I had heard of this famous temple connected with the legend of Agasthiyar and the demons Vatapi and Illvalan. Today I could visit the temple
The temple is quite old about 700 AD built by Kulathunga Chola., The gajaprushti vimanam also signifies the swayumbhu nature of the lord. Where ever Agasthiyar visits he will worship sivlingam and if he can not find one he will build one thus we have many agastheeswarar in and around chennai. In addition it is a navagraha kshetra for Angarakka (Sevvai) who is supposed to have taken a bath in he temple tank and worshipped shiva to get rid of his curse
Way to reach:
On the MTH road in Villivakkam before the padi flyover is the road to the bus terminus . Just before the bus stand is the east mada street which houses the temple. There is a Huge pond with overgrown water Lilly's
Sage Athri's son Dhurva married Ashwamukhi (Surapadman's sister) She was an asura princess. Their two sons Illvalan and Vatapi became demonic and troubled everybody Sage Dhruva left them and went into the forest .The demons started targeting all rishis and eating them. vatapi would be killed and cooked and served as food by Illvalan and when the rishis ate the food Illvalan would call out to Vatapi who would come out killing the rishi. Sage Agasthya, known for his strength and valour, digested Vatapi and killed Illvalan and restored peace in this world . Illvalapuram over time has become Villivakkam.The area where he killed the demon is called Konnur(Killing place ( where the temple is situated. he burnt Illvalan nearby in a place called Kolathur (Koluthur) means burning town made famous now by the election of Stalin!!)
The temple is a very dear one for the localites as evidenced by the number of people coming into various sannidhis and doing arathies themselves!!. There are innumerable Siva lingams scattered all over the temple which occupy almost every nook and corner which re enforces the fact that this temple has been popular for long. Some body there mentioned each lingam represents a samadhi of a saint!!
The Agastheeswarar Temple is dedicated to Sri Shiva as Agastheeswarar Swamy and Divine Mother Shakti as Swarnambikai.
The entrance is south facing and when you enter the inner praharam the goddess is in front facing south. She is in standing posture,.
The entrance of the Goddess shrine has the idols of Lakshmi and Saraswati. The main shrine also houses the Navagraha idols. Guru (Jupiter) is facing the Goddess. As Guru and the Goddess are facing each other, it is believed that those unmarried ladies who worship the Goddess here get the grace of Guru and get married soon.
The main sannidhi of Siva is east facing and is a majestic sivalingam.
The sanctum around the temple has sannidhis for various gods namely
Sri Brahma:Sri Maha Vishnu
Sri Shiva: as
- Sri Dakshinamurthy
- Sri Somaskandar
- Sri Natarajar
- Devi Kamakshi Amman
- Devi Karumari Amman
- Sri Durgai Amman
- Sri Ganapati (Raja Ganapathy)
- Sri Valli Subramanian Devyani
- Sri Ayyapar
- Sri Chandikeshwar
- Sri Adi Shankara
- Sri Suriyan
- Snake Gods
There is a standing Nandi (Adhikara Nandi) with human form and Bull face facing the lingam in a small niche near the door.!!
The outer praharam has multiple sivalingas already alluded to and also houses a small garden
There is a seperate nandi at the eastern side facing the lord before the Dwajasthambam and bali pedal .
Outside the main temple, there are shrines of Veera Bhadra and Kali which are believed to be as old as the main temple and also believed to be associated with the legend of the sage Agastya.
In short a nice temple visit with rich local folklore and a navagraha kshetram for Sevvai (Angarakan-Mars)