Varadharaja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram

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Varadharaja Perumal Temple or Hastagiri or Attiyuran is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in the holy city of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the Divya Desams, the 108 temples of Vishnu believed to have been visited by the 12 poet saints, or Alwars. It is located in a suburb of Kanchipuram known as the Vishnu Kanchi that is a home for many famous Vishnu temples. One of the greatest Hindu scholars of Vaishnava Vishishtadvaita philosophy, Ramanuja is believed to have resided in this temple. The temple along with Ekambareswarar Temple and Kamakshi Amman Temple in Kanchipuram is popularly known as Mumurtivasam (abode of trio), while Srirangam is referred to as: 'Koil' (meaning: "temple") and Tirupati as: 'Malai' (Meaning: "hill"). Among the Divya Desams, Kanchipuram Varadaraja Perumal temple is known as: 'Perumal Koil'. This is one of the most sacred places for Vaishnavites. The fourth of the Divya Desams that completes this series is Melukote—which is known as Thirunarayanapuram. Vaishnavites believe that visiting all four places without a break will guarantee one a place in paramapadam.


  • Lionel Place, Collector of ‘Jaghir’ from 1794-98, spent considerable sums on the restoration of the Varadaraja temple. He noted it “had been robbed of its most ornamental Pillars and other sculptural work” by Muslims to build a mosque. He said if the mosque had not been ina state of ruin “I should have thought it a commendable act of retributive justice to have restored them [the pillars] to their original place [by destroying the mosque]”. He noted that the temple had on occasions been used by Haider Ali and Tipu Sultan during the war of 1780. He recorded that the “central dome under which the sacred idol was deposited had almost to be rebuilt.” Further, the fires that had been lit in the temple had damaged sections made of granite and the floors had been ripped open by the Haider Ali’s army in search of temple treasures believed to be hidden there.
    • (Irschick 1994: 79-81). [1] quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history. 307
  • According to the inscription on the slab in front of the Thayar shrine in the Varadarajaswami temple the Delhi Emperor Aurangzeb fitted out an expedition about 1688 AD against the Mahrattas of the South and Conjeevaram, in common with several other important centres of South India, felt the shock of this iconoclastic invasion. The temple authorities of the three premier temples of that city thereupon apprehending desecration at the profane hands of the invaders disguised the images of the temple gods as corpses and conveyed them secretly out of the town and found an asylum in the jungles of Udayarpalayam in the Trichinopoly district. But when the danger was past and Conjeevaram was considered safe, the local chieftain of Udayarpalayam, who was much enraptured at the image of the god refused to restore it to its original abode at Kanchi, with the result that at the special intercession of Attan Jiyar, his disciple Lala Todarmalla terrorised the chief with a strong contingent of troops at his back and safely brought back in Saka 1632 (1710 AD) the image and reinstated it in the temple with great pomp and splendour. This incident is even today commemorated in an annual festival called the Udayarpalayam festival. A set of three statues, probably those of Todarmalla is left uncared for in a lamp room in the recess of the gopura called Tondar-adippodi-vasal.
    • About the inscription on the temple, (Ayyar, South Indian Shrines 1993: 77-78). quoted from Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history.277ff

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