Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram – Legends
Bhagavata Purana, describes that Vishnu descended as the Vamana avatar to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by Mahabali, a benevolent Asura King. Bali was the grandson of Hiranyakashipu, the son of Prahalada. King Mahabali was generous, and engaged in severe austerities and penance and won the praise of the world. With the praise from his courtiers and others, he regarded himself as the all-powerful in the world.
Vamana, in the guise of a short Brahmin carrying a wooden umbrella, went to the king to request three paces of land. Mahabali, consented against the warning of his guru, Shukracharya. Vamana then revealed his identity and enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. He stepped from heaven to earth with the first step, from earth to the netherworld with the second. King Mahabali, unable to fulfill his promise, offered his head for the third. Vamana then placed his foot and gave the king immortality for his humility.
In worshiping Mahabali and his ancestor Prahalada, he conceded sovereignty of Pátála, the netherworld. Some texts also report that Vamana did not step into the netherworld, and instead gave its rule to Bali. In giant form, Vamana is known as Trivikrama. The legend is associated with the Thrikkakara Temple in Kerala and also with this temple and Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Tirukoyilur.
Thiru Vikrama Darshan to Mahabali:
Bali, who was thus crushed, wanted to see the full form of the Lord who measured the entire world. Answering his prayers, Lord is said to have appeared before Bali at this place as Ulagalantha Perumal (the one who measured the entire universe).
Another Darshan in a smaller form:
Having been reduced to a normal human being in the nether world, Bali was not able to see the full manifestation of Lord Vishnu in this gigantic form. Hence, it is believed that the Lord appeared once again before Bali in a smaller form at this place as the serpent lord Adishesha.
Story behind the name Ooragathan:
As Ooragam signifies Snake and Lord Vishnu gave darshan once again to Bali as the Serpent Lord, this place came to be called Ooragam and the Lord came to be known as Ooragathan.