Varadharaja Perumal Temple

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Time Required : 1-2 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Timings : 6:00 AM - 11:00 AM, 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram Overview

Varadharaja Perumal Temple located in the city of Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is of immense religious importance. It is also believed that the Alwars or the poetic saints visited this temple. The temple complex is expansive and is a work of worship that was built during the reign of the Chola Kings. It is, hence, also of great historical importance. Devotees of Lord Vishnu from all over the world visit the temple to seek blessings in Vishnu Kanchi especially during the 10-day Vaikasi Brahmmotsavam, Purattasi Navaratri and Vaikunda Ekadasi. The majestic architecture of the temple complex and the intricate carvings are sure to mesmerise one and all. The serene vibe of this scared spot is so surreal and unexplainable that one really has to visit the temple to experience it.

Varadharaja Perumal Temple is a part of the trio Mumurtivasam along with Ekambareswarar and Kamakshi Amman Temples. The temple is also known as Perumal Koil and is believed to highly sacred in Vaishnavism. Visitors can explore the enormous temple complex that has 32 shrines and other features built according to the ancient temple architecture. This temple has a unique idol of Lord Vishnu made of wood. The idol is kept in a silver box and is immersed in water. Locals believe that the region received good rainfall after the idol is wholly submerged in water. The temple and stories related to it have been mentioned in the Vedanta Desika, Thirtha Prabandha Peyalvar, Bhoothathalvar and several compositions created by Muthuswami and Tyagaraja Dikshitar in the 18th century.

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Legend of Varadharaja Perumal Temple

According to a legend, Lord Brahma performed a yajna in Kanchipuram along with Goddess Gayatri and Goddess Savitri. He avoided Goddess Saraswati who got upset and took the form of River Vegavati flooding the region. Lord Brahma couldn't control the floods and hence requested Lord Perumal to help. Lord Perumal reclined on the ground across the river till Lord Brahma finished the rituals.

History of Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Varadharaja Perumal Temple was built in 1053, during the reign of the Chola Kings. It was later expanded by the Chola Kings, King Kulottunga Chola I and King Vikrama. The complex had a wall and the gopuram constructed in the 14th century. In 1688, the main idol was shipped to Udayarpalayam which is now a part of Tiruchirapalli after the Mughals attacked the region. After the situation was under control, they asked for the Idol to be sent back, however, after seeing reservations to do so, a local preceptor had to be involved to get the idol back to the Varadharaja Perumal Temple.

In 1532 CE, Achuytaraya was accused of unequal distribution of land between Ekambaranathar and Varadharaja Perumal Temple. Achyutraya found that Vira Narasingaraya Saluva Nayaka had made this uneven distribution against the instructions and immediately corrected it by allocating equal portions of land to both the temples. The inscriptions that date back to 1532 CE mention the same.

Architecture of Varadharaja Perumal Temple

The temple complex expands over an area of 23 acres and has 32 shrines. The complex is an illustration of ancient temple architecture belonging to the Vishwakarma Sthapathis. The structures contain several inscriptions denoting the equal distribution of land, gifts and offerings made to the deity over the period since it was built. The temple complex has seven precincts. The main shrine has a seven-tiered rajagopuram that is about 130 feet tall.

Some features that attract tourists in large numbers are the stone chain that was sculpted in one single stone and the carvings of lizards. These lizards are covered in gold. The sanctum also has a Vimana of Varadaraja Swami. The wooden idol of the deity is 40 feet tall while the main idol is 10 foot tall and made of granite. The complex also has a maha mandap with 100 pillars. All of these pillars have legends of the Ramayana and Mahabharata sculpted on them. The structures also have mural paintings on the walls and the ceilings.

Best Time To Visit Varadharaja Perumal Temple

The best time to visit Varadharaja Perumal Temple is in the mornings and the evenings as the routine rituals/ aartis are performed during those hours.  Weekdays are a preferred option for those who want to escape the crowd.

Tips For Visiting Varadharaja Perumal Temple

1. Parking space is available near the temple complex at a minimal cost.
2. Weekends are usually very crowded.
3. There's no dress code, but visitors are advised to wear modest clothes covering the shoulders and knees.

How To Reach Varadharaja Perumal Temple

Varadharaja Perumal Temple is easily accessible from any part of Kanchipuram. Tourists can take a bus ride or hire a taxi or cab to reach the temple complex. Tourists travelling via private vehicles can take the Kanchipuram – Chengalpattu road to reach the Varadharaja Perumal Temple.

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