Aduthurai, Thiruneelakkudi, Thirumangalakkudi, Suryanaar Kovil

First day in the jilla itself saw wheels sprouting below my feet :). Had planned the first three temples from Bangalore itself.

Aduthurai is hardly a 15-20 minute drive from Kumbakonam. Most people do not even know there is a famous Shivan temple here. This temple is of the Ramayana ages, where Sugriva worshipped the Shiva lingam. The original name of this temple town is “Ten-Kurangu-aduthurai”. The temple was renovated and rebuilt by funds from Sembiyan Maa Devi – Raja Raja Chozhan’s grandmother. In the days of the Chozha period, Ladies of the royal family also took active interest in social constructions like temples, hospitals etc. As expected, the grand total of people in the temple was 2 – me and the Shiva Bhattar.



Thiruneelakkudi – This small temple town is about 4 km from Aduthurai on the road that connects the Kumbakonam-Mayavaram road to the Kumbakonam-Kariakal Road. You cannot miss this road. You can just ask for the Thiruneelakkudi road. Qaint little temple. The lad Markandeya clung to the Shiva lingam when Yama came to grab him. Shiva was upset and kicked Lord Yama away. Shiva then asked Markandeya to go to this place – Thiruneelakkudi and do penance. After a while, Lord Shiva gave Markandeya eternal life here. The temple pond is called Markandeya Theertham.





Thirumangalakkudi – is 2 km North of Aduthurai. Just ask for route to Suriyanaar Kovil. Just before you hit Suriyanaar kovil, you will hit a fork – you go left for Thirumangalakkudi and right for Suriyanaar Kovil. This temple is well frequented – partially because of a tradition of starting your Navagraha temple tour by first going to this temple. The Shivan is famous for reducing any mental stress. The bhattar also told me that, the Shiva lingam can absorb any number of litres of oil poured on it.


Also visited Suriyanaar kovil. Did not take any pictures there. The temple is a fully commerical temple now – catering the Navagraha tour circuit tourists only. There are two things that are unique about the architecture of this temple though. Suryan (Sun) is at the centre, and there are shrines for 8 planets all around the Sun. These guys knew their astronomy quite well. The other bigger thing is that, the temple is built such that, only on one specific day which is famous for the Surya God, the sun’s rays fall directly on the deity.

All images were shot using a Samsung Galaxy Grand and post processed using SnapSeed app. Common filters were drama and hdrscape.

Temples in India

Priest in the local temple (to me): Where is the kid?

Me: Oh, he has gone for his summer vacation. Wife’s parents place – Kumbakonam.

Priest: Ohh, Kumbakonam. Where is this?

Me: Down south. Near Tanjore/Trichy.

Priest (with a hint of recognition of the nearby landmark towns): Ok. Ok. Famous for which temple?

Me: (Flummoxed). Lots of temples. Temple town. But a couple of very big Shiva temples.

I came back home and thought about this. Wow. Temples play a huge role in the culture of India. Sure, he was a priest, and he attaches a religious significance to everything. But on hindsight, I have seen a lot of people ask me this question. Or sometimes, offer it as part of the answer. “I am from Sirkazhi. Famous for its Shiva temple. Also where Gnanasambandhar was born.” “I am from Chidambaram. Where Lord Nataraja dances his cosmic dance. “

Kumbakonam – temple town (part one)

In my most recent trip to Kumbakonam, on a fine sunday morning, I took in my brother-in-law’s scooty ES. My objective was to go to the Ramaswamy temple nearby. Why Ramaswamy kovil – that was the easiest my wife could give directions to – take that small road that you see from here, go straight until it hits the temple walls. Park and go in. How easy could it get? So thats what I did.

Ramaswamy temple - Kumbakonam

The temple is beautiful. It has Sita-Lakshmana-Bharatha-Shatrugna-Hanuman-Rama in Pattabhisheka kolam (Coronation ceremony). The idols are huge – eac of them 7-8 feet tall. And the temple is pretty old.

Ramaswamy Temple

The Ramaswamy Temple which depicts the paintings of Ramayana is another important Vaishanavite temple in Kumbakonam. The greatness of Ramaswamy Temple is said to be the only temple where Lord Rama,Goddess Sita are in the same platform and Lord Hanuman is playing the veena instead of reading the Ramayana. The entire deity is said to be made from Saligrama monolith. The Temple is filled with intricate carvings in its pillars.

Excert from wikipedia (src)

After seeing this temple, me being me, I decided, I will take a different route back home. And Kumbakonam, being Kumbakonam, if you get lost, you find more temples. While I was gazing blankly around for landmarks, while driving, I found Someshwarar kovil. This was my next stop. The main deity is named Vyazha Someshwarar. It has however come to be known, among locals, as Ezha Someshwarar (poor Someshwarar). Popular folklore is that, this used to be a rich temple, until some other temples (like Ramaswamy temple) came up near by. And then, people stopped frequenting this temple as much, and it became poor. Looking at the size of the temple, it has nothing to do with our defenition of poor though.

Someshwarar temple

While going around the temple prahara, I happened to see another gigantic temple, next door. So I asked an old man sitting inside the temple, and he said, that is the Sarangapani temple, and that was my next stop.

