Dedicated to Lord Ganesha, Manakula Vinayagar Koil is a Hindu temple in Pondicherry. Located in the White Town of Pondicherry, Manakula Vinayagar Koil is more than 500-year-old. With that fact of being one of the oldest shrines in the region, Manakula Vinayagar Koil is counted amongst highly revered as well as the most popular Hindu temples in Pondicherry. The name of the temple is derived from two Tamil words ‘Manal’ which stands for sand and ‘Kulam’ which refers to Pond near the sea. The literal meaning of the temple goes back to the time of its construction when there was a pond which was engirdled by sand, and hence, the name Manakula comes. Throughout the year, the temple is visited by a large pack of devotees to commemorate the Lord. Sprawls over a large area of 7913 sq ft, this shrine boasts a beautiful architectural design which includes a raja gopuram, mandapam and a prahara - the place where the images of deities are kept.
With a height of 18 m, the gold laminated kodi kambam is the main feature of the entire architecture of the temple. Besides, the temple also depicts the tales and events from Hindu Mythology that are beautifully dotted the walls. The idol of presiding deity of the temple rests on a Golden Chariot which is built out of teak wood and gold racks that together proffers an intricate design to this chariot. Just for the fact, the gold used on this chariot weighs a total of 7.5 kg. Throughout the year, the temple also celebrates a number of Hindu festival that marks a heavy gathering of devotees from far and wide. Of those, Ganesh Chaturthi is one major celebration which is observed at the temple with all devotion and ardour. The festival is celebrated in the month of August - September. Besides, another major festivity at Manakula Vinayagar Koil is observed every year during the time of Dussehra. In this festival, the chariot is carried out in public and devotees come to have a glimpse and also to take blessings of Lord Ganesha. On a whole, a visit to this sacred Hindu shrines in Pondicherry is worth an experience of your time.
Legend and History
The legend associated with Manakula Vinayagar Koil goes like this, some 300 years ago, there was a saint with the name Thollaikkathu Siddhar who successfully established samadhi inside this temple compound. Since then the temple of Manakula Vinayagar is considered to be auspicious when brings an infant to this temple.
Another legend that rotates around this temple tells that the French people constructed a fort at this site in the year 1688 and the Manakula Vinayagar Koil was located right behind this fort. That time, the site was engirdled with sand and shore on which the temple has got its name.
Manakula Vinayagar Koil, Francois Martin Street, White Town, Puducherry, 605001.
The temple remains open for all days from 5:45 AM to 12:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM.
Best Time to Visit
The months from October to March, i.e., the winter season is the best time to visit Manakula Vinayagar Temple. Also, at the time of Dussehra, which is observed during this season, the temple enjoys a heavy gathering of devotees from far and wide corners of the country. The season of winter in Pondicherry is all about cool, calm and pleasant temperature.