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Book Review: On Philosophising, Philosophers, Philosophy and New Vistas in Applied Philosophy, by Dr. Sharmila Jayant Virkar

A little bit of context before you begin reading this book review. I have recently enrolled for an MA in Philosophy at the University of Mumbai. Philosophy is something I have been getting interested in, over the past few years, as those of you who have been reading my blogs and Instagram posts would know. During the pandemic, I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next, and this is what I eventually came up with. It has been a challenge, getting back into academics as a student at this age, especially in a subject I have no academic background in. However, it has also been very exciting, especially thanks to my wonderful classmates (who, surprisingly, are of all age-groups, including some quite near my own) and my teachers, who have been very supportive and understanding. How well I will do is something that remains to be seen, but so far, I am enjoying this new journey and look forward to where it leads. Now that you know the background , you probably get an idea of how

Some Temples in Chennai ..... and also some personal thoughts......

Are women more interested in visiting temples than men are? I have been wondering ever since I returned from Chennai. What do you think? Please do let me know. Why am I asking you? Well, the reason is an incident that occurred in Chennai. We had all planned to go to a number of temples, starting early in the morning. We all woke up, only to realize that one by one, people were pulling out, citing various reasons. Finally, it was only me, my mom, and two of my aunts who actually started out. Of course, Samhith came along. He had no choice! However, this got me wondering – why is it that in most cases, it is only the women who want to visit temples? Or is it so only in our family? I really would like to hear your opinions on this………..

Coming back to the temples that we visited, we had a long list in hand, but all the discussions about who was coming along, delayed us, and we could visit just 5 temples. Much has been written about these temples by others more qualified to do so, and I shall confine myself to the few photos I took. So, here is a photo blog of a few temples in Chennai.


Trisoolam

From Chennai Trip April 09

Trisoolam – the temple is situated on the hills off the station of the same name on the local train route in Chennai, close to the airport. This hill is very picturesque, and is used frequently for film-shooting, or so we were informed by a board which directs you to the temple.

I remember visiting this temple as a kid, when my uncle lived in the airport quarters and we went walking to the temple. Then, it was a dilapidated structure, but with such beautiful work, that I was enthralled. Now, the temple has been renovated, and shines with the new paintwork. The beauty is now enhanced and more people know about this wonderful temple.

From Chennai Trip April 09

The main deity here is Siva as Trisulanathar and his consort is Tripura Sundari. The outer walls of the main sanctum have smaller sanctums to the other deities – the first of these is Naga Yagnopavita Ganapathy, who has a snake tied as his sacred thread (poonal in Tamil). The next is Dakshinamoorthy, the giver of knowledge, in the form of Veerasana Dakshinamoorthy. The other deities are Brahma, Durga, Chandikeswarar and Bhairavar. Outside the main temple are two new sanctums, one to Ayyappan and another to Adi Shankaracharyar.

From Chennai Trip April 09

The temple is quite small, and a visit to this temple shouldn’t take long. However, what really takes time is the journey to this temple. The road passes along the railway crossing near Trisulam railway station, and this railway crossing is manned manually. The gates are opened at irregular intervals, and we had to wait more than 15 minutes each way. Don’t let that deter you from visiting the temple the next time you are in Chennai.

Kundrathur

From Chennai Trip April 09

This picturesque temple dedicated to Lord Muruga stands atop a small hill. Earlier, we had no choice but to climb the few steps to the temple, but now, a road has been built right up to the temple. The temple itself, though simple, is beautiful. Lord Muruga is accompanied in the sanctum with his consorts Valli and Devasena. An interesting thing about this temple is that if you stand right in front of the inner sanctum, you can only see Muruga with one of his consorts. You can see both of them only by moving your head to the left and right.

