Malai Mandala Perumal Temple (Girivardaraja Perumal Temple), Sathurangapatnam, Kalpakkam, Kanchipuram
Malai Mandala Perumal Temple (Also known as Girivardaraja Perumal Temple) is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located at Sathurangapatnam Village near Kalpakkam in Kanchipuram District of Tamilnadu. Lord Varadar is seen in a walking posture with his feet at the same level as the head of Garuda. It is a Prarthana Sthalam for liberation from Sarpa Dosham.
Several special features make this an interesting temple. It is located about 15 kms South of Thiru Kadal Mallai Divya Desam and a couple of kms ahead of Kalpakkam on the Thirukazhukundram-Kalpakkam SH 58. This Temple is located 0.5 km from the Sadras fort. Presiding Deity is called as Giri Varadar in this temple.
The temple is believed to have been built in the year 850 A D has a close link with Vijayanagara history. The antiquity of the temple could be assessed from an epigraphic detail on a stone at the Gopuram entrance. This Temple is believed to be originally located on a hill; this place dates back to the period of Vijayendra Chozha and was called Raja Narayana Patnam named after the minister of the Chozha. Later, during the Vijayanagara rule, this came to be referred to as Sathura - Vasam - Patnam, which in course of time became Sathurangapatnam. While the Dutch referred to this place as ‘Sadras’, the name ‘Sathurangapatnam’ has come to stay.
This was originally a Lakshmi Narayana temple. Later, with Varadaraja Perumal appearing here as a Swayambu Murthy, Lakshmi Narayana is said to have given way for Lord Varadaraja. Also the giant bell that used to be present at this temple can now be found at a museum in China!! The first of the Azhvaars, Bhoothath Azhvaar, is said to have stayed here and is seen in a Gnana Mudra Posture. The temple was also visited by Lord Raghavendra who performed poojas here.
The temple lacks a Rajagopuram is a minus. The temple is on a higher level and the devotee has to reach the sanctum only through steps. It is noteworthy that the crown of Lord and the Head of Garuda are on a straight line. This beautiful old temple is basically a "mada" temple. As the temple is on an upper level as a hill, Lord is praised as Malai (hill) Mandala Perumal. Passing Garuda, Lakshmi Narayana and Mahalakshmi bless the devotees in the front Mandapam. He was earlier the presiding deity of this temple.
Lord Giri Varada Raja with Sridevi and Bhoodevi found from the ground during the renovation of the temple was installed and consecrated as the presiding deity of the temple later. Dwarapalakas (securities) are on both sides of the sanctum sanctorum. As a rare feature, Lord Yoga Narasimha sculpture appears on the step of the entrance side though as a tradition only Mother Gajalakshmi occupies this place in Vishnu temples.
6 feet tall Lord Girivardaraja Perumal with one step slightly forward as if readying for the Gajendra Moksha appears majestically in the sanctum sanctorum accompanied by Mothers Sridevi and Bhoodevi. His discus also is in a ready-to-fly angle. Procession deities are nearby. Procession Mother also graces with Perumal. Mother Mahalakshmi blesses the devotee from three places – two on both sides of Lord Lakshmi Narayana and as Mother Perundevi. In front of the main shrine the Bali peeta, flag staff and the small shrine of Garuda are located.
Sri Anjaneya in the sanctum sanctorum is an idol of Panchaloka (an alloy of five metals) belonging to the Vijayanagara period. He appears with a bunch of flowers against the tradition of being in worshipping posture with two hands held together. Acharya Sri Raghavendra had rendered his services (Kainkarya) to Lord in the temple. His Mruthika Brindavan is near the temple with his idol also installed here. The Shrine of Sri Panchamukha Anjaneya is opposite to the Brindavan.
A long lamp post and the small shrine of Hanuman are located in front of the temple on the road. The main entrance of the temple has the idols of Ganesha and Nagaraja (snake God) on either side. There is a separate sub shrine within the main shrine where a lot of Utsav idols (bronze idols) are placed. The temple has only one prakara (corridor). The shrine of the Goddess Perundevi is located in the prakara. There are also other shrines such as Vishnu Durga, Andal and Alwars in the prakara.
Lord in 3 forms:
At this temple, one finds Varadaraja Perumal in an East facing standing posture along with Sri and Bhoo Devi. Lord Narayana is seen in a sitting posture with Goddess Lakshmi on his lap. A special feature of Lakshmi Narayana is that it is made of a single stone. Ranganatha is seen in a Sayana Kolam facing the South.
