Friday, April 30, 2010

Karungaali Sri Chinthaamaneeswarar

Karungaali is a small village located in the north western side of Chennai. Karungaali has a beautiful temple for Lord Shiva called Sri Chinthaamaneeswarar, amidst scenic surroundings.

The speciality of this temple is that, it has sea (கடல்) in the front side, a river (நதி) behind it and forest (வனம்) on the other side. It is a very rare sight to see a temple amidst such a natural setting.

To reach Karungaali one has to take the road from Minjur towards Pazhaverkadu (Pulicat). After crossing about 10 kms from Minjur one can reach a village by name ‘Kaattoor’. Take right turn from Kaattoor and drive about 5 km (bad and sandy road amidst many salt lakes) to reach the banks of the river Arani.
After reaching the river Arani, one has to take a boat to cross the river and the temple is on the other side of Arani river, which is Karungaali village. There is only one boat available and sometimes we have to wait for some time for the boat man to arrive. He charges Rs. 10/- for an up and down trip which takes hardly 5 minutes for each way. Alternatively, to reach the temple by road one can also take the Ennore Port Road, which will lead to this temple.
Lord Shiva has 5 faces; Isaanam, Thathpurusham, Vaamadhevam, Sathyojaatham and Agoram. There are 5 Shiva temples near Chennai, representing each of the 5 faces of the Lord. Out of those 5 this temple represents the Agora face of Lord Shiva.

The other 4 being Ramagiri Sri Vaaleeswarar (Isaanam), Suruttuppalli Sri Pallikondeeswarar (Thathpurusham), Aarani (near Periyapaalayam) Sri Sampangi Pichaaleeswarar (Vamadhevam) and Ariyathurai Sri Varamoortheeswarar (Sathyojaatham). Interestingly, all these 5 temples lie on the banks of Brahmaranya (Arani) river.

Karungaali, where this temple is located, is where the Brahmaranya (Arani) river finally merges into the ocean.
As per the legend, there lived a Rishi (Saint) by name Sattai Muni who performed Thapas (penance) in this place on the banks of Brahmaranya River. It is said that he formed this temple and worshipped Lord Shiva here. According to the inscriptions, the temple is over 1300 years old.
The temple is beautifully located with the river on one side and the sea on the other side. The sanctum is small and there are no boundary walls to the temple. There are other shrines located outside the sanctum for other deities. The main deity Sri Chinthaamaneeswarar is so majestic and beautiful, facing east towards the sea.

A wonderful Nagaabharanam adds beauty to the Shiva Lingam. Dwarapaalakas are seen guarding outside the sanctum. Sri Nandhigeswarar is seen facing the Lord towards the sanctum.
Lord Ganesha (Vinayakar) and Sri Murugar are present on either sides of the sanctum with the names, Sri Chinthaamani Vinayagar and Sri Chinthaamani Murugar respectively.

There is a small shrine outside the sanctum where Ambaal Sri Sivakaamavalli is seen facing east. There is also a Simha Vaahana facing the Goddess. Adjacent to Ambaal, there is another small Shiva Lingam present with another Nandhi. There are also other deities like Sri Dhandaayudhapani (Murugar), Sri Mahavishnu, Sri Nagar and Sri Durgai next to each other, present in the same shrine.

On the north eastern side outside the sanctum, there is a separate shrine for Sri Kaala Bhairavar. This temple is also considered a Bhairava Kshethram where people worship Lord Bhairavar for a sooner marriage and other wishes.
The Vimana above the sanctum is built in Gajabrishta shape to look like the back of a sleeping elephant which in Thamizh is called Thoonganai Maadam (தூங்கானை மாடம்), a Chozha style of temple architecture. This temple is said to be built during the Chozha period.

This temple is considered equivalent to Kasi (Varanasi) and Rameshwaram as it lies both on the sea shore and the banks of a holy river. Performing annual rites to the ancestors during Amavasya (No Moon) and Pournami (Full Moon) days here is considered equal to that of performing them in Kasi or Rameswaram. Many people visit here to do the annual rites to their ancestors.
It is also believed that the Lord grant their wishes who worship Him here and stay overnight during Pournami days.

Sri Chinthaamaneeswarar is the Kuladheivam (family God) for the fishermen in this village. Also the people of this village worship the Lord here by preparing Pongal at the temple, like how it is done in Amman temple in villages. It is very rare and unusual to see this type of worship in Shiva temples.

Chithra Pournami (Full moon day in the Thamizh month of Chithirai) is very popular here in this temple. People from neighbouring villages and also from other places throng here in the night of Chithra Pournami, prepare Pongal and offer to the Lord and worship Sri Chinthaamaneeswarar here. It is said that the entire place will be filled with people and everyone will be staying overnight on the sands during that night to get their wishes fulfilled.

