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CHENNAI: As part of the Madras Week Celebrations, the Madras Literary Society will be hosting a slew of events, one of which will be a special talk on ‘Temples in and around Chennai’ by renowned historian Chithra Madhavan. Speaking to City Express on the subject of her lecture, Chithra elaborated on the connection between the city and its temples. “Most of these temples are very old, ancient even, dating back to the Chola dynasty,” said Chithra.

“Though people know the famous temples within the city, there are quite a few historic ones in the surrounding areas. I will be elaborating on one such temple in Thiruvalangadu, about one-and-a-half-hour drive towards Arakkonam,” she said. “The name Thiruvalangadu means ‘sacred banyan grove’, where the presiding deity is Vattaranyeshwarar. Even today, the sacred tree there is a banyan tree.”

Apart from this, Chithra will be talking about 10 other temples, including one in Thiruvallur, where the presiding deity is Veeraraghavaperumal — a form of Lord Vishnu, and and also in Thirukkazhukundram, where there is an ancient Shiva temple on a hill.

“The interesting part is that halfway up the hill there is a cave temple that dates back to the Pallava dynasty,” smiles Chithra. So are there any lesser known but yet equally historic temples in Chennai?  “Absolutely! The Gandishwara temple in Velachery, the Dhanupurishwaran temple in Madambakkam, the Rama temple in Unamancheri (near the Vandalur Zoo), and several temples in Mylapore like the Karneeshwarar temple and the Virupakshishwarar temple, which have had renovation recently. These temples are of great historic importance with respect to their inscriptions.”