Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Madambakkam Sri Dhenupureeswarar

This ancient temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located in the suburb of Chennai called Madambakkam, near Tambaram.

This temple is over 1000 years old (956-973 AD), which is said to have been built during the reign of Parantaka Chola II or Sundara Chola, father of Rajaraja Chola 1 (who constructed Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur). The temple is believed to be rebuilt of stone during the reign of Kulothunga Chola1.

According to legend, there was a rishi called “Kapila” who was performing penance towards Lord Shiva to attain Mukthi. He had a Shiva Linga for which he was performing pooja everyday. One day during his pooja, he was holding the Shiva Linga on his left hand and started doing Abhishekam with the milk on his right hand. He was caught with a Dhosha as he held the idol on his left hand, which is a sin, result of which he cannot attain Moksha. Because of the Dhosha, he had to take another birth as a cow and live the entire life praying the God, to attain Moksha. He took birth as a cow in a village (Sitreri) and was gazing near a lake in South of India. One day, the master of the cow saw the cow pouring its milk on a small stone buried in the ground. He angrily hit the cow for having wasted its milk. Unable to bear the pain, the cow tapped it’s leg on the ground where it hit the stone. The stone started bleeding. The man got frightened and called all the villagers who dug the ground and saw that it’s a Shiva Linga. The master of the cow prayed the God to forgive him.

Lord Shiva appeared and said that it was his act for the sake of Kapila Rishi, who was born as the cow. Kapila Rishi also apologized to Lord Shiva for having kicked on the head of the Linga. Lord Shiva forgave him and Kapila attained Moksha.

The people went and informed the king who was coming downside of Sitreri. The king arranged to construct a temple for Lord Shiva there and the God was then known as Sitrerinadhar and Goddess, Nampirattiyar.

The place where people met the king downside the lake is today’s Rajakizhpakkam. And the village Sitreri (means small lake) is now called as Madambakkam.

The presiding deity is called Lord Dhenupureeswarar (facing the east) and the Goddess, Dhenukambal. Unlike most temples, where the sanctum is either square or rectangle, this is apsidal in shape which is called as Gaja Brishta Vimana (Shaped like elephant’s back) in Sanskrit. This type of feature is found in few other Chola temples in and around Chennai.

Even today we can see a scar on the Shiva Lingam, caused by the Cow (Kapila) while it kicked the ground because of the pain when it was beaten up by its master.

Lot of contributions have been made to this temple by Vijayanagara rulers. Many sculptures in the walls of this temple, stand testimony to the subsidies given to this temple in the form of lands, livestock, jewels etc.,

There is a large tank adjacent to this temple filled with water. This also serves as water source for the people living around the temple.

Saint Arunagirinathar (15th Century A.D.), has composed a hymn on this temple.

This ancient village, now called Madambakkam, was also known as Ulaguyyavanda Chola Chaturvedimangalam in the past.

Festivals like Pradhosham and Panguni Uthiram are celebrated with pomp here.

Another rare feature of this temple is, it houses Lord Sarabeswarar on one of the pillars in it. Lord Sarabeswarar is another form of Lord Shiva who took form to bring down the anger and furiousness of Lord Narasimha. Lord Sarabeswarar took the form of Yazhi bird with human body and eagle's wings having Godess Durga and Godess Maha Prathyangira Devi each of his wings.

Poojas are performed here to Sri Sarabeswarar on Sundays during Rahu Kalam timings, which attracts hundreds of devotees here.

Both Saiva and Vaishnava sculptures and carvings on the pillars and walls, beautify this temple.

The temple now is under the control of Archeological Society of India.

The temple is situated between Tambaram and Medawakkam near Rajakizhpakkam.

There is also another rare temple nearby, housing 18 Siddhars, Sri Seshadri Swamigal and Maha Meru (Lalitha Parameshwari) which together with Dhenupureeswarar temple gives divinity to the whole village and every visitor entering there.


  1. Good job..write more.... god will be with u always

  2. It is good efforts of yours. I am really searching words to appreciate you. I came to know about you thro' Mr. Venkat.

    Great Efforts and all god and goddess will show their blessings always to you.

    S Partha

  3. I am now able to read your posts in detail and am enjoying every detail and story. It is a great job you are doing. However, I am not able to understand all the Sanskrit words. Can you explain what is Dhosha? I get from context is not not desired...Thank you.

  4. Great job. While I was in college during 1985-1988 myself and my friends used to go there and every week to do a group study. It was such a wonderful and calm atmosphere. It has been almost 15 years since I visited this temple. Your writing on this blog brings the memories back. Keep it up and god bless you.

  5. Great Work ... Carry On!!!!

    Do visit Swamisblog.blogspot.com when u get time !!!! :-)

  6. Dear Saravanan,

    Words fail me to appreciate your painstaking efforts in terms of collating all the information you have gathered about temples in and around chennai.That goes to prove the harwork and meticulous efforts which has gone in to bring out such a good work.In the current age where people throng internet for unproductive activities it is indeed a commendable job which youre doing..A word of suggestion to fellow readers .Kindly dont post message which discourages saravanan.It is easy to find fault nevertheless the noble work done by saravanan is not worth to be ill treated verbally..Great going saravanan.May god bless you and your dear ones..Keep going strong.

