Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Varadaraja PerumalVaradharaja Perumal Temple or Hastagiri or Attiyuran is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in the holy city of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, 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. It is located in a suburb of Kanchipuram known as the Vishnu Kanchi that is a home for many famous Vishnu temples.

The last temple (15th) in the series on Kanchipuram Divya Desams, ThiruKachi Athigiri - Varadaraja Perumal temple is referred to as the ‘Perumal Koil’ among Divya Desams.
While Srirangam is referred to as ‘ The Koil’ and Tirupathi as the ‘Malai’ among Divya Desams, Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal temple is known as the ‘Perumal Koil’. Varadaraja Perumal temple is on a 22acre temple complex in Chinna (small) Kanchipuram on the Kanchipuram - Chengalpet -Madras road.

There are two big Gopurams - the Eastern Gopuram built by Krishnadeva Raaya and the Western temple tower built earlier by the Pallavas. Later, several rulers contributed to the renovation of this temple. Several beautiful sculptures can be seen at this temple.


The story-Brahmma completes Ashwametha Yaagam

Lord VaradBrahmma wanted to see Lord Vishnu, on earth, in his full form. He undertook penance and the Lord appeared in the form of water in Pushkaram and in the form of forest in Naimisarinyam. He was then asked to do Ashwametha Yaagam at ‘Sathya Kshetram’.
It was here in Kanchipuram that Brahmma performed the Ashwametha Yaagam. As seen in the earlier Divya Desam stories (relating to Kanchipuram), Saraswathi was angry that Brahmma undertook the Yaagam without her support and presence and adopted different ways to stop the Yaagam.

Lord Vishnu took different forms to thwart her attempts. At ThiruVekka, he stopped river VegaVathi by sleeping across as a dam, at Ashtabhujam he came with 8 hands to kill the asura and subdue Kaali, at Thiru Thanka, he appeared as a flame to provide light (after Saraswathi had plunged the place into darkness).

Finally, Lord Vishnu is said to have landed here in his Punyakoti Vimaanam and appeared before Brahmma to signal the completion of the Ashwametha Yaagam. One finds the Azhagiya Singar (Lord Narasimhar) Sannidhi on the way to Varadaraja Perumal Sannidhi. 24 steps from the Eastern side(entrance) leads one to the Prakaram of the Varadaraja Perumal. Once into the Sannidhi, another few steps takes one to the tall standing posture of VaradarajaPerumal, seen facing the West.

Brahmma visits Lord Varadarajan once a year

Belief is that Brahmma comes here once a year on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Chitrai (April-May) -around mid night- for a darshan of Varadarajan. On this day, it is the practice for the priests to place food inside the sanctum and to wait outside for 24 minutes. At the end of this, the food is said to smell sweeter.

Street Procession

Every Friday, Goddess Perundevi Thaayar goes out on a procession within the prakaram(Goddess does not leave the temple premises). Lord Varadarajan goes on a street procession every month on Pancha Paravam days. When this falls on a Friday, the Lord goes out on a street procession with the Goddess waiting at the Main Gopuram for Lord Varadarajan to return. From the main gopuram, Lord Varadarajan and Perundevi Thaayar come back together and both proceed to the garden behind Sudhasaran sannidhi for the devotees to offer their worship. The street procession of Lord Varadarajan on Garuda mount in the tamil month of Vaikaasi is one of the most popular festivals here at Kanchipuram.During winter, Lord Varadarajan wears a sweater to protect him from cold. Sacred bath for the Lord during this period take place with hot water/milk.On Navarathri(all days) and Theppotsavam festival days, Lord and Goddess are seen together within the temple prakaram.


Golden Lizard

kanchipuram-lizardTwo disciples of Gauthama Rishi used to fill water every day for their Guru. One day, to their shock, they found a lizard jumping out when they placed the tumbler in front of their Guru. An angry Rishi cursed the two for their carelessness and they instantly turned into Lizards. The 2 disciples stayed here at Kanchipuram as lizards until Indra came, as Elephant Gajendra, to worship Varadarajan Perumal and relieved them from their curse.

In memory of this, there is a golden lizard and a silver lizard outside the Varadarajan Sannidhi. Belief is that one will be relieved of all diseases if one prays to Lord Varadarajan and touches the Lizard on the way out.


Brihaspathi’s curse

A debate took place in the court of the Devas as to which was more worthy – ‘Family life’ or “Life of a Sanyasi’. When they could not come to a conclusive answer, the Devas looked to their preceptor, Brihaspathi for a final decision. Brihaspathi pronounced that Sanyasin was better.

Angered at this decision of not recognizing the difficulty of family life, Indra cursed Brihaspathi to become a poor Brahmin with children. Leading this life, Brihaspathi one day chased away a hungry dog which had come inside his house and was cursed for not providing refuge to a hungry animal. And he was turned into a dog.

The Devas, by now, were feeling the absence of their preceptor. When Indra approached Brahmma to help get Brihaspathi back amongst them, he was asked to accompany Brahmma to ThiruKachi where Brihaspathi was already undertaking a penance before Varadaraja Perumal. Answering their prayers, Lord Varadarajan is said to have given Brihaspathi his original status and form.


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