Sarangapani temple

This is another huge temple. The main deity Saranganathar is seen in reclining pose (like Srirangam). Then satisfied with the number of temples for the day, I headed back home.

Some other awesome links about the above temples:


Temple town – Srirangapatna

Temple town Srirangapatna in pictures.

The main gopuram

Front view - just before entering the temple
Front view - just before entering the temple
Side praaharam (side of temple) - note the hieght of the temple walls
Side praaharam (side of temple) - note the hieght of the temple walls
Temple ther (car/chariot/whatever you call it). - Huge!
Temple ther (car/chariot/whatever you call it). - Huge!
One of the many arches through the outer castle walls - which leads you to the temple area.
One of the many arches through the outer castle walls - which leads you to the temple area.
Outer wall of Srirangapatna
Outer wall of Srirangapatna
The roads in and out of the temple area of Srirangapatna go through these tunnels - through the outer periphery wall. Shows the security of the fort in olden times.
The roads in and out of the temple area of Srirangapatna go through these tunnels - through the outer periphery wall. Shows the security of the fort in olden times.

Basavanagudi dharshan (gandhi bazaar, vidhyarthi bhavan dosa, bull temple and other temples)

Yesterday was Basavanagudi dharshan for R and me. Started off from Koramangala at around 2PM. First stop was Gandhi Bazaar. Found my way until Lalbagh gate without any problem, but then after, multiple people gave multiple directions, contradicting each other, so we roamed around in spaghetti circles for some time. At last, parked next to a Khadhi Bhandar shop, which said Gandhi Bazaar in its nameboard. Found it to be Bugle Rock Road. A friendly fruit shop owner said, all this area is Gandhi Bazaar and the main road is walking distance.

The main Gandhi Bazaar road is basically the Bangalore’s own TNagar Pondy Bazaar. A large tree lined avenue, both sides peppered with small platform shops and medium sized shops. Fruit markets and vegetable markets set the whole place ablaze with the colours of fresh produce.


Amidst all this circus stands, Vidhyarthi Bhavana, a >75 year old eatery – which has supposedly been ranked as second-best dosa in Bangalore (next only to CTR, Malleswaram). Ofcourse, this was one of the high points of our dharshan.

Review of Vidhyarthi Bhavana:

I see why, it is next only to CTR. CTR rocks any day ! The dosa there is way better, and the sambhar heavenly. VB does not have Sambar. Let me let that statement sink into you. No Sambar. Only chutney – and I did not like the chutney that much either. R could not digest the fact that dosa could be served without sambar. R liked the dosa more than me. For me, my tongue had tasted CTR, and would not accept this. It was only Ok-Ok. The place is clean – and the waiters (all dressed in dhoti – tied lambda/2) did perform the circus of balancing a dozen dosa plates on one hand. But for me, I would prefer CTR any day.

We then bought veggies, and moved on to our next destination – Bull Temple. We visited the bull temple – the Nandi is very big – and um, very cute too. Little feet, cute nose etc – in all a pleasure to gaze at. After paying homage to Siva’s personal secretary, we wanted to see the other temples in the complex, but they were to open only at 530PM.


So we crossed the road, and visited Nava Mantralaya – a Raghavendra temple – where a music school was celebrating its yearly anniversary. 50 kids (all below 12 yrs) were on stage and were singing bhajans – heavenly.

At 530PM, we crossed the road, back to see Mr. Dodda Ganapathy – a huge Ganesha Temple – beautiful vennai kaapu (butter decoration) – very nice and had a good dharshan. Also visited the Bala-anjaneya temple and Kannapar temple in the same complex.

At this point, R and I knew, there were more temples in this area, but did not know where. So called V (my brother in law) – who lives in closer locales (Bansankari). He visits these temples more often. On his suggestion, went on to see Karanji Anjaneya – a very old Anjaneya temple walking distance from the bull temple. At this time, R commented, if all the temples in this area, were super sized temples 🙂 – all deities were minimum 4 times larger than us!

After Karanji Anjaneya, we hiked over in the opposite direction, to Govardhanagiri temple. This is a concept temple – yes, you heard it right – a concept temple. Beautiful. The whole temple looks like it has been carved into a granite hill. You enter through the side, and inside there is an enclosure, where you see, Lord Krishna holding the hill with his little finger – a beautiful sight to behold. Very nice and peaceful inside. Good arrangements to sit in front of the deity and meditate. This was our favourite temple.

We then took our car, and went the opposite direction, and visited the Ramakrishna Math. It was just like the other RK Maths I have visited (Chennai, Kolkata) – peaceful, serene, green. The aarthi was going on. We spent some time there,

Bengaluru Dharshan

Ok, now comes the most interesting part of the evening. We had finished all our dharshans, and the food, and now it was time to get back home. We saw a board which said Lal Bagh west gate. I kind-of figured out that, if we headed to Lalbagh, and circled it (like we did on our way to Basavanagudi), we would at some point hit the road from Nimhans/Diary circle. Um, we took the wrong turn. We ended up seeing Minerva Circle, JC Road, Town Hall, Hudson Circle – and thankfully I knew the way back to Koramangala from there (lessons learnt from our many trips to the Majestic Railway station). We headed back through Residency Road, Magrath Road, Lower Agaram, Vivek Nagar and at last, home sweet home 🙂