At Sea's Backyard, a 12-Foot Matsya Narayana

Tucked away off the East Coast Road in Uthandi, this Vishnu temple built by Chinmaya Mission offers a place for meditation, group chanting and relaxed worship on weekends with the waves for company

Published: 03rd February 2016 06:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd February 2016 06:22 AM   |  A+A-

The rhythm of the ocean’s waves blends with the serene setting at Chinmaya Tarangini off ECR at Uthandi. But this ‘temple’ to Matsya Narayana is not really a temple — the idols are not within four walls; there is a pebbled path that provides accupressure when you walk on it barefeet; and there is enough greenery and space for one to sit peacefully and meditate.

The main idol is a 12-ft granite rendition of Lord Vishnu in Matsya (fish) avatar surrounded by 108 granite pillars. Each nine-foot pillar has inscriptions from Vishnu Sahasranamam and Ashtothra Shatha Namavali of Swami Chinmayananda, with the inscriptions in Tamil and Sanskrit, and also translations in English. There are also Ganesha, Shiva and Hanuman idols in the meditation park.

“All the statues are open to the sky. It’s a place where people can relax and meditate,” says Geeta Menon, trustee, Madras Chinmaya Seva Trust.

And this is exactly what people like Seshan PV, a college student from Pallavaram, do. “I come here every weekend with family. It’s adjacent to the beach, so we can combine a spiritual outing with a casual one,” he says. “The best part about the temple are the pillars — I have read almost every inscription,” he says, adding that he likes Lord Shiva and Vishnu, but it’s rare to find both deities in the same place.

“We get about 200 visitors every day,” says Vijay Singh, the temple priest. “On Saturdays, the number reaches 500. Many people from the fishing community nearby visit here often.”

“All the events here like the Gayatri Mantra chanting are open to men and women, to all communities and all levels of society. That is the need of the hour,” adds Geeta. For many events, people in the community bring along their own instruments like nadaswaram.”

During the floods, Chinmaya Mission helped the fishing community nearby with relief matrials. So far, 18 fishing boats have been donated, while 41 more will be given.

It’s a Sunday and you can hear the sound of bhajans wafting through the air. Close your eyes and hear the instruments merging with the waves — “devocean”, they call it.

To get there, take a left on Rajaji Salai, about 4 km after VGP Golden Beach Resort.


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