Karungaali is worth visiting for its picturesque location and uniqueness in spite of distance and bad roads.
Temple contact : Sri Shanmugam (Temple Priest) - 98402 14130


  1. Hai Saravanan,

    Super you did already one more exploration/examination + report.

    Clear description/report in words and photographs. It gives me a pleasant feel of the place and environment.

    Surely a surrounding where I would like to stroll around.

    It remembers me of some kind of places like this, with a quiet atmosphere, and lots of natural scenery. Pleasant surroundings for the mind.


  2. Bless you for putting this online so I could experience what I wouldn't get to otherwise. Lovely!

  3. "he Vimana above the sanctum is built in Gajabrishta shape to look like the back of a sleeping elephant which in Thamizh is called Thoonganai Maadam (தூங்கானை மாடம்), a Chozha style of temple architecture"
    is it pallava or choza ?

  4. good!
    keep it up!
    you are doing a great service.
    this might lead people to settle near such temples.

  5. hi Anna you are doing service that just awesome to people from countries knowing about about the facts and history of the temple through your blog.
    Continue your journey successfully god will bless you with good health.

  6. மனப்பூர்வமாக சொல்கிறேன். மிக மிக அருமை.
    வளர்க தங்கள் பணி.

  7. Hello Saravanan,

    Thanks for the beautiful description and the photos. Wish your "Thirupani" (Good works) to go long way. Have a nice time.

    Best Regards
    N Guruvelavan

  8. Hello Saravana,

    wonderful work, it gives immense pleasure happiness and also peace of mind and tempt people to visit these type of holy places which is unknown by many. All the very best for your future jouney

  9. Hi Saravanan, I am catching up with your blog after a long time. This was a lovely piece. I am so glad you have starting writing again, I will read up the other posts over the next few days.

  10. Hai Saravanan, it is like visiting the temple in live, it is a great job u have under taken, the information given by you will be useful for the most of the tamilians spread in the world, god bless you go ahead with much more spirituals
    P.G Samy

  11. Hai Saravanan,god bless you go ahead with your (Ours)Holly steps. Senthil

  12. Thanks for this nice information on Karungaali Sri Chinthaamaneesarar temple close to Chennai. On my next visit I shall rember to visit as the surroundings are so beautiful.

  13. Despite my background being a hindrance, I have always been fascinated by the story of Lord Shiva and this time when Amish Tripathi has come up with a book, the prankier and lighter side of Shiva is also pretty evident in the book and entertains us throughout. His attitude and charisma win over everyone, and so does the author with his sparkling narrative throughout the book. The twist in the tale comes when the average reader believes the battle between good and bad is won, and this twist has been handled brilliantly by Amish Tripathi.

    Just like me, you can also get the book at amazing prices and travel back to 1900 BC through

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Wow. Awesome site you have here Saravanan! Great work!
    Also, if you can include an Email subscription option, it would be a great help to receive timely updates via email.

  16. It is awesome and fantastic. Very difficult and painstaking findings. Quodas to u and your efforts. Keep it up to post much more.



  17. nice information ut useful to all

  18. Very well described and good clicks. Thanks for this wonderful post.

  19. How do you go to this temple by car? Is it motorable up to or close to the temple now? Will be good to know on this as I have visited the other 4 temples out of 5 that represents the 5 faces of Shiva. I have a sedan

  20. Hai Saravanan,

    You have done a great Job. I appreciate it. I know bus route to some of these temples , how can i upload in this site? Bus routes will help people from lower middle class to visit these temples. Awaiting for your Reply


  21. Very interesting temple to visit. Thanks for giving a complete details of how to reach the spot.
    Ravi, malaysia

  22. to day being mahasivarathri i am able to see as many temples as possible from a very long distance thanks to your great effort.

  23. Visited this temple for mahasivarathiri..
    You may also want to add that it can be accessed by road from Pulicat (Pazhaverkadu). I went from Chennai to - Ponneri, Chinnakkaavanam, Thirupalaivanam(nice temple - you should cover that in this blog too), Pazhaverkadu to this temple.

  24. Thank you for ѕharing your info. I rеally appreciate youг efforts and ӏ will
    be waiting for уour next write ups thanks once again.
    My weblog

  25. thanks for your wonderful work... many unknown nearby temples are brought to limelight.

  26. Thanks for the pancha siva temple details, based on your clear information I had worshiped Lord shiva twice including Mahashivrathiri. SP.Chandramouli