Chennai: George Town is a locality in Chennai which was the original settlement of the British who established the British East India Company here.
However, there are many temples of historical significance spread around the locality and one such temple which was constructed during the 18th century was Kachaleeswarar Temple.
The temple is located on Agraharam Street in Mannady, George Town. By reading the temple’s history which is placed inside the shrine, we come to know that it was constructed because of an employee of East India Company who was an ardent Siva devotee.
He used to go to Kanchipuram frequently to worship Katchabeshwarar there and once on his way back, he could not return as there was a calamity with severe rain. He had some work to complete but could not do it and waited in Kanchipuram for the rain to stop and flood to recede.
On returning home after a few days, he found all his work completed. He realised that it was Lord Shiva who had assumed his form and wrapped up all the work. He later decided to build the temple in the name of Kachaleeswarar and the temple was constructed by 1720 AD.
Before entering the main shrine, on both the sides of the entrance to the inner prahara, separate sanctums for Lord Sri Moolaganapathy and Valli Devasena Sametha Sengalvarayar are placed on either side.
Upon entering the main shrine, Lord Shiva is found in Linga form and behind him is the five-faced Lord Shiva, bearing the name Sadasiva Moorthi. Near the main sanctum, there is a separate shrine for Goddess Soundarambikai.
Opposite the main sanctum, a five-faced Herambha Vinayagar is seen sitting on his simha vehicle with Siddhi and Buddhi Devi on either side.
Close to it is the Navagraha. The Navagraha is also unique as Lord Surya in the centre can be seen with his consorts Usha and Pratyusha. There is a shrine for Lord Bhairava.
In the inner praakaara, idols of all the 63 Nayanmars are also placed. On the outer praakaara of the temple, there are separate shrines for Adi Shankarar, Lord Anjaneya and Lord Ayyappa.
There is also a ‘gho’ shala inside the temple.
“Lord Kachaleeswara denotes Shiva who has worshipped in turtle form. During the battle between Devas and Asuras for the divine nectar, Lord Shiva worshipped Mahavishnu in Koorma Avatar and so Shiva bore the name Kachaleeswarar,” says a temple priest.
“Some of the specialities of the temple is those having trouble getting married have their problems sorted out on worshipping the deity here. Rudrabhishekam is performed here which is believed to negate the hurdles in one’s marriage. Also, if childless couples worship the Goddess here, it is believed that their prayers will be answered. This is also a parihara sthala for naga dosha,” added the priest.
Some of the special occasions in the temple include Brahmotsavam in the month of Chithirai. Maha Sivarathiri is celebrated in a grand manner with four kaala poojas and during other occasions like Navarathri, pournami, Shashti, Kirthikai special poojas and abhishekams are performed.
The temple is open from 6.30 am to 11.30 am and from 4 pm to 9.30 pm.