Friday, October 10, 2014

Manakula Vinayagar Temple, Pondicherry

No Pondicherry travel & travelogue can get complete without mentioning about the famous “Manakula Vinayagar Temple”. This is one of the ancient temples in Pondicherry. The temple has a 500 years old history to track on…It was constructed before the French came to Pondicherry, records mention the existence of the temple even before 1666.

Manakula Vinayagar temple is devoted to Hindu God Ganesh. In Tamil (local language of Pondicherry & Tamilnadu), the word ‘Manal’ means “Sand” ; and the word ‘Kulam’ refers to “Pond”. Years before there’re no other building between the temple and the sea,  it was entirely surrounded by sea sand. So the people of Pondicherry called the Ganesh as Manal Kulathu Vinayagar., which later became “Manakula Vinayagar”

According to Hindu Sasthra (Ganapathy Agamam), the Ganesha is called by sixteen different names depending on his different forms and this god facing the east side near Bay of Bengal is to be called as “Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy”; but the name “ Manakula Vinayagar” has become so popular than the original name “Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy”. The outside wall of the temple depicts various forms of the Ganesh god structures with its timelines and locations, through pictures and sculptures.

I heard that this is the only Ganesh temple where Ganesh’s wedding to Siddhi & Buddhi, is celebrated grandly. Also, this is the only temple where the lord Ganesh stands by 3 legs, which is a very rare feature, haven’t heard/seen anywhere else. The temple also features a dancing Ganesh called “Narathan Ganapathy” another rare one.

Another attraction of the temple is the beautiful elephant called Laxmi who arrives in the early morning and evenings to the temple premises. She gives her blessings by keeping her trunk on your head., if you give a coin/rupee note to her :)

The reputation of Manakula Vinayakar is astonishingly great. Not only the local crowd and tourists, but also a large set of devotees from other countries too visit and seek the blessings of Manakula Vinayakar. If you plan for a Pondicherry trip, do plan to visit the Manakulathu Vinayagar temple, which just a street away from the Sea/ Goubert Avenue., just adjacent to the famous Aurobindo Ashram.

Moolavar          : Manakulathar / Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy
Existence          : more than 500 years
Hours               :  5:45 am – 12:30 pm, 4:00 – 9:30 pm
Address            :  Manakula Vinayagar Street, Puducherry, 605001, India
More details     : (Temple’s official website)

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