(Last Updated on : 14/10/2009)
Sri Kondandarasvami Temple of Nandambakkam is one of the popular temples of South India. The little-known suburb of Nandambakkam is situated close to Porur and is venerated as one of the numerous ancient and historic places in Chennai. It is the abode of the Kodandaramasvami temple.
The traditional Kodandaramasvami temple, according to the historian dates back to the Vijayanagara times, most likely to the period of the illustrious emperor Krishnadeva Raya, who ruled over almost the whole of South India from 1509-1529 A.D. However the traditional temple was renovated in the later ages. Hence the present structure of the Kodandaramasvami temple is a renovated one. Although this temple has been much renovated and modernized, yet it retains its essential Vijayanagara architectural features. According to legend and myths associated with the temple, it was at a hill near Nandambakkam that the renowned sage, Bhringi performed penance. This area was originally known as Brindaranya Kshetram and Nandavanam from which the present name Nandambakkam is derived. Also due to these legendary myths the place has become a sacrosanct for the devotees. The Kodandaramasvami temple is the abode of three separate shrines- Shrine with the image of Srinivasa Perumal, shrines of Lord Rama and other shrines housing other deities.
The Image of Srinivasa Perumal
- The image of Lord Srinivasa is a legendary one. It is a four armed image of the lord carved with enormous artistic splendor and brilliance.
The Shrine of Lord Rama
- The shrine of lord Rama houses the image of Lord Rama in an unusual posture depicting the pattabhisheka scene of the lord in Ramayana.
Other images and sub shrines
Apart from the temples dedicated to Lord Srinivasa and lord Rama, there are some other shrines dedicated to other important deities. Opposite this Rama shrine is erected a sanctum for Hanuman, seen here in a very diminutive and adorable form. The image of the There are also numerous images here of Vishvaksena and the Vaishnava saints (Azhvars) like Nammazhvar and Tirumangai Azhvar, as well as preceptors (Acharyas) like Tirukkacchi Nambi, Ramanuja and Manavala Mamuni.
This temple, which consists of a single enclosure or prakara, also houses other sub-shrines of modern construction for Sudarsana, Ananta, Anjaiieya and Nammazhvar. There is also a shrine for Nandavana Kannan which has a well-maintained garden (nandavana) in front. A soaring gopura is seen above the eastern doorway of this temple, which is the main entrance. The gopura is the specimen of the unusual architecture of the contemporary era.
The sacred tank (pushkarini) flows by the side of this famous temple is known as Vanmika Nadi while the sacred tree or sthala-vriksha here is Athi.
The three shrines ascribed to the temple of Kodandaramasvami have endowed the temple a dignified magnificence.
Festivals of the Kodandaramasvami
The festivals observed in the Kodandaramasvami temple reveals the cultural heritage of the temple. Since the temple houses three separate deities, a number of festivals concerning these deities are performed. A number of festivals are conducted in this temple, which follows the codes of the Vaikhanasa Agama. The more important ones are the Brahmotsavam in the month of Thai (January-February), Rama Navami in Chittirai (April-May) which is celebrated on a grand scale. Garuda Sevai during Vaikasi Visakham (May-June) and Purattasi Utsavam (September-October) are also among the important ones. During the festival a number of peole flocked in the temple precincts to offer their devotion and worship to these deities .