After seeing the Vaikunda Perumal Temple, we wanted to see the Mathangeeswarar temple, which according to Google Maps was nearby. However, no one could guide us properly. We ended up at the State Museum (small, but enthusiastic staff) and having an early lunch. After lunch, we decided to have one last try. We parked the car and started walking on the busy Hospital Road. All of a sudden, between two shops, we saw the familiar blue and rusty ASI board informing about all kinds of offences and fines.
Entrance to Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram from Hospital Road
Going through the short passage we were pleasantly surprised to see a quadrangle with a small but imposing temple.
First sight of Mathankeshwarar temple, Kanchipuram
The Mathangeeswarar (or Mathangeswarar) temple is built on a high platform. The peaceful ambiance in the midst of the bustle of the bazaar is truly remarkable. There were a handful of young men reading and preparing notes. When we enquired they informed us that they are preparing for the state competitive examinations. To our query whether there is any spiritual significance for choosing this place to study, they said that it is only the peaceful ambiance which attracted them. To our amusement, we found a polite request on the Mukha Mandapam not to sit on it for studying.
The style of architecture as highlighted by the lion pillars is definitely Pallava. The pillar details (ornate brackets, palagai & kumbha) indicate 8th century Pallava style. The sanctum was closed when we were there but we understand that the main deity is Lord Shiva.
Pillar details at Mathangeswarar temple, Kanchipuram
The mukhamandapam has six panels. Two are the Dwarapalakas. The others are 1) Gaja Samharamurthy 2) Ravananugrah Murthy [click here for the background story, my blog on Ravana and Mount Kailash] 3) Urdhva Tandava Murthy & 4) Gangadhara.
Dwarapalaka at Mathankeswarar temple, Kanchipuram
Gajasamhara Murthy panel at Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram
Ravananugraha Murthy – a panel in Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram
Urdhva tandava Murthy a panel in Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram
Gangadharan at Matangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram
The figures on the outside walls are highly eroded.
Outside view Mathangeeswarar temple, Kanchipuram
There is Nandi with a broken face on a pedestal under a peepul tree but there is no Nandi mandapam.
Another heritage monument neglected by the authorities and the public.