Category Archives: Kanchipuram

Sriperumbudur (birthplace of Sripad Ramanujacarya, 32km from Kanchipuram)

Places nearby Kanchipuram:
Sriperumbudur Sriperumbudur is the birthplace of great Vaishnava acarya Sripad Ramanujacarya. It is midway between Kanchipuram (32 km) and Chennai on the Chennai-Bangalore Highway (NH 4). On the way to Kanchipuram a huge arch can be seen with an inscription ‘Bhagavat Ramanujar Avatharitha Sriperumbudur’, birthplace of Srimad Ramanuja, the great philosopher of Vaishnavism. This leads to the temple Sriperumbudur Adi Kesava Temple, also called Ramanujar Temple. Sripad Ramanujacarya appeared in 1017 AD in Sriperumbudur to Kesava Somayaji and Gandhimathi couple. The elder uncle of the child, Sri Tirumalai Nambi, was serving in Tirupati temple. As the child looked like Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Ramachandra, he named the child Ilaya. ‘Ilaya’ means younger. Anujan means younger brother. As he is attributed to Sri Lakshmana, the younger brother of Lord Rama, he was named Ramanuja – meaning the younger brother of Lord Rama. Sri Ramanuja is also praised as Yathiraja. ‘Yathi’ means ascetic and ‘raja’ stands for leadership.

Pastime: The Bhootha ganas, an army like division of Lord Siva’s empire, approached Lord Vishnu for relief from a curse spelt on them by Lord Siva. Lord Vishnu created a spring through his serpent carrier Anantha (Anantha saras thirtham).He gave darshan to the Bhoothas from its bank and relieved them from the curse. As a token of gratitude, the Bhoothaganas set up this temple for Lord Vishnu. Hence, the place is called Bhoothapuri. The Lord is Sri Adikesava Perumal.

There is a mandap in front of the temple where Sri Ramanuja was born. During the tenth day Chithirai festival in April-May, Acharya graces from this mandap. On his tithi birthday, he is placed in a cradle as a child and fed with milk in a conch. During this festival, the Parivattam – a turban linen – is brought from thirty six Vaishnava shrines (Divya Desas) as a courtesy to the Acharya.

Mandap where Sripad Ramanujacarya appeared

Lord Sri Adikesava Perumal at Sriperumbudur

Sripad Ramanujacarya

Ramanujar Sannidhi at Sevilimedu

Sevilimedu is around three kilometres, outskirts of Kanchipuram on the banks of river Palar.

Ramanujar Sannidhi is the place where Ramanujacharya used to live after leaving his married life. Ramanujacharya used to take water from the nearby well and do holy puja of Sri Varadharajar temple. This temple exactly faces Varadharajar temple and its gopurams are visible from here.

Well from which Sripad Ramanuja offered water to Lord Varadaraja Perumal

Sripad Ramanuja carrying water from Sevilimedu to Lord Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kanchipuram

Sripad Ramanuja Sannidhi (altar) at Sevilimedu

Srinivasa Perumal Temple at Elanagar

Srinivasa Perumal Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu located at Elanagar village in Uthiramerur Taluk of Kanchipuram district. It is situated approximately 25kms from Kanchipuram on the road leading to Vandavasi.

It was also home to several eminent Sri Vaishnava families who rendered services to the cause of Sri Vaishnavism. Gaddam Tatha Desikan, one of the spiritual leaders in Sri Vaishnavism, had done tirtha kainkaryam for Sri Srinivasa Perumal of Tirumala, bringing water every day from Akasa Ganga (a sacred waterfall in Tirumala) and performing Thirumanjanam and other rituals for this deity. One day, a thirsty man asked him for water, and having given it to him, Gaddam Tatha Desikan went back to Akasa Ganga to bring more water for the temple. However, the thirsty man appeared again and again and on repeatedly bringing water, Sri Desikan became tired and fainted. That man then revealed himself to be the deity enshrined in the Tirumala temple and blessed him. He ordered Tatha Desikan to construct five temples for himself with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi in the villages of Paiyoor, Elanagar, Karumbur, Natteri and Vilankuppam. On the orders of Srinivasa Perumal, Gaddam Tatha Desikan constructed this Srinivasa Perumal temple in 1212 A.D. in Elanagar.

