Thursday, 26 May 2011

Sri Varadaraja perumal – Kancheepuram

Presiding : Deity Devarajan
Other name

: Varadarajar
Sannidhi : Athigiri
Reputation : Divyadesam
Vimanam (tower) : Punniyakoti
Mother : Goddess Perundevi
Holy tree: Arasu tree
Holy spring : Ananthasaras
District : Kancheepuram


Sri Varadarajaperumal KancheepuramThe devotee is blessed with knowledge and wisdom and family welfare. A prayer in the Chakarathazhwar or Sudharsana Azhwar Sannidhi brings solution to delayed marriages. They win ligations; get peace of mind and happiness in family, say those experiencing the grace of the Lord.

Mother Perundevi graces woman with complete cure of their physical problems. Those aspiring for a child pray to the Mother.

It is also believed that the Sun and the Moon in the temple in the form of gold and silver lizards relieve the devotees from the effects of lizards falling on them, the effects of the eclipses affecting them and ensure welfare. They also help the devotee get their desires fulfilled..

Prayer commitment:

Offering Tulsi garlands to the Lord, sari to mother, Sugar pudding as Nivedhana are considered important prayer commitments.


Sri Varadarajaperumal KancheepuramKancheepuram having Sri Varadaraja Perumal is very important among the Divya Desas. The lord graces the devotees in a standing position facing west.

The Lord came to be known as Varadaraja meaning that he gave the boon to Brahmma in recognition of his Yaga.

As the elephant Iravadha bore the Lord in the form of Mount, the place is also called Athigiri meaning Elephant Mount. When the devotee goes to the Athigiri Sannidhi, he/she must pass through the 24 steps representing the 24 philosophies of Gayatri Mahamantra. Athi means elephant and Giri mount.

Sages Narada and Bruhu, Brahmma, Adiseshan and Gajendra had the Darshan of the Lord in Kancheepuram. The Rajagopuram (Tower) is 96 feet tall. The 2000-year-old temple was renovated during the Pallava and Vijayanagara kings.

A historical fact: Celebrated Tamil novelist Chandilyan, in one of his novels mentions that Robert Clive, the Governor of East India Company sought the grace of Lord Varadaraja as advised by some elders when he was suffering from high fever. He prayed to the Lord. Sooner he was cured, he expressed his gratitude to the Lord by offering a diamond chain addressing him as Boon Giver God.

The Lizard story:

Two sons of sage Srungibera were the disciples of Sage Gautama. They brought water for the Puja of the Guru without noticing there were two lizards in the water. Gautama cursed them to become lizards. When they fell at the feet of the Guru and begged his pardon, he directed them to go to Kancheepuram for remedy. They journeyed to Kancheepuram through the Sapthapuris and reached their destination. The Lord told them that their bodies should be of Panchaloka and placed behind him. When devotees see them also while coming for His darshan will have lizard darshan also and that would ensure their salvation. This is a very important darshan that the visitor devotee should not miss.

Athi Varadar:

There are two mandaps in the tank north of 100-pillar mandap. There is also a mandap on the southern side below the water. Lord Athivaradaraja Perumal in this mandap is in a lying pose. This idol is made of wood. Once in forty years, the Lord is brought out of the water for worship of the people. Pujas are performed.


Chakarathazwar, also called Sudharsanazhwar Sannidhi is on the eastern side. This is the biggest one in Tamilnadu. The Azhwar has 16 hands holding the conch and the wheel.

General Information:

The temple is in the heart of Kancheepuram. It is 75 kms from Chennai, 35 from Chengalpet and 30 from Arakonam.

There are number of lodges in Kancheepuram, the charges ranging from Rs. 200 to Rs. 500.

Adequate bus facilities are available. Nearest railway station is Kancheepuram, the airport Chennai.


10 days Brahmmotsavam in the month of Vaikasi (May-June). The festival on the Poornima Visaka day is very famous drawing lakh of devotees. 10 days Navarathri in Purattasi (October-November) attracting huge crowd. Vaikunda Ekadasi, New year day, are also celebrated devotionally. There will be some festival in the temple every month.

Peyazhwar, Thirumangaiazhwar, Boothathazhwar, Sri Ramnuja, Thirukachi Nambi and Sri Manavala Mamuni had sung in praise of Varadaraja in their hymns.


