Dhenupureeswarar Temple, Madambakkam is near Tambaram. Madambakkam is an upcoming suburb of Chennai off Tambaram Velachery Road. The Presiding Deity Dhenupureeswarar got His name because He gave moksha to a cow or Dhenu in Sanskrit. His Consort here is Dhenukambal. The Lord faces East and His Consort faces South in this temple. The Shiva Lingam is Swayam Bhu Lingam or Self Manifested Lingam.
Dhenupureeswarar temple was built by Parantaka Chola, also known as Sundara Chola between 956 – 973 A.D. Sundara Chola was the father of Raja Raja Chola I. Later, the temple was rebuilt by Kulothunga Chola. Additions were later made by the Cheras, Pallavas & Vijayanagara Kings. This temple is under the care of ASI. There are some exquisite sculptures in this temple. The inscriptions also provide a great insight into the history.
The Legend of the temple is associated with Sage Kapila. King Sagara had performed Ashwamedha Yagna. This Yagna is performed by a King to assert his supremacy over the neighbouring Kingdoms. During the yagna a horese is set loose and the king’s army follows it. Whenever the horse enters another kingdom, the king has to either fight or cede his kingdom to the King performing the Ashwamedha Yagna. In this instance, King Sagara’s 60000 sons were following the horse. As it wandered, it entered the ashram of Sage Kapila, who was then in deep meditation. In the meanwhile, Indira who was envious of King Sagara and also fearful of the consequences of a successful Ashwamedha Yagna tied the horse inside the Ashram. The King’s sons who found the horse tied inside the Ashram accused the Sage and wanted to take him into custody for capturing the horse. The Sage grew furious on being accused when he had done no wrong burnt down all the sons of King Sagara. Once he came to know the truth, he was repentant. He performed a puja to Shiva lingam. He was reluctant to place the Lingam on the ground and hence held the Shiva Lingam in his left hand while performing the puja with his other hand. Holding the Shiva Lingam with the left hand is a sin and hence he was to be born as cow for the atonement of his sins. One can see this imgae of Sage Kapila holding Shiva Lingam in his left hand in one of the pillars in the mandapam.
The Sage was born as cow at Madambakkam. The cow used to empty all her milk by performing abishegam to the Shiva Lingam in the forest. The cowherd was upset that he was losing the milk everyday. One day he lost his temper and beat the cow. In spite of the beatings the cow continued her practice of emptying her milk on the Shiva Lingam. One day the cowherd caught the cow in the act and beat her udder. The cow was in great pain. Unable to bear the pain the cow started running, when her hoof hit the Shiva Lingam and a portion in the top of the Lingam broke. This can still be seen in the Shiva Lingam here. The Shiva Lingam also started bleeding. The cowherd who noticed the Shiva Lingam and that it was bleeding. Both the cow and the cowherd then prayed to Lord Shiva for atonement. Lord Shiva appeared before them and pardoned them. He also blessed Sage Kapila who was reborn as the cow with Salvation. Indira is said to have prayed to the Lord at this place.
The vimanam of the Sanctum Sanctorum is a Gajaprushti vimanam which is a feature of quite a few temples built by the Cholas around Chennai. In place of Lingothbavar behind the Sanctum Sanctorum, there is Vishnu.
The weekly puja during the Rahukalam on Sundays (4.30pm to 6 pm) to Sarabeswarar is considered important. It is a staunch belief that all wishes will be fulfilled if one attends this puja for six consecutive weeks. Panguni Uthiram which would occur between the 3rd week of March to the 2nd week of April is the most important festival at this temple.
The temple tank which is adjacent to the temple is quite huge and is well maintained and filled with fresh water. Madambakkam was also known as Chaturvedimangalam in ancient times as it was the home of many vedic scholars who had mastered the Vedas.
Location: The temple is at a distance of about 3 kms from Rajakilpakkam on Tambaram Velachery Road. Buses operating in route 51G, 51k, 18L, X51D, X151, X70C & SM14ET go to Madambakkam. See this link for the frequency.
Temple Timings: 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. & 5.00 p.m. to 8.30 p.m.
Arulmigu Dhenupureeswarar Temple
Chennai 600 073.
Phone: +91- 44- 2228 0424