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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Nitya Kalyana Perumal Temple, Thiruvidandai, Tamil Nadu

Thiruvidandai is a suburban village located in South Chennai, about 19 kilometres (12 miles) south of Thiruvanmiyur, and 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) distant from Covelong on the East Coast Road in Tamil Nadu.

The main idol of Adivaraha Perumal (Vishnu’s incarnation as a boar) is around seven feet high, facing east, in standing posture, his right foot resting on the Adi Sesha, with Goddess Akhilavalli Nachiyar (Bhu Devi) seated on his uplifted left thigh. There is a separate shrine for Komalavalli Thayar, incarnation of Devi Lakshmi.

The Vimana above the sanctum sanctorum is called Kalyana Vimanam. The processional image (utsava murti) called Nityakalyana Perumal is seen in a standing pose with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on either side. He is always seen as a bridegroom with a dot on his left cheek just as bridegrooms have during a wedding ceremony. The Temple follows Thenkalai tradition of Vaishnavism.

Temple history

The temple dates to more than 2000 years and was built by Pallavas. During 10th to 16th century AD Cholas, Udaiyars, Rashtrakutas and Pandya Kings had worshipped at this temple. The temple is near the Bay of Bengal seashore. A large temple tank is in front of the temple which is known as the Kalyana Theertham. There are also two other temple tanks known by the names Varaha Theertham and Ranganatha Theertham. There is a beautiful mandapam before the temple entrance, that displays marvellous images carved on its pillars with deities and avatars of Bhagwan Vishnu.

The entire temple structure is built in granite stones, that contain lots of inscriptions, which help people to know in detail about the temple’s history. With Kanchipuram as capital during the Pallavas’ rule in 6th to 9th centuries Mahabalipuram and Thiruvidandai emerged as strong port towns. The earliest inscription of the temple is dated 959 AD. The temple is a declared monument of the Archaeological Survey of India. However, daily rituals are performed in the temple as it is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu. The temple has a palanquin made of ivory, which is very rare in Hindu temples.   

Legend

During Treta Yuga, when Bali was ruling the kingdom of the three worlds (i.e., Swarga, Prithvi and Patala ) in a righteous way, demons Mali, Sumali and others sought the help of Bali to fight against the Devas. Bali declined to help them. The demons fought alone and were defeated by the Devas. They came again to Bali for help which he obliged and Bali won the war but was afflicted with the Sin of fighting the Devas without a just cause. He came to Thiruvidandai for relief from the sin and performed penance to the Lord. Pleased with his penance, Bhagwan Vishnu appeared before Bali and granted darshan in Varaha Rupa.

Sage Kuni and his daughter performed penance to Sri Narayana to reach Swarga (heaven). Kuni alone reached heaven but not his daughter. Maharshi Narada told the young girl that she could not reach Swarga as she was not married. Kalava Maharshi married her and they had 360 girl children. Kalava Maharshi performed penance to Sri Narayana urging Him to marry his daughters.

A Brahmachari (a bachelor) came one day there saying that he was on a pilgrimage. As he was very handsome as Narayana, the sage requested him to marry his daughters. He agreed and married one girl each day, on the 360 days of the Hindu Calendar. On the last day Kalava Maharshi realises that the young man was none other than Sri Narayana. The Lord then merged all the 360 girls into Akilavalli Thayar who is seated on the left lap of Varaha Swamy. As the Lord placed his consort on his left side this place came to be known as Thiru eda enthai, or Thiruvidavanthai which over a period of time changed to Thiruvidandai.

Since Bhagwan Vishnu got married daily at this place as per the above legend, he is also called as Nithya Kalyana Perumal. Devotees also perform Rahu Ketu puja at this temple to ward off the evil effects of the serpent planets Rahu and Ketu. The temple also has shrines for 12 Alwars, Manavala Maamunigal , Ranganadha and his consort Ranganayaki.

Manavala Maamunigal (1370-1443 AD)

Manavala Maamunigal is considered as one of the greatest Acharyas of Sri Vaishnava tradition and believed to be the reincarnation of Adi Sesha and Bhagavad Ramanujacharya. He wrote nineteen  Grandhas (books) out of which three are in Sanskrit, and the rest are in the Tamil language  and  Manipravalam ( Manipravalam is a combination of early Drawidan languages and Sanskrit).  It is said that Bhagwan Ranganadha of Srirangam himself paid his respects to Manavala Maamunigal through a Shloka as under:

sri:saile:sa daya:pa:thram dhi:bhakthya:di guna:rnavam |

yathi:ndra pravanam vande: ramyaja:ma:tharam munim ||

which means ‘Lord Ranganatha salutes Sri Manavala Maamunigal, who has the blessings of his acharya, Sri Sailesa. Salutations to Sri Manavala Maamunigal who is an ocean of devotion! 

In Sri Vaishnava tradition, the Guru Parampara Dhyanam starts with the praise of Manavala Maamunigal with the above shloka.

Thiruvidandai temple is widely believed to bestow good luck to those wishing to get married, and help remove obstacles that prevent marriages. This temple is 62nd of the 108 Divya Desams (108 Vaishnavite temples that find mention in the “Nalayira Prabandham’, works of 12 Alwars).

Thiruvidandai is on the way from Chennai to Mahabalipuram located at a distance of around 40 KMs from Chennai and 17 KMs from Mahabalipuram. People planning to go to Mahabalipuram can very well pay a visit to this ancient and sacred temple. 

Reference:

  1. https://chengalpattu.nic.in/tourism/places-of-interest/
  2. https://tamilnadutemples.co.in/article/id/8838/temple/464/chennai-divya-desam-temples
  3. https://www.divyadesam.com/hindu/temples/mahabalipuram/tiruvedanthai-temple.shtml

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Dr. B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Dr. B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Ex- Senior Banker, Financial and Management Consultant and Visiting faculty at premier B Schools and Universities. Areas of Specialization & Teaching interests - Banking, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Global Business & Behavioural Sciences. Qualification- M.Com., M.B.A., A.I.I.B.F., PhD. Experience- 25 years of banking and 18 years of teaching, research and consulting. 270 plus national and international publications on various topics like- banking, global trade, economy, public finance, public policy and spirituality. Two books in English “In Search of Eternal Truth”, “History of our Temples”, two books in Telugu and 75 short stories 60 articles and 2 novels published in Telugu. Email id: [email protected]

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