Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sri Lakshmi Kubera Temple, Rathinamangalam

Diwali is the time when Lord Kubera, the God of Wealth is worshipped. This Diwali fell on a friday and therefore, two additional holidays were available. After all the busy work on Diwali day, we decided to go to the Lakshmi Kubera temple at Rathinamangalam near Vandalur on saturday evening. Special Poojas were performed at this temple for Diwali when Lord Kubera is decorated in Currency notes. Several people throng here to worship the Lord and pray for wealth and prosperity for the whole year following.
A view of the entrance of the temple
We entered the temple and joined the serpentine queue as you can see in the picture. Kubera was looking magnificient in Silver Kavasam and the whole sanctum sanctorium was decorated with currency notes. We paid Rs. 100/- and took the "muram"which had a green cloth, pooja materials a small picture, and a lamp.
The line slowly moved towards the tank which had an idol of Sri Adhi Sankara placed on it. Inside the tank are Arawana fish ( Vaastu fish). Unfortunately, people are throwing flowers and other stuff into the tank. Hope this does not cause any discomfort to the fish and the tank is cleaned regularly.
Idol of Sri Adi Sankara over the fish tank
The queue moves slowly towards the Kan Dhristi Ganapathy - the Ganesha who removes the impact of the Ëvil Eye. We pray to Lord Ganesha and move towards the navagraha. There is a Pathala Kubera lingam at the extreme left end of the temple where people bend down and touch the top of the lingam and pray. After praying to the Lingam and performing nine circumambulations around the navagraha we move towards the anjaneya sannadhi. After praying to him, there is an alcove where the lamp that was provided as part of the Pooja kit is to be lit. Near the anjaneya sannadhi, several yantras and sacred ropes, tailor made for each zodiac sign are being sold.
The fish tank

Kan Dhristi Ganapathy
 We now move to the Sanctum Sanctorium. The Lord looks magnificient but we are only given a few seconds to take a look as the crowd is jostling behind us. The pujari asks us to do pooja with Rs 5 coins kept in a plate. We pick up the coins with heaped hands and offer to him thrice. We are then given a small laughing buddha idol and five Re.1 coins as prasad. Reluctantly we move forward. There is an idol of Lord Venkateshwara on the outer wall of the sanctum sanctorium. He is said to have borrowed 141 lakh gold coins from Kubera for his wedding for which he is still paying interest. By offering rice, dhall or other ingredients here, one is said to be contributing towards setting off the interest on Lord Venkateshwara's loan.

Pathala Kubera Lingam
Right behind the Sanctum Sanctorium is an idol of Swarna Akarshana Bhairava, a manifestation of Shiva who is said to aid accumulation of gold. We spend a few minutes before him in meditation seeking his blessings.
The Glorious Lakshmi Kubera decorated in currency notes
As we move around the temple, we find idols of Lord Brahma with Saraswathi a rather rare sight which I do not know if exists anywhere else, Lord Ayyappa and Lord Muruga.

 Very close to the temple are three other temples - one of Goddess Bhavadharani or Chakrakali, the other of Shirdi Sai Baba. Opposite to the Lakshmi Kubera temple, is the temple of Goddess Arai Kaasu Amman, the Goddess who restores lost or misplaced belongings. The original temple of Goddess Arai Kaasu Amman ( the Goddess Brahadambigai of Pudukkottai was worshipped by the King of Pudhukottai and he had inscribed her picture in the 1/2 paise coins issued by him which is why she is called Arai Kaasu Amman) is in Pudukottai. A gold ornament belonging to the Lakshmi Kubera temple got lost and the trustees had prayed to her to restore the same promising to build a temple for her once their prayer was answered. The chain was soon found and the temple along with 108 other goddesses around her was soon built. It is a beautiful sight to watch the replicas of various goddesses from different places in the world around the shrine along with 18 padi karuppa swamy as the guardian angel of the temple.

Arai Kaasu Amman
The goddess is a delight to watch and looks at us smilingly. We also had the fortune of performing Kumkuma archana to her and the other 107 goddesses at the temple. I have had several instances in the past where I have prayed to her and recovered important misplaced items and therefore it was a time of gratitude and thanksgiving.

All the temples are clean, well maintained and crowded. The only annoying factor was that the Pujaris seem extremely callous and rude. In fact, the one at the Arai Kaasu amman temple kept shouting over our head throughout the archana at the person who was supposed to have brought him his evening tea.

Location of the temple: If you are going from Chennai, take the left at Crescent Engineering College, just after the Vandalur Zoological Park. Proceed for about 7 kms. You will reach Tagore Engineering College. Take an immediate left and proceed for about half a km and turn right. If you are coming from outside Chennai take a right at the Team Sangeetha Restaurant at Vandalur and follow the same instructions. There are also several buses plying from Tambaram to Rathnamangalam. Buses proceeding towards Thiruporur from Tambaram stop here. One could also take the EMU train service on the Beach - Chingleput route and get down at Vandalur. There are several share autos available from the station to the temple.