Vijayaraghava Perumal Temple (Thiruputkuzhi), Kanchipuram – Legends
Legend says that Sri Rama left all of his properties and went to the forest as ordered by his father. While in the forest, Sita spots a golden deer and requests Rama to catch it for her. The deer however is a demon sent by Ravana to lure Rama and Lakshmana, so that he could carry away Sita. With Rama and Lakshmana out in search of the deer, Ravana abducts Sita and takes her along with him to Lanka.
On the way to Lanka,Jatayu the vulture stops Ravana and fights with him to release Sita, but Ravana cuts Jatayu's wings and he falls down to the earth. When Rama and Lakshmana go there in search of Sita, they find Jatayu mortally wounded in the forest. Jatayu tells them about Ravana and Sita, and then dies. Sri Rama then performs the last rites for Jatayu. As suggested by Jatayu, the Perumal here gives his Seva in the form in which he performed the final funeral of Jatayu.
Jatayu belongs to the Pul (a separate family of eagle) family and was buried in a pit (Tamil kuzhi), hence this sthalam is called Thiruputkuzhi. The eagle Jatayu narrated the events to Rama before breathing his last. The presiding deity, Vijayaraghava Perumal is believed to have performed the last rites of Jatayu at this place. The water body where Jatayu fell is called Jatayu Theertham.
Horse Vahana- A Special Feature:
On certain festive occasions, Lord Vijaya Raghavan goes on street processions mounted on his ‘Horse Vahanam’. For a moment, one almost feels that this is a real Horse, with its jumping stride and movements. The man who created this horse specifically for Lord Vijaya Raghava was asked to make another horse. He refused to recreate his magic for anyone other than the Lord.
To this day, when the Lord is taken on a street procession on the Horse Vahanam, he visits the place where the horse maker lived to pay regards the creator.
Ramanuja learning Advaitha lessons from Yaadava Prakaasar:
Ramanuja learnt the Advaitha lessons from Yaadava Prakaasar at this place. The mandapam where he learnt his lessons still exist here.
Sri Devi to the Left of the Lord- A unique feature:
Vijaya Raghava Perumal is seen in a sitting posture, having the bird (Jataayu) on his thigh. Not able to bear the smell caused by the final rites and because of the flames that arose out of the cremation of Jatayu, Sri Devi Thaayar is said to have moved to the other side of the Lord.
At this temple, the Goddess is seen to the left of the Lord Vijayaraghava with her head slightly turned in the Lord’s direction (in all Divya Desams, Sri Devi Thaayar is seen to the right of the Lord). Also, the Thaayar Sannidhi is to the left of the Lord. In all Divya Desams, the Thaayar Sannidhi is always to the right of the Lord.
2 Divya Desams with the same story:
While each Divya Desam has its own unique story, the Vijayaraghava temple at Thiruputkuzhi shares the same story as another. Jataayu Moksham is a story that relates to Pulla Bhoothangudi Divya Desam (about 10 kms West of Kumbakonam). The question arises as to how two Divya Desams can have the same event connected to it.
There are many reasons to believe that Pullabhoothangudi is more likely to be connected with Jataayu Moksham and not Thiruputkuzhi. Thirumangai Azhvaar in his praise of the Lord at Pulla Bhoothangudi refers specifically to Raama with a bow (called Valvil Rama) while in his praise of Thiruputkuzhi Lord, Thirumangai does not refer directly to Raama.
Also, in several of his Paasurams relating to Pullabhoothangudi, Thirumangai refers to the Ramayana. Raama is said to have taken the Chola route to Thirupullani and then to Lanka and is unlikely to have passed through Kanchipuram.
Childless Couple and Unmarried girls:
Sincere prayers to Maragathavalli Thaayar at this temple, on 'No Moon' day, by observing fast, is said to yield immediate results for childless couples and unmarried girls.
Sthalapuranam as per Temple Management:
“Jataayu wanted darshan of Lord Vishnu as seen in Paramapadham. Acceding to his prayers, the Lord is said to have appeared here as Paramapadha Nathan in a sitting posture. There must have been a definitive reason as to why the historians/our predecessors left behind this story for the Thiruputkuzhi Divya Desam.”
The commonality to Pullabhoothangudi and Thiruputkuzhi Divya Desams does not stop with the story alone. The Bhattars in both the temples are quite ‘devotee friendly’ and explain the temple history in loud and clear voice, that sends positive vibrations to the devotees.