From Chennai Trip April 09

From Chennai Trip April 09

From Chennai Trip April 09

From Chennai Trip April 09

From Chennai Trip April 09

Mangadu Kamakshi Amman Temple

One of the biggest and most popular temples in Chennai, this temple needs no introduction or explanation. This is where Parvati is believed to have performed rigorous penance to wed Shiva, standing on one foot, on the tip of a needle, in the middle of a ring of fire. It was here that Shiva appeared in response to her prayers and agreed to wed her. I did not take any photos inside the temple, but here are a few views of the gopuram.

From Chennai Trip April 09

Parvati performing penance and Shiva blessing her, as depicted on the gopuram – a similar statue of Parvati in penance, made in metal takes pride of place in the temple as the utsava moorthy.

From Chennai Trip April 09

From Chennai Trip April 09

A fresco of the courtship of Shiva and Parvati, and Parvati's penance

From Chennai Trip April 09

Velleeswarar Temple

From Chennai Trip April 09

Where there is Parvati, can Shiva be far away? Never…… and here too, he has his own abode, not in the temple dedicated to his wife, but just behind. In this temple, he is known as Velleeswarar.

Till recently, this temple was in a dilapidated state, but now, has been restored to much, if not all, of its former glory. While some portions which stood the test of time have been left as they are, the other portions have been renovated and made to adapt to the existing structure. A good job indeed!

Here are a few photographs –


From Chennai Trip April 09

A photograph of Velleeswarar and Kamakshi Amman outside the temple

From Chennai Trip April 09

An interesting mural of Ekapadamoorthy - the triity standing on one foot.....

From Chennai Trip April 09


Shantha Mookambikai Temple, Moonram Kattalai


This is a small temple dedicated to Mookambigai, located at Moonram Kattalai on the way to Mangadu from Kundrathur. It is a beautiful and serene temple with a beautiful idol of the goddess which draws all eyes towards her…………

From Chennai Trip April 09


These are just a few temples within the city of Chennai, and are hardly as important as many others. Here is a blog I found about many more temples in Chennai. Do check it out….

Comments

  1. oh my god... o don't know about other guys... but i hate visiting temples (anyways my mom compels me to go in my every birth day.)

    I am agnostic anu. and i would love going to temples if it s for seeing the architecture or the culture. I think if god s there, and he is what, what all the theists say him to be, then the last thing he would want me do is to be praying to him (and whats prayer i ask- asking god to give you something... )

    This is just me and i have no qualms with people who pray... thats their choice...

    I esp hate going on those auspicious days when the temple will be overflowing and every1 is like let me see the moorthi -statue..

    God if he is tere would not need temples and pujari s to be prayed to.

    ReplyDelete
  2. http://average-everyday.blogspot.com/2008/08/temple-teachings.html

    try my post about one of the times i visited the temple......

    so what do you say about my post.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anu, you got me thinkging... but yes you are quite right... Its only the women who are really interested in visiting temples. That is so true.. On most of my holidays to India, my husband would rather be busy with parking the car, or chatting with the near by chai walla, than come to the temple or church with me.. Thats true!!

    Also, all the temples look lovely. Very beautifully built.. the architecture is amazing. The work is so detailed and intricate. I've never been to Chennai... but I must plan a trip for sure!! Well done again!

    ReplyDelete
  4. so many temples in one visit to chennai. You really have the stamina Anu.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I enjoyed reading your article on Chennai temples. I have lived all my life in Pune and I have only visited some of the popular temples in South but plan on making a trip to Chennai in December and will check out the temples you have listed. Is the Mookambikai temple in moondram kattalai you mentioned built by a lady called shantha. I went to Kollur Mookambikai temple a few years ago and I met shantha amma who mentioned she has a temple in Chennai and I was wondering if it is the same temple.

    ReplyDelete
  6. @Meenakshi: yes, this is the same temple... i remember seeing her when i visited the temple a long time back, when i was in school....

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi anu, there was an album release by shantha amma , sung by various artist like janaki, chitra , etc... do you have any idea. i would like to know the audio / casette / album name . it has got beautifull songs in it !

    ReplyDelete

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