Manakula or Manakkula Vinayakar Temple, originally Manarkula Vinayagar temple, is believed to be 350-year old Ganapathi temple in Pondicherry (Puducherry). This temple existed even before the French occupied Puducherry. Literally ‘Manarkula Vinayakar’ means Lord Ganesha who lives in the land surrounded with sand. As per the legend, the Ganesh idol in the temple is very powerful and performed many miracles at the time of the French.
When French ruined all the temples in Vedapuri (ancient name of Puducherry), Manakula Vinayakar temple remained undisturbed. Once the Ganesha idol was thrown in to the see but it was reappeared at the same place where Vinayakar was worshipped earlier. French rulers recognized the miraculous divine power of the Vinayakar idol and encouraged devotees to celebrate all rituals and festivals.
Vinayaka Chaturthi is the biggest festival celebrated in Manakula Vinayakar Temple. The temple opens at 4 am on the Chaturthy day to allow devotees to offer Vinayaka Chaturthi Ganapathi Puja. Tens of thousands of devotees visit the temple during Ganapathi Navaratri utsavams.