Mallikeswarar in North Madras

Not very far from the very beginnings of the city of Chennai, nee Madras, is LingiChetty street is a little gem of a temple. Built around 1000 years ago, this temple houses the Mallikeswara swamy, or the lord of Jasmine blooms. Legend has it that a Chola king, out hunting in this area, came upon a bunch of Jasmine shrubs. The king orders his soldiers to clear up the weeds and create a beautiful garden around the jasmine shrubs. When this is done, they discover a Shivalingam buried under sand. Hence the name for this place – Man-Adi.

The king immediately orders a temple to be built around the lingan, and thus is born Mallikeswaran temple in Manadi, Chennai.

Mallikeswarar temple in Manadi The main gopuram/gateway to the temple. Used to be visible from Parry’s Corner. Now hidden Ornate, heavy and incredibly strong wooden doors leads one to suppose that temples were once used as forts Strange looking lion sculptures, on wheels. No idea of the purpose, but they looked really good The 63 Saivaite saints… A pillar that is clearly Chola style

5 Comments so far

  1. Ravi (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 10:12 am

    Thanks for this info, CC. Just a question..hopefully not a stupid one. I’ve seen buses with destinatioin ‘Manali’ that a corruption of the name ‘Manadi’? Do clarify. Thanks!

  2. Ravages (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 10:22 am

    Ravi, I am not sure on that count. I will ask around. But what you say is quite probable. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Kaps (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

    I doubt whether Manali and Mannadi have a connection.

    BTW, I read somewhere that the city’s name (Chennai) took root from temples like Chenna Malleswarar temple and Chennai Kesava Perumal temple ( The Chennai Kesava perumal temple is located in the heart of Flower Bazaar / Park town / Pookkadai.

  4. Ravages (unregistered) on March 28th, 2006 @ 3:23 pm

    Thanks Kaps. Yes, I do know of Chenna kesava Perumal. I did visit the temple. the priest there tells me it is a much newer temple. it was originally in a grove of banana trees, on the site of the Fort. When the British came around wanting to build their fort, the temple was moved to its present location.

  5. G V Balasubramanian (unregistered) on March 31st, 2006 @ 10:44 pm

    According to S Muthiah’s article in The Hindu of July 2004

    “The company pagoda (temple) was the twin Vaishnava Chenna Kesava Perumal temple and the Saivite Chenna Mallikeswarar Temple originally built in the first Black Town, where the High Court now is, by Beri Thimappa who helped found the city, and rebuilt at its present site in Flower Bazaar by the Manali Muthukrishna Mudaliar family and other subscribers.”

    Mallikeswarar Temple at Linghi Chetty Street is more than 500 years old. I lived in a house adjacent to Mallikeswarar Temple at Linghi Chetty Street. We conduct the Simha Vahanam festival annually and this year the same is celebrated on April 5, 2006. I will try to get the Sthala Puranam of Mallikeswarar Temple.

    A photo set of last year’s festival in the link below :

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