Elanagar was the original home of many Azhagiyasingars belonging to one family of the famous Sri Ahobila Mutt. The Ahobila Mutt was founded in 1398 A.D. by Sri Adivan Satakopa Yatindra Mahadesikan. According to traditional accounts, Srivan Satakopa Parankusa Yatindra Mahadesikan was the 10th Jiyar of the Ahobila Mutt and was from the Elanagar Chakravarthi family. He learned many sastras from the 9th Jiyar Srivan Satakopa Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikan. He established the agraharam named Gada Dharapuram near Kumbakonam. The members of the Elanagar family later migrated to Gadadharapuram and hence are known as the Elanagar-Gadadharapuram family.

The Srinivasa Perumal temple in Elanagar is a very small shrine. The entrance to the temple, as well as the main deity, faces east. In the main sanctum sanctorum, Srinivasa Perumal is seen standing holding the Sankha and Chakra in his upper hands, with his lower right hand in varada hasta (boon giving pose) and lower left hand as though placed on top of his mace with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on either side. The processional images of this temple are similar to the main one. The other Utsava – Vigrahas worshipped in this shrine are Navaneetha Krishna and Chakrathaazhwar (Sri Sudarsana).

A unique festival is celebrated in the month of Vaikasi. Fifteen Utsava-murtis of Vishnu with Garuda from fifteen Vishnu temples in the Kanchipuram-Vandavasi route go to River Cheyyar near Cheyyar town. There, each is placed in a separate mandapa where Thirumanjanam and decoration are performed for them. Later, they return to their respective temples. The fifteen deities who are worshipped during this unique festival are Pesumperumal from Koozhamandal, Varadaraja Perumal from Perunagar, Srinivasa Perumal from Manampati, Lakshmi Narayana Perumal from Tandarai, Pundarikaksh Perumal from Visur, Vaikuntha Srinivasa Perumal from Elanirkunram, Kalyana Venkatesa Perumal from Sethupattu, Kaliya Perumal from Athi, Venkatesa Perumal from Pendai, Venugopalan from Ukkal, Srinivasa Perumal from Elanagar, Srinivasa Perumal from Teturai, Venkatesa Perumal from Mahajanampakkam, Lakshmi Narayana Perumal from Nedungal and Lakshmi Narayana Perumal from Vellamalai.

For a long time, the Srinivasa Perumal temple in Elanagar had been in a very dilapidated condition. Due to the efforts taken by the members of the Sri Elanagar, Sri Srinivasa Perumal Kainkarya Trust, this shrine has been renovated in year 2005.

How it reach Elanagar for a long time:
Elanagar can be reached by going down the road from Kanchipuram to Vandavasi, passing through the villages of Mamandur, Doosi, Ukkal and Koozhamandal and reaching the village of Perunagar. Opposite to the police station in Perunagar is a lane leading to Elanagar. This temple is tucked away in the interior of Elanagar village. Elanagar village is about 10 km from Uthiramerur. Elanagar is in Uthiramerur Taluk in Kanchipuram district. It is located 24 km towards south from district headquarters, Kanchipuram and 9 km from Uthiramerur.

Sri Veeraraghava Perumal Temple (or Tiruvallore)

In Satya Yuga, a sage by name Purupunyar lived with his wife Satyavathi in Badarikashram. They had no children. Purupanyar performed a Sali Yajna (Putrakameshti Yaga) with great fervor and devotion. The sage offered thousand ahutis (oblations of ghee to the sacrificial fire after chanting the mantra each time) every day, for one full year. On the last day, when Purnahuti (the final offering) was performed, Lord Narayana was pleased with the austerity of the ritualistic observances of the sage and appeared in the sacrificial fire in a blissful mood to offer boons. The sage prayed for a noble son. The boon was granted with the condition that he should be named after the name of the Yajna as Salihotran.

“Saali” means measurement instrument which is used to measure the weight or quantity of rice. Saalihothirar’s parents did a homam which has to be done for one year using twenty eight thousand Saali Rice. As the result of that homam only, he got his birth and got the name as “Saalihothirar” or Salihotran.

