Sri Jalakantheswara Temple & Maha Periyava

Jaya Jaya Sankara Hara Hara Sankara – It is indeed a privilege and blessing to know about the following temples in IITM campus. Feel very fortunate to read about Sri Jalakanteswara that has a lot of history behind it. Let us all plan to visit this temple and get our Periyava’s blessing. Here’s the address:

IIT Madras through the following gates:

Main Gate (in and out) : Opposite to C.L.R.I and beside The Adyar Cancer Institute, on Sardar Patel Road, Adyar, Chennai.

Many Jaya Jaya Sankara to Shri S.Venkatesh for the share. Rama Rama

Sri Jalakantheswara Temple & Maha Periyava

Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) was commissioned in 1957. There are three temples inside the IITM campus:

Sri Jalakantheswara temple on the Delhi Avenue
Sri Peeliamman Temple on the Delhi Avenue near the stadium
Sri Varasidhdhi Vinayaka Temple behind Taramani Guest House

These deities have been much before IITM was established. However, no written record of these temples is available with the temples regarding their history in the pre-IITM period. To reconstruct the history of these temples, informal interviews were conducted with the people connected to the area before and during the establishment of IITM. In order to gain the archaeological view point we sought the help of Dr. Nagaswamy, a renowned archaeologist and epigraphist. He served as the Director of Archaeology of Tamil Nadu state Government for 22years. This document is a summary of the findings of this exercise.

Sri Jalakanteswara Temple

The Jalakantheswara temple is located near the main gate of IITM on the Delhi Avenue. The main deity in this temple is Lord Shiva worshipped as Jalakantheswara along with his consort Devi Katyayani.

Prior to the establishment of IITM, the Shiva linga was present under a mandapam with a thatched roof near the IITM lake area and was awe-inspiring by its size. Residents of the nearby villages offered daily worship to the Shiva lingam.

During the establishment of IITM, the residents of IITM approached Maha Periyavaa (Kanchi Kamakoti Peethadhipathi Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamiji) about the procedure to be followed for worshipping the linga. He told them to construct a temple and continue the puja.

When the question of naming the Lord arose, Maha Periyavaa told them that there was no need to give a new name to the lingam since it had been previously worshipped by Appaya Deekshitar (Appaya Deekshitar (1520-1593) was an Advaita Vedanta scholar who composed the famous Margabandhu Stotram and Atmarpana stuti).

Maha Periyavaa told them that the lingam had been previously worshipped as “Jalakantheswara”. He also directed them to check the documents available in the nearby Raj Bhavan for further details.

According to the information furnished by the Controller of Raj Bhavan area in 1959, the precincts of the temple had formed the route from an ancient place of worship in Vedashreni (present Velachery to Thiruvanmiyur and had been frequented by great saints including Appaya Deekshitar.

During a recent visit to Kanchipuram, Balaperiyavaa (Kanchi Kamakoti Peethadhipathi Jagadguru Sri Shankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamiji) mentioned that the then king performed the Shastiabdapurthi (60th birthday) of Appaya Deekshitar in the temple where the Jalakantheshwara lingam had been present.

The construction of the present Jalakantheswara temple started around 1962 and was finished in 1965. The Vimana Kalasam of Sri Jalakantheswara weighs about 300 kg. The first Kumbhabhishekam of Sri Jalakantheswara temple was performed on 18 June, 1965 in the holy presence of Pudu Periyavaa (Kanchi Kamakoti Peethadhipathi Jagadguru Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamiji).

Sringeri Sharada Peethadhipati Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Swamiji visited the temple on 7 November, 1965, while Maha Periyavaa himself visited the temple on 20 February, 1966.

Based on the information available, the lingam is at least 400 years old.

In the souvenir printed about the Sri Jalakantheswara temple kumbhabhishekam in 1986, the following text is present. The story of the lingam, summarized from the reading of the Kakabujander Nadi which was with the Raj Bhavan authorities is as follows:

There was a Gandharva Kumaran by name of Vanavilangan. While he was passing through the sky, he spotted a lovely lake with a charming swan on it. He attempted to capture and take the swan away but as the swan was goddess “Kali” herself, she cursed Vanavilangan that he would become a stone. The gandharva kumaran accepted the punishment but prayed to the Goddess for redemption. The Goddess relented and commanded him to build a temple and perform penance as a stone, until he was redeemed by the touch of holy feet of Thrikala Gnanis and saints. Comforted by this blessing of the Goddess, he built a temple where goddess rested and established a shiva lingam at the foot of which he lays as a stone for ages, until he regained his original form. The lingam was shifted as years passed, and once a king (hunter) attained salvation by spotting it. Finally a Brahmin Yogi with great efforts lifted the lingam and planted at the bank of the lake, where it was subsequently found in 1959. Then adi describes the shivalingam as a composite whole, fusing Lord Jalakantheswara and Devi Katyayani as one cognate expression of universal peace,prosperity, and glory.”

The following photographs were taken from souvenir printed during the Kumbhabhishekam of Sri Jalakanteswara temple conducted in 1986 including Kumbhabhishekam to Jalakantheswara temple vimanam in the presence of Puduperiyavaa, The vimanakalasam weighs about 300kg. Also seen been below is Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Swamiji of Sringeri Sharadapeetham visiting Sri Jalakantheswara temple on 07 Nov 1965. Maha periyavaa visiting Sri Jalakantheswara temple on 20 Feb 1966. Also seen in photographs are Prof Krishnamurty, Sri Y.S.Ramaswamy and Sri T.R.Rajagopal.(Courtesy IITM Heritage center)

1. Sri Jalakanteswara

2. Devi Katyayani

3. Kumbhabhishekam to Jalakantheswara temple vimanam in the presence of Puduperiyavaa, The vimanakalasam weighs about 300kg.

4. Jagadguru Sri Abhinava Vidyatheertha Swamiji of Sringeri Sharadapeetham visiting Sri Jalakantheswara temple on 07 Nov 1965

5. Maha periyavaa visiting Sri Jalakantheswara temple on 20 Feb 1966


Categories: Announcements, Devotee Experiences

6 replies

  1. Jaya Jaya Sankara – Nice to know the great history behind the temple which that is more than 400 years old.

  2. Thanks Dr.Krishnaraj for the details regarding the temple we had the fortune of frequenting as students of IIT.
    Nostalgic thoughts of those days when some of our respected rendered voluntary services as Poojaris when full time Poojaris were not available !

  3. Unknown to many like me, I thank you for your post. Will definitely visit the temple and get the blessings of Lord Jalakanteswara and Katyayini.
    Viswanath R

  4. Nice info

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