The twang and chime of the ringing bells, together with the Nadaswaram recital and Veda Ghosham on every Pradosha day with the circumambulating throng of religious devotees, with the Pradosha Murthi’s idol on the Vrishaba vahanam proclaim to the world and yonder the hoary past of Sri Rathnagiriswarar Temple.
Way back in 1968, when the residents of Besant Nagar, mostly Government employees, at that time wanted a place of worship. Accordingly when His Holiness Sri Abhinava Vidyathirtha Maha Sannidhanam visited Chennai, Besant Nagar residents invited him and sought his blessings for building a prayer structure. His Holiness with His benevolence blessed them and sprinkled holy water, flowers and akshthai at the place where Sri Rathnagiriswarar temple stands now.
The residents later decided to form a regulated forum for this purpose and thus created a body and named it as BHAKTHA MANDALI. This was registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act. Bhaktha Mandali (Regd) then purchased a piece of land admeasuring around 4 grounds for building a pucca place of worship .
Bhaktha Mandali members then approached the most venerable sage of Kanchi Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Maha Swamigal and sought his benign grace for building a temple in Besant Nagar. His Holiness prophesied that they could search the seashore in Thiruvanmiyur where they would locate a Maha Lingam, which could be installed as the presiding deity of the proposed temple. The elated residents taking the words of His Holiness Sri Maha Swamigal with absolute faith, searched the seashore of Thiruvanmiyur coast and finally located the Mahalingam Vigram there. With the help of the local residents and with the help of His Holiness Sri Jayendra Swamigal’s poorvasrama father Sri Mahadeva Iyer who was staying in Thiruvanmiyur at that time, brought that Mahalingam to Besant Nagar and placed it on a sandy pedestal, at the place where the Gharbharaham of Sri Rathnagiriswarear stands today – on sacred Maha Sivarathri day, 7th March, 1970.
Thereafter, His Holiness Sri Maha Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam directed the members of the Managing Committee of Bhaktha Mandali (Regd) to install other deities – Sri Vinayakar, Sri Vali Devasena Sametha Sri Subramaniyar, Sri Sita Lakshmana Sametha Sri Kothandaramar and Sri Adi Sankara and other Ghoshta devatas. As instructed by Sri Maha Swamigal, a sthapathi (Late Nataraja Sthapathy) was sent to Sri Aiyar Malai to draw a sketch of Sri Aralakesi Ambal there so as to make a similar Ambal Vignaraham in our temple. His Holiness also advised the members of Bhaktha Mandali to install the Mahalingam on a miniature hill type pedestal and named the presiding deity as “SRI RATHNAGIRISWARAR” and Sri Ambal as “SRI ARALAKESI”(similar to the deities in Aiyar Malai near Kulithalai, Karur Dist.
The vimanams in this temple are unique in their appeareance – the Swami Vimanam consists of five tiers, the Ambal vimanam consists of 3 tiers, Sri Ramar Sannadhi vimanam of 2 tiers, indicating the significance of manthra-thrishta vimanams – Panchakshra for Sri Rathnagiriswarar vimanam, Arthabhala mantra of Sri Ambal and Dhvaya mantra for Vishnu (Sri Kothandaramar). Further, the Vimanam for Sri Subramaniar is in line with that of Tiruchendur, that of Sri Anjaneyar of Maharashtra, Adi Sankara’s Vimanam similar to that of one in Kaladi and the vimanam of Sri Kothanda Ramar similar to the one in Srirangam temple.
Simultaneously the Ghoshta devatas – Sri Mangala Durgai, Sri Brahma, Sri Maha Vishnu, Sri Dakshinamurthy, Sri Nardhana Vinayakar and a separate Sannadhi for Sri Anjaneyar were constructed and the first first Kumbhabishekam was performed in in February 1975. Details of the six Kumbhabishekams performed in this temple are given separately.
Later panchaloka Pradoshamurthi Vigrama(Aalingana Chandrasekarar) and Sri Sivakamasundari Sametha Sri Natarajar were made and installed in this temple premises. The first Abhishekam to the Pradosha Vigraham was done by the sacred hands of His Holiness Sri Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Maha Swamigal of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Sarvagna Peetam. No doubt because of this, the power of the Pradoshamurthi cannot be described in words – many wonders have happened and the prayers of many a devotee have been fulfilled by offering garlands at the time of Pradosham.
All important functions like Maha Sivarathri, Sarada Navarathri, Sri Rama Navami Mahotsavam, Aashada Mahotsavam, Arudra Darsanam, Annabhishekam, etc. are celebrated in a most sacred manner, strictly following the vedic injunctions and vaideeha pooja vidhanam.
Abhishekams to the deties are performed amidst chanting of Vedas like Rudram, chamakam and sookthas daily.
The Managing Committee of Bhaktha Mandali (Regd) which is managing the affairs of Sri Rathnagirirswarar Temple organizes periodically, religious discourses, cultural programmes such as Carnatic music concerts, Bharata natyams etc.
Nithya Nakshatra homams for the benefit of the devotees are performed here. Nithya, naimithika, paksha, maasa, vaarshika important religious functions are performed meticulously in which large number of devotees participate. The involvement of devotees in all the functions is the uniqueness of this organization.
Both Sri Sringeri and Sri Kanchi Acharyals have visited this temple on several occasions and appreciated the manner in which the rituals and poojas are performed in this temple. The Management always seeks the Acharyals' guidance and blessings for all its activities.
(SRI RATHNAGIRISWARAR TEMPLE)
#1, 6th Cross Street, Besant Nagar,
Chennai - 600090 India
MORNING : 6.00 AM TO 11.00 AM
EVENING : 5.00 PM TO 9.00 PM