Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Devanatha Perumal||Ambal / Thayar:||Senkamala Thayar, Hemabujavalli,|
|Timing:||6 to 11 & 4.30 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Divya Desam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Tiruvaheendrapuram||District:||Cuddalore|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Cuddalore (7 km)||Viluppuram (39 km)|
|Mayiladuthurai (90 km)||Tiruvannamalai (111 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Divya Desam temple where Vishnu protected the Devas who worshipped him, and also has a separate shrine for Vishnu as Lakshmi Hayagrivar
This temple finds mention in Brahmanda Puranam and Skanda Purana, according to which, some sages wished to have a darsanam of Vishnu, and went to Vaikuntam for this. However, He was not there; instead the guardians of Vaikuntam told the sages that Vishnu could be found at a place close to the shore, which was located north of Kumbakonam, south of Tirupati and west of Kanchipuram. When the sages reached the place, they found sage Markandeya and Bhudevi doing penance to Vishnu who was bearing his weapons, sangu and chakram.
Filled with pride, the Devas started ill-treating the asuras. Infuriated by this, the asuras took Siva’s help and attacked the Devas. Unable to bear the onslaught, the Devas approached Vishnu, who vanquished the asuras using His chakrayudham. Vishnu as the protector of the Devas, is called Devanatha Perumal here. However, this puranam created a stir, causing conflict between worshippers of Siva and Vishnu at the time. The puranams say that to demonstrate that there was no difference or superiority amongst the trinity, Vishnu appeared as Siva (with the third eye and matted locks), Brahma (with a lotus in one hand), and Himself (with the sangu and chakram).
Vishnu once asked Garuda to bring Him pure water from the Vraja Teertham, which was under the supervision of a sage. Garuda was able to quietly take a water from there, but once the sage realized what was happening, he made the water unfit for use. Garuda then started pleading with the sage, but as this was taking time, Vishnu asked Adiseshan to bring him the water. Adiseshan lashed his tail and brought forth a spring of water – today this is the Sesha Teertham in the temple. Garuda finally arrived with the pure water, which the Lord accepted, and is considered equivalent to the Ganga river. The river running by the temple is this water, and so is called the Garuda Nadi (Gadilam river, which flows from the south to the north, beside the temple). But due to a curse by the sage, the water is red in colour for some part of the year. Water from the river is used for abhishekams at the temple.
Tiruvaheendrapuram and this temple are closely connected to Swami Vedanta Desikar, the Vaishnavite acharya, who lived in Tiruvaheendrapuram for many years, writing several volumes. Swami Desikar is also considered the incarnation of the temple bell at the Venkatesa Perumal temple at Tirumala. It is believed that Swami chanted the Garuda mantram (which was given to him as upadesam by Garuda himself) at Tiruvaheendrapuram, upon which Vishnu as Hayagrivar appeared and blessed Swami with abundant knowledge. It is therefore considered that all the works of Swami Desikar are blessed by the Lord Himself.
This temple is located at the base of a hillock called Oushadagiri, which itself is said to be a piece of the Sanjeevani mountain that Hanuman carried to Lanka to revive Lakshmana, in the Ramayanam. The town is colloquially called Tiruvandipuram, a corruption of Tiru-Vaheendra-Puram (Vaheendra refers to Adiseshan, who is said to have been created this place).
Hayagriva, a demon with the face of a horse, received a boon that he could be killed only by someone of equal valour and standing, and as a result, was harassing people. Lakshmi had once cursed Vishnu to have a disfigured face for having mocked her, and seizing the opportunity, Brahma gave Vishnu the head of a horse, making Vishnu an equal of Hayagriva. This enabled Vishnu – in Hayagriva form (Haya-griva = having the neck of a horse) – to vanquish the demon, and on top of the hillock is a separate shrine for Vishnu as Lakshmi Hayagrivar.
In the Matsya Avataram, the demon Hayagriva stole the Vedas from Brahma, and was defeated by Vishnu who later came to be worshipped as Hayagrivar himself. In other puranams, Vishnu as Hayagrivar defeated the demons Madhu and Kaitabha, who had stolen the Vedas.
At the Lakshmi Hayagrivar shrine on top of the hillock, Thayar is seen seated on Perumal’s right lap (very rare, the only other example of this being the Lakshmi Varaha Perumal at Tiruvalavendhai). It is believed that this is the first ever shrine / temple for Lakshmi Hayagrivar. Because Vishnu took the form of Siva and Brahma as well, the utsavar here is locally called Moovar Agiyavar (the one who became three). Both Hanuman and Garuda are depicted with Anjali hastam (folded palms). There is also a separate shrine for Rama with Sita and Lakshmanan.
The structural temple is Chola, considered to be from the Medieval Chola period, with later additions and expansions by the Pandyas and Vijayanagara dynasty. The temple has several inscriptions referring to Kulothunga Chola I, Vikrama Chola, Raja Raja Chola III, Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan, Vikrama Pandyan, Achyuta Deva Raya and Kopperunjinga, amongst others.
Other information for your visit
Phone: 04142 287515