With this blessing, Lord Narayana disappeared. Then the sage collected the ash strewn around the Yajna Peetha and gave a handful of it to his wife to take in with great veneration as Prasadam. In the tenth month after that, a glorious son was born to Sage Purupunyar. The child was named Salihotran as ordained by Lord Narayana. With the growth of years, the child showed signs of precocity and started on a pilgrimage visiting many temples.

On Tai Amavasya day (new Moon day in Jan-Feb), he reached Tiruvallur where he found that Lord Brahma, other devas and great sages like Vasishtha were engaged in taking bath in the Hrittapanasini tank. They all asked him to do the same. Enriched by the bath, Sage Salihitran decided to stay there and do penance.

Next year, on the same Pushya Amavasya day, he completed one year of penance and took a holy bath in the Hrittapanasini tank and observed his morning prayers. As he was fasting for one year without food or drink, he collected some paddy and prepared prasadam out of that. He divided it into three parts; the first part was offered to Lord Narayana. The second part was kept for offering as charity and the third for his own consumption. At this juncture, Lord Narayana took the form of an old Brahmin and came the way where Salihotran was waiting to offer the share to a guest. When Salihotran saw the old Brahmin, he immediately requested him to grace his hermitage. He respectfully offered to the Brahmin, the prasadam meant for the guest. Quickly the Brahmin ate up the offering and Salihotran felt from his facial appearance that he was not satisfied.

On inquiry, he learnt that the old Brahmin had had no food for the last four or five days and his hunger was not fully satisfied. At this, the portion kept for him was offered to the guest. The guest was satisfied and left the place. Salihotran commenced another year’s penance without food and drink. Again, on the day of Pushya Amavasya at its close, he took his holy bath in the tank and noticed many good omens on his way. After finishing his morning rituals, he procured some paddy and prepared oblations. Like the previous year, he offered a portion to Lord Narayana and was waiting for a guest to offer the second portion, leaving the last portion for him. This time also, Lord Narayana took the form of an old Brahmin and was coming by that way. Salihotran welcomed him and while accompanying him to the hermitage, the old Brahmin expressed that he was feeling extremely hungry and thirsty and needed a place for rest also. In the hermitage, Salihotran offered the entire prasadam meant for the guest as well as of himself. The old Brahmin was greatly pleased and asked Salihotran, “Where is the place for me to lie (Evvul)?” For this, Salihotran asked him that he can sleep in his hut and he will do the Paadha seva to him.

The sacred tank here is known as Hrittapanasini. The following Sanskrit shloka describes the sanctity of the tank:
darsanat sparsanat snanat, sadyo hrittapanasanah,
ato sarveshu lokeshu, namna Hrittapanasanah

The tank is so holy that evens a sight or a touch or a bath would immediately dispel all anguish of heart. The temple witnesses a huge devotee crowd in thousands during the two Brahmmotsavams, the first of ten days in Chithirai (April-May). This Divya Desam is located at Tiruvallur, a railhead on the (suburban) railroad between Chennai and Arakkonam. Nearby are the Tiruppaasoor and the Tiruvaalankaadu Shivastalams and Tirumazhisai, the birthplace of Tirumazhisai Azhwar.

Temple Tank – Hrittapanasini:
It is located on the southern side of the temple which is spread over an area of 7.35 acres. The sacred tank of Tiruvallur is known as Hrith-Thapa-Nasini. The tank is one of the most sacred tirthas of Sri Vaishnava sthalas. On the new moon day, every month thousands of people take a dip in this holy tirtha and pray to Lord Vaidhya Veeraraghava Swami to cure any of their illness.

Aayarpadi – Gosala:
The temple has developed a sprawling well-maintained Gosala named as ‘Aayarpadi’. It is well equipped and is located in an excellent environment, away from the temple. Gosala is located opposite to R.T.O office on Tirupati Highway, around 3kms from the temple. The milk from the Gosala is used for the temple puja and for annadanam conducted by the Devasthanam.

Lord Sri Veeraraghava Perumal

Hrittapanasini – sacred tank

Goshala at Sri Veeraraghava Perumal Temple