Brahmma performed a Yaga in Kanchi for purifying his mind. He performed the Yaga avoiding his consort Saraswathi but with other Devis Savithri and Gayathri. Knowing the design of Brahmma, Saraswathi took the form of river Vegavathi and tried to flow on the Yaga to destroy it. Brahmma sought the help of Vishnu. Lord Vishnu came there and laid himself across the river in his birthday suit and prevented the flood. The Yaga was completed and Varadarajaperumal appeared from the Yaga flames. The consort of Varadarajaperumal is Perundevi. The 24 steps can reach Athigiri.

Sunday, 22 May 2011


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One of the 108 Temples & Celestial Abodes of Vishnu revered by the Tamil hymns of the Alwars of the 1st millennium CE
Location: Kanchipuram (Tondai Naadu)
Vishnu: Varadaraja (Devaraja) Perumal (Vishnu),
Taayaar: Perundevi Taayaar (Mahadevi)
Theertham:Vegavati, Anantasaras
Paasuram :Tirumangai, Bhootattalwar, Peyalwar
Vimaanam:Punyakoti Vimanam
Travel Base:Kanchipuram, Chennai
Description: Varadaraja Perumaal temple, one of the celebrated Vaishnava Divya Desams, is located in Vishnu Kanchi, or the little Kanchi. Its vast temple campus is an amalgamation of embellishments over several centuries. This temple is also an important religious center, and is one of the well visited temples in Tamilnadu.

The Divya Desams revered by the Alwars in Vishnu Kanchi are Attigiri (the vast Varadaraja Perumal temple), Ashtabuyakaram, Tiruttankaa, Tiruvelukkai and Tiruvegkaa, while those in Shiva Kanchi are Tiru Oorakam (Ulagalanda Perumaal Koyil) , Tiru Neeragam, Tiruppaatakam, Nilaattingal Tundam, Tirukkaaragam, Tirukkaarvaanam, Tirukkalvanur, Tiruppavalavannam and Parameswara Vinnagaram. The vast Ekambreswarar temple(Prithvi Stalam) revered by the Tevaram hymns, is located in Periya (Shiva) Kanchi, as are the Kamakshiamman and the Kumara Kottam temples.

Varadaraja Perumal temple is known as Hastigiri; it was originally known as Attiyuran. Bhutattaalwar, one of the earliest of the Alwars, has sung of this temple. The name Hastigiri is applied in the connotation of Gajendra moksham and from the legend that Indras elephant Airavatam - in the form of a hill bears the image of Vishnu. The name Attiyurar emerges from the tradition, that the original image of Varadaraja Perumaal here was made from Attimaram. This ancient wooden image is worshipped for 10 days, once in 40 years.

Legend has it that Bhrama worshipped Vishnu in Krita yugam, Gajendran in Treta Yugam, Bhrihaspati in Dwapara Yugam and Adiseshan in Kaliyugam. The legend of Vishnu lying across the river in spate, to prevent a deluge from wiping out Bhrama's sacrifice also holds in this temple as in another Divyadesam Tiruvegkaa in Kanchi.

Deities: The Moolavar here is Varadaraja Perumal in a standing posture facing west. Perundevi Taayaar is housed in a separate temple within the complex. Other shrines here include those to Kannan, the Alwars, and the Acharyas, Ramar, Kariamanikka Perumaal, ,Andal, Varaaha Perumaal.

The temple: The first prakaram is on the Hastigiri hill. It houses the sanctum, and the two co-axial walled mandapams. The sanctum houses the imposing image of Varadaraja Perumaal. The vimanam here is known as the Punyakoti vimanam. The sanctum is the womb of the fire, that is believed to hold the manifest universe whithin which the standing Vishnu appeared.

History: In 1053, the Cholas rebuilt the base of the hill, on the east west axis, to signifiy a cave in the hill, within which the icon of Narasimha sits as a yogi facing west. Several inscriptions are seen in this shrine.They circled the hill with a double storeyed cloistered veranda with colonnades of uniform pillars creating an opern courtyrard with a chola style gateway on the east.

This temple was expanded vastly during the reign of Kulottunga Chola I, and his son Vikrama Chola (1075 - 1135). It was during the same period that expansion work at the temples at Chidambaram, Tiruvanaikka, Sirkazhi, Tiruvarur and Srirangam were carried out. Other shrines built during the Chola period were those of Karimanikkapperumaal, Anantalwar, Abhisheka Mandapam, and the Perundevi Taayar shrine. A separate shrine for Perundevi was built on the south west, facing the sanctum, (rebuilt in 15th ent). By 14th century,the Cholas built another encircling wall including a tank etc with a gateway and a 7 tiered tower.

