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Thiruvallikkeni Divya Desam - Parthasarathy Perumal

Sri KrishnaMeditation: I meditate on Sri Parthasarathy Swamy at Thiruvallikkeni who acted as a charioteer (sarathy) of Arjuna (Partha) during the great battle of Mahabharata.

Thiruvallikkeni Divya Kshetra: Thiruvallikkeni is a Divya Desam whose glory was sung by Peyalvar, Thirumazhisai Alvar and Thirumangai Alvar. Thiruvallikkeni is the ancient Vrindaranyam Kshetra or a holy forest filled with Tulasi (Vrinda) groves. The name Thiruvallikkeni is derived from Thiru Alli Keni in Tamil which means Divine (Thiru) Flower Creepers (Alli) growing on a Tank (Keni). Thus the place was a forest with Tulasi groves with a beautiful pond filled with Alli flower creepers. It is a holy place where several sages have performed penance and got the darshan of the Lord. The temple tank is known as Kairaveni pushkarini. The modern name of this place is Triplicane. The Lord here is known as Parthasarathy. Partha is Arjuna and Sarathy is Charioteer. This is the form of the Lord as the charioteer of Arjuna during the battle of Mahabharata.

Vision of Sri Parthasarathy or Venkatakrishnan: The main shrine of this temple is that of Parthasarathy Swamy who is also known as Venkatakrishnan. Parthasarathy is the Lord's form as a charioteer of Arjuna in the battle of Mahabharata. Venkata is the Lord's form in Venkatachala or Thirumala. According to a legend, king Sumati prayed to the Lord of Venkatachala to give him darshan in the form of the charioteer of Arjuna. Lord Srinivasa instructed the king in dream to go to Vrindaranyam Kshetra where his wish will be fulfilled. During the same time sages Vyasa and his disciple Atreya were pondering over the evils of Kaliyuga. Vyasa instructed Atreya to go to Vrindaranyam Kshetra and perform penance for the good of the world. He gave Atreya an image (vigraha) of the Lord with Conch Shell (Panchajanyam) on the right hand and left hand pointing to his Lotus Feet for surrendering. When king Sumati saw that vigraha he was filled with joy and understood that the Lord has given him darshan in the form mentioned in the Gita.

Image: The moolavar of the temple is that of Lord Parthasarathy with his entire family (Devi Rukmini, Balarama, Satyaki, Pradyumna and Aniruddha). This is rare in Krishna temples. The Lord here has a moustache and holds a sword. The face of the utsavar has a number of arrow marks (said to be those of Bhishma during the Mahabharata battle).

Marriage of Sri Ranganathar (Mannathar) and Vedavalli Thayar: The temple has shrines for Sri Ranganatha Swamy and Vedavalli Thayar. According to legend, once Devi Lakshmi left Vaikuntha after some minor difference with the Lord and came to Vrindaranyam Kshetra. She took the form of a beautiful girl child and laid down under a Sandalwood tree. During that time seven sages were performing penance in the Vrindaranyam Kshetra (Atri, Marichi, Markandeya, Sumati, Saptaromar and Jabali). While they were chanting the Vedas, they got the vision of the divine girl child, whom they later discovered under the Sandalwood tree. They took the girl child to their hermitage and named her Vedavalli, since she appeared in their vision while chanting the Vedas. When Vedavalli grew up and became a maiden, Lord Ranganathar descended from Vaikuntha and came to Vrindaranyam Kshetra. Vedavalli recognised him and called him by the name Maan-Nathar (my husband). Bhrigu Maharshi performed the divine marriage of Lord Ranganathar with Vedavalli Thayar and requested the Lord to permanently abide in that place. This marriage is celebrated on Dwadasha Shukla Paksha during the Tamil month of Masi (during Feb - Mar).

Vision of Sri Rama with his family: The temple has a shrine of Sri Rama with his entire family (Devi Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna). According to legend, sage Sasivadan was performing penance in Pandaram mountain in Pandya Nadu, when Indra sent an apsara by name Hylai to break his penance. The apsara succeeded (using her beautiful voice) and Sasivadan lived with her and had a son. The sage left the child in a den, but the child mysteriously survived by consuming drops of honey from a honey comb. The other sages discovered the child and named him Madhuman. Once sage Gargeya was illustrating the divine qualities of Sri Rama, and instructed Madhuman in dream to perform penance in Vrindaranyam Kshetra to get a vision of Sri Rama. After many years of penance near the Kairaveni pushkarini, Madhuman had the vision of Sri Rama with his entire family. Madhuman requested the Lord to permanently abide in that place.

Vision of Sri Gajendra Varadar: The temple has a shrine of Sri Gajendra Varadar, the form in which the Lord appeared during the Gajendra Moksham event. According to legend, sage Saptaromar performed penance in the Vrindaranyam Kshetra to see that form of the Lord. The Lord appeared before the rishi near the Kairaveni pushkarini.

Vision of Sri Azhagiya Singar (Narasimha): The temple has a shrine of Sri Azhagiya Singar which is the peaceful form of Sri Narasimha. According to legand, Lord Narasimha appeared before sage Atri who was performing penance in Vrindaranyam Kshetra for attaining Moksha. The Lord fulfilled his wishes and told him to continue to stay in the Vrindaranyam Kshetra for blessing the devotees.

Kairaveni pushkarini: It is said that the temple tank known as Kairaveni pushkarini does not have any fish. This is attributed to sage Muthkalar who told the fishes to leave the tank who were creating distractions in his penance in Vrindaranyam Kshetra.

• Thiruvallikkeni is located in Chennai in the Chennai district of Tamil Nadu.

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Last updated on Sep-2021

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