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Timings : Virinjipuram Temple remains open every day from 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM and then again from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

Virinjipuram Temple, Vellore Overview

Virinjipuram Temple, which is popularly known as Sri Margabandeeswarar Temple, is located about 14 kilometres away from Vellore City, in Virinjipuram Village. Situated in the state of Tamil Nadu on the southern bank of Palar River, the temple owes the beautiful artistic stonework on its walls and its palatial Dravidian architecture to the rulers of Chola Dynasty.

The Mulavar or the primary deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in the form of a lingam. Although pilgrims from all over India visit Virinjipuram Temple throughout the year, during the three ten-days celebrations of Theerthavari, Shivratri and Navarathri, the vitality of the Temple is at its utmost and the festivities are a sight to behold. The temple also houses other deities who are worshipped by the devotees including Maragadambhikai, Ganapathy and Lord Brahma, also known as Virinjan, in the form of a child.

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Heritage of the Temple

Every temple which is built and maintained according to the South Indian culture and tradition has a sthala vruksha, a monumental tree inside its premises. The sthala vruksham of the Virinjipuram Temple is the Palm tree which is planted in the prakaram or the inner corridor of the Temple. The tree is said to bear black fruits every consecutive year. The temple also has a Simha Theertham which has a structure of well with a wide mouth and stairs descending to the water level. Simha Theertham literally translates to Lion Water and the water inside it is considered to be holy. The prefix Simha is used because on the surface, near the stairs of the Theertham, there is a lion-like sculpture guarding it.

Architecture of Virinjipuram Temple

The entrance gate of Virinjipuram Temple opens to a seven-storied, east-facing Rajagopuram or monumental tower, which is 110 feet in height. With five Prakarams inside its premises, the temple is beautifully constructed with sculptures carved out of pillars and walls. Moreover, the voluminous expanse of the Temple enhances its purging essence. The colossal figurines of the deities, the multi-layered open halls and the separate Sannidhis for every individual deity demonstrate the exceptional craftsmanship of the masons who designed them. Virinjipuram Temple also has a natural clock which was used to deduce time in the ancient period with the change in shadows due to sunlight. The temple is engineered in such a way that during the morning and the evening aarti, the chant of mantras and slokas resonate in it making every devotee feel gratified.

History of Virinjipuram Temple

The shrines inside the Virinjipuram Temple were initially erected by the Chola Dynasty Kings including Raja Raja Chola and Kobarakesari Varman. In the later years, the Pallavas, Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara Kings also contributed to its architecture making it one of the finest built Temples of Tamil Nadu today. Sri Appayya Dikshita, the greatest practitioner and interpreter of Advaita School of Hindu Philosophy after Adhi Sankara was born in the Virinjipuram Temple, which was originally known as Tiruvirinjipuram Temple. Being one of the eminent followers of Lord Shiva, Appaya Dikshita composed the Margabandhu stotram, which believably protects the pilgrims on their way.

Mythology Behind the Temple

There are very few temples of Lord Brahma in India and plenty of folk tales and stories which point out why he is the least worshipped God of Hindu Mythology. The legend of the Virinjipuram Temple has it that when there was a rise in tension between Lord Brahma and Vishnu regarding their authority and position in the holy trinity, Lord Shiva was approached for a provision, who then took the form of an eternal lingam and asked them to search for his beginning and end. When Lord Vishnu couldn’t find Shiva’s end despite taking the form of a boar and digging the ground, he returned to Lord Shiva accepting his defeat. But Lord Brahma decided to trick Shiva; when he could not find the beginning of Shiva even after ascending towards heaven in the form of a swan, he requested the ketaki flower, an embellishment on Shiva’s head, to testify before Shiva.

Lord Shiva was exasperated by Brahma’s falsehood and cursed him. It was from then onwards that Brahma was rarely worshipped and the Ketaki flower, which defied lord Shiva, was never used again to embellish Shiva’s head. It is said that when Brahma was born as a Brahmin named, Siva Sharma, in the Virinjipuram Temple, he tried to worship the Shiva linga but because he was young, his hands could not reach the head of Shiva’s structure. This time, Shiva leaned his head to let Brahma offer his prayers.

The idol of Margabandeeswarar is therefore is a reclining posture in the northeast direction. The popular folk tales and stories, all comply with the structure of the idol of Swayambhu Murti.

Best Time to Visit the Temple

During the month of March, the sun rays fall directly on the idol of the primary deity, Margabandeeswarar and it is during this time of the year that Theerthavari festival and Maha Shivratri are celebrated in Tamil Nadu across all the major Temples including Virinjipuram. You can also plan your trip during Navratri holidays in December as the ten days of Navratri are also celebrated in the temple.

How To Reach Virinjipuram Temple

The nearest Railway Station is Vellore Katpadi Junction from where it will take you about 30 minutes by car to reach the Temple. Vellore City is well connected by inter-state buses which depart from Vellore bus stand. So, if you are planning for a bus trip you have plenty of alternatives to choose from. If you are travelling by air, you can hire a taxi from the Vellore Airport and as the distance between Vellore Airport and Virinjipuram Temple is only about 7 kilometres, you will reach your destination within 15 minutes.

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