Vardaraja Temple

About The Temple

Some Truths About the Vardaraja Temple:

There are many temples in Tamil Nadu, but if you are a devotee of Lord Vishnu, then the famous Varadaraja Perumal temple situated in the holy city of Kanchipuram is a must visit for you. It is almost two thousand years old, and there are many debates over its origin. Some scholars say it was a Pallava king while others claim it was the Cholas during 1053.

The religious and cultural values:

Out of all the beautiful and holy temples of Kanchipuram, the varadaraja temple Kanchipuram is the most worshipped and sacred place for all believers and worshippers. Every part of the temple depicts the mysterious world of the ancient spirits and mythical stories. The environment inside the sanctum is so peaceful and sacred that you will feel the presence of the Lord all around you. The main shrine is encircled by three other precincts. All three of them have shrines of various deities including those of the Lord Varadaraja and the goddess Perundevi Thayar.

Now about the deity:

The main shrine in the temple is of Lord Vishnu. The temple is one of the hundred and eight Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu. Even if the temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the devotees are requested to offer their prayers to Goddess Perundevi Thayar before they enter the temple of Lord Vishnu. Thousands of people travel miles to offer their prayers to Lord Vishnu every day. Lord Vishnu’s shrine is located on a 10m tall hillock and requires a flight of twenty-four steps to reach the sanctum.

The beautiful shrine and the deity:

The deity of Lord Vishnu is located in the shrine above the small hillock and is surrounded by the marvellous shrines of other god and goddesses. All the shrines are beautifully decorated with various arts and masterpieces that depict the stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana. But the most amazing craftsmanship can be seen inside the Shrine of Lord Vishnu. The deity is so beautifully and elegantly carved on the stone, and there are gold lizards that are carved all over the sanctum. These lizards tell the tales of Lord Vishnu and his disciples.

All the other shrines:

There are many shrines in the Varadaraj temple, but the most significant are the ones that surround the sanctum. On the small hillock where the main idol is situated is the shrine of Lord Narasimha. The second rows of shrines include a shrine of the Malayala nachair. The third row of the shrines is the most important and has the deity of goddess Perundevi Thayar.

Now about the rituals:

The government and the community people take care of the daily rituals and devotees arriving at the temple. The rituals performed in these shrines are long and follow all religious norms that apply. Sometimes there are restrictions on the entry of the devotees during the main rituals. These are mostly done two to three times a day. The rest of the day the devotees can pray to deities and offer clothings and simple flower garlands to the deities. So get the details of the varadaraja temple timing before visiting. On special occasions, the devotees can even offer sweet pudding to the Lord. The traditional custom says before you worship Lord Vishnu, you need to pay your respects and offerings to goddess Perundevi Thayar.

The colourful festivals:

Many festivals are held in the temple compound throughout the year. All festivals are sacred, and draw thousands of devotees from all over the world. All of these festivals are dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. All Hindu Vishnu devotees gather in the temple, to witness the varadaraja temple puja and the celebration done for Lord Vishnu. Another thing that is popular in these festivals is the huge umbrellas that are used during this time. The bhramotsavam festival during the Vaigasi brings a lot of people in the temple who wants to spend the auspicious moments in the holy shrine. It takes place during May and June and goes on for ten days starting from the day of Purnima-vishaka. But the footfall increases to almost a double during the ther and garudavahanam festival. So if you are planning on visiting the temple, it is advised to do so during these festivals. During December and January, there is another festive occasion called Vaikunda Ekadasi.

Go on a pilgrimage:

Thousands of people go on pilgrimage every year so if you are planning on going for one, you can come visit the varadaraja temple tamil nadu. All the hardships of travelling and the money spent will be worth it once you are inside the temple. The culture is so rich during the festivals, and everything is so colourful that the atmosphere becomes heavenly.

How To Reach

Not just the city people but people from other cities and even other countries also visit Kanchipuram for the temple. There are lots of easy and cheap ways to get to the city no matter where you are coming from.

  • By Air: the international airport is close to the temple so if you are from another country then you do not need to worry about anything. The fares are much lower during the festive season. You can hire any car from the airport to reach the temple.
  • By Rail: If you are from a different city, you can travel by train instead of air. The railway junction is closer than the airport. Many hotels are also available near the station, so you do not need to worry about accommodation.
  • By Road: The city of Kanchipuram is only a few kilometres away from Chennai. So if you are a local, then you do not need to spend much on travel expenses. You can just hire car services or take public transport.

All the roads from Chennai to Kanchipuram are interconnected, and it will be easy for anyone who stays in the nearby cities, to travel by road. It would take a few hours to reach the temple by these roads from nearby cities.

 

Nearby Attractions

The city of Kanchipuram is called the city of temples. There are so many Vishnu and Shiva temples in Kanchipuram that your whole day would seem holy and auspicious after you visit all of them.

  • Ekambareswarar Temple: Towards the north there is the Ekambareswarar temple. It has a 59m tall gateway that makes it the tallest temple in Kanchipuram.
  • Karchapeswarar temple: Beside the Kanthakottam temple there is the karchapeswarar temple. According to the legend of this temple, Lord Vishnu took the shape of a tortoise to worship Shiva.
  • Onakanthan Tali: There is also Onakanthan Tali temple whose name means someone who adores the Sravana Constellations.
  • Iravatanesvara temple: You can also visit the Iravatanesvara temple that was built by the Pallavas in the 8th century. It is well known for its circular sanctum and the splendid vimana. Narasimhavarman II built this legendary temple that is now maintained by the ASI as it is now one of the protected monuments.
  • Jain temples: All the above temples mainly have shrines where Lord Shiva is worshipped. But there are many extraordinary Jain temples too. Make sure to check the Aarti timings before you visit any one of these temples.
  • Shakti temples: There is also a Shakti temple in Kanchipuram that worships a goddess and is known as the Kamakshi Amman temple. Here the goddess is represented by a yantra. The deity is placed in the chakra or basement in front of which they place the Yantra. It is said to be built by the Pallavas during the 6th century. Still many reconstructions are done during the period of 14th-17th century.
  • Adhikesava Perumal Temple: The Sri Adhikesava Perumal temple is famous for its deity that has eight hands that are why it is called asta bhujakaram.
  • Ythothkari temple: To the west of the Varadaraja temple is the Sri Ythothkari temple. It is also known for its deity that is called Sonna vannam seitha Perumal that means the one who says the truth.

History Of Temple

This temple is said to be one from the hundred and eight temples that are collectively called Divya Desams. According to the legend in the varadaraja temple history, the Divya Desams are the only Vishnu temples that were once visited by twelve poet-saints who are famously known as the Alwars. The legend also says that the great Hindu scholar Ramanuja once resided in the temple. There are various other legends in the varadaraja temple history surrounding the deity. One of the most striking features of the shrine is the golden lizards that are carved on the top.

It is said that Sage Bringi had two sons who were disciples of the Sage Gautama. They were arranging for an offering for their mentor when two lizards fell into their water that was a part of the offering. Due to their negligence they got cursed by Sage Gautama and got turned into lizards. Upon begging for relief from the curse, they were asked to go to Kanchipuram. There they worshipped Lord Perumal and begged for salvation. Lord Perumal accepted their prayers and assured them that even if they remain as a lizard their soul will reach him.

  • Lord Perumal also kept the sun and moon as a witness and said that whoever worships their mortal form will be relieved from all negativity and darkness in their life. Since then thousands of devotees are offering prayers to those golden lizards for achieving success, peace and safety. Another legend on the idol that has a unique reclining posture says that Lord Perumal was found in that posture when he emerged from the Yagna that was started by Lord Brahma.