Healing the Soul in Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai

Marundeeswarar Mandir

Also Known as Thiruvanmiyur Mandir

Introduction :

The Marundeeswarar Temple, nestled in the serene surroundings of Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai, is a sacred abode dedicated to Lord Shiva. Situated in close proximity to the Bay of Bengal, this temple carries a rich tapestry of history, spirituality, and cultural significance. This article delves into the temple’s historical background, its legends, architectural marvels, religious importance, and worship practices.

Historical Significance :

The Marundeeswarar Temple is a significant place of worship, glorified by the 7th-century Saivite saints, Appar and Tirugnana Sambandar. This temple is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, indicating its sanctity as a site eulogized by these revered Nayanars. The temple’s historical significance is further accentuated by its expansion under the patronage of Chola kings during the 11th century CE. It is a testament to the enduring devotion of the people of the region.

Legends :

The name “Marundeeswarar” translates to “The Lord of Medicines,” and it is associated with a legend where Lord Shiva imparted sage Agastya with knowledge of the curative properties of herbs and plants. Hence, the temple has long been revered as a place of worship for those seeking relief from diseases and health-related problems. A unique historical connection exists between the temple and the sage Valmiki, who authored the epic “Ramayana.” Legend has it that Valmiki worshiped Lord Shiva in this temple, and as a result, the place was named “Thiruvalmikiyur,” gradually evolving into “Thiruvanmiyur.” In honor of Valmiki, a place called Valmiki Nagar is present in Thiruvanmiyur, and there is also a shrine dedicated to the sage on the East Coast Road (ECR).

The temple houses various lingams, each associated with distinctive legends, such as the lingam for which Hanuman performed worship, the lingam that cured the curse of Indra, and the lingam for which Saint Bharadwaja offered prayers. There are also stories of Markandeyar’s penance and Brahma’s festival conducted in honor of Shiva. The presiding deity is referred to as Palvannanathar, as it is believed that Kamadhenu, the sacred cow, performed oblations on the Sivalingam with her milk. In a unique twist, the main shrine of the temple is believed to face west, where the Sun and Moon perform daily worship practices during sunset.

History :

The Marundeeswarar Temple is associated with a road known as Vadagaperuvazhi during the Chola period, connecting the Chola kingdom to places in Thanjavur and Andhra Pradesh. Inscriptions dating back to the 11th century, from the period of Rajendra Chola, can be found in the shrine of Tripurasundari Amman, providing historical evidence of the temple’s origins. The antiquity and importance of this temple are corroborated by inscriptions in other temples in Chennai, including the Kapaleeswarar Temple and Virupaksheeswarar Temple. The temple was revitalized in the early 20th century and again in the 1970s. Marundeeswarar Temple, alongside the Kapaleeswarar Temple and the Thiruvottiyur Thyagarajaswamy Temple, forms the famous Trinity Sea Shore temples of Thondai Mandalam.

Architectural Marvels :

The architecture of the Marundeeswarar Temple is a harmonious blend of Pallava and Chola styles. The temple boasts two entrances, one from the East Coast Road and the other from West Tank Street, both adorned with impressive 5-tiered gopurams or gateway towers. The West Tank Street entrance features three gates, while the East Coast Road entrance has only one. The temple’s layout spans an area of approximately 1 acre and features numerous images that embellish the temple’s pillars, with stucco figures adorning the gopurams. The hall housing the Somaskanda form of Shiva is a striking sight, with 36 massive pillars adorned with intricate carvings. The Devasriyan mantapam within the temple conducts Shaiva Sidhantha lectures daily, offering spiritual education to devotees.

The temple is home to smaller shrines dedicated to Ganesha and Murugan, each possessing unique significance. A Thirumurai mandapam is an important part of the temple, where Tirumurai, the hymns of Saivite saints, are recited daily. The shrine of Shiva is particularly significant, as it houses idols of Shiva in his three forms: Tyagaraja, Marundeeswarar, and Nataraja. The temple also features a shrine dedicated to Marundeeswarar’s consort, Goddess Tripura Sundari, also known as Goddess Parvati. The Samadhi of Pamban Swamigal can be found nearby, further enhancing the spiritual aura of the temple.

Literary Mention :

The Marundeeswarar Temple is mentioned in the verses of Tevaram, the canonical work of Saivite poetry, composed by Appar and Sambandar in the 7th century. These verses serve as a testament to the temple’s sacredness and spiritual importance. Appar and Sambandar, through their verses, praise the temple and extol Lord Shiva.

In the News :

At one point, there was a proposal to demolish the temple of Sage Valmiki, located opposite the Marundeeswarar Temple, to facilitate the construction of the East Coast Road (ECR). However, the High Court of Tamil Nadu intervened, ensuring that the temple remained intact.

The temple underwent a Kumbhabhishekam, a consecration ceremony, after a period of renovation in February 2020, reinforcing its historical and spiritual significance.

Conclusion :

The Marundeeswarar Temple, with its deep-rooted history, spiritual legends, captivating architecture, and literary significance, stands as a testament to the enduring devotion of its patrons. It has provided solace to the ailing and spiritual seekers alike for centuries. The temple’s rich heritage continues to draw visitors and devotees who seek not only physical healing but also spiritual nourishment in the serene ambiance of Thiruvanmiyur, Chennai. This sacred site remains a treasure trove of historical, cultural, and spiritual significance.

Editor – Kaalchakra Team

[ Note – Before Concluding anything as a Finale, Please Go through Original Scriptures of Vaidik Literature Written in Sanskrit and Also with Meaning of That time of Language. Because English is a Limited language to Explaining the Deeper Knowledge of Vaidik Kaal. ]