The Manakula Vinayagar Temple is an ancient Hindu temple in the Union Territory of Puducherry. Sri Ganesha is the main deity in this temple. This is a popular pilgrimage site and tourist destination in Pondicherry. The name of the temple, Manakula Vinayagar Temple, comes from two Tamil words. “Manal” means sand, and “Kulam” means a pond near the sea.
At one point during the rule of Dupleix, there were efforts made to demolish the temple. However, this plan was abandoned due to the strong protests from the local Hindu community and the fear of possible invasions by the British and Maratha forces into the territory.
Sri Manakula Vinayagar Temple existed before the French arrived and settled in Pondicherry, that is to say, before 1666. According to Sasthra, Sri Ganesh is named in 16 types based on his different forms in which this God oriented eastward coast near the Bay of Bengal. Earlier Manakula Vinayagar Temple is known as Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy. In Tamil, “Manal” means sand and “Kulam” means pond near the sea, which was previously filled with sand around the pond. So people called the God Manal Kulathu Vinayagar [means God near the pool of sand]. Later, he received the name of Manakula Vinayagar.
Jesuits and missionaries tried to demolish Manakula Vinayaka but were unable to demolish the temple. In 1700, the French banned the holding of poojas and festivals, especially on Fridays in the temple. All the Hindus who worshipped Lord Vinayaga opposed and migrated to the English territory of Moratandi.
Manakula Vinayaka Temple is home to various forms of Lord Vinayaka. Among them is Nardhana Vinayaka, representing a dancing form of Lord Vinayaka. The temple had a devoted follower named Thollaikasu Siddha, who was a siddha. Notable figures like Mahakavi Bharathi, Swami Arvinda, and Annai were also frequent visitors of the temple.
Every day, Annadhanam, the act of providing food to devotees, takes place at the temple. You can witness various forms of Lord Vinayaka when you visit this sacred place.
People generously place their offerings in the donation box (Hundi). It’s worth noting that U.S. citizens once presented a diamond crown to Lord Vinayaka, making him a deity who is worshipped internationally.
Devotees perform a ritual called Abhishek to the deity using substances like oil, fruit juices, honey, milk, yogurt, gold (Swarna), conch shells (Sankabishekam), and sacred pots (Kalasas).
In India, it is the only Ganesh temple with a tower entirely covered with gold. Ganesha has three legs, a rare feature not seen anywhere else. The wedding feast is celebrated for the Lord only in this temple. Siddhi and Buddhi are his wives. Sri Manakula Vinayagar Brahmothsavam festival is celebrated every year for 24 days in August and September.
The entry is free and it is open from 5:45 AM to 12:30 PM and from 4:00 PM from 9:30 PM on all days. One can explore the temple in 1 hour. There is no strict dress code but decent outfit recommended.
Manakula Vinayagar Temple Golden Chariot
The golden chariot was created solely through donations from devoted worshippers. It’s made of 7.5 kg of gold, valued at approximately Rs. 35 lakhs. The chariot is 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It’s crafted from teakwood covered in copper plates intricately engraved with beautiful artwork, and these plates are adorned with golden decorations.
On October 5, 2003, the Golden Chariot made its grand debut, and it has since become a focal point for devotees. Many are eager to participate by pulling the chariot within the temple premises, for which they pay a fixed fee.
Once a year, specifically on Vijayadhasami day, the Golden Chariot is taken outside the temple and paraded along the maada veedhis (main streets) as part of a special celebration.
Pondicherry Manakula Vinayagar Temple Timings:
Morning: 5.45 am to 12.30 pm
Evening: 4.00 pm to 09.30 pm
Timings are subject to change during Festival days and Holidays.
Abishegam Timings: 6.30 am every day for Devotees 11.00 am Monday to Thursday for Devotees (Except Festival Days Evening Abhishegam for Night Dharshanam)
Sankatahara Chatturtti Abishegam (4 Times)
Morning: 6.30 am & 11.00 am
Evening: 4.30 pm & 9.00 pm
Pondicherry Vinayaka Temple History:
The French built a fort here in 1688. The temple behind this fort was the Manakula Vinayakar temple. It was near the sandy seashore (Manal) and therefore the reservoir became known as Manarkulam – Manakkulam. Many government manuals also confirm this fact. It was in the eastern part of this tank that the temple was built known as the Manakkula Vinayakar temple and it became very popular in the following days.
Another old story connected to this temple tells us that about 300 years ago, a saint with bright eyes and a broad forehead achieved samadhi (a deep meditative state) at this sacred location as part of his spiritual journey towards liberation. Since then, this place has been seen as an auspicious spot, particularly for newborn babies.
Bhuvaneshar Ganapathy Temple Pooja Timings:
Nadai Thirapu – 5.45 AM
Kaalasanthi(Morning) Abishegam – 6.30 AM
Theeparathanai – 7.30 AM
Uchikaalam – 11.00 AM
Nadai Sathal – 12.30 PM
Nadai Thirapu – 4.00 PM
Saiyangalam(Evening) Abishegam – 4.30 PM
Theeparathanai – 5.30 PM
Arthajama Pooja – 9.00 PM
Nadai Sathal – 9.30 PM
Spadigalingam Pooja Daily 11.00 AM
Friday, Saturday & Sunday Uchikaala Poojai will start from 12.00 Noon to 1.00 PM with Mahatheeparathani
Puducherry Vinayagar Temple Sevas:
- Archanai Ticket
- Iyyappan Malai
- Two Wheeler & Three Wheeler
- Four Wheeler & Heavy Vehicle
- Saharasra Nama Archanai
- Thirukoil Vazhigatti
- Moolavar Abishegam
- Sandhana Kappu
- Silver Chariot Urchavar
- Moolavar – American Diamond Kavasam
- Moolavar – Navarathna Diamond Kavasam
- Golden Chariot Urchavar
- Vennai Kappu
- Ganapathy Homam
- Gaja Poojai
- ThiruKalyana Urchavam Urchavar
- Moolavar – Gold Kavasam
- 108 Sangabishegam
How To Reach Manakula Vinayagar Temple:
Pondicherry Airport is the nearest Airport, which is 4.17 km away from the temple, and Chennai International Airport is 147 km away.
Puducherry Railway Station is only 1.7 km away, and Villupuram railway station is 41 km from the temple. Private cabs are available from here.
There are a number of state and private buses ply at frequent intervals from major cities.
Manakula Vinayagar Temple Address:
Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Thirukoil
Manakula Vinayagar Koil Street,
Puducherry – 605001.
Phone : +91 413 2336544