Jambugeswarar Temple, Sembakkam – The Temple
Jambugeswarar Temple is situated in the Northeast corner of Sembakkam village on the bank of a lake in a natural atmosphere. The temple is surrounded by the lake and temple tank on the north, paddy fields on the east, Sembakkam main village and a divine mutt on the south and reserve forest and small hill on the west. The temple is at the end of an unpolluted calm village in an ideal location for the peace loving spiritual seekers. The temple is a beautiful one with lot of flower plants and trees within and outside the temple.
One nice thing in this temple is the colour of the painting. Unlike other temples, the temple is painted in a single colour that is eye-pleasing and gives a soothing effect. Possibly, this could have been done due to insufficient funding but nevertheless it is beautiful and very pleasing. The main deity is Sri Jambugeswarar and Goddess Sri Azhagaambigai. This temple is also called Vada Thiruvanaikkaa or Uthara Jambukeswaram as this temple also represents Water element. Moreover, this temple is also built by the same king Ko Chenganan who built the Thiruvanaikkaa Sri Jambugeswarar temple.
This beautiful temple has a wide landscape inside the compound where a beautiful garden is maintained. Sri Jambugeswarar is facing east from a small sanctum with Dwarapalakas guarding it. A beautiful Nandhi is facing the Lord here towards the sanctum. There are beautiful Urchava Murthis like Sri Natarajar, Sri Somaskandar etc., kept in the Mandapam just outside the sanctum. Goddess Sri Azhagaambigai is facing south. At the entrance on the southern side, there is a well just near the entrance itself. It is said that the well was created by the Goddess itself which contains the powers of several crores of mantras.
Sri Dhakshinamurthy, Sri Mahavishnu, Sri Brahma and Sri Durga are present around the sanctum at their respective directions. A new Dhwajasthambham was installed in the temple during 2008. A small, age old natural pond is found just near the temple entrance, which is said to be the source of water to enter the Sanctum. The temple is originally made in such a way that the water from this pond will always be percolating inside the sanctum to keep the deity always in water. But in later stages, as the temple has risen from the ground level, the water now does not enter the floor of the sanctum but remains in the pond and also under the ground level of the sanctum. Hence this Sthalam also represents ‘water’ similar to Thiruvanaikkaa.
It is also said that this village has at least one temple every street. Many small temples are seen on the corners of many streets here. The Sthala Viruksham for this temple is ‘Naaval’ tree as same as Thiruvanaikkaval. In Sanskrit ‘Jambu’ means ‘Naaval fruit’, and hence the Lord here is called Sri Jambugeswarar. The Naaval tree is present at the south east corner of the temple. The main entrance to the temple is located in the western side of the temple. The Sthalavruksham (Naval tree) and a Naga Sannidhi below the tree is located in the southeast (Agni) corner of the temple.
Sundara Vinayagar Sannidhi and a festival Hall is located to the south of the Moolavar temple. A Big tower above the Moolavar and a small tower above the goddess Azhagaambigai have been built. The Moolavar Lord Jambugeswarar is facing east and the goddess Azhagaambigai is facing south. Next to the Moolavar temple, all the Urchava Moorthigal like Somaskandar, Murugan with Valli Devayanai, Natarajar are placed. In the next Hall, Arulmigu Selva Ganapathy, Murugan with Devayanai and Navaveerargal are facing east.
In the outside praharam of the Moolavar temple we have Arulmigu Dakshinamoorthy facing south, Maha Vishnu facing west, Brahma and Durga facing north and Sandikeswarar facing south. The Navagraha Sannidhi is located in the northeast corner and the temple tank is located in the Northern side of the temple. The temple is completely covered by compound wall. Arulmigu Jambugeswarar Iraipani Mandram Azhagambigai Adheenam Sivamayapeedam building is built near the entrance. There is no Rajagopuram for this temple.
The temple is flanked on all four directions by famous temples. They are;
· On the north, Aran Amarthapuram (Anumanthapuram) – Lord Veerabadhrar;
· On the east, Thiruporur - Lord Kandhaswamy (Murugan);
· On the west, Thiru Idai sooram, - Lord Thiru Idai Sooranathar; and
· On the south, Thirukazhukundram (Pachchi Theertham) – Lord Vedagiriswarar.
Moreover, there are Lord Ganesha temples on the corners of every street in the Sembakkam village. Apart from the Ganesha temples, there are lot(s) of other temples and divine mutt in the village. In ancient times, there were 33 temples, 33 tanks and 33 streets in the village. But due to climatic and natural evolvement, some of the tanks have vanished and only few more are left behind. This kind of natural environment is a unique nature of the Sembakkam village which differentiates it from other villages in Tamilnadu.
The inner praharam has a separate shrine for mother Azhagambigai facing south. Opposite to her sanctum and in the form of a well, the Amutha Theertham is present making the number of Theerthams to two. The other one is the Agazhi Theertham which is present in the form of a pond outside the temple. It is in the northwest corner of the temple.
The (Then) Thiruvanaikka temple near Srirangam is considered as one of the Pancha pootha (Land, Water, Fire, Air and Space) Sthalams of Lord Shiva representing Water. This Sembakkam temple, called Vada Thiruvanaikka also represents Water since the Lord here is present as Jala Swayambu (Swayambu – being present on its own; Jala – water) in the name of Jambukeswarar as in Then Thiruvanaikka and the temple is built on top of a square water ditch. The deity is facing east.
Goddess Azhagambigai Shrine:
It is believed that Lord Shiva gave the power of 72000 crores of Mantras to Goddess Azhagambigai to be given to the devotees. Since the power of it cannot be withstood directly by the devotees, it seems that some essence of it fell as Amutha theertham well in front of her shrine. The Goddess is facing south.
In the southeast direction is present the huge and beautiful naval tree (Black naval fruit) as Sthalavruksham. In Then Thiruvanaikka also Sthalavruksham is the same. It is believed that doing Kundalini Yoga and other yoga/ meditations under this tree is good for one’s spiritual uplift due to the presence of the Siddhars here. Moreover the air from this tree believes to cure many diseases.
There are two Theerthams – Agazhi Theertham in the form of a pond outside the temple in the northwest of the temple and Amutha Theertham in the form of a well inside the temple in front of the Goddess shrine and created by the Goddess Herself. The water for the worship is being taken from this well only.
Sri Ponnambala Swamigal and Sri Thirumeni linga Swamigal lived in Sembakkam and were called twin Siddhars since they were always seen together. They, along with another Siddhar Sri Periya Chidhambara Swamigal (from Velachery) used to meet at the Mylapore Chithra Kulam by the mystic act of going from one place to the other without physically going there. The tank was called ‘Siddhar Koodam (meeting) Kulam (pond)’ once and became Chithra Kulam later. When Ponnambala Swamigal attained Samadhi, the very next day Thirumeni Linga Swamigal also attained Samadhi. The Samadhi of both of them is present in front of the temple near the Agazhi Theertham. It is learnt that a lot of handwritten notes of Ponnambala Swamigal was preserved in Sembakkam.