Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram – Legends

Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram – Legends

Ulagalantha Perumal:

As per legend, Lord 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. Mahabali was the grandson of Hiranya Kasipu, 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 invincible in the world.

Emperor Mahabali, though good natured, ever helpful to those in need, had a desire that none should exceed him in status and fame.  To realize this aim, he conducted a great yajna headed by his Guru Sukracharya.  Lord thought to bring down his pride. He took the form of dwarf, came to the Yajna field and sought three footsteps of land (three steps by his foot) as charity. Guru Sukracharya sensed some mischief in the dwarf and understood that the visitor was none other than Lord Vishnu.  

He vehemently warned Mahabali and did his best to prevent his promise. Mahabali did not relent. He was only keen to keep up his word to dwarf and offered his wish. Lord took his Viswaroopa, measured the earth by one foot step and the Akasha by the second step and there was no place for the third step and asked Mahabali for the third. Mahabali gracefully accepted his inability and offered his head for the third. Lord placed his head on Mahabali and demanded that he solemnize the charity with water from his right hand. 

Mahabali took the water bowl to confirm his promise but Sukracharya took the form of a bee and blocked the hole of the bowl from releasing the water. Lord Vishnu took a grass piece, put it on the bowl hole that blinded the Guru. Mahabali was pressed by the Lord Vishnu to the Padala Loka and taken later with him. It is said that the above incident happened in this temple. The same legend is associated with Thrikkakara Temple in Kerala and Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Thirukovilur.


As Mahabali been reduced to a normal human being in the nether world by Lord Vishnu, 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 the form of Adisesha (Ooragam) in a smaller form at this place. Hence, the place came to be called as Ooragam and the Lord came to be called as Ooragathan.


It is believed that Sage Garga performed his penance at Karunagara Perumal Temple and bestowed with knowledge. Hence, the place came to be called as Garagaham and later got corrupted to Kaaragam. It is also said that Lord Vishnu gave darshan to Kaasha Rishi in Thiru Kaaragam.


Lord Vishnu explained to the world that he is the Megham / Kaar (Clouds) which brings rain to this world for the welfare of the world. The clouds give the rain to the world without expecting anything in return. Similarly, Perumal resembles as Kaar (rain bearing clouds) here without expecting anything from his devotees expect pure devotion from them. Hence, the temple came to be called as Thirukkaarvaanam.

Thiru Neeragam:

Neer (the water) is the primary and necessary element for the survival of living beings on earth. Lord Vishnu resembles this concept in this temple. Hence, the temple came to be called as Thiru Neeragam.

Aalilai Krishna:

This temple is the place where Sage Markandeya, father in law of Oppiliappan, once underwent a penance on the banks of River Bathra towards Lord Vishnu to get his darshan as Aalilai Krishna (Child Krishna on the Banyan Leaf).