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Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam - Varadaraja Perumal Temple

• Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam - Greatness:

Sri VishnuMeditation: I meditate on Sri Varadaraja Swamy and Perundevi Thayar in Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam.

Divya Desam: Thirukachi Athigiri is a Divya Desam whose hymn was sung by Bhoothath Alvar, Peyalvar, Thirumangai Alvar and Nammalvar. It is the 43rd Divya Desam and is located in Thondai Nadu.
- Perumal is in standing posture facing West.
- Pratyaksham: Bhrigu, Naradar, Adiseshan, Brahma, Gajendran
- Mangalasasanam: Bhoothath Alvar, Peyalvar, Thirumangai Alvar, Nammalvar (7 Pasurams)
- Vimanam: Punyakoti Vimanam
- Pushkarini: Vegavati, Anantasaras, Sesha Teertham, Varaha Teertham, Brahma Teertham, Padma Teertham, Agni Teertham

Athiyur: This place in ancient times was known as Athiyur either because it was filled with Athi (Udumbara) trees or / and due to the presence of the image of Athi Varadar.

Satyavrata Kshetra: This place is also known as known as Satyavrata Kshetra.

The name Kanchi: The name Kanchi is said to be derived from Ka (Brahma) and Anchi (worshipped). Brahma worshipped Lord Vishnu in this place and got the darshan of the Lord.

The name Varadaraja: The Lord here is known as Varadaraja. Vara means Boon, Da means giver and Raja means King. This is the form of the Lord as the giver of boons.

• Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam - Deeds & Grace:

Sri Vishnu 1. Lord Vishnu & Brahma: Brahma performing penance in Satya Yuga: In Satya Yuga, Brahma performed a penance to have the darshan of Lord Vishnu in his Caturbhuja form (form with four arms). Lord Vishnu first appeared in the form of a Teertha or Sacred Water. Lord Brahma continued his penance. Thereafter the Lord appeared in the form of a Forest. Lord Brahma continued his penance further. Then he heard a divine voice instructing him to perform one hundred Ashvamedha Yagnas. Lord Brahma conveyed his inability to undertake one hundred Ashvamedha Yagnas. Finally the Lord told him to perform one Ashvamedha Yagna at the Satyavrata Kshetra which will be equal to hundred Ashvamedha Yagnas. Lord Brahma performed one Ashvamedha Yagna here and got the darshan of Lord Vishnu in his resplendent form of Varada (giver of boons). Lord Brahma requested the Lord to permanently abide in that place. The name of the place Kanchi itself is said to be derived from this incident as Ka (Brahma) and Anchi (worshipped).

2. Lord Vishnu & Gajendra: Gajendra worshipping Lord Vishnu in Treta Yuga: In Treta Yuga, elephant Gajendra (of Gajendra Moksha) worshipped Lord Vishnu here on the hill. So the hill is also known as Hastigiri or Gajendragiri.

3. Lord Vishnu & Brihaspati: Brihaspati worshipping Lord Vishnu in Dvapara Yuga: In Dvapara Yuga, Brihaspati worshipped Lord Vishnu in this place.

4. Lord Vishnu & Adisesha: Adisesha worshipping Lord Vishnu in Kali Yuga: In Kali Yuga, Adisesha is said to be worshipping the Lord here.

5. Lord Vishnu & Bhoothath Alvar: Bhoothath Alvar singing hymns in this Divya Desam: Bhoothath Alvar sang hymns in praise of the Lord in this Divya Desam.

6. Lord Vishnu & Peyalvar: Peyalvar singing hymns in this Divya Desam: Peyalvar sang hymns in praise of the Lord in this Divya Desam.

7. Lord Vishnu & Thirumangai Alvar: Lord saving Thirumangai Alvar: Thirumangai Alvar after spending a large sum of money in celebrating the worship of Lord Varadaraja was left with no money to pay the tax. So he was imprisoned by the king. The Lord appeared in the dream of the king and told him the place where the money was kept on the bank of Vegavati river. The king found the money and realised the devotion of Thirumangai Alvar. He set him free.

