Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Devadirajan Perumal||Ambal / Thayar:||Senkamalavalli, Rakthabja Nayagi|
|Timing:||7.30 to 12 & 5 to 8.30||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Divya Desam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Therazhundur||District:||Nagapattinam|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Mayiladuthurai (9 km)||Kumbakonam (29 km)|
|Thiruvarur (38 km)||Nagapattinam (54 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Brahma wanted to worship Krishna, so when Krishna was not there, he took all the cows and calves from Gokulam and brought them to Therazhundur. When Krishna returned to Gokulam, He realized what had happened, but instead of going to Therazhundur, He created more cows and calves, and remained at Gokulam. Brahma realized his mistake, and asked Krishna to give him pratyaksham at Therazhundur, which He did as Aamaruviappan, with a cow and calf alongside. Perumal is depicted with a cow and a calf in the garbhagriham at this temple.
The calf that is seen alongside Vishnu here represents Parvati, His sister, who came to earth as a result of a curse by Lord Siva, during a game of chokkattan. This place is therefore one of the first, in the list of temples connected to the marriage of Siva and Parvati (Parvati came to earth at Tiruvavaduthurai, and would be taken to graze at Therezhundur by Vishnu as a cowherd).
Indra once entrusted Garuda to deliver a crown and a vimanam at any of the Divya Desams. Garuda delivered the crown at Tirunarayanapuram (near Mysore) and the vimanam here (the temple’s vimanam is called the Garuda Vimanam). So Garuda – as Periya Tiruvadi – gets special status here, and is featured in the garbhagriham next to the Lord, instead of a separate sannidhi outside.
Therazhundur (which is the correct name, though it has been corrupted as Therezhundur lately), in Tamil, simply means the place where the chariot was grounded (ther=chariot, azhundu=grounding, ur=place). There are many similar stories about how this place got its name, all related to a king called Uparicharavasu (named Vasu, and the prefix Uparichara refers to his flying chariot. In Sanskrit, upari = over / above, and chara = move)…
- all beings that came under the shadow of the chariot would be burnt. When he was about to fly over Vishnu and the cows here, the Lord pressed his big toe hard on the ground, making the chariot come to earth.
- when his queen wanted to worship the Lord, Uparicharavasu refused to stop the chariot. This annoyed Vishnu, who brought the chariot down to earth.
- the chariot would fly over sages performing penance, which upset them, and so sage Agastyar brought it down to earth.
Staying with the first of the above stories, the chariot landed in the tank in front of the temple. Finding a cowherd boy nearby, the king asked him to get the chariot out of the water, promising the boy 1000 pots of butter. The boy helped, but Uparicharavasu could find on 999 pots, so he filled the last pot with water, and gave them all to the boy. When the boy opened the pots, only one had butter, and 999 had just water in them. Realizing that the boy was none other than Krishna, the king realized his mistake, and was pardoned.
This is one of the five Krishna Aranya Kshetrams, the others being Tirukkannamangai, Kabisthalam, Tirukannapuram and Tirukannangudi.
The murti of Perumal here is huge – about 12 feet tall – and His right foot it slightly lower than the left, depicting it being pressed on the ground to bring down Uparicharavasu’s chariot. The Lord is seen in the garbhagriham with Prahaladan (who sought a mellow version of Vishnu after seeing the Lord as Narasimhar, worshipped here), and Sage Markandeyar (who prayed that he should have no rebirth).
Sage Agastyar wanted to marry the Kaveri river, but she refused. The sage cursed her that wherever she went, trouble with follow. Kaveri worshipped Vishnu here and was relieved the curse. Therazhundur is also the birthplace of the poet Kambar, who authored the Tamil Ramayanam, and who has a separate shrine here.
Therazhundur was the Chola capital under Karikala Chola, who is said to have built the original temple in his time (1st century CE). In terms of structural construction, this is a medieval Chola temple, built in the middle of the 11th century. The temple was expanded and renovated in the time of Kulothunga Chola III and Vikrama Chola (late 11th and early 12th century), and in the 14th century by later Chola kings.
Other information for your visit
Srinivasan Bhattar / Venkatesh Bhattar: 99440 39572; 97917 69942