Venkatachalapathy Temple, Mela Thiruvenkatanathapuram – Legends
Swayam Vyaktha Kshetram:
In times immemorial this place was a jungle and known as ‘Salivadipuram’ or ‘Vaiprachiam’. Nearby this place there was a hillock called ‘Swetha Parvatham’. The story goes that Pylar Rishi, the leading disciple of Veda Vyasa Rishi, visited this place as part of his religious trip. While bathing at the Srinivasa Theertham in Tamaraibarani (1 km from the current temple location), he too heard an invisible voice and could only visualize Venkatachalapathy and not have a direct darshan of him. At that time there was neither a temple nor even an idol for worship. Hence Pilor performed everything spiritually in his mind by offering flowers.
After 7 days, all the flowers piled up and turned into a very bright light in which Lord Srinivasa appeared before the sage. At his lotus feet the presiding deity of the river Thamirabarani also appeared. Pilor was enthralled and pleaded the God to be present in the place permanently along with his Goddesses and others. He also built a small temple wherein he incarnated Lord Srinivasa along with Goddesses Bhudevi Neeladevi and Alarmel Mangai. The bathing place in Thamirabarani was named as ‘Srinivasa Theertha Ghat’.
Pleased with his prayer, Lord asked Pylar Rishi to create the idol from the huge piece of rock in this hill. Hence, this place is referred to as ‘Swayam Vyaktha’ Kshetram. The story also goes that Pylar found three special stones flowing against the tide of the river and created the idol of Lord Venkatachalapathy, Sri and Bhoo Devi with these stones.
Garuda with conch & discus:
When Perumal took on a war to protect Mother Earth, He left his conch and discus with Garuda to protect the world which Garuda did till the return of the Lord. Hence, Garuda in this temple graces with conch and discus.
Venkatappa Naicker, ruling this region then went on a pilgrimage to various sacred places seeking a child boon and finally came to this place. When he had a dip in Srinivasa Ghat, he had a voice that he would be blessed with a child if he fed 1000 children quenching their hunger. He followed the directions of the voice and was blessed with a male child. Immensely pleased, he built this temple, cleared the land and made it fit for human habitation. He named the place as Thiruvengadanatha Puram after his name.
12 Azhwars as 12 Steps in Sanctum:
12 sage poets who eulogized Perumal in their hymns and celebrated as Azhwars wished to be at the feet of the Lord in this temple. The 12 steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum represent 12 Azhwars.
Equivalent to Tirupathi:
The Thiruvenkatanathapuram temple has powers equivalent of visiting Tirupathi. Hence, this is also referred to as ‘Then Tirupathi’. Ear piercing, Anga Prathakshinam, Tonsure and Tulabaram are undertaken at this temple.
Belief is that Lord Venkatachalapathy will bless childless couples if they perform pal payasam pooja on the Shravanam day. This is a Prarthana Sthalam for a healthy life, prosperity, liberation from curse and for unmarried people.