Parthasarathy Perumal, Triplicane, Chennai


With various puranams associated with it, this Divya Desam temple in Chennai is dedicated to Vishnu as Parthasarathy – Arjuna’s charioteer in the Mahabharatam, and also features Vishnu in four other forms. The iconography of the moolavar and utsavar murtis are highly nuanced, embedding instances from the life of Krishna as told in the epic. But what interesting reasons are is behind this temple’s chariot/car running twice during the temple’s annual festival, and differing neivedyams offered to Parthasarathy Perumal and Yoga Narasimhar?… Read More Parthasarathy Perumal, Triplicane, Chennai

Sarngapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam and Pancha Ranga Kshetram (similar to Koviladi), this is also a Vaishnava Navagraha Sthalam dedicated to Suryan. Lakshmi was born as Sage Brighu’s daughter here, and married Vishnu who came to the venue on a chariot, with his bow called Sarngam. The temple itself is shaped like a chariot, and boasts of some very intricate and magnificent architecture. But why is the vigraham of Lakshmi as Komalavalli Thayar, never taken out of the temple in procession?… Read More Sarngapani, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur

Oppiliappan, Tirunageswaram, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam and the Vaishnava Navagraham temple for Sani is where Tirumangaiazhvar was able to view Perumal in 5 forms, and so the Lord here is worshipped in each of those forms. The temple’s sthala puranam is the reason for the Tulasi leaves being used as the customary form of offering for Vishnu. It is also generally known that the temple prasadam is prepared without salt, but why is that so? … Read More Oppiliappan, Tirunageswaram, Thanjavur

Gopalakrishnan, Tirunangur, Nagapattinam


Often referred to by its ancient name of Tirukavalmpadi, this is one of the Divya Desams located in Tirunangur, near Mayiladuthurai. Vishnu here is considered the equivalent of the Krishna at Dwarka, and is said to have come from there. The temple’s puranam is connected to an ungrateful Indra refusing the Parijatham flower to Satyabhama, despite Krishna vanquishing Narakasuran and bringing back the things he stole from Devalokam. How did this come about? … Read More Gopalakrishnan, Tirunangur, Nagapattinam

Sowriraja Perumal, Tirukannapuram, Nagapattinam


Considered the Eastern residence of Vishnu, this Divya Desam temple’s puranam is about how the presiding grew hair on His head to uphold a devotee’s word, that the hair on the garland given to the king actually belonged to the Lord! Interestingly, every amavasya day, the deity is taken outside to meet His devotee Vibheeshana. How did this come to be?… Read More Sowriraja Perumal, Tirukannapuram, Nagapattinam

Kolavilli Ramar, Tiruvelliyangudi, Thanjavur


Located near Kumbakonam, this Divya Desam is believed to have existed in all 4 yugams, and is said to have been built by Mayan, the architect of the asuras. We may remember the story from Vamana Avataram, of Sukracharya entering Mahabali’s kamandalam as an insect to block the flow of water, and how Vamana blinded him. What happened to Sukracharya after that? And why does Garuda hold Vishnu’s conch and discus?… Read More Kolavilli Ramar, Tiruvelliyangudi, Thanjavur

Sundararaja Perumal, Anbil, Tiruchirappalli


Brahma’s ego about his powers of creation resulted in his being born on earth, and he prayed here to be relieved of this curse. Siva, as Bhikshatanar, is believed to have worshipped at this temple, on the way from Uttamar Koil to Kandiyur. The temple also has a Mahabharatam connection, and the Pandavas are said to have worshipped at this place. But what unique iconographic representation in the sanctum leads to this being a prarthana sthalam for women seeking to get married? … Read More Sundararaja Perumal, Anbil, Tiruchirappalli

Saranatha Perumal, Tirucherai, Thanjavur


This Divya Desam temple and Vaishnava Navagraha Sthalam (for Sani’s son Mandi) near Kumbakonam, is connected with the Story of how Kumbakonam came into existence. The temple is also known as the pancha sara kshetram, as it covers 5 essences (or Sarams) at one go. The Kaveri river was upset at not being regarded as the holiest of rivers, and so performed penance upon Vishnu, who granted her three wishes. What unique iconographic representation is there at this temple, as a result of this event?… Read More Saranatha Perumal, Tirucherai, Thanjavur

Thothadri Nathan, Nanguneri, Tirunelveli


Bhoomadevi lost her purity after Madhu and Kaitabha’s slaying by Vishnu caused a world-pervading odour. She worshipped Vishnu here, who blessed her to be cleaned of the impurities. This is a swayam-vyakta kshetram, and eleven of the murtis here are considered to be swayambhu murtis. But how is this temple unique, as regards the Vaishnavite philosophy of Saranagati? … Read More Thothadri Nathan, Nanguneri, Tirunelveli