Besides the Divyadesams, there are some temples which are more than a few centuries old and one such temple is Chenna Kesava Perumal Temple, better known as Pattanam Kovil. This temple prominently is placed in the bustling area of Flower Bazaar, lying closer to NSC Bose Road, Rattan Bazaar, Sowcarpet, Broadway, High Court and more… – being a prominent landmark by itself.
In the Thondaimandalam, an area between Pennar river of Nellore and Pennar river of Cuddalore, the capital was Kanchipuram – the modern city of Chennai, also known as “Madraspatnam” arose from the British settlement of Fort St. George and its subsequent expansion through merging numerous native villages and European settlements around Fort St. George into the city of Madras. While most of the original city of Madras was built and settled by Europeans, the surrounding area which was later incorporated included the native temples of Thiruvanmiyur, Thiruvotriyur, Thiruvallikeni (Triplicane), Thirumayilai (Mylapore) which have existed for more than 1000 years.
The British began to build a fort in the 1640s. It was built in stages for a number of years. Out of this famous Fort St. George grew a few settlements. The Indians lived here and it was referred to as the Blacktown by the British. By some accounts, the present Pattnam kovil housing Chenna Kesava Perumal and Chenna Malleeswarar were relocated from their existing place and constructed in the present place near Broadway, Mint Street and Kothawar chavadi, a major vegetable market.
The twin temples of Chenna Kesava Perumal and Chenna Mallikeswarar Temples reportedly appear on the notification dating back to 1766. besides grant of the land by the Council, Manali Muthukrishna Mudaliar is credited to have contributed 5202 pagodas and huge amount for constructing these temples. Some accounts date the Chennakesava Perumal Temple to mid 1600s.
The temple is well maintained and attracts hundreds of devotees every day. The thirunakshathira celebrations of Periyazhwaar, – ‘Swathi in the month of Aani’ falls shortly and the Thiruvavathara celebrations are on.
At Chenna patnam kovil, the Uthsavam of Periyalwar is being celebrated grandly, and here are some photos taken recently at Pattnam kovil.
Write-up and Photo Courtesy: Sri S. Sampathkumar and Sri Thirumazhisai Kannan