Gangaiamman is worshipped for many centuries in Velacheri

Chennai: Arulmigu Sri Gangaiamman Temple is being worshipped by the people of Velacheri village for many centuries now. Located at Brahmin Street near Ram Nagar, the deity is seen as one of the protectors of the village.

Speaking about the temple’s history Ramesh, one of the members of the temple’s trust says, “The deity here is very powerful and is said to grant anything if a devotee worships her sincerely. Some say that the idol was formed naturally while others say it was brought out from the temple pond but we do not know which is true, but all we know is that the temple is being worshipped for many centuries by the people. Initially the idol alone was placed under a thatched roof and close to it there was an anthill under a neem tree and people started worshipping it. Slowly the villagers here started building the temple.”

“Earlier only the sanctum was built and only after 2000, the temple was expanded. The temple’s vimana was constructed before 2006 and the first kumbhabhishekam after that was performed in 2006. We are now planning to organise the second kumbhabhishekam very soon, within 2020,” he adds.

In the main sanctum, Goddess Gangaiamman is present, facing the temple tank. On either sides of the main mandapam, there is a small sanctum for Lord Vinayaga and Murugan. On the outer walls of the main sanctum, on the left side, Dakshinamoorthy, Vaishnavi on the rear side and Goddess Duragai on the right wall are present.

On the left side there is a small sanctum for Goddess Varahi and the 200-year-old neem tree is worshipped today as the sthala vriksha. Underneath it is Nagar idol. There is also a sanctum built beneath the tree mahamariamman. Next to the idol is the anthill. On the extreme right, Navagraha is placed. On the left side, there is also a shrine for Goddess Badrakaliamman and beneath that the idol of Bhairavar is placed. Opposite to the temple is the temple tank.

“This temple tank was the one which had pure water. It has the name Puliankeni. During our childhood, the water here was used for the abhishekams and it was also the main source of drinking water in the locality. Over the years with urbanisation, the size of the pond shrunk and also with poor maintenance, it is in a very bad condition now,” says Ramesh.

Speaking about the special festivals and ocassions in the temple, he says, “During Pournami, special abhishekam is done to the goddess and annadhanam is arranged in the afternoon. In the month of Chitthirai, the temple’s annual festival happens for three days. On the first day, The deity will go around the locality and on the second day it will be taken around the border of the village and touch places like Puzhudhivakkam, Ullagaram, Maduvankarai, Madipakkam, Vanuvampet, which are considered as the border of the Velacheri Village. On the third day, the devotees would dress up in different avatars and worship the deity. Then the Vidayaatri Vizha will be held soon. During Aadi Pooram, Ganapathy Homam will be conducted during the morning followed by annadhanam. In the evening, Thiruvilakku poojai will happen in the temple and nine-types of prasadam will be distributed. During Navarathri, the deity will be decorated as Durgai, Lakshmi and Saraswati for three days each and special pooja and abhishekam is performed at this time.”

Gangaiamman temple is also one of the five deities considered as the kaaval deivam of Velacheri village that includes, Gangaiamman, Oraniamman Draupadi Amman, Thiruveedhi Amman and Chelliamman.

“Chelliamman is at the centre and all the other temples are on the four sides. Out of these, this temple is very special because only after the annual festival is held in this temple during which the deity goes around the village, other temples will organise their festival. Also, only from here, the paal kudams will be taken to all the other temples. Also Puliankeni’s water here was very pure and considered equal to that of Ganga water.”

The temple is open from 6.30 am to 10 am and on Fridays it will extend upto noon. In the evening, it will be open from 6 pm to 8.30 pm.

For more details, contact Ramesh at 81489 70754 or the priest Veeravelu at 99402 80827.

Aaditya Anand M