Thiruporur Kandhaswamy Temple – The Temple
The temple is located in Thiruporur, in Old Mahabalipuram Road, 28 km (17 mi) from Chennai, the capital of Tamilnadu. The temple has a five-tiered Rajagopuram, the gateway tower, rising to a height of 70 ft. (21 m) and 200 ft. (61 m) wide. The temple covers an area of 4 acres (16,000 m2). The sanctum of the temple is approached through a 24 pillared hall near the gateway. The temple tank is located outside the temple. The sanctum is built with granite, which houses the image of Murugan in the form of Kandhaswamy in standing posture. The sanctum faces east and the image of the presiding deity is 7 ft. (2.1 m) tall.
The image is sported with two hands with one of them holding Vel (divine spear), and an image of peacock besides the presiding deity. There are separate shrines of his consorts Valli and Deivanai around the first precinct. There is a separate shrine for Shiva and Parvathi and all the Parsvatah Devatas (attendant deities) associated with Shiva temples. This temple enshrines Skanda in several forms relating to legends from the Skanda Puranam. The foremost of these is the depiction of Skanda as a warrior, Samhara Subramanyar. He is also enshrined in the form of a child, expounding the meaning of the oneness of creation –‘Om’ to his father Shiva.
Skanda is enshrined with his consorts Valli and Devasena in an east facing sanctum. No abhishekams are offered to these deities. The 24 pillared halls and the 30 pillared circular halls are other features of this temple. There is a shrine to Vembadi Vinayaka under a neem tree. The Vanni Maram is the holy Tree of the Temple. Pictures depicting the life of Chidambaram Swamigal can be seen in the temple. On the southern side of the temple there is Saravana Poigai and Valliyar Odai, the two sacred Theerthams. On the eastern side of the Theerthams, there is a mandapam of four pillars. There is also another Teertham by the name Pranavamritam. When Lord Muruga's spear pierced the earth, water came gushing out and that is the 'Vallaiyaar odai', the holy tank.
The descendants of Chidambara Swamigal followed up the religious service and brought it to the present day fame. The sanctum sanctorum of this temple is situated on the eastern side wherein one can see the Palmyra tree and the anthill under it wherein is Kanda Perumal with Valli and Devayanai on a small peetham. Chidambara Swamigal used to perform Abhishekam to these images. The murti in the anthill is covered with kavacham and other jewels but no Abhishekam is performed for this deity. The descendants of Chidambara Swamigal followed up the religious service and brought it to the present day fame.
The exterior wall around the main shrine has the niche images (Koshta idols) of Ganesha, Kukkuta dhwajar (Skanda with a flag of rooster), Dhandayuthapani, Vishnu and Durga. There are separate shrines for Ganesh and Durga. The exterior walls of the shrine of Durga have the niche images of four Goddesses. When one circumambulates the inner prakara can have a glimpse of the exquisitely chiseled panchaloha idols of Vighneswara, Somaskanda, Chandrasekara, Dwanishandeswara, Astra Deva, Brahma, Vishu, Devendra Nandi and Matruchandesa. The copper icon of Lord Muruga sitting on the lap of Lord Siva in the posture of Shiva hearing Pranava Upadesha chiseled according to the details and descriptions found in Manasaram, a treatise on Shilpa Sastra.
The base reliefs of Upadesa to Agastya, Valli kalyana and Agni-ghanta Subrahmanya have been chiseled very beautifully on the pillars of Sarvavaidya Mandapa. The Yantra established by Chidambaram Swamigal can be found in the northeast of the temple on a platform with Kurma, Ashta gaja, ashtanaga and ganas. Daily pujas are performed to this Yantra. In the outer mandapa is situated the Sannidhi of Teyvayanai. It is believed that functions like ear boring, head trouncing as offering to the Lord, conducting marriages etc., bring sacred blessings. Arunagirinathar through 'Tirupugal' and other poets like Pamban Swamigal and Ramalinga Adigalar have revered the deity of this temple through their songs.