January 26, 2011

Poonamallee Varadarajar Temple - South India

Poonamallee is a small township located near Chennai city, one of the four metros of India. Poonamalle has two ancient temples - one dedicated to Lord Shiva, and another temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu is named as Varadarajar Temple.

Poonamallee is basically a diluted name of "Poovirundavalli" or "Pushpavalli" meaning the site full of Jasmine flowers. Poonamallee is the birth place of Tirukatchi Nambi , one of the great devotees of Lord Vishnu. Hence, the 10th century Varadarajar temple is also called as Tirukatchi Nambi temple. There is a belief that the Goddess Lakshmi appeared from jasmine flower to Tirukatchi Nambi in this site. The temple, located very near to the bus stand of Poonamallee, has Varadarajar as the presiding deity and Pushpavalli as the Goddess.

The temple has an impressive tower. Opposite to the sanctum, there is flag staff. The sanctum has the idol of Tirukatchi Nambi in the sitting posture. The presiding deity Varadarajar is found along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. A different aspect of the idol is that he faces the west direction. Garud is found facing the shrine of Varadarajar. It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared as Varadaraj, Ranganath and Venkatesa in this temple. Hence, there is a shrine for Ranganath adjacent to the shrine of Varadarajar. The shrine of Srinivasa Perumal (Venkatesa) is found near the flag staff.

The shrine of Ranganathar is slightly unique in this temple. Vishnu's Kurma Avatar (tortoise) is found at the bottom of Ranganathar idol. Apart from that, Ranganath is found along with Brahma, Sri Devi, Bhoo Devi and Adi Sesha. Near the shrines of Ranganath and Varadaraja, the idols of Ramanuja, various Alwars and Vishvaksena are found. There is a separate shrine for a beautiful idol of Krishna called as Kannan in this temple.

The corridor of the temple has the shrine for the Goddess Pushpavalli and another shrine for Andal. The sacred tree has the idol of Krishna dancing on the snake. The shrines of Hanuman and Alavandan are also located in the corridor. There is a shrine for Srinivasa Perumal found along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.

Every year during February to March between the 21st and 25th at 6 AM, the sun rays fall on the face of the Lord of this temple.

When you get a chance to go to Poonamallee, ensure that you visit this temple.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Varadarajar Temple aka Tirukatchi Nambi Temple
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location: Poonamallee,near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Highlights: The birthplace of Tirukatchi Nambi; 10th century temple
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai - well connected from the cities/towns all over India
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road, train, and flight
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Chennai
Restaurants: All options - vegetarian, non-vegetarian, Chinese, South Indian, Gujarati, North Indian, Punjabi,....- you can find everything in Chennai city

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