Strange Stories about 50 Ganesh Temples in Tamil Nadu (Post No.3118)

gaja puja ganesh

Written by London swaminathan


Date: 3 September 2016


Time uploaded in London: 17-14


Post No.3118


Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.


Lord Krishna is known for his pranks, naughty deeds and sometimes mischiefs to help his devotees. Next comes Lord Ganesh, popularly known as Pillayar in Tamil, in that line. There are lot of stories about fifty famous Ganapathy/ Ganesh shrines in Tamil Nadu. But he does all these to help his devotees. His name Vigna +Eswaran has positive and negative connotations. He gives troubles to those who ignore him and removes troubles of those who worship him.


Tamils are familiar with two old legends. When Narada came with a single mango fruit with a condition that it should not be cut into two and if it is cut it will lose its magical properties. So Lord Shiva set up a contest to his two children, Lord Ganesh and Lord Kartikeya, that whoever circles the world first would get that fruit. Lord Ganesh was very clever and he circled his father and mother and said that he had done it. Hindus believe that Parvati and Parameswara are Jagata Pitarau (Parents to the entire world) and so he won the contest. But Lord Subrahmanya/ Kartikeya went very fast on his peacock Vahana around the world and came back as quickly as possible. When he came to know how his elder brother Ganesh won the contest he became angry and left home for a mountainous abode called Palani.

ganesh gold

Another episode is that Shiva went on a mission without worshipping Ganesh and his chariot wheels broke down. Later he pacified Lord Ganesh and went on his way. Tamil poet Arunagirinathar has sung about it.


Both of these stories are very old stories. There are new stories, mostly local, about Ganesh shrines in 50 plus odd places.


Let me start from my old Home Town Madurai. The famous Meenakshi Temple has an 8 feet tall Ganesh statue. Every year on the  Ganesh Chathurthy day, a big Modakam (Round sweet ) is made with 21 kilo ingredients. In the same temple there is another small Vignesh which is bathed with holy ash (Vibhuti). And another famous street corner Ganapathy (Ganesh) is Nehru Alala Sundara Vinayaka. When atheist Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Madurai, his motorcade was stopped in front of the temple and he worshipped that Ganesh (made to worship!!). From that day the Ganesh temple was named after Nehru, the atheist.


1000 Sugarcane Pillayar of Kumbakonam

There is an interesting story about a small Ganapathy temple in Kumbakonam. A sugar merchant came with a cart load of sugar cane just harvested, to the town. There came a little boy and asked for a sugar cane. He refused to give him the sugar cane. Next day when he woke up all the sugar cane were crushed and only the stems were remaining. Later he realised that the boy was actually Lord Ganesh and then he offered 1000 sugarcanes to Lord Ganesh and from that day the shrine is called Karumbaayiram Pillayar i.e. 1000 sugarcane Ganesh shrine.

Very near Madurai, there is a cave temple in Tirupparankundram, where there is a carved figure of Ganesh.


colour ganesh from madur kulasekar

There are more stories about Tirusegattankudi Vatapi Ganapathy, Pillayarpatti Cave Temple Ganapathy, Naughty Vinayaka (Polla Pillayar), “Tap on the temples” Ganesh (Thada Pada Kuttu), Uchi Pillayar, Manakkulam Pillayar etc.

In London (United Kingdom), there are four Ganesh Temples, all run by Tamils.


I will tell you more stories in the next post.


To be continued………………

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