There are now 5 courtyards. After the long period of Chola patronage, and the political confusion following their decline, the Varadaraja Perumaal temple, came under the patronage of the devout Vijayanagar rulers, who added the towering Eastern Gopuram, and the beautiful Kalyana Mandapam, the Oonjal mandapam etc. Vijayanagar rulers embellished this shrine in the 16th century with minute carvings, pillared verandahs for circumambulation, a shrine for Andal, large hall for Navaratri, Unjal Mandapam, Kalyana Mandapam, (575 sq meters in 2 meter high plinth with 96 monolithic pillars, geometric designs, yalis, rampant horsemen, european soldiers). The east gopuram is 9 tiered rising to a height of 180 feet while the western gopuram is 160 feet high. The temple occupies an area of 20 acres. Stone chains adorn the hundred pillared halls.

Festivals: Four worship services are offered bere by priests who are said to be descendents of Yagna Valkyar. The annual Bhramotsavam is celebrated in the month of Vaikasi, while the Adhyayanotsavam is celebrated in the month of Margazhi. The Garuda Sevai and the Chariot festival during the Bhramotsavam draw thousands of pilgrims. During Chitra Pournami and Pongal, the deity is taken out to neighboring areas.

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Varadharaja Perumal Temple

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Varadharaja Perumal Temple or Hastagiri or Attiyuran is a famous Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in the holy city of Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu, India. It is one of the "Divya Desams", the 108 temples of Vishnu believed to have been visited by the 12 poet saints, or Alwars.[1]

The temple
Close-up of a warhorse

The temple was originally built by the Cholas in 1053 [2] and it was expanded during the reigns of the great Chola kings Kulottunga Chola I and Vikrama Chola. In the 14th century another wall and a gopura was built by the later Chola kings. It is an ancient temple and one of the 108 divyadesams the holy abodes of Vishnu. It is located in part of Kanchipuram called the Vishnu Kanchi that is a home for a lot of famous Vishnu temples, including this temple. One of the greatest Hindu scholars, Ramanuja is believed to have resided in this temple.[3] The temple is a huge one on a 23-acre (93,000 m2) complex and is famous for its holiness and ancient history. Another significant thing about the temple are beautiful carved lizards and platted with gold, over the sanctum.[4] The temple is famous for its kodai.During the bhramotsavam in vaigasi(may-june) thousands & thousands throng the temple and that increases at least by a two-fold during the garuda vahanam and ther. On normal days the temple is generally free except for some locals & a few tourists.
[edit] Administration

The Thathacharyas are the custodians [5] of the Kanchipuram Perarulalan Kovil popularly known as Varadaraja Perumal temple. They are the Pradhana Acharya Purushas in the protocol to receive and deliver the temple honours. In retrospection Tirumalai Nambi's son Tirukkurukai Piran Pillan was ordained by Ramanuja himself as the first and foremost among the 74 Peetadhipathis to propagate Visishtadwaita philosophy after him. Pillan was also chosen by Ramanuja as the competent person to write the commentary on ``Tiruvaimozhi. The annotation of Tiruvaimozhi thus brought out by Pillan under the behest of Ramanuja is called the famous `Araiyarpadi' the first gloss in Manipravala, an elegant mixture of Tamil and Sanskrit words, on the Divya Prabhandam. After Pillan, Tirumalai Srinivasacharya Thathacharya in the fifth generation of Thathacharyas was installed by Vedanta Desika as the Sri Kariyam of the Devaraja Swamy Kovil. Since then the office of Sri Kariyam is institutionalised in the diligence and devotion of the Thathacharyas to the Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kanchipuram. Lakshmi Kumara Thatha Desikan inherited this mantle from his ancestors and made epoch making contributions to the temple annals. He was the Sri Kariya Durandhara - a phrase connoting absolute dedication and authority - of the temple affairs. Simultaneously he was also the Raja Guru of the Vijayanagar king Venkatapathi Deva Maharaj. In Ayengarkulam, a village named after him near Kanchipuram, he built a tank and temple to Sri Rama and Hanuman But in present period the temple is administrated by the Tamil Nadu Government through the Ministry of Hindu Religion and Charitable Endowments having the Thathachariars as the Honorary Trustees. There is a verdict going on in the Courts to re-establish the right of Administration entirely with the Thathachariar families as it was existing before 1975 A.D
[edit] Mangalasasanam
Carving of cavalry on a pillar in the 100-pillar hall

Thirumangai Alvar - 4 Paasurams, Bhoothathalvar- 2 Paasurams and Peyalvar - 1 Paasuram.

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