Pilgrims flocks to this lively temple to say prayers at the sacred shrines devoted to the Hindu gods Lord Ganesh and Lord Murugan.
Witness the fascinating daily activities of a functioning Hindu place of worship at the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple. Admire the temple’s extravagant architecture and décor and see followers of the Hindu faith lay offerings at shrines. Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple is dedicated to Lord Ganesh, the elephant god of good fortune, success and wisdom.
The temple dates back to long before the French first settled in Pondicherry in the 17th century. Buoyant protests by the city’s Hindu residents thwarted plans to destroy it during the French tenure. Today the temple stands almost unblemished from its early beginnings. It features an architectural design characteristic of the Deccan era and the Dravidian style, which are popular throughout South India.
Enter via a large gateway, which has sculptures of animals and deities adorning its columns and roof. Note how multiple images of Ganesh, lions and monkeys decorate the exterior walls. A resident elephant often stands outside one of the entrances. Visitors line up to touch its head and be granted good luck.
Inside is a riot of color with floor-to-ceiling paintings, sculptures, shrines and statues. Spot gods and goddesses portrayed in festive motion. Study the many carvings of Lord Ganesh, which depict the god in his many incarnations. There’s also a shrine to Lord Murugan, who is the mythological younger brother of Ganesh.
One of the interior’s most striking aspects is the Golden Chariot. This 10-foot-tall (3-meter) monument consist of 16.5 pounds (7.5 kilograms) of gold and was funded by the donations of devotees. Browse murals that represent scenes from Hindu mythology.
The temple is located close to several of Pondicherry’s major attractions. Walk between these easily. Among these are the Pondicherry Museum and the French Institute of Pondicherry.
Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple is open daily and has an admission fee. Remember to remove your shoes and leave them at the entrance. Photography is allowed throughout the temple.