Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam - 15th Century Ancient Hindu Temple in Puducherry.

Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam is one of the ancient Hindu temples in Puducherry, dedicated to the Lord Ganesha. Puducherry might be a place full of churches but Sri Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple is highly coveted among Hindu devotees and tourists, traveling from all parts of the country. Being more than 800 years old, it has an illustrious history and is one of the oldest temples in the region. The temple derives its name from two Tamil words Manal meaning 'sand' and Kulam meaning 'pond near the sea'. The temple was known by the name Manal Kulathu Vinayagar earlier. A number of festivals and celebrations are conducted at the temple all throughout the year, yet Brahmothsavam, a 24-day long festival, is the most important one.
Dating its history back to at least 800 years ago, the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple has 2 interesting tales attached to it. It is said that, during the French rule, the French people built a fort right beside the temple in the year 1688. To make an impact on their fort, they thought of removing the Vinayagar Temple from its current position and hence, started throwing the idol of Ganesha in the sea. But to their surprise, every time they did, the idol used to reappear on its own. Seeing this, the French people gave up and became the ardent follower of the Lord. Another ancient story that revolves around this temple states that, almost around 500 years ago, there was a saint who had glittering eyes and wide forehead attained samadhi at this divine site through his liberation. Since then, it is considered as an auspicious place for newborn babies.
Featuring a traditional Dravidian Architecture that deserves high praise, the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple is beautifully decorated with an array of friezes and stucco figurines that make the overall structure look even more impressive. Sprawling over an area of 7913 square feet, the main highlight of this temple is the gold laminated kodi kambam that measures 18 feet in height. Another interesting feature is the idol of Lord Ganesha that rests on the golden chariot. Made entirely of teak wood and gold racks, the golden chariot was created solely from the donations given by the devotees in the temple. The beautiful architectural design also features a mandapam, a prahara, and raja gopuram where the statues of the deities are kept. Besides Lord Ganesha, one can also find the idols of several other important gods and goddesses inside the temple including Shri Krishna, Murugan, Shiva, Parvati, and many more. Other than that, there is also an elephant Lakshmi that blesses people with her trunk every day from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM in the evening.
People can seek the blessings of Lord Ganesha at Sri Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam at any time of the year. However, visiting it during the winter season from October to March is generally considered the best. At this time, the overall weather conditions are quite cool and pleasant, thus making it favourable for you and your family. Temple is open for its devotees from 5:45 AM to 12:30 PM during the day and from 4:00 PM to 9:30 PM in the evening on all days. If you are an ardent devotee of the presiding deity, you can also plan your visit to this temple during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, which is usually observed during the months of August and September. Other festivals that are celebrated with great zest in this temple are Brahmotsavam and Dussehra. You can also become a part of such celebrations and make the most of your trip.
Built before the 15th century, the ancient Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple is located 400 metres away from the Bay of Bengal in White Town, Pondicherry. There is a good facility of private and state-owned buses available that operate on a regular basis to to reach the temple. Puducherry Railway Station is the main Railway Station of the city, maintains good railway connectivity to the other metro cities of India and is only 1.7 km away from the temple. Enjoy a direct flight from Hyderabad or Bangalore to Pondicherry Airport for hassle-free travelling. It’s the domestic airport in the city and receives flights from only these 2 cities. For overseas travellers, the Chennai International Airport is considered as the nearest Airport.