Kandhaswamy Temple, Cheyyur, Kanchipuram
|Architectural style:||Dravidian architecture|
|Address:||Kandhaswamy Temple,Cheyyur, Kanchipuram|
Kandhaswamy Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Muruga located in Cheyyur in Kanchipuram district in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple was constructed during the Cholas during the 10th century. Muruga is worshipped as Kandhaswamy along with his consorts Valli and Deivasena. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines.
The place is about 25 kms south of Maduranthagm. In Olden days this town was known as Jayamkonda Chola Nallur and Virarajendra Nallur. As per epigraphical evidences, it belonged to Jayamkonda Chola Mandalathu Chembur Kotta Puraiyur. This town was also called Seioorm, Seigaiyampathy and Valavapuri. In this place there is a temple for Lord Siva Known as Puttridang Kondaar Temple and Kariya Mannikakam Perumal Temple.
Arunagiri Nathar has revered the temple in his verses in Tirupugal. There are idols of 27 Vedhalams (Bhootganas/ghosts) representing 27 stars found in the temple and it is unique which cannot be found anywhere else. Lord Brahma and Vishnu are standing as Dwarapalakas of Lord Shiva. The goshta images of Subramanya are unique the dancing Skanda, Skanda carrying bow and arrow, etc.
The temple is open from 6 am – 12:30 pm and 4:30 – 8:00 pm on all days. Four daily rituals and many yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Vaikasi Visagam, Kanthasashti festival, Surasamharam, Thaipoosam festival and Panguni Uthiram festival being the most prominent being the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamilnadu.
Temple Opening Time
Morning: 7 am to 11 am – Pooja at 9 am
Evening: 6.30 pm to 8.30 pm (on Astami days after full moon from 5 pm to 9 pm)
Kandhaswamy temple has a flat Rajagopuram in the North, piercing the rectangular granite walls around the temple. Road construction over the years has resulted in swallowing parts of the idols in the multiple pillars that stand in front of the temple. There are two entrances to the temple. One is through the South facing main entrance. There is an entrance through the East through which also one can reach the inner prakaram and the Artha Mandapa.
The presiding deity Kandhaswamy is housed in the East facing sanctum, with Valli and Deivasena on either of his sides. Kandhaswamy is flanked by the Dwarapalakas, Suveeran and Sujanan on either side. The sanctum is approached from the main entrance through the flag staff hall, Maha Mandapam and Artha Mandapam. There is 5 ft. (1.5 m) granite Vel in front of Kandhaswamy. The flag staff is located in the flagstaff hall axial to the sanctum. An image of peacock, the vehicle of Muruga and Surya faces the main shrine in the Maha Mandapam.
On entering the temple, one can find the Somanathar, Meenakshiammai Shrine to the left of the front Mandapam. There are shrines of Vinayaga before the Mahamandapam and the sanctum is guarded by Brahma and Vishnu, which is an unusual feature in Murugan temples. Nandi is found in front of the shrine. The shrine of Thiripurasundari is located in the second precinct. There are separate shrines of Valli and Deivasena in South facing shrines diagonally opposite to the sanctum.
The image of Somanathar and Meenakshi are in the temple. The images of the 27 Bhutaganas, each 2 ft. (0.61 m) tall are sculpted in the niches around the sanctum. The first precinct around the sanctum houses the images of Nrithuya Kanthar, Bala Kanthar, Brahma Sastha, Sivagurunathar, Veduvar and Navagrahas. A unique feature of this temple is that all Goshta Devathas are different forms of Subramanya.
Usually in Saivaite temples one can see Vinayaka, Dakshinamoorthy, Lingothbhavar or Vishnu, Brahma, Chandikeshwarar, Durga, Bhairava, and Surya are seen as Goshta Devathas. But in this temple, one can see that there is Nrittaskanda instead of Vinayaka, Brahmasasta instead of Dakshinamoorthy, Bala Skanda instead of Vishnu, Sivagurunatha instead of Brahma and Pulindhar (Lord Muruga in the form of a hunter) instead of Durga.
Moreover, Chandikeshwarar and Bhairava who are normally found in Shiva temples are found here in their usual places. The Surya in this temple is called Guha Surya. Apart from these forms of Muruga, there is also an Arumugha Swamy facing the Southern entrance. On the outer Prahara, as we circumambulate, we can find Ganesha shrine and a Nandavanam to the North of the Sanctum Sanctorum. The Sthala Vrikshams of this temple are Vanni and Karungali.
To the North of the Dwajasthambam, is the Amman shrine and there is a Sarva Vadya Mandapam in front of it. Till the year 1947, all kinds of musical instruments were played and dance recitals conducted during festivals in this mandapam. Behind the Dwajasthambam, there is a separate Shrine for Navagrahas.
Periyandavar Puja is also observed at this temple. Outside the temple, on the Navasandhis, there are nine Vinayakas said to have been worshipped by the Navagrahas. These also add to the uniqueness of the temple. To the West of the temple, is a tank called Chettikulam. Chetty is one of the names by which Lord Muruga is known. This tank belongs to the temple. The pillars outside the main entrance of the temple also have few intricate Sculptures. There are several beautiful sculpture panels found at the outside of the temple wall.
The temple follows Saivite tradition. The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: Kalasanthi at 7:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:30 p.m., and Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m. During the Arthajamam between 8:30 – 9:00 p.m, Kandhaswamy is believed to offer his worship Somanatha along with the 27 Bhoothaganas and it is enacted every day. Each ritual has three steps: Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) & Deeparadhanai (waving of lamps) for both Kandhaswamy and Thiripurasundari. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. The temple is open from 6 am – 12:30 pm and 4-9:00 pm on all days.
The temple has many festivals in its calendar, with the Vaikasi Visagam, Aadi Krithigai, Kanthasashti, Surasamharam, Karthigai Deepam, Thaipoosam and Panguni Uthiram are the festivals being the being the most prominent. Sarva vadyam is a music instrument used in the temple from historic times during the festive occasions. Chengalvaraya Sastri, a historical musician is believed to have composed songs praising the presiding deity. The practise of singing his songs during the rituals is continued in modern times. During Kandha Sashti, the Vel Vaangum Vizha is celebrated behind the Mahodhara Bootha Vethalam belonging to Pooradam star.
Legend / Local stories
As per Hindu legend, Muruga obtained the Vel (spear) from his mother Parvathi from Sikkal Singaravelan Temple. He slayed Sooran, the demon, the event called Surasamharam at Thiruchendur. During the war, Bhutaganas, Shiva’s army, is also believed to have helped Murugan. Since Murugan killed Sooran and his son Iranyeswaran, he attained Dosha (sin).
To propitiate himself from the sin, he is believed to have installed the image of Shiva as Somanatha at this place and worshipped Shiva. Since the son of Shiva (called Sei) worshipped him, the place is called Cheyyur. The 27 Bhutaganas are personified to the 27 stars as per Hindu mythology.
How to Reach:
Cheyyur is a taluk in Kanchipuram District of Tamilnadu. One can reach Cheyyur through two routes, one through Madurantakam and the other through the East Coast Road, which goes towards Puducherry. This town is about 25 kms from Madurantakam and 5 kms from the Ellaiyamman Koil Bus Stop on East Coast Road (ECR). The nearest airport is Chennai and railway station is Chengalpattu.
Mobile: +91 – 94447 29512