  7. Dear Saravanan,
    There are so many lovely temples in TN, I can't study all of them.
    Could you make a list of the oldest ones, esp. ones with great early sculpture?
    Thank you. Kathie

  8. Unless and until a person like Saravanan, is so gifted that he destines to visit some of the ‘not-so-popular’ temples in our nation. I see him as an incarnation of an anonymous Nayanmaar in a modern avathaar who we can recognize. At least, we should be fortunate enough to read his laudable work that he painstakingly takes on. I personally feel that taking pilgrimages these days are quite expensive, so it wouldn’t be a bad idea altogether if someone of us arranges a fund help to his cause. I am not rich and brave enough to be a Kulasekaraazhvaar, nor I can’t be bold enough to turn out to be a Thirumangai Aazhvaar; let me prefer to remain a kind of Thondaradipodi Aazhvaar. The fellow society shalt forgive me if I initiated anything wrong against such a spiritual cause. Indeed, it is really heartening that a person comes brave enough to explore such treasures, and presents in the modern way that you and I knew better. May our Almighty shall shower Saravanan enough health and wealth for his sustained journey.
    With regards,

  9. Mr. Saravanan,
    You are indeed blessed to have your mind tuned in to such a laudable effort. May GOD bless you more and more and give more strength to your mind and body to keep up with this and to enlarge this effort.

    Thank you very much.

    Senior Citizen.

  10. Hats Off to your Effort. I visited the temple and wanted to know more about it and found your blog. I learnt a lot which I was not able to when I was at the temple. Keep your efforts going and we don't let our history fade off.

    Thank you very much,

    Junior Citizen.

  11. Your blog helped me to know about the temple. Thanks, continue your service and let us all be benefited by getting the blessings of the god and goddess of all temples and let our culture and traditions flourish by people like you. In the modern world, the children don't about relatives as all are having one or utmost two kids and there is no athai or mama or grand parents as there is no kuttu kudumbam so naturally the children are neither aware of any temple, its history, nor the deities in the temple infact, around their area too....Atleast by your blog we can know about ancient temples, good job, continue your writing, we too will participate along with you if come across any ancient temples.

    Service to humanity is service to God.
    With regards,

  12. Dear Saravanan,

    Today is my birthday and i have planned to visit our Sri Dhenupureeswarar Temple this evening but I couldn't make it. Hence I decided to give a search in the net about our temple and got your link. I don't know the history of our Temple though i have been there for number of times. It was awesome and thanks for helping me to know it. I don't have age to bless you but still let God be with you always.


    Santhana Krishnan V.M.

  13. can any one tell the exact location of the Dhenubureeswar temple? How to reach the temple from Chennai

  14. Proceed in Velachery Tambaram Road. Cross Pallikaranai, Medavakkam, Gowrivakkam, Sembakkam. You will reach Rajakilpakkam Signal. Take left turn and proceed straight in the Madampakkam main road for about 3 to 4 kms. You will reach the temple.

  15. Hai Mr.saravanan,
    fantastic effort. Please try to add the specialities like any pariharas, remedies done in the temple for having doshams in their jathakams which will be an eyeopner to all.,
    Thanks God bless u.

  16. pranam for the efforts let you be blessed long healthy life to perform more and more.

  17. Is it possible to share the kovil number?

  18. I am so proud to say that I got married in this temple :-). A beautiful temple.

  19. Thankyou for giving such a marvellous history of Sri Dhenupureeswarar Temple.

    Oom Namachivaya!!

    Jaiganesh Rao (East Tambaram)

  20. It is really a nice temple, we are located nearer to this temple, and it is believed to be very powerful God. Lord shiva blessed us in difficult sitaution after our sincere prayer.

  21. How to go from Thiruvanmiyur. bus no and stopping ?

  22. We went to the temple yesterday. Very Nice temple.
    From Thiruvanmiyur come to velachey and catch 51 series buses and ask for Rajakeelpakkam bus stop in velachey main road. You can notice a signal and take that left which leads to the temple. From the signal it is around 3 kms.

  23. Here is a photosphere of Dhenupureeswarar temple taken from my galaxy nexus:

  24. Here is a #photosphere of Dhenupureeswarar temple taken from my galaxy nexus:

  25. Here is a photosphere of Dhenupureeswarar temple using my galaxy nexus:

  26. How to go from parrys. bus no and stopping?

  27. Thankyou for giving such a marvellous story of GOD Siva...

  28. Dear all,

    Kindly watch video of this temple in my youtube channel "snanacha"


  29. I have visited this temple first time and got the excellent darsan. Thanks Mr.Sarvanan to give a clear history abouth the temple.


  30. Hair
    May I know whether there is pillar called kaalabairava pillar in did temple