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Triad of sacred spots

Three temples for the Lord — two at Thiruparkadal and one at Thiruputkuzhi, all near Kanchipuram, — are thronged by devotees, but only during Vaikunta Ekadesi, writes T. A. SRINIVASAN.

Goddess Ranganayaki in all her benevolence ...

CLOSE TO Thiruputkuzhi, near Kanchipuram, on the Chennai-Vellore road, is Thiruparkadal. The place is famous for its twin temples, where the Lord is seen in lying and standing postures. These two temples, along with Thirupputkuzhi, where the Lord is enshrined in a sitting posture, make a triad of sacred spots.

The temples are agog with activity only during Vaikunta Ekadasi when thousands of people visit them for worship. On other days they are forlorn places. The two temples are situated very close to each other with a Pushkarani (holy tank) in front of them.

At the first temple, Lord Srinivasa or Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal, is found in a standing posture. He is standing on an Aavudaiyar, which forms part of the Sivalinga found in Siva temples.

It is said that once Pundarika Maharishi, an ardent devotee of Lord Narayana, was on his way to Kanchipuram to worship Lord Varadaraja and when he found the two temples he went inside one of them and worshipped Lord Ranganatha, reclining on the Adisesha. When he found images of the Nandi generally found in Siva shrines, outside the other temple, he did not go inside. An aged person, who wanted to know the reason for his skipping the temple, stopped him outside it. When the sage replied that it was a Siva temple, and hence he was not visiting it, the old man told him that it was one dedicated to Lord Narayana and His image was inside.

Utsavar Prasanna Venkatesa, Sridevi and Bhoodevi ...

He led the sage inside the temple where the huge image of Lord Narayana, standing on Aavudaiyar, was found and the old man disappeared. The sage, understood that it was Lord Narayana who took him inside the temple to make him realise the mistake of differentiating between the two Gods. The temple faces east and besides the gigantic image of the Moolavar, rising to a height of over eight feet, there are beautiful Utsava idols of Lord Srinivasa with Sridevi and Bhoodevi, besides Alarmelmangai Thayar, Andal, Nardhana Krishna and Sudarsana.

The other temple, where the Lord is reclining on Adisesha, is linked to the legend of Brahma seeking the Lord's help to stop Saraswati flowing in the form of River Vegavati to destroy the Yagasala where he was performing the ritual to see the Lord. The Lord obliged him by lying across the course of the river. A similar legend exists in the case of the temple of Sri Yadoktakari at Thiruvehka in Kanchipuram.

According to Sri Nandakumara Bhattachariar, the temple priest, those who worship the Lord here would be relieved of their sins and thus freed from the fear of punishment for their sins from Yama, the God of Death.

The Lord here is known as Sri Ranganatha and Goddess Ranganayaki in the temple fulfils the prayers of the devotees for progeny and happy marriage. There is a separate shrine for Anjaneya and those who want to get rid of Apamrityu Dosham offer him a garland of pumpkins.

The awe-inspiring Moolavar in Thiruparkadal ...

As the presiding deity in the temple is found as in the heavenly Milky Ocean with Sridevi and Bhoodevi sitting by His side and Brahma, seated on the lotus flower raising from the Lord's navel, the place gained the name of Thiruparkadal, according to the temple priest.

The image of the Moolavar is made of Thaaru (wood) like the image of Athi Varadar in Kanchipuram.

On Vaikunta Ekadasi day (which falls on January 14, this year) He is adorned with poovangi (flower dress) and the temple remains open throughout the day.

Many renovation works have to be undertaken in this temple, which has been ravaged by time.

The previous Samprokshanam of the temple took place over 100 years ago. Both the temples are under the control of the HR and CE Department.

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