Several times, when travelling by train from southern places to Chennai, I’ve always spotted this huge lake, a waterbody as soon as I crossed Chengalpattu / Chengalpet. And usually those Chennai trains, reach Chennai, at around 6 or 7. And I wake up at Chengalpattu early in the morning to pack up my blanket etc. As soon as I wake up, I look out of the window and I get an amazing view of this lake.
Everytime I saw this, I wanted to venture to this lake, just for the sake of visiting this lake. And the fine day came. A friend wanted a break so badly, and we thought why not this lake. And my mom told us to visit a temple also in the locality.
Going to Chengalpet is best done by local electric train and we did the same. We reached Chengalpet at around 9 and we first ventured to the temple.
The Lord here is and Kodhanda Ramaswamy. Lord Rama is an re-incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is seated here in the position as sitting as a groom. Goddess Sita is seated beside him here as a bride on his left. On his right is his brother Lakshmanan. On either sides are their brothers Bharathan and Sathruganan and also Hanuman. It was so unusual to see Bharathan and Sathruganan in the Sanctum Sanctorum. This was the first time I saw this. Bronze figurines are here of the same people. Other shrines in the Ardha Mandapam are of the 12 Azhwars. This temple was built in 1041 AD.
The speciality of this temple is the shrine of Hanuman / Anjaneya. So, what’s so special about this? The Hanuman here is seen with Sani under his legs, i.e., crushing him under his feet. Here comes, the legend: The south Indian people know very well about ‘Ezharai Sani’. For others, lemme tell you what it is. In the astrological terms, it’s a period of seven and a half years, in which Saturn (Sani) sojourns on, before, and after the Lagnam point, each 2 ½ years respectively.
In Ramayana, when Sita was carried away by Ravana, Lord Rama was in his mission to rescue her with the help of the Monkey Army inclusive of Hanuman / Anjaneya. He was standing at the edge of India to jump to Lanka. It was the very moment when Saturn came over to get hold of him for Ezharai Sani. Hanuman told him, since he was on a mission, he would finish the work, and come back to him. However since the war started soon after that, Hanuman couldn’t get back. So when the Rama’s army started to build the bridge to Lanka, Saturn came again to get hold of Hanuman. Now he couldn’t get rid of him. So Hanuman requested him to get hold of only a part of his body and that would be his head. Saturn accepted. That is where the trick was: Hanuman was carrying boulders and rocks to build the bridge, on his head. Now those rocks were above Saturn’s head and Saturn literally got crushed between the boulders and Hanuman’s head. So Saturn said he would get hold of his feet. Hanuman let him and before he could get hold of the feet, Hanuman crushed him to the ground. Now Saturn almost pleaded Hanuman to let him go!!! And Hanuman did, finally!!! As Saturn left, he said that all devotees of Hanuman and all those who even think of Hanuman for a moment also would not be affected by Saturn. The Shrine was on the left of the main Sanctum Sanctorum.
We circumambulated in the temple. I was taken back in time to see the school kids of 10th and 12th exams here praying desperately just before exams.
After spotting some fabulous epitaphs, from here we walked up to the railway station. I enquired there about Kolavai Lake and I was directed to The Boat House. We took an auto and reached there. Best view could be gotten from the water tank located at some distance from the railway station. But this is inaccessible from the road, unless we crossed the railway track - A risk I didn’t want to take with this friend!!!
Yes, the Boat house doesn’t function here anymore. But there was a boat with people rowing it. I enquired one of them and guess who I met – They were a part of the National Disaster Management Team – a wing of defence force.
I always get inspired and have a great respect and pride at our defence forces and I was so happy to meet them. They were here as a part of the training for boat rowing. From there, we came back to the railway station.
I took a couple of shots from railway station itself. I spotted a few Pelicans and a few egrets. But the number of birds were not so much as that of Perungudi Lake. That might also be because of the time and the mid day summer heat. May be if we had ventured there during the dawn, we might have spotted many more. And took our train back home.
To Reach There:
Outskirts of South Chennai, Chengalpet:
From Tambaram: 34 km
From Tindivanam: 66 km
Frequent Train and Bus service available from Tambaram.
Kodhandaramar aka Veera Anjaneyar Temple: Walkable from Chengalpet railway station. Would take about 10 mins through little lanes. Enquire for Ramakrishna School. This temple is located just beside this school.
Ph no. of Priest Janarthanan: +91 94447 79392
Ph. no of Temple Secretary Ramalingam: +91 94435 21378
Kolavai Lake: The best view is from the Water Tank which is inaccessible. The second best view is from the last platform of the railway station itself.
Best time for Bird Watching: Nov-Jun
Dedicated to Vaishu.