Almost in May – June time-frame, I came across this temple in “Aalayam kandean” blog of Mrs.Priya and visited almost immediately. It was a very good and satisfying visit I should say. Finding the place was a bit difficult thing, but the Battachariar mama and his wife guided me over phone to the temple. Come, lets look into the sthala puranam before we do a pradakshina in this temple!
Kari means an elephant, and “Varam tharum raja” is Varadharaja 🙂 (A king who gives a boon).
This is a story similar to “Gajendra moksham” one, with a slight twist in climax scene. Ideally, this Varadharaja has given a boon to an elephant. But why?
Long long ago, there was a king called Indra-dhyuman. Once Maharishi Agasthiyar came to his courtyard, and fury with the disrespect meted out to Him, cursed the king to become an elephant (Personally I don’t believe this as character of Agasthiya though. This could have been a blessing in disguise!). Since the king knew in advance, that, that was his last birth, he prayed Vishnu.
As “Akashvani” (அசிரீரி), Vishnu told the king, to go to a place, where harvested paddy lay like mountains (“நெல் குன்று போல் விளைய கூடிய நெற்குன்றம்”), and He resided as “Varadharaja”. Immediately the king came here and prayed the Lord, and got turned into an elephant. Though he changed like this, he did have old memories, and hence was offering a lotus to this Lord everyday.
One day, a Gandharva called Goo-Goo came to this place from Devaloham, turned himself a crocodile and was playing in the pushkarini, where the lotus was taken by the elephant everyday. In parallel, Maharishi Bharadhwaja came to this pond and was doing his Sandhi pooja. This crocodile, when moving around, hit him with its tail, for which the frowning Rishi, cursed the Gandharva to remain a crocodile itself (since his pooja was interrupted). When the Gandharva begged for mercy, the great sage told “There is a Vishnu Bhaktha elephant and if you catch his legs, you will get your old form.”
So, the crocodile started waiting for the elephant, and one day in the Brahma-muhurtha, the elephant came and took a lotus from the pond. The crocodile swiftly moved and caught its leg. Since the flower it took started to dry, the elephant did try to free himself, but when he couldn’t, called Vishnu “Aadhi-moolame!!!”
Till this the story resembles “Gajendra moksham” ! Vishnu, on hearing His bhakta’s voice, appeared on the shore of the pushkarini, and used His “Sudharshana-chakram”, to drag both out of the pond. Once they came out, Vishnu gave them “Moksha-gathi” !
So, Varadharaja has “Varadha-hastham” here 🙂 Remember, Perumal in Tirumala has “Abhaya hastham” (which means, those who catch His feet shall remain protected.) Here He says, for people who come here, and pray Him as “Kesava, Madhava, Govindha”, and come into His “Saranaagathi”, He shall forgive all their sins, and will grant them moksham.
In 1894, there was a troop of Bhagavathas, who were doing Bhajans and were travelling to Kanchipuram, to have darshan of “Kanchi Varadha” on “Vaikasi Vishakam – Garuda seva” day from Chennai. When they crossed this province, there was a huge rain lashing out at them. Fearing they will miss the seva, since there were only 2 days to reach Kanchipuram, that too by walk, they did pray Vishnu, and as “Akashvaani”, Vishnu ordered them to have His darshan here first !!!
After they came here and did a “Bhagavatha seva”, the rain stopped, and they were able to continue their journey. The Bhattachariar says, even today, there will be someone doing a rendition on each saturday!
Finally, the speciality of this Varadharaja, is the Lord opening His eyes to see His bhaktas. (Many visitors were very proud to say this there in the temple. I could only feel the eyes of the statue glowing when the deepam was taken near. Since I am a self accepted fool, might be I couldn’t realize Perumal opening His eyes 🙂 But, I honestly trust, that a person can enter even his next door temple, only if his name is in the appointment list of the Lord that day 😉 )
Pradhakshina of the temple :
Once we enter the temple, through the entrance shown above, take a left, and first we have Ramanujar sannidhi.
Further down, we have Vinayagar, called “Thumbikkai Aazhwaar” in Vaishnavism.
From here, next is Sri Anjaneyar !
We pray near Dwajasthambam, and Sri Garudan Sannidhi, to reach Varadharajar !
Just opposite, is “Sri Kari Varadharajar Sannidhi” !
After praying Him, we need to take a pradhakshina, to pray Goddess Sridevi and Boodevi…
And finally in the koshtam is “Vishnu Durgai” !!!
This completes the temple pradhakshinam…..
1) Here there is a peculiar tradition followed. In case we have any issues in life, we can take our horoscope along with Rs.27/- (that is, the number of total stars), and place it in the holy feet of Lord and pray. It is believed that the problem will be solved by the Lord with 48 days or something.
2) For married women, who have not conceived, and are eagerly awaiting a child, the Bhattachariar places the utsavar of “Santhana Gopala krishnan” in their saree, and patiently sings “Krishnashtakam”. His voice is really divine…
“Athasee pushpa sangasam,
Hara noopura Shobitham,
Rathna kankana keyuram,
Krishnam Vande Jagat Gurum” !
I heard him singing these lines for a lady, and even after such a long time, his voice reverberates in my ears !!!
How to reach:
When we go from CMBT terminus to Madhuravoyal, we get Nerkundram in between, closer to CMBT. There is the “Kaaruneegar street.” Enter that, and ask for “Eri theru / masoodhi theru”. The temple is in the mid of the street.
Shri. Sugendra Bhattachar :: 99625 59123, 99628 11792