Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar is a temple devoted to Hindu god, Lord Ganesha. It is one of most predominant temples of Puducherry. The grand architecture of the temple has a remarkable history, which is said to be dating back to 3 centuries, even before the arrival of French, who colonised Puducherry later. The temple is at a distance of 4. 4 kms from city center and takes about 14 minutes to reach.
The word "Manal" in Tamil means sand, and "Kulam" means pond near the sea, which is earlier said to have sand around the pond. The deity is called as Manal Kulathu Vinayagar, which translates to English as "God near the pond of sand". The interiors of the temple are spectacular with stone carved sculptures and about 40 incarnations of Lord Ganesha. The temple is typical to other temples built in the Deccan era, showcasing the similarity with other temples in rest of South India.
The best time to visit Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar is during the months of August to September, when the majestic festival, Bramothsavam is celebrated for 24 days. Also, there are many other festivals that are celebrated at Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar throughout the year. Like, in January, 4 important festivals are celebrated. Namely, New Year, Thai Ammavasai Thinam ( Kadal Theerthavaari), Rathasabthami Vethapureswarar Thirukoil Thepakulam Theerthavaari, Kumbabishega Thinam Aanduvizha 1008 Sangaabishegam (Ashwini). Devotees and tourists usually spend about an hour in the temple premises. The famous temple elephant Lakshmi, offers its blessing to the devotees through its trunk. The cordial nature of the elephant keeps the tourists at ease. Also, the temple is well-known for its epic golden chariot, which is of 10 feet height and 6 feet in breadth.
When in Puducherry one should not miss a visit to Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar temple. Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Temple stands out amidst rest of Puducherry, which is otherwise known for its churches and French ambience. It is a great place to be and is well appreciated by experience seekers, photography enthusiasts, and spiritually inclined persons. There are no entry charges for the visitors. The temple is open on all days of the week. Visitors can visit the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar temple during timings 5:45 AM - 12:30 PM and in the evening from 4:00 PM - 9:30 PM. However, these timings may differ during the festivals.