1. Visit to Sri Nootreteeswarar temple at Chinna Kavanam
Chinnakavanam is located to the east of Ponneri touching the Ponneri town en route Pulicat. When you take the Kolkatta highways, you will come across the Karanodai bridge and immediately after, the Tollgate. Go beyond that in the same direction till Thachur Cross road and turn right (east) towards Ponneri. After crossing the Ponneri town continue towards Pulicat and you will encounter the Rail under-bridge first and then a road bridge over the Brahma Aranya river. Immediately after the bridge the Chinna Kavanam village starts.
Padi junction (Chennai) to Thachur Cross road in Kolkatta Highways – 21 kms
Thachur Cross road to Ponneri – 9 kms
Ponneri to Chinnakavanam – 3 kms
- Several thousand years old temple
- The 108 sand Shiva lingams created by Sage Agasthiar got merged into a Swayambu Ankola Ganapathy
- The seeds of a 2500 years old Eranzhil tree are getting attracted to the tree itself.
- This is the birth place of Ramalinga Adigalar’s mother
The temple is in a calm corner of a busy village with the Gurukkal’s house just next to the temple. As we enter the temple, we can see a big 2500 years old Eranzhil tree (called Ankola in Sanskrit). The tree has a special significance that its seeds are getting attracted to the tree itself like a magnet. When the fruits of the tree fall on the round, after the fruit essence is eaten by ants and other insects, the seeds get attached to the main tree itself during lightning and thunder. What is more surprising is the fact that the seeds get attached even to the cement platform base of the tree. What a nature’s wonder! This signifies that the final destination of the human beings is the lotus feet of the lord. The season for the fruits/seeds is during the tamil month Chithirai and Vaikasi but you can see the seeds sticking to the tree and the base of the platform during any time. It seems the seeds also have the medicinal power for leprosy.
This ankola tree has been referred in the Sivaananda-lahari and following is the translation of the explanation by the Kanchi Mahaperiyavar, Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarasvathi Swami:
Ankolam nija-beeja santatir
“Just as: the seed of azhinjil (or ankola) tree merges with the parent tree; the iron needle is attracted towards the magnet; the creeper grows around the tree; and the river merges with the ocean: Bhakti is the constant immersion of the mind in the thoughts of the lotus feet of Pasupathi (or Siva).
It is stated that there is a tree called Eru Azhinjil. Its fruit ripens, falls on the ground and breaks open. Then the seeds from the fruit, attracted as it were by a sort of force of gravity, move and attach themselves to the parent tree. Thereafter it is said that these seeds form part of the latter and disappear from sight. We, who have become separated from Bhagwan (God) should similarly gravitate towards Him; and ultimately become one with Him.”
The place was called Chathurvethapuram and the main deity is called Chathurvedeeswarar with Goddess Sivagami Ammai. On his way to Kasi, Agasthiar came here to worship Chathurvedeeswarar when he got the divine message that worshipping a Shivalingam under the Eranzhil tree here for 108 days will be equivalent to going to Kasi. So he created a lingam everyday with the sand of the nearby Brahma Aranya river and worshipped them for 108 days. But on the final day, all the 108 lingams merged themselves into a single Vinayahar for the simple reason that he did not start the worship with a Vinayahar on day one. Then Lord Shiva gave dharshan to Agasthiar in the form of Vinayahar.
The 108 lingams which got merged into a Vinayahar is present under the Ankola tree as a Swayambu (sand) Vinayahar in the name Ankola Ganapathy. In spite of many thousands years and in spite of sitting under the tree without any roof, the sand made Vinayahar is still sitting pretty and looking great.
Since all his 108 lingams got merged into a Vinayahar, Agasthiar then installed another lingam called Nootretteswarar which is considered equivalent to the original 108 lingams. The Goddess for this lingam is Ashtothravalli. So in the sanctum sanctorum we can see both Nootreteswarar and Chathurvedeeswarar in the form of lingams in separate shrines. Also, there are two Nandhis for two lingams.
There are other shrines for Subramanyar with his consorts, Kala Bairavar and Sun God.
This is the birth place of Ramalinga Adigalar’s mother and Adigalar lived here between 1824 and 1826. The house of Ramalinga Adigalar’s mother is still being maintained by his followers.
- The Ankola Ganapathy grants the wishes for his devotees. After the wish is fulfilled, it is a custom here to offer Vadai malai to Him. Normally Vadai malai will be offered only to Anjaneyar and possibly this is the only place where Vadai malai is being offered to Vinayahar.
- People, who want to get married, worship the Goddess on a full moon day with a rose garland for continuous 3 full moon days to get their wishes sanctioned.
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Note: Look at the amazing commonality of the two – 108 lingams getting merged into a Vinayagar and the seeds of the Ankola tree getting attached to the parent tree – in combination with the Kanchi Maha Periyavar’s explanation that “We, who have become separated from Bhagwan should gravitate towards Him; and ultimately become one with Him”. Isn’t that delivers some secret? Isn’t His deliberation that He wants to keep this temple very little known?
2. Visit to Sri Muthu Kumara Swamy Temple at Perumpedu
From Ponneri while going to Chinnakavanam (Pulicat), immediately after crossing the river bridge, you have to take a right to Perumpedu (if you go straight you will enter Chinna kavanam village). For the most part till Perumpedu, the road goes along the bank of the river Brahma Arani.
The temple is in a village surrounded by ponds and greenery and is one of the three popular Murugan temples in this region. The other two being Siruvarpuri and Andarkuppam. The Gurukkal lives next to the temple. The temple atmosphere is beautiful with a mammoth tree inside and vast empty space in the outer praharam. It’s a simple temple with shrines only for Lord Murugan with his consorts and Shiva and his consort but looks very beautiful. There is small Navagraha shrine also.
Around 30 years back, the idols of Lord Subramaniyar with his consorts were found by the villagers during ploughing within the current temple complex (and the place has been earmarked now). Later the current temple has been built. The Subramanyar and his consorts Valli and Deivanai are about 6.5 feet tall. Lord Shiva and his consort are having a separate shrine next to the Subramanyar shrine.