Arulmigu Mahalakshmi Temple - History
The temple is located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal, Besant Nagar Beach, Besant Nagar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. this is the only temple dedicated to Sri Mahalaksahmi, the Consort of Sriman Narayanan (Sri Mahavishnu), on the east coast in Tamil Nadu.
The Vedas and Puranas say that Goddess Lakshmi has emerged out of the oceans when the Devas and Asuras churned the Milky Ocean. Mahavishnu married Her and They both fulfill the desires of the devotees. Goddess Lakshmi is the deity who grants the Eightfold Achievements (Ashtama Siddhis) and Eightfold Wealth( Ashta Iswaryam). As both Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi(with Her eight forms) reside in this temple it is known as the Ashtalakshmi Temple. It is befitting to have a temple constructed and consecrated on the shores facing the sea for Goddess Lakshmi whose birthplace is the sea.
Consecration (First Kumbhabhishekam Kudamuzhukku):
The temple was constructed at the efforts taken by the devotees under the leadership of the erudite Scholar Mukkur Srinivasa Vardachariyar and others. The foundation was land in the year 1974.The first Consecration Ceremony.
(Kumbhabhishekam -Kudamuzhukku) was done on 5 th April,1976.The Department of Hindu Religious aND Charitable Endowments,Tamil Nadu,are administering it.An Executive Officer is functioning as the care-taker to look after the day-to-day affairs.
Special Features :
The temple was designed and constructed in the shape of ‘AUM’,the First Vedic Mantra, Pranava. The everlasting roaring waves of the Bay of Bengal reverberate the pranava Sound and remind one that the God and Goddess reside in the pranava Sound. As the temple is in the AUM shape it is well known as the OMKHARAKSHETRA.
Ashtanga Vimana :
As the temple is dedicated to Mahavishnu and Ashta Lakshmis, the construction is on the models of Ashtanga vimana (Eight Parts) style. This is one of the very ancient styles of temple construction. This Ashtanga vimana style is found in Tirukkotiyur Where Sri Ramanuja learnt the meaning of the Ashtakshara mantra at the feet of Tirukkotiyur Nambi, Madurai (Koodalazhagar), Tiruttangal, Kanchi(Vaikuntanathar Temple) and Uttiramerur.
This temple has three floors,the Ground floor,the First floor and the Second floor and steps to each floor.This three tier system is the speciality of the ashtanga vimana style.The three forms of Lord Vishnu – Standing,Sitting and Reclining –are depicted in each floor. in the ground floor Mahavishnu and Mahalakshmi are in the standing posture.In the four corners of each of the other two tires are the shrines for the Eight Lakshmis.
Generally, temples are built on the basic six principles viz.,Adishtanam (Stationary Place -abode),Paadam ( Feet –pedastal),Prastaram(Walls) ,Khandam(Neck),Sikaram(Head) and Stupi(Copula -tower).This is known as Sashtangam (Six Parts or Divisions).In Ashtangavimanam,on Khandam,another floor is constructed with Prastaram (Walls),Khandam (neck),Sikaram(head) and Stupi(tower).
In this temple.below the Stupi,in the Sikaram area, is consecrated the Dhanalakshmi. on the Precincts,are the other shrines for Gajalashmi,Santhanalashmi,Vijayalakshmi and Vidyalakshmi in the Khandam areas.on the Groundfloor,in the Prastara area,are consecrated the three Lakshmis – Adi Lakshmi,Dhanya Lakshmi and Dhairya Lakshmi.
In the main Sanctum Sanctorum is consecrated the deity of Mahalakshmi with Mahavishnu, as the presiding deity of the Temple.
As this temple is considered the abode of the Eight Lakshmis (Ashta Lakshmis),it is well know as AshtaLakshmi Temple at Chennai.
Under one Vimanam (Turret) , eight shrines are constructed sideways and above on the two tiers.