Thiruvallur Veeraraghava Swamy Temple is dedicated to Bhagwan Vishnu, located in Thiruvallur near Chennai. It is the headquarters of Tiruvallur district in Tamil Nadu. It is one among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Bhagwan Vishnu. He is worshipped as Veeraraghava Perumal and his consort Devi Lakshmi as Kanakavalli Thayar in this place.
The temple is built by the Pallavas of the late 8th century AD, and subsequently it received patronage from Thanjavur Nayaks. According to Markandeya Purana, a sage named Salihotra an ardent devotee of Bhagwan Vishnu had his hermitage in this place. To test his devotion, Bhagwan Vishnu appeared as a guest in disguise and requested Salihotra to offer him food, which the sage did.
The guest felt hungry and requested the sage to offer more food. The sage offered the balance portion of food which he kept for himself. The guest asked a place to rest and the sage readily offered his hermitage. On arriving at the hermitage, the guest revealed his true form and blessed the sage.
As per another legend, Bhagwan Vishnu appeared in this place to marry Devi Lakshmi, who was born as Vasumathi the daughter of Dilipa, the king of Dharmasenapura.
The temple has three inscriptions dating from the Chola period. There are inscriptions in the temple from the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1070-1122 AD) indicating gift of 1000 kulis of land by Tiruvenkatadeva to the temple. The inscriptions from the eastern wall of the Vahanamandap indicates gift of 130 pons (pon is a quantity of gold coin in Tamil) of gold by Veera Raghava Sadagoppa Jiyar, the thirteenth seer of Ahobila Mutt to the temple during 1630-75.
There are inscriptions indicating gift of lands to the temple during the reign of Ramadeva Maharaya (1620–30), Narasimha Deva, Vira Venkatapathi Rayadeva Maharaya and Sri Venkatarayadeva Mahakavi, Kulothunga Deva and Rajendra I. There are also inscriptions referring to the gift of lands for conducting various festivals by other kings in the region like Maduranthaka Deva, Sadasiva Maharaya (1542–1570), Rama Deva Raya (1617–1632) and Venkata III (1632-42).
The temple has five tiered Rajagopuram (main entrance). There are separate shrines for other deities like Kanakavalli, Ganesha, Gopala, Nammazhwar, Chakrattazhwar, Vedanta Desika, Ramanujacharyar, Lakshmi Narasimhar, Hanuman and Gajalakshmi Thayaar. The presiding deity Veeraraghava Swamy is in a recumbent position (called Bhujanga sayanm) facing east. His right hand blesses the sage Salihotra and left hand in gnana mudra preaches to Brahma.
The Vimanam (pyramidal roof over the sanctum) is called Vijayakoti Vimanam which is a symbol of victory against the two demons Madhukaithabas who were killed by Bhagwan Vishnu. The Thayar (Goddess) is called Kanakavalli (also known by the name Vasumati) and her shrine is located parallel to the sanctum.
The presiding deity Veeraraghava Perumal is believed to cure diseases of his devotees and hence he is called “Vaithiya Veeraraghava Swamy”. There is a small shrine for Bhagwan Shiva in this temple premises. As per a legend, Bhagwan Shiva was not invited by Daksha, the father of Dakshyani and wife of Shiva for a big yagna performed by him. Bhagwan Shiva, in his anger, created Virabhadra by opening his third eye. Virabhadra was ordered by him to kill Daksha and he followed his orders.
Bhagwan Shiva incurred Brahmahatya Dosham on account of this execution. The shrine of Bhagwan Shiva in the form of Theertheswar on the northern banks of the temple is believed to be place where he cleansed himself of the sin caused by Brahmahatya. The holy tank or Pushkarani is called ‘Hrith-Thaapa-Nasini’, with potential to cure mental agony and physical illness of those who faithfully take a dip in this tank and have darshan of Sri Veeraraghava swamy.
“Darsanat sparsanat snanat, Sadyo hrittapanasanah,
Ato sarveshu lokeshu, Namna Hrittapanasanah”
There is an ornate four pillared black stone hall called Vellikizhamai mandapam where the festival image of the presiding deities are displayed every Friday.
Abishekam, the sacred bath to the presiding deity is done only with sandalwood oil. The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava divine verses, by Thirumangai Alvar and Thirumalisai Alvar. New Moon Day is auspicious for this temple and the temple attracts large number of devotees on all new moon days.
In Puranas, this city is referred as ‘Veekshaaranya kshetram’. Since Bhagwan Sriman Narayana visited the hut of Salihotra Maharishi and asked, ‘kim grihm?,’ (in Sanskrit) meaning ‘where can I rest ?’ –, the place was also called ‘Kingrihapuram, or ‘Thiru Evvul’ in Tamil. Sriman Narayana in this place is called by the devotees with various names like, SriVeeraraghava Swamy, Evvul Kidandhan and Kingrihesan.
During the Tamil month of Chittirai (Chaitra masam), Brahmotsavam, a 10-day festival is celebrated, the festival deity is taken in procession around the streets of the temple in different mounts each day and the teppostavam (celestial boat ride) is celebrated on the last day. The temple is under administration of Ahobila Mutt..
How to Reach:
By Air – The nearest Airport at Chennai (47 Kms).
By Train – Tiruvallur Railway Station plays an important transit point to many places in Southern parts of Bharat like Salem, Erode, Bengaluru, Mangalore, etc. and Western parts of Bharat like Pune, Mumbai, etc. EMU (Electric Multiple Unit Trains) Services to Chennai Central, Arakkonam and Tiruttani are available from early in the morning to late in the night that pass through Tiruvallur.
By Road – National Highways namely, NH 16, NH 48 and NH 716 are passing through the District boundary. Bus Stand is situated in the heart of the town and buses are available to outstation and mofussil routes from early in the morning to late in the night.
(Featured Image Source: Trip Advisor)
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