July 15, 2013

Tiruvallur Veera Raghava Perumal Temple

Site Name: Veera Raghava Perumal Temple  
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Tiruvallur, near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the most important Vaishnaivite temples; one of 108 Divya Desam temples
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Chennai; the local train facility is also available from Chennai
Hotel: A lot of options in Chennaicity 
Restaurants: A lot of options in Chennai city; few low budget eateries can be found in Tiruvallur

Tiruvallur is a small town located near Chennai city in South India. It has one of the most important temples of Lord Vishnu, Veera Raghava Perumal temple.

  • Considered as the 59th Divya Desam temple.
  • One of the most important Vishnu temples in South India.
  • One of the eight Ashtaavidha Sayana Divya Desam shrines - one of eight shrines where the main deity is in the reclining posture. In this shrine, it is referred as 'Veera Sayanam'.
  • Tirumangai Alwar and Tirumazhisai Alwar have sung about this site.
  • God - Veera Raghava Perumal
  • Goddess - Kanakavalli
  • Teerth (holy water) - Hritabhanasini Pushkarani
  • Vimana - Vijayakoti Vimana


As per the legend, Lord Vishnu revealed the Vedas to Lord Brahma in this site.

As per another legend, a sage named Salihotra performed penance on the banks of this temple, which is considered to be purer than the Ganges. After completing his penance for about one year, he wanted to share his food with someone. There Lord Vishnu appeared as an old man and ate the entire food. Again the sage observed fasting and performed penance for one year. Now, the same Brahmin came and ate all the food. He also asked for the shelter. As he asked the question - Evvul meaning 'which place' in Tamil language, this site got the name 'Tiru Evvullur' which later became 'Tiruvallur'. The Lord took shelter in the saint's hut and covered himself with the bark of trees. The saint begged the Lord in the reclining posture to stay in this place and solve all the problems of the devotees.

Temple Layout:

The Pallava period temple of Veera Raghava Perumal is very huge. The temple has the east facing tower and entrance. A mandapa will sculptured pillars is found in front of the tower. There are two four pillared tall mandapas and Hanuman shrine are located on the road facing the temple.

The temple has two prakaras surrounding the sanctum sanctorum. Facing the main shrine, the flag staff, bali peetha and Garuda shrine are located.

The sanctum sanctorum has the 15 feet long Veera Raghava Perumal (Vishnu) reclining on the five-hood Adi Sesha serpent. His left arm is raised above whereas his right arm is directed towards the ground. Near his right arm, the saint Salihotra is found in the sitting posture. The bas-relief image of Brahma is found on a lotus flower rising out of the Lord's stomach.

The utsava idols of the Lord with his two consorts are also found in this temple.

The inner prakara has a sub-shrine for Lord Ganesha. Though this is a small shrine, it is rare to find one in Vishnu temple. Usually Ganesha's image is found only as a bas-relief in the pillar in Vishnu temples.

The small sub-shrines of Ananta Narayana, Yoga Narasimha with Lakshmi Narasimha as utsava deities and Chakrathalwar are also located in the inner prakara.

The outer prakara has a large area with open space. The shrines of the Goddess Kanakavalli and Andal are located on either sides of the sanctum santorum. In addition, there are two shrines behind the sanctum - one is dedicated to Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman and the other one is dedicated to VenuGopalan, Krishna with four arms holding discus and conch in addition to flute; he is found with his two consorts. All these four shrines has mandapas in front side having pillars with the interesting sculptures.

Some of the other sub-shrines located in this temple include Ramanuja, Manavala Muni and Nammalwar.

The large temple tank is located outside the temple complex.

A temple which you are not suppose to miss.

Happy travelling.

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