ABOUT THIS TEMPLE
Bhaktha Mandali (Regd) owns and manages Sri
Rathnagiriswarar Temple in Besant Nagar catering to the spiritual needs of a large number
of devotees in South Madras.
In 1969 the residents of Besant Nagar formed a Society and later registered it under the Societies Registration Act in 1972 under the name 'BHAKTHA MANDALI (REGD). The various aims and objectives of this Society included place of worship for the welfare of the people in and around Besant Nagar.
With this objective, Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt was approached to seek His blessings for constructing a small temple. He blessed the project and foretold that the devotees would find a Sivalinga in the seashore off Thiruvanmiyur coast. He directed that this idol could be installed and a temple constructed. After a search for over three months, the devotees found the Siva Linga. Sri Mahadeva Iyer (father of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt in his poorvashrama) helped the devotees in retrieving the idol from the seashore and brought it to Besant Nagar. Sri Mahakalikudi Ramanatha Swamigal installed on the sacred day of Maha Sivarathri on the 7th March 1970, the Sivalinga at the place where the temple stands now.
Sri Paramacharyal of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt named the Siva Linga as 'SRI RATHNAGIRISWARAR' and asked the devotees to construct a pucca temple with His con-sort 'SRI ARALAKESI'. Sri Paramacharya instructed that the' temple be constructed in line with the ancient temple at the Ayyarmalai in Kulitalai in Trichy District.
Lord Rathnagiriswarar faces West as in the case of Sri Kapaleeswarar and Sri Marundeeswarar temples in Mylapore and Thiruvanmiyur respectively. Another very special feature of this temple is that the Siva Linga is installed exactly opposite to the Rudrabhoomi (the cremation ground in Besant Nagar) as desired by His Holiness Sri Paramacharya.
Dieties in this Temple
Over the years, the temple has grown in size. It
attracts a large number of devotees every day. There are separate Sannadhis for Adi
Sankara Bhagavadpada,. Lord Vinayaka (this Vinayaka Idol was originally worshipped by
Ramana Maharishi at Thiruvannamalai), Sri Rathnagiriswarar, Sri Aralakesi Ambal, Sri Valli
Deivayanai Sametha Sri Subramanya, Sri Rama, Sri Anjaneya, and Navagraha; in the
Ghoshtams, Sri Durga, Sri Brahma, Sri Maha Vishnu, Sri Dakshinamoorthy and Sri Nardana
Vinayakar are installed.
Rituals & Poojas conducted
The Rahukala Pooja in the temple conducted under
the auspices of Durga Mandali (a ladies' wing of Bhaktha Mandali) attracts a very large
number of women devotees every Tuesday during Rahukalam.
Every day, the rituals in the temple are performed with Vedic recital by a band of over 25 dedicated and well-read Vedic scholars who had occupied distinguished positions in several walks of life. This is a special feature of this temple. The Abhishekams etc. are performed daily amidst chanting of Rudram, Chamakam etc.
Maha Pradosham is another very popular function. After Kapaleeswarar Temple, the religious throng for this function exceeds a thousand. The Rishabaroodar tastefully decorated and mounted on Rishaba Vahanam attracts large number of devotees.
The temple is managed by a team of dedicated devotees drawn from various fields and maintained with all religious sanctity as enshrined in ancient Agama Sastras.
Our Organisaton is a foremost charitable institution in the South. We have been regularly doing Annadhanam to the needy and downtrodden, and at times of cyclone and heavy rains, we have been helping the fishermen of this locality numbering over 1000 by way of free distribution of rice, clothes etc.
We also run a medical centre in the temple premises catering to the medical needs of a large number of poor and economically weaker sections of the Society. On an average, over 100 people are benefited by way of receiving medical attention every day.
During the month of Margazhi, children numbering over 1000 are encouraged by way of reciting Thirupavai and Thiruvempavai songs early in the mornings. At the end of the month, all of them are distributed with suitable mementos and prizes.
In recognition of our activities, donations to Bhaktha Manda1i are exempt under section 80G of the Income tax Act.
The first Kumbabishekam for the temple was
performed in 1975 by His Holiness Sri Sankarachrya Swamigal of Sakatapuram Mutt, who also
performed the second kumbabishekam in 1978. Ashthabandana Maha Kumbabishekam was performed
on 14-9-86 in the immediate presence of His Holiness Swami Paramarthananda (disciple of
Swami Dayananda Saraswathi). On the last day of the Mandalabhishekam Jagadguru Bharathi
Theertha Maha Swamigal, Sannidhanam of Sringeri Mutt, was present and blessed the
A new Rajagopurarn has now been constructed as per the directions and guidance of Sri Paramacharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt. It has five tiers and is 40 feet high. Padmasri M.Muthiah Sthapathy, a World-renowned Sthapathy, has constructed this Rajagopuram.
The Maha Kumbabishekam for the newly constructed Rajagopuram was conducted on the 18th June 1992, by Their Holiness Sri Jayandra Saraswathi Swamigal and Sri Sankara Vijayendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt.