Chennai, the prominent city of Tamil Nadu, is a bouquet of culture and art offerings that have the traces from the Cheras, Cholas and Pandya dynasties. Rich in history, the city plays host to many cultural events held round the year. With temples and festivals playing an important role in the South Indian tourism, Chennai is no different from it. As a result, we started off our sightseeing trip with a visit to the Vadapalani Murugan Temple, also known as Arulmigu Vadapalani Andavar Thirukoil.
The temple is situated on the Arcot Road and is at a walking distance from the hotel. We didn’t take much time to get ready. I sported a traditional look with a dothi (which in the local language is called ‘mundu’) and shirt. My wife was in the traditional saree, which she loved to wear. We just took five minutes to reach the temple, which is dedicated to the King of Gods, Lord Murugan.
At the entrance, there is a tall Rajagopuram, which is sculpted to feature many stucco images representing the legends from ‘Skanda Puranam’. There are two large wooden doors that have architectural designs and small bells. We walked in to reach the temple tank in the front. The tank is filled with water and there are steps for the pilgrims to climb down and wash their hands and feet before entering the temple.
I could also notice a small mandapam in the center of the tank, which is decorated with lights during the festival. Since the pooja timings were from 5.30, the temple was open for the public for ‘uchakalam’ pooja. We offered our prayers to the God and performed archanas in our names to get the blessings.
I learned from a local devotee that the temple has a long history of 125 years when there was only a thatched shed built by an ardent Murugan devotee, Annaswami Nayakar. Over the years, its prominence extended to many places and the temple grew to become the one we see today.
We walked around the temple to offer our prayers at different ‘sannidhis’. A few of them I remember now are Varasidhi Vinayagar, Chokkanathar, Meenakshi Sundareswarar, Arunagiri Nadhar, Anjaneyar, and so on. We returned to the room after the prayers and sat to plan our trip, we were going to have.