7. Lord Vishnu & Thirumangai Alvar: Thirumangai Alvar singing hymns in this Divya Desam: Thirumangai Alvar sang hymns in praise of the Lord in this Divya Desam.

8. Lord Vishnu & Nammalvar: Nammalvar singing hymns in this Divya Desam: Nammalvar sang hymns in praise of the Lord in this Divya Desam.

9. Lord Vishnu & Thirukachi Nambi: Lord bestowing grace on Sri Thirukachi Nambi: Thirukachi Nambi maintained a flower garden near Kanchipuram exclusively for the Lord. Everyday he would string a garland with the flowers and walk to Kanchipuram to adorn the Lord. During his old age he could not walk to the temple. Then he took up the service of fanning the Lord (Alavatta Kainkaryam) by staying in Kanchipuram itself. The Lord bestowed him the power to converse with him (through which later Sri Ramanuja got direct instructions from the Lord).

10. Lord Vishnu & Ramanuja: Lord saving Sri Ramanuja: When Ramanuja became the disciple of Yadavaprakasha of Kanchipuram, Yadavaprakasha became jealous of him due to his superiority and decided to end his life. For that he planned a pilgrimage to Varanasi with his disciples. Ramanuja got an uneasy feeling during the journey and broke from the group. He lost his way in the Vindhya mountains and prayed to Lord Varadaraja. Lord Varadaraja and Perundevi Thayar came in the form of a hunter couple and showed him the way to Kanchipuram. The couple also showed him a well from where to get water for the holy bath of Lord Varadaraja. From that day Ramanuja continued to perform the bathing of the Lord (Teertha Kainkaryam) with water from that well.
- Sevilimedu: Sevilimedu is the place around 7 km from Kanchipuram which has the well (Salai Kinaru) from where Sri Ramanuja drew water to perform the Teertha Kainkaryam of Sri Varadaraja.

11. Lord Vishnu & Ramanuja: Lord bestowing tenets of Vaishnavism to Sri Ramanuja: Sri Ramanuja discussed the principles of Vaishnavism with Thirukachi Nambiar and requested him to verify them while conversing with the Lord. During this conversation, Lord Varadaraja revealed six famous sayings to Ramanuja which forms the tenets of Vaishnavism.
- Six famous sayings: The six famous sayings are:
1. Lord Narayana is the Paramatman (Absolute Brahman) and the cause of Prakriti.
2. Jivatmas (Individual souls) are separate but part of Paramatma.
3. Prapatti (Surrender) is the only means to attain Moksha (Liberation).
4. For the devotees the remembrance of the Lord during the time of death is not necessary.
5. The devotees attain salvation when they give up their mortal body.
6. Choose Mahapurna as your spiritual teacher.

12. Lord Vishnu & Doddacharya: Lord bestowing grace on Sri Doddacharya: Sri Doddacharya used to visit Kanchipuram from Sholinghur every year to attend the Brahmotsavam festival. During his old age when he was unable to do so, one day he was standing on the bank of Thankankulam tank of Sholinghur during the Brahmotsavam festival. Lord Varadaraja during the Garudaseva procession, made the priests hold the umbrellas in a slanting position to enable Doddacharya to have the darshan of the Utsavar image from Sholinghur.
- Brahmotsavam: During Brahmotsavam the custom of slanting the umbrella is followed even today, to remind the devotees of this incident.

13. Devi Lakshmi & Vedanta Desika: Goddess bestowing grace on Sri Vedanta Desika: Vedanta Desika was a great devotee of Lord Varadaraja and resided near Kanchipuram in a place called Thoopul. Once a poor brahmachari came to him to seek for financial help. Sri Desikar sincerely prayed to goddess Perundevi. The goddess was pleased and there was a shower of gold coins.
- Sri Stuti: The above famous stotra of Vedanta Desika is known as Sri Stuti.

• Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam - Sacred Geography:

Sri VishnuAthi Forest: Thirukachi is the ancient Athiyur which was a holy place filled with Athi trees. Athi (in Tamil) or Udumbara (in Sanskrit) is a tree sacred to Lord Vishnu. One of the name of the Lord in Vishnu Sahasranama is Udumbara.

Hastigiri Hill: Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam is located on the Hastigiri or Gajendragiri Hill which is said to be the hill where elephant Gajendra worshipped Lord Vishnu.

Vegavati Nadi: The river associated with the legend of the temple.

Anantasaras: The Pushkarini of the temple where the Image of Athi Varadar is kept.
Brahma Teertham: Pushkarini of the temple.
Sesha Teertham: Pushkarini of the temple.
Varaha Teertham: Pushkarini of the temple.
Padma Teertham: Pushkarini of the temple.
Agni Teertham: Pushkarini of the temple.

• Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam - To See:

Sri Vishnu 1. Image of Perumal: The Image of Sri Varadaraja in standing posture facing west and is having four arms (Caturbhuja form). The upper arms are holding the Sankha (Conch) and Chakra (Disc). The lower left hand is holding the Gada (Mace) and the lower right hand is showing the Abhaya mudra (gesture of giving fearless).

2. Image of Thayar: The Image of Sri Perundevi Thayar.

3. Image of Athi Varadar: The original Image of Sri Varadaraja consecrated by Lord Brahma is made of Udumbara wood and is known as Sri Athi Varadar. It is kept in a silver casket inside the temple tank and is taken out only once in 40 years for a period of one mandalam (around 45 days). It was last taken out in 1979 and 2019.

4. Vimana of the temple: The Vimana of the temple known as Punyakoti Vimana.

5. Five Prakaras of the temple: The temple has five prakaras or circumambulation paths.
(a) The first prakara is on the Hastigiri hill which has the garbagiha and the pradakshina path. It is known as Vayya Maligai or the earthly mansion of the Lord.
(b) The second prakara is the pradakshina path around the hill which is known as Thirumalai Pradakshinam.
(c) The third prakara houses the temple kitchen and is therefore known as Madapalli prakara It also has the shrines of Perundevi Thayar, Adisesha and Garuda. The temple vahanas are kept here. It also has the Unjal Mandapam. This prakara is also known as Alavandar prakara as Sri Alavandar first met Ramanuja in this prakara.
(d) The fourth prakara has the images of the Alvars and hence it is known as Alvar Thiruveedi. It also has the images of the Acharayas, Sri Krishna, Sri Varaha and Sri Ranganathar. The temple tank is also situated in this prakara.
(e) The fifth prakara is known as Mada Veethi.

6. Hastigiri Hill: The Hastigiri Hill or Gajendragiri Hill where the first prakara of the temple is situated. It is said to be the hill where elephant Gajendra worshipped Lord Vishnu.

7. Vegavati Nadi: The river associated with the legend of the temple.

8. Pushkarini Ananthasaras: The temple tank Ananthasaras is situated on the fourth prakara of the temple. The wooden Image of Athi Varadar is immersed in this tank and brought out every 40 years. The float festival of Perundevi Thayar is also held in this tank. She is never taken out of the temple as she is considered a devoted wife.

9. Other Pushkarini: Brahma Teertham, Sesha Teertham, Varaha Teertham, Padma Teertham, Agni Teertham.

• Thirukachi Athigiri Divya Desam - Location:

• Thirukachi Athigiri is located in Kanchipuram in the Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu. This is in Thondai Nadu.
• The temple can be visited from Kanchipuram (within Kanchipuram city).

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May there be Peace in the Sky,
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And Nature will preserve Us,
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Last updated on Sep-2021

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