Pandava Thoothar Perumal Temple (Thirupadagam), Kanchipuram – The Temple
Pandava Thoothar Perumal Temple, also known as Thirupadagam, is a unique shrine dedicated to Bhagavan Sri Krishna in Kanchipuram, Tamilnadu. The temple is located in Big Kanchipuram near the Ekambareswarar Temple. The primary entrance of the temple faces east and the temple has a rectangular plan. The temple has a four-tiered Rajagopuram and a single precinct enclosed in the walls. The Maha mandapa is believed to have been built by the Cholas, while the adjacent hall during the period of Vijayanagara Empire.
The majestic and unusually large images of Lord Vishnu at Paadagam, Ooragam and Tiruvekka seen in the sitting, standing and reclining postures respectively are of stucco (sudhai) and not of stone as usually seen in most temples. According to scholars, these images were probably set up for worship even in the pre-Pallava times, i.e., in the sangam age.
The central shrine of the temple has a large image of the presiding deity Pandava Thoothar, which has a height of 25 ft. (7.6 m). The 25 feet murti of Bhagavan Sri Krishna faces east and it is in this form that he appeared before Janamejaya. No temple in India has so tall a Perumal in a sitting form. The tower above Lord Krishna – Pandava Dhoodha Perumal – is called Badra Vimana.
The deity is seen seated in Arda Padmasana posture with his right leg bent to the basement. Since Krishna appeared as human form, there are only two hands to the deity, unlike other temples, where the presiding deities have four or more hands. The right palm depicts the Abhaya Mudra for protection and the left arm depicts Varada Mudra for giving boon.
The preceding hall to the main sanctum, Mukha Mandapa, has bronze images of the festival deities of the temple and Azhwars. The most prominent of them is of Arulala Perumal Emberumaanar, the disciple of Ramanuja, whose image is rarely found in other Vishnu temples. The Shrine of Rukmini is located to the south of the main shrine and has the image of Rukmini. There are modern additions like Chakrathaazhwar with an image of Narasimha on it reverse located behind the main shrine.
Matsya Theertham, the temple tank, is located on the north eastern side of the temple. Consort worshiped here is Satyabama and Rukmini. The tirtha associated with the temple is Matsya Tirtha. The present structure, which is in Dravidian style of architecture, is believed to be more than 1000 years old. The processional deity (Utsava-murti), in this shrine, is a four-armed Vishnu flanked by Sridevi and Bhudevi.
A few historic inscriptions are found etched on the walls of this temple, which provide information about the benefactions made to this shrine in the ancient days. The earliest of these epigraphs, found on the Northern wall of this temple, is dated 1075 A.D. and belongs to the reign of the Chola ruler Kulottunga (1071-1122 A. D.). This inscription states that a merchant named Arulaladevan, living in Kanchipuram, provided the temple of Thirupadagam with a flower-garden and purchased some land from the assembly of the village of Orirukkai (near Kanchipuram) to support the gardeners and their families.
Another inscription, of the reign of the same ruler dated 1109 A.D. found on the Southern wall of this temple registers an undertaking given by Dutakari Tiruvaranga Mani Bhattan and Ninra Narayana Bhattan who were performing worship in the temple of Thirupadagam, to supply daily a certain amount of curd for the offerings to God in lieu of interest on the gift money received by them. The gift of two kalanju and two manjadi of gold were made by a merchant of Kanchipuram. It is possible that Dutakari, the name of the priest of this temple mentioned in this inscription, could be after Krishna, the messenger of the Pandavas.
The third epigraph inscribed on the western wall of the central shrine of this temple is dated 1167 AD and belongs to the time of Rajadhiraja Chola (1163/66- 1179/82 A.D.). This inscription speaks of the gift of thirty-two cows for maintaining a perpetual lamp to Lord Thirupaadagattazhvar by a person named Nirainindraan.
Interestingly, a Sanskrit epigraph of the Pallava age of the 8th century A.D. found in the Sundaravarada Perumal temple at Uthiramerur near Chengalpattu (Kanchipuram District) provides some information about the talented architect, named Parameswara, who constructed this outstanding Vishnu temple. He is mentioned as an expert among architects who hailed from Pataka (Paadagam) in Kanchipuram. It is possible that this architect may have contributed to the Pandava Doota Perumal temple at Paadagam also.
Moolavar and Thaayar:
The Moolavar of this sthalam is Sri Pandava Thoothar. He is found in Irundha (sitting) Thirukkolam, facing East direction. Prathyaksham is given for Janamejaya and Hareetha Munivar.
Thaayar: Rukmini and Sathya Bama.
· Matheesya Theertham.
· Bathra Vimanam
· Vetha Kodi Vimanam.