Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sree Varasiddhi Selva Vinayakar Temple, Shenbakkam

Entrance to the Shenbakkam Selva Vinayakar Temple
It was Vinayaka Chaturthi Day, and we had started by road towards Sangagiri. As we approached Vellore, we started speaking about the Shenbakkam Selva Vinayakar temple, and decided on the spot that there would be nothing better than seeing the 11 Swayambu Vinayakas arranged in the shape of "Om" at the same place on a day so auspicious and special to Lord Vinayaka.

Shenbakkam is a part of Vellore and as you go down the huge Vellore flyover and take the last right turn it is about a km and a half away. It is also close to the Shenbakkam Navabrindavan which houses the Mrithika Brindavana of Sree Raghavendra among other brindavanas.

The ancient temple is well renovated and maintained. It has a mandapam in front with corridors on all sides - almost like the old houses with an open "mutram" which houses the "Ekadasa Ganapathis". The main deity who is also the largest Swayambu Vinayaka is called Selva Vinayakar, and there are 10 other Vinayakas next to him in varying sizes. Since they are Swayambu Moorthis, they look more like Shivalingams. Some of them (the larger ones) have been adorned with Silver Kavachams. The smallest Ganesha, is called Bala Vinayakar, and is just a little mount of stone on the ground. It is believed that the Ganeshas have been growing in size since they were excavated.
A view of the Vinayakas from one of the corridors

The temple was extremely crowded since it was Vinayaka Chaturthi Day and we had to squeeze ourselves into one of the balconies. There is a Somasundareswarar Sannadhi behind the Vinayakas.

The Kanchi Mahaperiyaval has narrated the thala puranam of this temple and his own experience in Deivathin Kural Volume 6 which is also displayed in the temple.

There was a time when there were Ekadasa Swayambu Vinayakas here and they subsequently got buried under the ground over time.Once a Maharashtrian Minister called Thukoji was travelling on this route when suddenly the axle of his chariot broke. When he got down to see what had happened, he found that there were blood stains on the ground but could not find anyone injured. He was perplexed, and prayed to Lord Vinayaka, not able to understand the reason behind this Vignam ( hurdle). As it was getting dark, he decided to spend the night there, and look for someone to repair his chariot at dawn. Lord Vinayaka appeared in his dream, and told him about his existence as 11 swayambu moorthys arranged in "Omkara" shape under the ground there and asked him to excavate them and build a temple for them. Thukoji was overwhelmed and gladly performed the task. The chariot wheel impression can still be seen on the back of Selva Vinayakar.
A closer view of the Vinayakas

Once when Maha periyaval and Sree Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal were travelling by this route, the elephant on which the Chinna swamigal was sitting refused to move when it got near the temple.Any amount of coaxing or cajoling by the mahout did not make it budge. It was only then that the Maha Periyaval remembered having made a vow to offer 108 " Setharu Thengai" ( breaking 108 coconuts for the Vinayakas) to the Shenbakkam temple which he had totally forgotten about. He immediately requested the accompanying Mutt officials to organise for the same. Once the offering was made, the elephant quietly started moving forward without any protest.

Vinayaka was able to remind Maha Periyaval about his prayer through himself!(The Elephant). This is really a one of its kind temple and a not-to-miss site for all Ganesha/temple lovers!


  1. நன்றாக இருக்கிறது. தங்களுக்குத் தமிழ் தெரியும் என்று நினைக்கிறேன். ‘ஆலையம் கண்டேன்’ என்று தாங்கள் தமிழிலும் அதற்கு இணையாக ஆங்கிலத்திலுமாக எழுதலாமே.

  2. ஐயா தங்கள் கருத்துக்கு நன்றி இது தமிழ் கூறும் நல்லுலகை தாண்டியும் இருப்பவர்கள் படித்து பலன்பெருவதற்காக. விரைவில் ஆலயம் கண்டேன் தமிழிலும் வரும்.

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