Pasupatheeswarar Temple, Thiruvelichai, Kanchipuram
Pasupatheeswarar Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Shiva located at Thiruvelichai Village, Chennai suburb near Pudupakkam in Kanchipuram District of Tamilnadu. The temple is around 3 km from the Pudupakkam Anjaneyar Temple (inside the road opposite to the temple). Pudupakkam is in the Kelambakkam-Vandalur Road on the Kelambakkam side (around 3 km from the Kelambakkam bus stop).
Presiding Deity is called as Pasupatheeswarar and Mother Shakti as Simha Priya. The route from Kelambakkam – Vandalur High Road to this temple is secluded and except for 23 factories, nothing else is found on the road. Public transport is not available and the villagers are residing little away from the temple. Due to these reasons the temple remains little known to the outside world.
Pasupatheeswarar temple is actually a private temple. Originally, it was built for the purpose of private worship for a saint called Gnanacheri Gnanigal. During 17th - 18th centuries, there was an Advaita philosopher, Carnatic composer and a saint named Sadashiva Brahmendra. During that period, he was very popular in the region of the current Tamilnadu state. It is believed that in the earlier births, he was born as Dattatreya, Ugra Pandya, Aanaya Nayanar, Vilvamangala Swamigal and Abirami Bhattar. In the later part of his life, Swamiji became a Mouna Guru and never spoke. It is believed that Swamiji took rebirth in the 20th century in Tamilnadu.
He started a religious organization called Gnanacheri in 1979 CE and hence the devotees called him as Gnanacheri Gnanigal. Pasupatheeswarar temple is built in Gnanacheri. The temple dedicated to Shiva and the shrines dedicated to Varadaraja Perumal, Anjaneya and Prathyangira Devi all were built for private worship for Swamiji. The kumbhabhishekam of the temple took place in 1999 CE.
The temple is situated in a huge complex. It can be divided into multiple sections.
The east facing sanctum enshrines Shiv Linga called as Pasupatheeswarar. At the entrance of the shrine, small idols of Ganesha and Kartikeya are found. In Maha Mandapam, there are two shrines which face the southern direction. In one shrine, the Goddess Simha Priya is found. Another shrine enshrines the small Utsava idols of Natarajar and Shivakami. The flag staff, Bali peetham and Nandi Mandapam are found facing towards the sanctum.
The Pasupatheeswarar shrine is the main section of the east facing temple, which has five tiered tower (Raja gopuram). Ganesha, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhava, Brahma and Vishnu Durga are found as the niche images around the walls of the sanctum. Chandikeshwarar sub shrine is found in its usual location. In the prakara, the sub shrines of Ganesha and Murugan with his two consorts are situated. Dattatreya, Adigalar, Surya, Chandra, Bhairava and Navagraha are some of the other deities found in this section of the temple. A small stucco idol of Hanuman in tall pillar is also situated.
Sundara Varadaraja Perumal Shrine:
In the prakara of Pasupatheeswarar shrine, a separate east facing shrine along with a front side mandapam is found for Varadaraja Perumal. Varadaraja Perumal is found along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi in the main shrine. There is a small north facing sub shrine for the Goddess Kanaga Valli and two small sub shrines of Garuda and Hanuman facing towards Varadaraja are all situated in the mandapam. The wall behind the shrine has the niche image of Krishna playing flute.
Viswaroopa Anjaneya Shrine:
There is a separate section of the temple which enshrines a big idol of Hanuman called as Viswaroopa Anjaneya. Opposite to this shrine, there is a shrine where Ram, Sita and Lakshman are found.
Near the temple tower, there is a north facing shrine for Prathyangira Devi (the Goddess with the lion face). In the prakara, there are paintings of ferocious Goddesses are found.
Gnanacheri Gnanigal Samadhi:
Outside the temple tower, there is a huge open space. In a corner, the Samadhi of Gnanacheri Gnanigal is found under the holy Vilva tree. A Shiva Linga idol is installed above the Samadhi.
In a corner in the prakara of Pasupatheeswarar shrine, a group of idols are situated in a single shrine. The list of idols that are found here include Pandurangan and Ragumayee, Pasupatheeswarar (Shiva Linga) and Simha Priya, Sundara Varadaraja Perumal with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi, Durga, Murugan with Valli and Devasena and Siddhi Vinayakar.
Importantly, near this shrine, two idols are kept separately under the trees. One is Lord Buddha and the other idol is Jesus Christ. Probably, no other Hindu temple enshrines Christ. To depict that Gnanacheri Gnanigal did not differentiate the religions, the idols of Buddha and Jesus are kept in this temple.
Pudupakkam is a small village located in Kelambakkam – Vandalur High Road in the outskirts of Chennai city in South India. Anjaneya temple, which is located in this village, has gained popularity in the recent past (around 3 km from the Kelambakkam bus stop). This Temple is located near Pudupakkam Anjaneyar Temple. You have to take the road opposite to the road where Pudupakkam Anjaneyar temple is located and travel for 3 kms to reach Velichal temple.