vedic Architects & Sculptors is the leading the Hindu temple builder specializing in Vastu science for contemporary buildings, Temple Vigraham in Stone and Stone carving architecture in Chennai.

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  5. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

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  6. I was planning to visit this Kandha Kottam Temple for the past 3 days. After reading this blog, I was inspired to visit Thiru Porur Temple first.
    And today, 25th March 2016, Good Friday, I drove from Thuraipakkam to Thiruporur on the OMR (25kms).
    Thiruporur is definitely a great temple and I believe Sri Chidambaram Swamigal has composed hymns on Lord Muruga of Thiruporur. He is revered ad Divine Guru by the devotees and there is a sannidhi for Swamigal too in the temple precincts.
    I have some photos taken at Thiruporur and am not sure as to how to attach them to this comment / blog thread. May be will upload in a web folder and give the link here after sometime.
    On Saravana Bhavaya Namaha.
    Camp : Alwatpet, Chennai




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