In continuation of my avowed wish to visit Lord Muruga temples near Chennai, I embarked on a short trip to Vallakottai during the last week of May. It so happened that it was my Mother's birthday as well. So a trip well planned, I should say.
Vallakottai Murugan Temple is a very old temple with history dating back to 1200 years at the least. The sthala puranam and the history of the temple can be read at the Temple's website,
http://www.vallakkottaimurugantemple.com/home.htm. The site is well maintained by any standards and you can see how up to date it is, when you see that the Chief Minister's name has been changed to Dr J Jayalalitha. Unusual for a Government website, I would say.
The presiding deity, Subramanya Swamy, is more than 6 feet in height and it is considered one of the rarities of Murugan temples, where you usually find the Mulavar statues small in size. The temple has recently been renovated and you see concrete structures overshadowing the traditional stone structures. This doesn't help the Temple look any better. Modern day necessity of having concrete structures due to the prohibitive cost of stone structures. Can't help it.
This temple has found mention in the Arunagirinathar's Tirupugazh. I was told there are 7 songs in which this sthalam has been sung about. Vallakottai is the present day name and in the olden years, this place was known as "Kodai Nagar".
We had a very long darshan with absolutely no crowd since it was a weekday. We could strike conversation with the Gurukkal who has been with the temple for 18 years now. He explained to us the history of the temple and he urged us to stay back for the Abhisekham. Though we were thinking of leaving after the darshan, we stayed back on the request of the Gurukkal and what wonderful "Abhishekams" comprising of Milk, Sandal powder, Vibhuthi, Honey, Panchamirtham. Awesome! The "Abhisekhams" start at 10.30 AM, so if you plan to visit the temple plan your trip accordingly. All Abhisekhams take a total 30 minutes or so and it takes another 15 minutes before the darshan resumes.
The Gurukkal told me that people pray to visit Vallakottai Murugan temple for 7 continuous weeks taking bath at the temple tank to reclaim lost property, business, fame or name. If somebody prays like that today, it is definitely going to be challenge considering the state of the temple tank. The temple tank needs better maintenance.
Vallakottai Murugan Temple is 35 kms from Porur Junction off the Chennai-Bangalore NH. From the NH, it is 8 kms you have to travel to reach the temple. The roads are motorable and no issues on that front. A detailed route map is available on the temple website as well.
All the along way to the temple, you see rapid industrialization and all farmlands are already converted into Industrial sheds or housing plots. In another 10 years, you see this temple would be amidst a highly industrialized corridor. Except for the odd Coconut vendor and the small tea shop, there are no eateries or food stalls near the temple. The nearest town where you can have something is a good 10 kms away at Sriperumbudur. So if you are visiting the temple and have plans to finish breakfast after darshan and all, it may not work, unless you are willing to drive that extra 10 kms or so. Better to carry bottled water.
PS: I have been wanting to write about for the last couple of weeks, but somehow it was getting delayed. Today, (13 June) being a Vaikasi Visakham, the birth star of Lord Muruga, I thought I should not postpone it any further and sat down and wrote this. Vetrivel!! Veeravel!!