The temple is the abode of Lord Vishnu in various forms:
Standing / Nindran:
This one is that of Varadaraja Perumal standing at the main sanctum sanctorum. He is accompanied by Sridevi and Bhoodevi. More interesting features of this God are the Sanku or Conch is at a higher level compared to the Chakra or Disc. One foot of the Lord is forward while the other foot remains slightly behind. Sridevi is taller than Bhoomidevi
Sitting / Irundaan:
This one is that of Lord Lakshmi Narayana with the Goddess sitting on his lap. Legend has it that this was once his temple but he made way for Lord Srinivasa who appeared by himself (Swayambu) What this means is that the sculpture of Lord Srinivasa are not man made but appeared by itself with the advent of time.
Lying Down / Kidandhaan:
This one is that of Lord Ranganatha in lying posture carved out of a piece of stone.
Walking Posture of Varadaraja Perumal:
Lord Varadar is seen almost in a walking posture with his right leg slightly ahead of the left leg, reminding one of Gajendra Moksham. An interesting feature at this temple is that feet of Lord Varadar is at the same level as the head of Garuda, seen opposite the main Sannidhi, indicating the slightly raised position of the sanctum. Bhoo Devi is seen slightly shorter in height than Sridevi, an indication of her holding the pressures of the earth. Also, at this temple, we find Bhoodevi looking and smiling at us rather than Sri Devi.
Just next to the Lakshmi Narasimha is a special lamp on whose four sides is Garuda, with a leg on the Peedam and another stamping a snake. Below the lamp at the base are 6 parrots seen in a posture of holding the lamp. This deepa – lamp in the temple is a treasure with all aesthetic beauty. People light this lamp with ghee praying for all auspiciousness in life.
As the divine order had it, this deepa was brought to this temple from the house of a devotee in Chidambaram. Special pujas are dedicated to this lamp on the Purattasi Shravana - Thiruvonam Star day in September-October.
Ashta Naga Garuda:
Sri Garuda Bhagwan in the temple is praised as Ashta Naga Garuda, wearing 8 serpents – 1 in the head, two as ear rings in each ear, two on the chest as garlands, one on each shoulder and one as a belt around the hip. It is believed that worshipping Ashta Naga Garuda would relieve the devotee from all doshas caused by serpent planets. Hence, this place is said to be a Prarthana Sthalam for liberation from Naaga Sarpa Dosham.
Yoga Narasimha above the Dwarapalakas:
At the entrance, one normally sees Lakshmi above the Dwarapalakas. But at this temple, one finds Yoga Narasimha. On Pradosham days and Swathi star day, sweet milk is first presented to Yoga Narasimha before serving to Lord Varadaraja Perumal.
Bhoothath Azhvaar’s presence here:
The first of the Azhvaars, Bhoothath Azhvaar, is said to have stayed at this place. He is seen in a Gnana Mudra Posture similar to the one at Thiru Kadal Mallai Divya Desam.
400year old Inscription:
At the main temple door, one finds an inscription, in Tamil and Telugu, dating back to 1603.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Vaikunda Ekadasi is grandly celebrated in the temple in December-January. Vaikunta Ekadesi. On Maasi Magam, Lord leaves the temple for his only street Procession of the year for a Theertha Vaari at the Sea. This entire festival is hosted by the fishermen community.
Devotess pray here for removal of obstacles in marriage proposals, for child boon and reunion of couples separated due to various reasons. Devotees perform abisheks to Sri Garuda Bhagwan, light ghee lamps in His shrine offering a pudding called Amirtha Kalasa Kozhukkattai.
Sri Malai Mandala Perumal (Girivardaraja Perumal) Temple,
Chathuranga Pattinam, Kalpakkam,
Phone: 044 27489064
Mobile: +91 – 95852 12797
Chathuranga Pattinam (Sadras) is located near Kalpakkam is on the Chennai-Mamallapuram road. Bus No. 108 from Chennai to Sathurangapatnam via Chengalpet and Bus No. 118 from Chennai to Sathurangapatnam via ECR/Mahabalipuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Mathuranthagam and Nearest Airport is located at Chennai.
From Chengalpet, one can reach via Thirukazhukundram (about 28kms). By car, one should drive 12 kms on the Mahabalipuram-Pondicherry highway and take a left at the Vengambakkam Junction. Sathurangapatnam temple is 4 kms from this junction. From Vengambakkam Four Road Junction, an auto will cost about Rs.40 to this temple.