History of the Samaj
The Samaj was conceived by a few like-minded devotees of Lord Subramania in the mid-forties in the central suburb of Matunga, the then ‘mini-Madras’ of Mumbai. These God-loving migrants from the south cherished their cultural heritage based on the bhakti-cult propounded by our ancient sages and saints. The bhakti-movement of south India culminated in the propitiation of divinity in all its forms and expression, involving the community as a whole. It was articulated in the activities of prayer and worship and exposition of the mythology in temples so that the common man could enrich his daily and spiritual life. It is in these humble circumstances in the mid-forties that the house of the late Shri T.V.Lakshmanan (popularly known as ‘Wimco Lakshman’) in Matunga became the centre of what today exists as the Sri Subramania Samaj, and it continued to function from that address till 1980. Not having their own place was not an impediment as the trustees of Sri Sankara Matham and the South Indian Bhajan Samaj made available their premises and the Municipal Corporation permitted the use of temporary/make-shift pandals on open grounds, so that important festivals like Skanda Shashti, Thaipoosam and Panguni Utthiram and cultural events like Harikatha Kalakshepams and religious discourses could be conducted.
The Samaj was registered under the Societies Act in April 1945 and under the Bombay public Trusts Act in 1951.
Temple Complex – Chhedanagar
Having conceived the temple, the search commenced to find suitable location for constructing a temple and identified 3 adjacent plots admeasuring 2,300 square yards in Chheda Nagar, Chembur. A Prasnam (divine fathoming) confirmed that the place was suitable for a temple and the Samaj acquired the plots after fulfilling all the legal formalities. A subsequent Ashtamangala Prasnam revealed that the region now known as Chheda Nagar was a dense forest where venerable souls had undertaken “Tapasya” in ancient times to propitiate Gods and Goddesses. It was, therefore, an ideal location for the temple to be built.
Temple Construction Committee
A temple construction committee was constituted with Prof. T.V.Ramanujam as Chairman and Sarvashri K.K.Unni, CMD Air India, V.Ramadorai, CEO Standarad Alakali, S.Venkiteswaran, Leading Sr. Advocate, K.N.S.Sastri and N.S.Pursram as members and Shri P.S.Subramaniyan as Hon. Secretary
As mandated by the Agama Sastras, the Samaj constructed a Balalayam where the idols of Lord Muruga, Lord Vinayagar and Lord Dharma Sastha were installed. The consecration of the Balalayam performed by learned Sivacharyas on 5th February 1973 was graced by Sri Thitumuruga Kripananda Variyar Swamigal, an ardent devotee of Lord Muruga and a popular exponent of Skanda-purana and Swami Chinmayananda of Chinamaya Mission.
Regular Poojas and worship began with the devotees congregating at the limited space of the Balalayam. These small beginnings defined the way the present monument was to come up.
One significant aspect of the fruition of the temple-project is the blessings and guidance of His Holiness Jagadguru Sankaracharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Shri Chandrasekharendra Saraswthi Swamigal, the sage of Kanchi and the 68th Acharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham. His divine presence is felt in every nook and corner of the temple-premises.
The office-bearers presented themselves before the Paramacharya of Kanchipuram, His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamiji, with the design and the model of the temple for his approval and blessings. The sage bestowed his blessings and the foundation stone was laid in September 1972. The ‘Pancha Silanyasam’ was done at the hands of eminent personalities, Shri VS Page (the then Chairman of the Maharashtra Legislative Council), Prof. T.V.Ramanujam (former Sheriff of Mumbai and President of the Shanmukhananda Sabha), Shri Ki Va Jagannathan (the great Tamil scholar and editor of Kalaimagal), Great exponent of Srimad Bhagavatham Shri Anjam Madhavan Namboodiri (Guruvayoor) and Sri S.Ramakrishnan (Director, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan). The relevant rituals were conducted by learned Sivacharyas from Tamil Nadu.
