Varadharaja Perumal Temple (Hayagriva Temple), Chettipunnyam – The Temple
Though the main deity of this temple is Varadharaja Perumal, many people throng here to worship Yoga Hayagrivar. One can see that the temple is always filled with school and college students coming here to worship Yoga Hayagrivar, as he is the believed as the God for education, knowledge and wisdom. It is said that, originally this temple had Sri Varadharaja Perumal only. Later during 1848, the idols of Sri Devanaadha Perumal and Sri Yoga Hayagrivar have been brought here from Thiruvaheendrapuram (near Cuddalore) to safe guard them from invaders.
Now, the main deity here is Varadharaja Perumal and Goddess Hemambuja Nayagi. The Urchavar of this temple is Devanaadha Perumal. Devanaadha Perumal is seen here with Prayoga Chakra on his right hand, which is a rare sight. Usually Hayagrivar is seen along with Sri Lakshmi in many places. But here unusually, he is seen meditating in Yogic posture with his legs folded without Sri Lakshmi. Yoga Hayagriva is a rare form of idol and the idol is short. Dhwajasthambha is made of stone here on which Sri Garuda is seen facing the Lord, towards the sanctum.
An Azhinjal tree is present at the northern side of the temple, where people tie a thread or a piece of cloth and pray the Lord for marriage, children and also to fare well in examinations. The idol of Varadaraja is found along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. There are also separate shrines for Andal, Alwars, and Garuda. In the corridor surrounding the main shrine (prakaram), you can find the idols of Hayagriva and Nagaraja.
There is a big shrine for Lord Rama (Kothanda Raman), where he is found along with Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman/Anjanayar. In the recent time, the popularity of this temple has increased as people started bringing their school going children to this temple (as Hayagriva is considered as the God of Knowledge). The prakaram is beautifully maintained with garden and found very neat.
A big bell is found hanged onto the iron, but not encouraged to touch it, as it is found cracked. Looks like the bell is very old and also there is a mention above it on the wall as “Got Donation Rs 200 from Rajaram Naidu in 1920. It is difficult to take one's eyes off the images at this temple, not only those of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Anjaneya, but also those of Lord Devanathan, Goddess Hemambujavalli, Yoga Hayagriva, Lord Varadaraja and Andal.
The temple is under the control of the HR and CE Department. It owns landed property donated by philanthropists and a house gifted by the Mudumbai Ramaswamy Iyengar family, who brought the idols of Rama, Sita and others from the Serfoji palace at Thanjavur. A beautiful temple, especially granting wishes for students.