Sowcarpet Temple and the Lahore Connection
During the Third Chennai Photowalk on January 13, 2007, we came across Bairagi Madam Arulmigu Thiruvengadamudayan Venkatesa Perumal Thirukovil in General Muthiah Mudali Street at Sowcarpet. Though some snaps were taken we did not go inside the temple.
While I was reading a book on Chennai Koyilgal, a Vikatan Publication, by B Swaminathan, I found there is a Lahore connection to this temple. Around 1800 A D a sanyasi from Lahore came to Chennai and started staying in the area where the temple is located. This temple is about 420 years old and the then presiding deity was Lord Rama.Laldas to facilitate the stay for the devotees coming from North India, constructed a madam called Bairagi madam. Laldas became too attached with the temple and the place and he started residing in the Bairagi Madam.
Legend goes that the present day presiding deity Venkatesa Perumal, came in the dream of Laldas and directed him to renovate the temple and to construct a Sannidhi (sanctum sanctorum) for him and Alarmel Mangai Thaayar.
He started implementing the work by seeking assistance from the local people. Mobilised money by singing Bhajans in the streets. Some people helped him and some made fun of him. At this point, he started using the skill of converting copper into gold (alchemy), bestowed on him by the Lord, and raised money by selling the gold and used the same for building the temple as directed by Lord Venkatesa Perumal..
Knowing that Laldas is a Mahaan, the local people helped him to complete the task of renovating the temple as desired by the Lord.
Presently Lahore does not form part of India. But it is good to know the Lahore connection with Chennai.
(This post relies on the information contained in Chennai Kovilgal authored by B Swaminathan and published by Vikatan Publications)