Thirupporoor, in Thamizh (Tamil) and Samarapuri in Sanskrit, is a little town (or village if you wish) near Maamallapuram (Mahabalipuram). It is famous for–no, not the IT Expressway–the Murugan temple. On a Sunday afternoon, we were breaking our heads (two big and one little) on how to spend the rest of the weekend. Voila, I thought we had never visited this place, though it was on our list of must-see places around Chennai. Before my wife could veto my decision, my daughter accepted it. Soon we swung our respective legs over the Discover (motorbike) and were on the Thambaram-Velachery main road.
Thirupporoor is at the end of the IT Expressway (Old Maamallapuram Road). Actually there are three routes that one can take from Thambaram to Thirupporoor:
- Take the GST road up to Vandaloor, turn left on the Vandaloor-Kelambakkam main road, go up to Kelambakkam, and take the IT Expressway.
- Take the Thambaram-Velachery main road, turn right on the Maambakkam main road (the first junction before the Medavakkam main junction), join the Vandaloor-Kelambakkam main road at Maambakkam, reach Kelambakkam, and take the IT Expressway.
- Take the Thambaram-Velachery main road, turn right at the Medavakkam main junction, go up to Chozhanganalloor, turn right on the IT Expressway.
We took the third route; Thirupporoor is at a good 35km from home. The quality of the tarmac is OK up to Chozhanganallor, and it gradually improves as you ride through the IT Expressway. After Kelambakkam the IT Expressway ends (I think) and a village road starts, but the village road is equally good. You can hear the sea roaring a few km away. That day, the sky was overcast and the weather was nice; we thought it would rain. (Rain it did when we were circumambulating the temple corridor.)
Like Thirukkachur, Thirupporoor has an old-world charm. Till Kelambakkam, you feel that you are the uber-modern 21st century human being who fiddles with all that jazzy gadgets. Enter Thirupporoor and you move back a century or two. I think the Samarapuri of the bygone era mentioned in the Kandhasashti Kavasam would have resembled the present-day Thirupporoor except for a few concrete structures that fill the town’s skyline.
Though the temple is fairly big, I was a bit disappointed, as I expected it to be ancient (belonging to the Chozha or Pandiya period). It’s old, though. As with other temples, the temple pond welcomes you as you enter the temple. The pond is (ahem) a bit dirty with the non-biodegradable plastic bottles thrown into it. The place that houses the altar (balipeetam) and flagstaff (dwajasthambam) is circular (I haven’t seen one like this).
We prayed to Kandhaswamy, the presiding deity, and started circumambulating the inner corridor. It started raining as we entered one of the smaller shrines that dot the corridor, and the rain continued for about 20 minutes. On our way back home, we spotted a temple on a hillock. We found out that it is the Kailasanathar temple (ancient) and is under the aegis of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). There are steps to reach the top, but the temple is being renovated, so reach the summit to have a panoramic view of the ECR and the town. I forgot to take my digicam to take a few snaps of this nice place.
If you yearn for a nice ride and salubrious air, may I suggest you this place? Go enjoy it with your family.
P.S. If you are one who doesn’t want to ride a bike, take an MTC bus or a muffasil bus from Thambaram.