200-year-old shrine in Choolai is Pancha Bootha Sthalam

Chidambareswara Temple

Chennai: There are many temples in Chennai dedicated to Lord Shiva which are classified as Padal Petra Sthalangal, Navagraha Sthalangal and Panchabootha Sthalangal.

In Chennai, there are five temples exclusively classified as Pancha Bootha Sthalam, that represents five elements – land, air, fire, water and space.

Chidambareswara Temple at Choolai, is one such temple that represents space, much like the Natarajar temple in Chidambaram. Located close to the Choolai Bus stand, the temple is said to be more than 200 years old.

Speaking about the shrine, the temple’s priest says, “This temple is said to be built by a Shiva devotee, who lived in the locality to worship Lord Natarajar since he could not visit Chidambaram temple quite often.”

On the entrance of the temple, there are two Dwarabalakas and upon entering inside Bali Peedam and Dwajasthambam are present in front of the main sanctum. Inside the main sanctum, Lord Nataraja is seen in a dancing posture, bearing the name Chidambareswarar, facing east along with his consort Sivagami.

Inside the inner prahara, Lord Vinayagar and Lord Muruga are placed adjacent to each other. On the outer walls of the main sanctum, idols of Lord Dakshina Moorthi on the left, Lord Vishnu on the back and Durgai on the right wall can be seen.

There is a separate sanctum on the left in the outer prahara, which is divided into three smaller shrines, where on the left, Lord Muruga, with his consorts Valli and Deivanai is present with Thirumoolanathar in the middle and Appar, Sundarar, Manikavasagar and Thirugnanasambandar on the right. There is also a separate sanctum for Lord Govindarajan with his consorts Sreedevi and Boodevi at the back. On the right side, Goddess Umaiyammai is also present in a separate sanctum.

The temple also has its sthala vriksha in the outer prahara, which is the vilva tree and beneath that, idols of Shiva and Vinayaga are placed for worship. The speciality of the temple is that the main deity Natarajar is made of stone, which is a rarity because in all the other temples Natarajar deity is usually made of metal.

“Like Chidambaram, every year six times special abhishekam will be done to the main deity. This will be done during Chithirai Thiruvonam, Aani Tirumanjanam, Aavani and Vaikasi Chaturdasi. The temple also has a spatika linga and every day at 8 am and 8 pm, special abhishekam will be done to the linga. Every year during January (Margazhi), 10-day Brahmotsavam will take place in the temple. Aarudra Darshan also happens in this month, that draws a lot of people. Every month during Thiruvadirai, special poojas and abhishekams are done in the temple and on this occasion, those people whose star is Thiruvadhirai, participate in the pooja, it is believed that it will give them dosha-nivarthi,” said the priest.

Special kaala poojas during Sivarathri and abhishekams during Sangadahara Chathurthi, Pradosham, Krithigai and 10-day special pooja during Navarathri are also done in the temple.

The temple is under the control of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment. It remains open from 6 am to 11.30 am and 5 pm to 9 pm.

Aaditya Anand M