Thursday, December 26, 2013

Musical Ganeshas

Sri Kutchery Vinayagar Temple Cheyyur
Margazhi is the season for music when every auditorium is packed with Rasikas from morning to night eager to experience the best of music, dance and discourse. Aalayam Kanden takes pride in introducing to you two " Musical Ganeshas" not very far from Chennai.

Let us first visit the " Kutchery Vinayagar" temple at Cheyyur. Cheyyur, or Seyyur as it was originally known is not new to those who have been following Aalayam Kanden. The Kandaswamy Murugan Temple at Cheyyur (You can read the article here) is probably the only one in the world where there are Vedhalams for each one of the 27 stars.  The Vanmeeganathar Temple richly endowed with inscriptions of four Chola kings and a temple of worship for those born under the Uthiram star, and the remains of the Kailasanatha temple at Cheyyur which has a number of inscriptions from Rajendra Chola I's time are jewels in the crown of Cheyyur.

One of the unique features of the Kandaswamy Murugan temple are the Navasandhi Vinayagars. (Nine Ganeshas around the temple said to have been worshipped by the Navagrahas). The most prominent among those is the Kutchery Vinayagar. Now, why is he called the Kutchery Vinayagar? Let us go in and find out.

First View of the Kutchery Vinayagar
 During the Chola and Vijayanagara periods, there was a Sarva Vadhya Mandapam within the Kandaswamy Murugan  temple where all musical instuments were played and dancers performed at the time the Lord was taken out on procession. As the Lord moved into the Maada veedhis (streets surrounding the temple) musical performances were conducted at the Kutchery Vinayagar temple. All the leading musicians from the courts of the Kings right down to the famous devotional singers of this century such as K P Sundarambal have performed at the Kutchery Vinayagar temple. 

Kutchery Vinayagar 
Let us zoom in to take a closer look at the Kutchery Vinayagar. You would find that he is slightly tilted to the left. All the wonderful music that he has been hearing for centuries has made him sway!
There is an Elephant vahana in front of him instead of the Moonjuru which shows the ancient nature of the temple. 

Gnana Kutchery Vinayagar
Getting even closer, one can see the Aksamalai (string of prayer beads) and Angusam on the top two hands. Those who have a good voice and desire to excel in music visit this temple, sing before the Lord and perform abhishekam with tender coconut.  The Lord who loves good music and sways to it, grants them their wish.

Dussehra festival is celebrated in this temple with pomp and glory. On Tamil New year day, the Kutchery Vinayagar is taken out on proession through the streets of Cheyyur. Karthikeya Gurukkal who performs poojas at the temple says several reputed singers have visited the temple and taken the blessings of Kutchery Vinayagar.

Cheyyur is about 29 kms from Madhurantakam. On NH45, take the left just before the Melmaruvathur bridge and drive straight down for about 12 kms to reach the temple. One can also reach Cheyyur through the ECR.

The temple is close to the Cheyyur Bus Stand and is open between 9 and 10 am in the morning and 6 to 8 pm in the evening.  The Gurukkal can be contacted on 99943 16097.

Aanoor Astrapureeswara Temple
The next Ganesha we are going to see is at Aanoor, a small village about 13 kms from Chengalpattu. After crossing the Chengalpattu court, proceed towards Pon Vilaintha Kalathu. Aanoor is about 4 kms away from PVKalathur. If you brave the bad roads, a delight is in store.

Sangeetha Vinayagar
In an alcove on the dilapidated wall of the temple, is the "Sangeetha Vinayagar" said to date back to the 5th Century. The lower right hand is held in such a way that he looks as if he is putting Thalam (musical count). The Gurukkal at the temple mentioned that the Ganesha was a Varaprasadhi and worshipping him for seven days grants genuine wishes of devotees. For further information on the Asthrapureeswarar temple and the lovely murthis there, please read Raju Sir's article here.

Hope you visit these two Ganeshas in the musical month of Margazhi and be blessed!


  1. A spiritual journey is not only enlightening but equally relaxing .
    Must think of visiting this temple after this chilly season is over.
    subbu thatha.

  2. Great to know about these temples.