Varadharaja Perumal Temple (Hayagriva Temple), Chettipunnyam – History
Though known as Hayagriva Temple, it originally had only the Moolavar and Utsavar images of Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram. The temple's history dates back to 400 years though it could have existed even before that. The village got the name of Chettipunnyam as Chettiar weavers and dyers lived there in large numbers and they used to dry the dyed yarn and cloth in the nearby hill.
It was in 1848 that the idols of Hayagriva and Devanathan, which were worshipped in underground chambers at Thiruvaheendrapuram, one of the 108 holy places near Cuddalore, were brought by Dewan Rangachariar to this village to be safeguarded during alien invasion. Though not mentioned in the Azhwar's hymns, the idols, as they were brought from Thiruvaheendra Puram, are considered no less holy. The Hayagriva idol, though small in size, is said to have been the personal deity of either Ramanujacharya or Appullar.
In Thiruvaheendrapuram, Sri Vedanta Desika recited the Garuda Mantra taught to him by his uncle, Sri Kidambi Appullar and was initiated into the worship of Hayagriva by Garuda. Sri Vedanta Desika composed the Hayagriva Sthothram in 33 verses. Apart from the `phalasruti' there are 32 verses. There is a reason for Desika writing the Sthothram in 32 verses. The Brahma vidyas are 32 in number. His composing the Hayagriva Sthothram in 32 verses is to show that Hayagriva is the repository of all vidyas.
The 32nd verse of the Hayagriva Sthothram which is the 'Dhyana Sloka', speaks of Hayagriva’ s right lower hand as 'Vyakhyamudra' - the elucidating pose and the left lower hand holds a book. Desika says that Sri Saraswati, Sri Dakshinamurthy and sages like Vyasa reflect a fraction of Lord Hayagriva's effulgence).
It may be mentioned that the other beautiful images of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Anjaneya at Vaduvur were also unearthed at Thalainayar during the rule of Serfoji. He later enshrined them in the temple at Vaduvur. `Sita Kalyanamu,' a work in Telugu and Sanskrit, composed in praise of Lord Rama at Chettipunnyam by Shahji Maharaj of the Serfoji dynasty is said to be preserved in the Saraswathi Mahal Library at Thanjavur.
The idols of Sri Rama, Sri Sita, Sri Lakshmana and Sri Hanuman were brought to Vandalur in Chennai, in the year 1868, on Oct 5, by Mudumbai Ramaswamy Iyengar, from the Tanjore Palace. When Ramaswamy Iyengar migrated to Bangalore, he had all these Gods installed in the Sri Devanatha Swamy Temple, since Chettipunnyam, was his native village. As per the legends, the first Mysore Dewan Veeravalli Rangachariar (1831-1883) also hailed from this village.