Every religion has its own defense to the foreign forces and that is why we can still see the diversity of religions and cultures even to this day. The tales of Manakula Vinayagar Temple in Pondicherry is an example of one such defense and rootedness that has saved it from disappearing years ago. Colonisers like British, French and Portuguese tried their best to erase the local faith and traditions in India. But they were less-informed about the age-old history that was binding the people and their beliefs.
Temple Elephant : PC : Rsmn
The French tried their best to remove all Hindu places of worship and traditions in Pondicherry. In vain, their efforts didn't go as they had planned. When they were destroying all the Hindu temples, the French heard about a temple which was near the sea; for them this shrine was of no importance but for the locals this deity was everything.
A deity with the face of an elephant and the body of a human! The colonizers laughed at the idol but locals didn't stop revering this Ganesh idol who was there even before the French came to Pondicherry. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple is more than 500 years old and is there from the time of 1666.
The Sanctum - PC: Rsmn
Legend of Manakula Vinayagar Temple
Once, an atheist French officer decides to destroy this Manakula Vinayakar Temple in Pondicherry. He ordered his troop to take the idol from the sanctum and throw it into the sea. Locals beg the officer to spare the idol as it is a powerful one but he won't listen. His troop took the idol with great difficulty and threw it into the sea. Later, they return to shrine only to see the same statue in the same position. Shocked by this miracle, the colonizer ordered the troop again but same thing happens again.In his fury, he commands to break the idol but in the process the crowbars break into pieces and he only gets hurt. From then onwards, nobody could touch the deity or destroy the shrine.
Earlier, this Ganesha was named as Bhuvaneshwar Ganapthy as he is one of the 16 forms of Ganesha. However, the name Manakula Ganapathy became more popular. Since the temple was near a pond surrounded by the sand, it was called as Manal Kulathu Ganesha but later it was named as Manakula Vinayakar Temple.
PC : Prabhupuducherry
Today, it is one of the prominent temples in Pondicherry. Here the Lord is in the standing position and is decorated with ornaments. Interestingly, this is one of the major Ganesha temples where Lord Ganapathy's marriage to Siddhi and Buddhi is celebrated in a grand way. The temple also has a Golden Chariot used for the procession of Ganesha. It is taken out of the shrine only during the time of Vijayadashami. Devotees can see this chariot inside the temple premises. There is also a temple elephant which is brought to the shrine in the mornings.
So, never miss out on visiting this beautiful and historical temple on your Pondicherry tour. It is said that, once upon a time there were no buildings between the shrine and the sea. Now Manakula Ganesha Temple is one of the major landmarks and also the best tourist places in Pondicherry.
Make a visit and seek the blessings from this powerful Ganesha!
How to Reach Manakula Vinayagar Temple
The Manakula Ganesha Temple is near to Aurobindo Ashram and it is in the heart of the city.
Click: How to Reach Pondicherry