The ancient temple is well renovated and maintained. It has a mandapam in front with corridors on all sides – almost like the old houses with an open “mutram” which houses the “Ekadasa Ganapathis”. The main deity who is also the largest Swayambu Vinayaka is called Selva Vinayakar, and there are 10 other Vinayakas next to him in varying sizes. Since they are Swayambu Moorthis, they look more like Shivalingams. Some of them (the larger ones) have been adorned with Silver Kavachams. The smallest Ganesha, is called Bala Vinayakar, and is just a little mount of stone on the ground. It is believed that the Ganeshas have been growing in size since they were excavated.

The temple was extremely crowded since it was Vinayaka Chaturthi Day and we had to squeeze ourselves into one of the balconies. There is a Somasundareswarar Sannadhi behind the Vinayakas.

The Kanchi Mahaperiyaval has narrated the thala puranam of this temple and his own experience in Deivathin Kural Volume 6 which is also displayed in the temple.

The Story

There was a time when there were Ekadasa Swayambu Vinayakas here and they subsequently got buried under the ground over time.Once a Maharashtrian Minister called Thukoji was travelling on this route when suddenly the axle of his chariot broke. When he got down to see what had happened, he found that there were blood stains on the ground but could not find anyone injured. He was perplexed, and prayed to Lord Vinayaka, not able to understand the reason behind this Vignam ( hurdle). As it was getting dark, he decided to spend the night there, and look for someone to repair his chariot at dawn. Lord Vinayaka appeared in his dream, and told him about his existence as 11 swayambu moorthys arranged in “Omkara” shape under the ground there and asked him to excavate them and build a temple for them. Thukoji was overwhelmed and gladly performed the task. The chariot wheel impression can still be seen on the back of Selva Vinayakar.

Once when Maha periyaval and Sree Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal were travelling by this route, the elephant on which the Chinna swamigal was sitting refused to move when it got near the temple.Any amount of coaxing or cajoling by the mahout did not make it budge. It was only then that the Maha Periyaval remembered having made a vow to offer 108 ” Setharu Thengai” ( breaking 108 coconuts for the Vinayakas) to the Shenbakkam temple which he had totally forgotten about. He immediately requested the accompanying Mutt officials to organise for the same. Once the offering was made, the elephant quietly started moving forward without any protest.

Vinayaka was able to remind Maha Periyaval about his prayer through himself!(The Elephant). This is really a one of its kind temple and a not-to-miss site for all Ganesha/temple lovers!

  • The temple is dedicated to Sri Selva Vinayagar and Somasundareswarar
  • Selva Vinayagar is present surrounded by 10 other Swayambu Vinayagars in the form of lingams and in the formation of ‘Om’. The 11 Vinayagars are present in the following order: Bala Vinayagar, Nadana Vinayagar, Omkara Vinayagar, Karpaga Vinayagar, Chinthamani Vinayagar, Selva Vinayagar (moolavar), Mayura Vinayagar, Mooshiga Vinayagar, Vallaba Vinayagar, Siddhi-Buddhi Vinayagar and Panchamuga Vinayagar. Bala Vinayagar is still under the ground and only the top portion is visible.
  • Sri Somasundareswar in the form of lingam is present in a separate shrine just behind the Selva Vinayagar.
  • Selva Vinayagar is bearing the mark of the chariot wheel on His back.
  • The flag mast is present within the sanctum sanctorum itself
  • There is no roof for the sanctum sanctorum
  • Saneeswara Bhagwan is present facing the Selva Vinayagar which is a special significance.
  • A Silver covering was made about 75 years back for Selva Vinayagar covering Him fully but now, it covers Him only two-thirds indicating that He is growing over time

Address: Shenbakkam, Vellore, Tamil Nadu 632008, India