Of late, Sunday evenings have been mostly spent in temples. For a theme, my wife and I have selected the navagraha temples in and around Chennai. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Gerugampakkam (or Geruhampakkam), the Kethu sthalam. This Sunday (5 March), we wanted to go to Thiruverkadu and Mangadu, but ended up at Kovoor and Kundrathoor.
Kovoor, the Budhan Sthalam
Google maps told me Kovoor was 14km from Chitpakkam, via Pammal, but it was actually 16km away from home. We wade through the narrow, dusty Pammal Main Road and reached Kovoor at 5.15pm.
Kovoor is a medium-sized temple; it is famously mentioned as a place visited by Saint Thyagaraja and immortalized by his Kovoor pancharathnam. The rajagopuram is gigantic and majestic. The sannathi street is broad with trees on both sides, and the temple car stationed at the farthest end of the street, though in a dilapidated condition, adds to the ethereal ambience.
In the prakaram, we saw Ganapathi at the center as well as on the left corner. After offering our prayers, we circumvented the prakaram and entered the sanctum. Swamy is called Thirumeniyudayar (or Sundareswarar). Lingam is fairly big. In the inner prakaram, you can see Suryan, samayakkuravar nalvar, Veerabadrar and his consort, Ganapathy, Somaskandar, Kaarmeghavanna Perumal, Shanmukhar, Dakshinamoorthy, Brahma, and Durgai. The vimanam is gajaprishtam, as usual. On the outer wall of the sanctum (at the back side of swamy), you find Lingothbavar, instead of Vishnu. Ambal, Thiruvudai Nayaki or Soundarya Nayakai, is graceful, as in any Shiva temple.
Though Kovoor is a Budhan parihara sthalam, there is no separate shrine for him; instead, there is a shrine for Saneeswarar. The Ganapathy I mentioned in the outer prakaram is facing Saneeswarar. The priest informed me that this was one of the specialties of the temple.
Kovoor offers rustic charm in spite of its proximity to Chennai. If you want to spend an evening by immersing yourself in spirituality, head toward Kovoor.
Kunrathoor, the Raghu Sthalam
Kunrathoor is famous for the Murugan temple, for sure, but there is a Shiva temple which is equally famous. It is a navagraha sthalam in Chennai. Vada Thirunageswaram, as it was called until a few hundred years ago, is a bustling town today. If Swamy is handsome, ambal, Thaiyal Nayaki, is graceful. Sekkhizhar, a citizen of this town adds charm to the town. There is a Sekkhizhar mani mandapam next to the temple, which is worth a visit.
If you come from Pallavaram and Pammal, you will find a T intersection as you enter Kundrathoor. Right at the intersection, you will find a temple car. It belongs to the Thirunageswaran temple, not the Murugan temple. Go through the street and you will find the temple.
To go to the Kovoor temple, take a right turn at the T intersection and after you cover 3 or 4km on the main road, you will find a Pillayar temple on the left side of the road. Go further down the road, take a left turn, go further, and take a right turn. You can see the dilapidated temple car at the beginning of the sannadhi street.