Sunday, December 25, 2016

Kamala Varadharajar Temple, Arasar Koil, Kanchipuram

Kamala Varadharajar Temple, Arasar Koil, Kanchipuram
Kamala Varadharajar Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located at Arasar Koil Village in Kanchipuram District of Tamilnadu. This temple is located at Arasar koil about 1.5 km from the Vyagrapureeswarar temple. It is said to be older than the Kancheepuram Varadaraja temple. Presiding Deity is known as Kamala Varadharajar Temple and Mother is known as Sundara Mahalakshmi.

River Palar, once the lifeline of the vast region of Thondaimandalam, had a number of villages, towns and cities which flourished on its banks, the best known being Kanchipuram. Many of these villages and towns still in existence retain vestiges of their ancient grandeur via the temples that still survive, although many are in a dilapidated state. One such temple, which stands as mute testimony to the greatness of the eras bygone was this Sri Kamala Varadaraja Perumal Temple.

According to the temple legend, Lord Brahma performed penance under the Peepal tree and prayed to Lord Narayana to appear before him. In response, Perumal appeared before him with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi.

According to another legend, when Lord Brahma collected earth from River Palar to make the sacrificial altar at Kanchipuram the images of Kamala Varadaraja Perumal and his consorts were unearthed, and he kept them in this temple and worshipped them. Hence this temple, it is claimed, is more ancient than the Kanchipuram temple.

The Temple
Presiding Deity is known as Kamala Varadharajar Temple and Mother is known as Sundara Mahalakshmi. The temple as well as the main shrine faces west. There is a large pillared mandapam in front of the principal sanctum-sanctorum. The main mage of Sri Kamala Varadaraja Perumal is believed to be of Salagrama. Sri Kamala Varadaraja Perumal is seen in a standing pose and holds a lotus in his right hand which is rare. 

The processional image of this temple is also called Sri Kamala Varadaraja Perumal and is in a standing posture with four arms. His upper arms bear the conch and discus, while his lower right hand holds a lotus and the lower left hand rests on a mace. Since perumal is seen holding a lotus in this temple, he is revered as Sri Kamala Varadaraja Perumal. A shrine for garuda is situated opposite the sanctum for Perumal. 

This temple is well-known for the image of Goddess Lakshmi, in a separate shrine which faces east. She is called Perundevi Thayar here just as in the Sri Varadaraja Swami Temple, Kanchipuram. She is also called Sundara Maha Lakshmi. Like all images of Goddess Lakshmi, this image of Perundevi Thayar has four arms. In the upper two arms she holds two lotuses while her lower right hand is in the attitude of assuring protection to her devotees and lower left hand is in boon-giving posture. She is called Aadhi Lakshmi Thaayar since she is considered the earliest Thaayar formed in the world.

However, this image of Perundevi Thayar in Arasar Kovil, seated in the padmasana pose, is unique as she has six toes in her right foot. Sundara Mahalakshmi sports ‘chubby cheeks’ like a baby sitting in the Padmasana Lotus posture with both hands in abhaya Hastham. The tradition in this temple is that Thayar should be worshipped first and then the devotee should visit the perumal shrine. The shrine for Thayar is also rather unique. It is fashioned like a separate temple with a small but beautiful mandapam in front.

This mandapam is of great artistic merit and has pillars made of resonant stone which are called musical pillars as they emit musical notes when tapped. The corbels of these pillars bear the plantain flower motif very characteristic of the architectural style of the Vijayanagara Empire. At the top of the pillars, there is a hole and a thin stick when passed through it, comes out cut into four pieces. Unfortunately this mandapam and the pillars are in a state of neglect and disrepair now.

There is also a garbha-griha for Sri Andal in this temple complex. There are images of Vishvaksena and the Srivaishanva preceptors Sri Vedanta Desika and Sri Manavala Mamuni in this temple. In front of the Kamala Varadaraja Perumal temple, is a shrine for Sri Anjaneya. The temple is on the banks of the Palar River. It is more popular as Mahalakshmi temple and if case you need to ask the route you can mention the same.

There are a number of inscriptions etched on the walls of the temple. The earliest datable to the Chola times of the 13thCentury A.D. This epigraph dated to 1237 A.D. belonging to the reign of Rajaraja Chola III (1216 to 1250 A.D.), is etched on the north, west and south walls of the main shrine. It registers a sale of land to the temple. Another epigraph of the Chola times inscribed on the north wall of this shrine states that three cows and calves were gifted for a twilight lamp to the deity Tiruvarasur Emberuman in this temple by an individual.

Yet another inscription of the time of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya, one of the greatest monarchs of South India, dated to 1259 A.D. found on the south wall registers a gift of land. This Pandyan emperor is best remembered for his very generous donations to the Sri Ranganatha Swami temple in Srirangam found in a long epigraph there. Another Pandyan inscription is of the reign Sundara Pandyan II dated to 1291 A.D. and records the sale of land to this temple. There are also several epigraphs of the Vijayanagara times.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open only for a short time in the mornings and evenings.
Worship Practices
1.    Mother Sundara Maha Lakshmi is the Mother of all wealth and treasures. This form of the Mother is Aadhi Moola Lakshmi – the root form of all 64 Lakshmi avatars (each one governing one of the 64 forms of wealth, wellbeing and prosperity). A true prosperity is not just the bank balance but the blessings with all the 64 aishwaryas.
2. This is a Kubera Sampatha Shakti Temple and Mother Sundara Mahalakshmi brims with billions of Kubera Shaktis, Aishwarya Shaktis, Sukra Shaktis, treasure Shaktis and prosperity Shaktis.
3.    Mother Sundara Mahalakshmi sports six toes in her right leg. Six is Sukra’s number and Mother Lakshmi is Sukra’s Divine Controller, i.e., She controls Shukra’s power to bestow prosperity.
4.    Shukra worships at this shrine every Friday without fail. What form he might assume is beyond human comprehension, but he is one of the visitors to this shrine every Friday.
5.    This is a perfect shrine for propitiating the Navagrahas. Each of the nine Navagraha lords and their consorts worshipped Mother Sundara Maha Lakshmi at this shrine in nine different Lakshmi forms.
6.    Make it a point to worship Mother Sundara Mahalakshmi at this temple on Varalakshmi Vrata days and Fridays, particularly those Fridays that occur in the months of Aadi (July 15 – August 15) and Thai (January 15 – February 15) and especially during Sukra Hora.
Sri Sundara Mahalakshmi Sametha Sri Kamala Varadharajar Temple,
Arasar koil, Kanchipuram District
Mobile: +91 – 96985 10956 / 93817 44615
This temple is located at Arasar koil about 1.5 km from the Vyagrapureeswarar temple. Travelling on the GST road from Chennai you come across Padalam cross road after Chengalpet. Take a left turn here (boards before this junction will indicate a right turn towards Vedanthangal). Keep going on the road to cross the railway track and continue to reach Arasar koil from GST the temple would be around 6 – 7 kms. The temple is on the left side. By train Padalam station is the nearest.

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