Visit to Shenbakkam Swayambu Selva Vinayahar Temple
Primarily we planned the trip for Padavedu in the Vellore – Thiruvannamalai route where there are about 10 ancient temples. I was thinking to start the Padavedu temple visits by first visiting the Kailasa Vinayagar temple over there. While driving down, unknowingly I crossed Vellore junction and all of a sudden saw the board Shenbakkam. I already knew about the Selva Vinayagar temple here but did not plan in this trip. As soon as I saw the Shenbakkam board, I immediately stopped the vehicle, changed the plan and proceeded towards the temple. So, our trip, anyway, by Vinayagar’s grace, started with a visit to Him, that too to the most sacred spot of Him in that region.
In the Chennai-Bangalore highway, you have to proceed after Vellore junction for another 2 Km to reach Shenbakkam. Here you have to go under the bridge to the right side for about half a km to reach the temple.
Chennai (Adayar) to Temple: 144 km
Google map location:
- The place was once called Swayambakkam since Vinayagar appeared hear as Swayambu and later became as Shenbakkam. It is also said that the original name of the village was Shenbagavanam as it was full of fragrant Shenbaga trees even though no trace of the trees is to he seen now.
- Aadhi Sankarar once visited Virinchipuram Margabandeswarar Swayambu linga temple near this place and from there he came to know about this temple by his spiritual power and visited this temple. He is said to have installed a Sri Charka at the Esanya corner near the Navagrahas. When I inquired about it, I was told that it is installed under one pillar but there is nothing there to indicate such a sacred spot to the devotees.
- Temple legend as written by Kanchi Periyavar Sri Chandra Sekarendra Saraswathi Swamigal in his book ‘Deivathin Kural’:
Once all the Swayambu Vinayagars were buried under the ground. A Maharashtra minister by name Thukoji was passing through this place when the axle of his chariot broke here. He saw the blood oozing out from the place. He was forced to stay here and worried about the obstacle to his trip. He prayed to Vigneshwar and slept. Vigneshwar came in his dream and informed that He is present here under the ground and it is high time for Him to show up and asked Thukoji to bring Him out and construct a temple.
- The temple is dedicated to Sri Selva Vinayagar and Somasundareswarar
- Selva Vinayagar is present surrounded by 10 other Swayambu Vinayagars in the form of lingams and in the formation of ‘Om’. The 11 Vinayagars are present in the following order: Bala Vinayagar, Nadana Vinayagar, Omkara Vinayagar, Karpaga Vinayagar, Chinthamani Vinayagar, Selva Vinayagar (moolavar), Mayura Vinayagar, Mooshiga Vinayagar, Vallaba Vinayagar, Siddhi-Buddhi Vinayagar and Panchamuga Vinayagar. Bala Vinayagar is still under the ground and only the top portion is visible.
- Sri Somasundareswar in the form of lingam is present in a separate shrine just behind the Selva Vinayagar.
- Selva Vinayagar is bearing the mark of the chariot wheel on His back.
- The flag mast is present within the sanctum sanctorum itself
- There is no roof for the sanctum sanctorum
- Saneeswara Bhagwan is present facing the Selva Vinayagar which is a special significance.
- A Silver covering was made about 75 years back for Selva Vinayagar covering Him fully but now, it covers Him only two-thirds indicating that He is growing over time
In Shenbakkam, there is one more sacred spot called NavaBrindhavana, the Brindhavanas of nine Madhwacharyars. I didn’t know this when I visited this place and so I missed it. The complete details are here.
Rathnagiri Murugan temple is present in the Chennai – Bangalore highway, 12 kms before Vellore.