This post is also available in: Tamil हिन्दी (Hindi)
Temple a day-Agatheeswar
When one speaks about Tamilnadu, the first thing that strikes the mind are temples – Be it Kanchi Kamakshi, Rameshwaram, Chidambaram.
Not only these , there are various other temples in the capital Chennai which are centuries old. One such temple is Agastheeswarar Temple of Villivakkam.
Situated approximately 8 Kms from Chennai Central Railway Station, this temple is near my house. I visited temple good number of times not knowing that it is almost 1000 years old.
Here in brief about the Temple where the Sage Agastheeswar worshippped the Lord.
The 1000 year old temple abounds with Legends is built by the Cholas (May be Kulothunga Chola).
The place was earlier called Vilvavanam (forest of Vilvam trees) and later came to be known as Villvakkam. The sthalavriksham is Vilvam.
Sage Agasthya planted a “Vilvam” plant (which has got medicinal and spiritual healing power) and hence the name.
The temple has a very old Vilvam tree which the priests consider sacred and use its leaves for the daily puja.
The Temple complex is big and depicts the South Indian Temple Building stye. Just outside the temple Naagars are around Neem and Peepal tree on a raised platform. Devotees worship during Aadi Tamil month.
Shrines and Deities:
The Agastheeswarar Temple is dedicated to Sri Shiva as Agastheeswarar Swamy and Divine Mother Shakti as Swarnambikai.
The entrance is south facing and when you enter the inner praharam the goddess is in front facing south. She is in standing posture.
Dwajasthambam, Palipedam and nandhi are at the east entrance in the outer prakaram.
Vinayagar and Subramaniyar are at the entrance of sanctum. Dwarabalakars are little big in size and cute.
The entrance of the Goddess shrine has the idols of Lakshmi and Saraswati. The main shrine also houses the Navagraha idols. Guru (Jupiter) is facing the Goddess.
As Guru and the Goddess are facing each other, it is believed that those unmarried ladies who worship the Goddess here get the grace of Guru and get married soon.
Lord Veerabadra graces from a separate temple at the southern entrance of Lord Agastheeswara temple. He appears with two sharp teeth with a Danda in His left hand.
Daksha is before Him in a bowing form. Mother Badrakali shrine is in the front mandap. As Lord Veerabadra is another form of Lord Shiva, Pradosha pujas and one time puja on the Shivarathri day are dedicated to Him.
The main sannidhi of Siva is east facing and is a majestic sivalingam.
Sri Shiva as Agastheeswarar Swamy .
Devi as Swarnambikai.
The sanctum around the temple has sannidhis for various gods namely
Sri Brahma: Sri Brahma
Sri Vishnu: Sri Maha Vishnu
Sri Shiva: Sri Dakshinamurthy, Sri Somaskandar, Sri Natarajar
Devi: Devi Kamakshi Amman. Devi Karumari Amman. Sri Durgai Amman
Sri Ganesha: Sri Ganapati
Sri Murugan: Sri Valli Subramaniar Deivanai
Sri Ayyappan: Sri Ayyapar.
Others: Nayanmars, Sri Chandikeswar, Sri Adi Shankara, Sri Suriyan, Navagrahas and Snake Gods
There is a standing Nandi (Adhikara Nandi) with human form and Bull face facing the lingam in a small niche near the door.
Location : Villivakkam is connected well with all places in Chennai. The Temple is near Villivakkam bus stand.
Timings : The temple is kept open between 06.00 Hrs to 12.00 Hrs and 16.00 Hrs to 20.30 Hrs with 4 Kaala poojas.
Festivals: 10 day Brahmmotsavam following Vaikasi Visakam in May-June;
1008 Conch abishek in Karthikai (November-December
Panguni Wedding Festival in March-April are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Arulmigu Agatheeswarar Temple
South Mada Street, Villivakkam,Chennai – 600 049
Phone : +91- 44 – 2617 2326,
Executive Officer : 97909 96743 || Clerk : 99520 38155
During the Wedding of Lord Shiva with Goddess Parvathi in Mount Kailas, Sage Agasthya was in south performing Shiva Puja in this place.
Two demons, Ilvalan and Vatapi, who were born to Sage Dhurva and Aswamukhi, tortured the entire world and killed many innocent people especially brahmins.
One of the demons used to take the shape of a fruit and the other used to offer it to some innocent passer-by and after he consumed it, the demon would come out by tearing his stomach.
It was left to Sage Agasthya to kill these demons with his mystic powers.
One day the brothers tried the same trick with Agasthya. Agasthya consumed the fruit and simply rubbed his stomach saying Vathapi JeerNo bhava.
literally may Vathapi be digested, while the other demon tries to bring his brother to life, but in vain.
Maharishi Agastya plainly informed the demon that his brother has been digested and could no longer be brought back to life, and eventually bringing their treachery to end.
It was here that the slaying of the demons took place and as a result the place came to be known as “Konnur” in times of yore.
And the main road connecting various places in chennai is named Konnur High Road passes near the temple. It got the name of Villivakkam much later.
As Agasthya killed them with his penance power and incurred the Brahmmahati dosha-a sin caused by killing others, good or bad.
He worshipped Lord Shiva here for relief from the dosha and also relief from any disturbance to perform his pujas.
Lord deputed Veerabadra to help the sage. Lord Veerabadra protected Sage Agasthya and also relieved the sage from the dosha. He thus has His due place in the temple.
As sage Agasthya worshipped Lord here, He is praised as Lord Agastheeswarar and is the presiding deity of the temple.
When Lord Shiva granted darshan to Sage Agasthya with Mother Parvathi, Ambica was wearing golden ornaments, hence She is praised as Swarnambika.
Another temple associated with this legend is the nearby Sowmya Damodar Perumal Temple where Lord Vishnu blesses as Sowmya Damodar.
The shrines of Mothers Mahalakshmi and Saraswathi are before the shrine of Ambica. The Navagraha Mandap is on the opposite side.
As Sage Agasthya destroyed demons Vilvalan and Vatapi in this place, it is named Villivakkam. Agasthya’s destroying of the demons event is celebrated during the Vaikasi Brahmmotsavam of the temple.
Lord Veerabadra graces from a separate temple at the southern entrance of Lord Agastheeswara temple.
He appears with two sharp teeth with a Danda in His left hand. Daksha is before Him in a bowing form.
Mother Badrakali shrine is in the front mandap. As Lord Veerabadra is another form of Lord Shiva, Pradosha pujas and one time puja on the Shivarathri day are dedicated to Him.
Lord Veerabadra is facing north, the direction of Kubera the Lord of Wealth. People pray here seeking prosperity boon.
Hence, He is praised as Ishwarya Veerabadra.
Angaraka Parihara Sthala
Planet Mars created a spring here and worshipped Lord Shiva for relief from a curse.
This spring-theertha is outside the temple. Hence, the temple is also famous as a Mars – Angaraka Parihara Sthala.
Lord Valampuri Vinayaka is nearby facing north. Devotees call this temple as Sevvai Temple – Sevvai-Mars.
Lord Shiva granted darshan to sage Agasthya on a Tuesday (Sevvai day in Tamil). On Tuesdays of Aadi month (July-August), special pujas are dedicated to Lord and Mother.
Even though comparatively smaller and not very famous outside the locality of Villivakkam and Ayanavaram – the temple has many legends assosciated with it and a visit gives inner peace.
So whenever you are in Chennai for long/ Belong to Chennai and devotee of Lord Shiva – make sure to visit, you will really feel blessed.
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This post is also available in: Tamil हिन्दी (Hindi)