Visit to Sri Ranganathar temple at Devadanam
The temple is located in Ponneri taluk of North Chennai near Minjur.
Take the Kolkatta highways (Grand North Trunk road) and go straight beyond the Tollgate at Karanodai. At about 2-3 kms from the Tollgate, you will see a cross road called Thachur cross road. At this point, turn right towards Ponneri and you will reach Ponneri in about 5 kms. At Ponneri, at a cross road where there is a statue (I don’t remember who was that) , take a right towards Minjur (but you don’t have to go to Minjur). At about 2-3 kms from Ponneri, you have to turn left and travel for about 5 kms to reach the temple.
Besant Nagar to Minjur: 44 kms
Minjur to Devadanam: 6 kms
(3 kms from Anupampattu railway station)
Devadanam to Thachur cross road (in Kolkatta highways) – 16 kms
Thachur cross road to Padi junction – 26 kms
Padi junction to Besant Nagar – 24 kms
- 18 feet long Ranganathar, said to be longer than Srirangam made of Salagrama stones
- More than 1000 years old temple
- Called Uthara rangam (North Srirangam) of Thondai nadu
We visited the temple last year for the first time and made our 2nd trip last week. When we went for the first time, we decided to go via Royapuram – Manali – Minjur since it is the shortest geographically but it ended up as a costly mistake. Firstly, the traffic of container lorries to Ennore port was a big pain and we had to crawl literally. After crossing that hurdle, there was a railway gate problem at Minjur. Once we crossed it, we encountered a flock of buffaloes going in the same direction as ours. After that, there was a death procession at about 2 km before the temple but luckily coming in the opposite direction. Once that final hurdle was crossed, what a fantastic sight it was !!. The road was completely filled with flowers continuing all the way up to the temple. It was a Purattasi Saturday last year and so there was a good rush when one city bus just arrived. While returning, we changed the route and came via Ponneri. Whereas it took us about 2 hrs for a 50 kms drive through Minjur, it took us a little more than an hour for 65 kms through Ponneri. The area around is full of paddy fields and it’s really an eye pleasing sight.
This area was gifted (danam) to Devas by Indhra and so is called Devadanam. Being an abhimana sthalam (temple built out of love), there is no big legend behind. A Salukya king, as an ardent devotee of Srirangam Ranganathar wanted Him to be present in his regime and so built this temple about 1000 years back. Now, this is being called Uthara rangam (North Srirangam) of Thondai nadu.
There is a big peeple tree in front of the temple, located at a slightly elevated height.
There are sudai sculptures of Vinayahar and Kalinga Krishnar at the back wall on either side of the Rajagopura entrance.
The Dwajasthambam, Balipeetam and the Chakrathazhwar shrines are located at the entrance. In the sanctum sanctorum, Ranganathar is in a reclining posture measuring about 18 feet in length and is bigger than Srirangam according to the priest.
The Lord is facing east having the measuring vessel (Padi) as his pillow with his right hand placed over it, reclining on the bed of Aadhi seshan with his five heads as umbrella. The Adhisesha forms a 5.5 feet high 3 layer bed to Him. Legend has it that He is resting after getting tired over giving away the grains in the measuring vessel to feed the world during the harvest season. The idol is a sudai sculpture made of many Salagrama stones which are considered very sacred for worship. The Lord has a perfectly chiseled face with flaring nostrils. The sanctum sanctorum is very small, just enough to accommodate the Perumal, the urchava idols and the bhattar. The entrance to the sanctum is very narrow and only about 5-6 people can have a full dharshan of Perumal at any time but the big advantage being that we can see the perumal very closely from a distance of just about 2-3 feet. To see the Perumal with so much power, beauty and grandeur so very close is really a striking experience. Since the idol is a sudai sculpture, no abhisheham is being done and only the herbal oil (thailakappu) is being applied to Him once a year. Only the urchava idol takes on the abhisheham. Brahma is seen on a lotus coming out from the navel of Lord. Sridevi and Bhoodevi are present near His feet. Sage Thumburu and Anjaneya are present around Him praying. In the outer praharam, small shrines house a beautiful Lakshmi (Ranganayaki), a graceful standing Andal and Chakkarathaazhwar. There is a snake pit at the back praharam of the temple. The foot of the Ranganathar is imprinted on the outside of the inner prahara wall as a projection from the sanctum idol. The Sthala Vruksham is Parijatham (Pavazha malli). Anjaneyar shrine is located near the entrance.
Mr.Gopinath – 98410 90491; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
From ‘The Hindu’ article:
“According to an elderly village resident, about 60 years ago, this temple was popular with regular worship and festivals conducted. He recalls even `devadasis’ dancing on special days, both in procession and at the temple. It is said that the Brahmins here had been ill-treated and their homes burnt, leading to the consequent dereliction of the temple.
Saroja Sadasivam, from a leading business house here, had a vivid dream in 1983. She dreamt of a supine Ranganatha Swamy in a derelict temple, totally neglected, beseeching her for attention. The eighteen and a half feet stone idol, lying on a giant Adiseshan, was actually sweating copiously in her dream, telling her that it had had no oil application for very many years, and so could not bear the heat. From the very next day she began the search for this temple, and in the process, visited scores of them. Two years later, on a chance suggestion, she visited Devadanam, and found the then undeveloped village and temple to be the one in her vision. The deity was all covered in dirt, and the temple completely weed-ridden, and broken down. From then on till now various stages of renovation had taken place and the temple now wears a beautiful and clean look.”
Note: There is also Sri Theertheswari sametha Sri Somanatha Easwar temple at Kaniampakkam closeby.