Gangadareeswarar Purasawalkam

Gangadareeswarar Purasawalkam

Saivite Temples, Chennai District


Gangadareeswarar facing east


Pankajambal facing south

Other Gods

Siddhi Vinayak, Bala Subramanya and Vaideeswarar (Shiv Linga) along with Ganesha, Somaskanda, Surya, Chandra, Nalvar, Nagaraj, Bhageerat, Kasi Viswanath, Veerabhadra, Sekkizhar, Kulachirai Nayanar, Shanmuga, Durga, Bhairav, Dakshinamurthy, Bhariav, Maha Ganapati, Subramanya with his consorts Valli and Devasena, Natraj utsav (bronze) idol with Sivakami, Uchishta Ganapati with Siddhi, Shiv Linga with Manonmani, brahma, durga, chandikeswara, kurunda malleeswarar, Satyanarayana, Bana Linga shrine, Navagraha shrine and Ramalinga Adigalar

Gangadareeswarar Purasawalkam is a large east facing temple with a a five tier Rajagopuram at the eastern entrance. The temple tank is north of the temple but is hidden from view outside because of the shops around. A set of ancient deities from the Thiruvenbakkam (Poondi) Oondreeswarar temple were brought here for safe keeping when that temple was excavated and are still in Gangadareeswarar Purasawalkam.

Holy Water – No information

Holy Tree – Purasai (Flame of the Forest, Gulmohar)


Only one Chola inscription has been discovered in Gangadeeswarar Purasawalkam temple in the ancient Tamil script of the Cholas, dating back to the 13th Century CE. This mentions a donation made by a man named Neelakanka­rai­yan to the temple at Tiruvan­miyur. A few other inscriptions have also been found in this temple belonging to the reign of the Vijayanagara King which date back to the 15th Century CE and perhaps belonging to Deva Raya I or Deva Raya II. It is written in the Tamil script of Vijayanagara times. Another inscription belonging to the Vijayanagara times of the 16th century CE in tamil was also discovered here. Another Vijaya­nagara inscription of the 16th Century CE found on the north wall of the sanctum sanctorum, also in Tamil, mentions gifts to the temple. There was an article in Madras Musings in recent times about these details and expressing concern about the way the careless renovations in the past have all but destroyed or damaged these valuable stone inscriptions.


As Lord Shiva held the river Ganga on his head when it was falling from heaven to the earth, the Lord got the name ‘Gangadareeswarar’. It is believed that the king Bhageerath who was trying to bring the river Ganga to the earth prayed to Lord Shiva and only then Shiva let the Ganges to flow down from his head. It is also believed that the site where Gangadareeswarar Purasawalkam is located today is where King Bhageerath prayed to Lord Shiva.

As per another legend, King Bhageerath was cursed. As per the advice from the Saint Narada, he installed 1008 Shiv Lingas in various places. The site where he installed 1008th Shiv Linga is the present day’s Gangadareeswarar Purasawalkam temple. It is also believed that the place where he spilled Ganga water was formed as the temple tank. It is said that there are seven tanks in this temple complex, however only one is seen nowadays.


Gangadareeswarar Purasawalkam is right in the middle of Purasawalkam. Car parking is on the main road a little distance away and very difficult to get.

Stay and Food

Welcome Hotel nearby is an old and very good place to eat, always crowded. There are other hotels nearby – Garden Hotel, Sandhya (which used to, in the days gone by, serve one of the best chappathis and saag etc in chennai, but has become routine food now) and other good restaurants.

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