Sunday, March 25, 2018

Veera Raghava Swami Temple (Thiruevvul), Thiruvallur – The Temple

Veera Raghava Swami Temple (Thiruevvul), Thiruvallur – The Temple
A tall archway which can be seen from a distance greets the visitor to the temple. On proceeding further down the road leading to the temple, the visitor sees an old mandapam with tall monolithic granite pillars studded with carvings of various deities like Krishna and Vira Hanuman and immediately in front, a newer mandapa leading to the tall five-tier gopuram. The temple is under administration of Ahobila Mutt. This is an east facing temple with a 5-tiered Rajagopuram.

Presiding Deity is called as Veeraraghava Swamy. The presiding deity is in a recumbent position (called Bhujanga sayanam) facing east. Lord is in a reclining form – on a five feet peeta, 15 feet long. His right hand blesses the sage Salihotra and left hand in Gnana mudra preaches to Brahma. The Vimanam (pyramidal roof over the sanctum) is called Vijayakoti Vimanam as it is a symbol of victory against Madhu and Kaidapas asuras who were killed by Vishnu.

The presiding deity is believed to cure diseases of his devotees and hence he is also called as Vaithya Veeraraghavan. Abishekam to Lord is performed only with perfumed oil. It is said that the devotees offer small metal sheets with a specific organ of a human carved on it, as a request to god to cure the illness with those offered organ. The diseases are believed to be cured if the devotees visit the temple on Amavasya (no moon days). Mother is called as Kanakavalli / Vasumathi. Her shrine is located parallel to the sanctum.

There are shrines of AzhwarsRanganatha and Hanuman located around the sanctum in the first precinct. There is a legend that Lord Shiva got rid of his Brahmahatti Dosha after worshipping Vishnu in the place. There is a small shrine for Shiva in this temple premises. On the road perpendicular to the temple is a shrine for Anjaneya, while near the gopuram one can see a sanctum for Sri Adi Van Sadagopan, the first Jeeyar of the Ahobila Math.

There are separate shrines for Kanakavalli, Ganesha, Alwars, Gajalakshmi Thayar, Anantazhvan, Santhana Gopalan, Garuda, Rama, Lakshmi Narayana, Vishvaksena, Venugopala, NammazhwarChakrattazhwarAndal, Vedanta Desika, Ramanuja, Thirukachi Nambi and Lakshmi Narasimhar. Theertham of this temple is Hrutatapanasini. This spring is considered more sacred than the holy Ganga and it is believed that it cleanses devotees even from the very thinking of a sin. It is said that if taken bath in this Pushkarani cures all kind of diseases. As usual, at the centre of the tank there is a mandapam, where seasonal Festivals are performed.

This tank is situated on the south side of the temple, covering approximately seven acres. On the banks of the Pushkarini are two shrines, one for Navaneetha Krishna and another for Bhu Varaha. The Brindavanams of five Jiyars (pontiffs) of the Ahobilam Mutt are also near this tank. The Padhiri (Patali in Sanskrit) tree or trumpet flower tree, with its many medicinal properties and religious connections, has been traditionally held as the sacred tree or Sthala Vriksham of this temple.
Lot of Tamil inscriptions have been discovered in various parts of this temple testify the temple’s antiquity. The earliest of these was found etched on a step leading to the tank and belongs to the 9th century A.D. Pallava period. It records an endowment for burning a sacred lamp and for feeding a person who cleaned the temple. On one of the stones of the west wall of the maha mandapa is an epigraph of Rajendra Chola I of the 11th century while another Chola record, discovered on the south wall of the central shrine refers to a gift of land for conducting festivals to the deity Pallirundarulina Emberuman of Thiruvevuli.

A few other fragmentary Chola inscriptions appear to record gift for repairs and for a festival in the month of Vaikasi by a devotee. Several inscriptions of the Vijayanagara era and later times too have also been found here. One of these, found on the inner eastern wall of the Vahana Mandapa, dated 1630 A.D., belonging to the reign of Vira Venkata Raya II mentions that Vira Raghava Sadagopa Jeeyar, who was the thirteenth pontiff of the Ahobila Math, who presided over this institution from 1630 to 1675 gifted gold to this temple, the interest from which was for celebrating certain festivals for Veeraraghava Swami and Thayar.

Other donations by the pontiffs of the Ahobila Math are also recorded in inscriptions of the Vijayanagara epoch. It is interesting to note that the royal emblem of the imperial house of Vijayanagar - that of a boar with a sword in front and the sun and moon above- is clearly sculpted on one of the walls in this temple.