Sunday, May 4, 2014
Temple of learning
For many Chennai-ites, it is a reflex action to touch their chest and forehead as they pass a temple. Some slow down their vehicles to do that, and several have specific shrines on their daily route, where they would stop to say their prayers. And then there are occasions or purposes when the daily darshan is not enough, when one has to go to a specific place to pray to that deity who is in charge of the occasion or purpose (think CA Anjaneyar).
It is therefore something of a surprise that the one temple dedicated to Saraswati, the Goddess of Wisdom and Learning, is quite un-frequented most of the time. True, it is not a temple in the 'traditional' style, but is rather a large hall with a stage where Saraswati is placed. Maybe it needs a few more decades before it gets the acceptance that can bring the crowds in. Or maybe it is just the way it is named.
Situated on Venkatnarayana Road in T. Nagar, this is the Sringeri Sarada Peetam, run by the Sringeri Mutt. Founded by Adi Shankara in the 9th century, the main deity at the Sringeri Mutt is Saraswati in the form of Devi Sharada. It is in this form that she is worshipped at this temple as well. Maybe if they changed their name to include Saraswati, this would be a place where school children - or, more likely, their parents - would flock to during exam times!