90-year-old Shiva temple at Guindy in Chennai

Chennai: Near the Anna Salai entrance of Guindy railway station, there is a small Siva temple called Sri Mangalambikai Udanurai Paadaleeshwarar Temple.

Not many would have noticed the temple while passing through but it has a rich history.

It was built by Ramalinga Swamigal, a saint from a village called Padagacheri, near Kumbakonam, who lived during the early 20th century.

“Ramalinga Swamigal should not be confused with Vallalar, who was known as Ramalinga Adigalar. This is Ramalinga Swamy of Padagacheri. He was a saint who also renovated many old temples during his time,” said Pon Bhaskaran whose native place is Padagacheri.

“My father was a close follower and has also been with Ramalinga Swamigal. He used to do deep meditation and was well-versed in healing diseases. He was the one who brought back Kumbakonam Nageswara Swamy temple to life from ruins,” he added.

“He used to visit Chennai often and had an ashram at Thiruvottriyur, where he would meditate. During the 1920s, there used to be only a single railway track in Guindy and close to that there was a temple called Thavamuneeswarar Temple. Ramalinga Swamigal used to visit the temple and at the time came to know that the railways wanted to shift it to some other place to facilitate laying additional tracks. So, he chose the current location and installed the idols here. The first consecration was performed in 1927,” he said.

After entering the shrine, the first thing one sees are the idols of Lord Muruga and Lord Siva. In the main shrine, Siva and Parvati can be seen in ‘thirumana kolam’

“The speciality of the temple is that it is a parihara sthala and we do poojas by getting the horoscopes of those whose marriages are getting delayed. It is believed that marriages will happen soon after worshipping here,” said Bhaskaran who also teaches ‘Thirumandhiram’ classes every Thursday.

“ ‘Thirumandhiram’ has a lot of messages which are essential for our life and I feel it should be taught to more people. I started the classes two years ago and 15 students come here to learn it every Thursday for one hour,” said Bhaskaran, who is also an employee of Tamilnadu water supply board.

Every year, guru poojai is performed in the temple during the death anniversary of Ramalinga Swamigal.

“Another unique aspect is at the time only Tamil slokas are recited so that the common man understands it. We also recite ‘Thirupugazh’ and ‘Thevaram’ on those days,” he said.

“This year, guru poojai is scheduled for 13 August. We also provide annadhanam on that day,” he said.

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Aaditya Anand M