Raising Financial Resources
It was but natural that funds had to be arranged, looking at the cost involved in the project of building a full-fledged temple. Many volunteers also went from door to door for donations. Sri Kripananda Variyar Swamigal during his regular discourses exhorted devotees to contrinute through small hundi boxes. Thus Drops became trickles and trickles turned into streams of donations from the cosmopolitan public of Mumbai and from different parts of the country and abroad. Bhagwada Saptahams conducted by Sri Anjam Madhavan Namboothiri was a rallying point for installing Deities of Lord Guruvayurappan and Goddess Durga Devi. An ashtamangala prasnam conducted on the advice of Sri Anjam Madhavan Namboothiri also revealed that Chheda Nagar had in ancient times been the abode of Goddess Durga Devi.
Several music concerts, dance and drama festivals were organized for raising funds and many individuals donated generously. Contribution in kind came from the Government of Maharashtra in the form of additional FSI; the Government of India, Ministry of Railways gave concession for transporting granite stones and the Ministry of Finance notified the temple as a place of public worship of renown throughout the State of Maharashtra for the purpose Section 80G 2(b) of the Income Tax Act 1961.
The stone for the 4.5 ft tall idol of Lord Muruga was obtained from Mayilam in TN. The utsav-murtsi made of panchaloha was made by expert craftsmen from Swamimalai (TN). The idols were sculpted by Thiru Kumaresa Stapathi (Presidential awardee and a former chief Instructor at the Sculpture Institute, Mahabalipuram), his assistant, Sri Ramakrishnan, and their team of fifty artisans from south India who worked tirelessly to complete the sanctum sanctorum in time for the first consecration ceremony. Around 800 tons of granite (semi-finished temple structure) was ferried from Mahabalipuram to Bombay.
Sri CSK Raj, the architect, had the unique responsibility of designing the temple as per the mandates of Agama Shilpa Sastras, and at the same time consistent with the rules, regulations from the statutory municipal and government bodies. The requirement of the Sanctum and Sanctorums to have direct connect with the earth was met by erecting concrete wells of similar height, filled with sand, that act as exclusive foundations as well as add strength to the structure. Two outstanding features of the temple are the sanctum sanctorum built in blue granite stones housed in a concrete structure and the 108 steps that lead to the temple. The temple is at the top of the building, open to the sky so that there can be no mundane activity above. The completed temple-building is a unique symbol of ancient and modern architecture and a tribute to the professional skills of the architect who believed that a divine hand always guided his thinking and effort.
The Samaj’s precinct has been a camping-site for many seers who have sanctified the temple-premises by their presence. Among them are the Acharyas and Sages of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham, Sringeri Sarada Peetham, the Dwarka Peetham, Shakatapuram and Mata Amritanandamayi.
Br Shri Allur Dr. V.Viswanatha Sivacharya
As advised by Kanchi Paramacharyal, the Samaj approached Allur Sivagama Kalanidhi Sivasri Dr. V.Viswanatha Sivacharya, Principal of Agama Veda Patashala, at Allur, near Trichy, to guide the Samaj in the consecration and the Maha Kumbhabhishekam of the Temples.
Dr. Shri Allur Viswanatha Sivacharya, with his immense experience in temple pooja rituals has been of significant help to the Samaj. Since then, he has been advising the Samaj on all matters relating to temple pooja rituals, festivals, etc. He was the Chief Acharya from the Maha Kumbhabhishekams in the years 1980, 1991 and 2000.
- Mahakumbhabhishekam of the Newly Constructed Temples on 24th January 1980
- Second Mahakumbhabhishekam of the Temples on 12th December 1991
- Athi Rudram and Sahasra Chandi Homams on the occasion of Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Samaj 1995-1996
- Third Mahakumbhabhishekam of the Temples on 27th March 2000
- Diamod Jubilee Celebrations of the Samaj 2005-2006
- Fourth Mahakumbhabhishekam of the Temples on 26th January 2011
Today the temple is a premier institution of faith and devotion for people from different locations and walks of life, a centre of service to community. A Christian, Mr. CSK Raj, designed the structure of the temple and Mr. Abbas Jusdanwala, a Bohra Muslim, blended the design to fuse with the ancient art of temple-building in Tamil Nadu. In sum, it is a living symbol of the spiritual unity of mankind and national integration.