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Thiruvallur Divya Desam - Veeraraghava Perumal

Sri VishnuMeditation: I meditate on Sri Veeraraghava Perumal at Thiruvallur who gave darshan to sage Salihotra who performed severe penance in this place.

Thiruvallur Divya Kshetra: Thiruvallur is a Divya Desam whose glory was sung by Thirumazhisai Alvar and Thirumangai Alvar. It is located around 40 km from Chennai. Thiruvallur is the ancient Viksharanya Kshetram which was a Tapovanam for performing penance. The place was a beautiful forest full of fruit-bearing trees, flower trees, creepers and medicinal plants. There is a great Teertha (Tank) here known Hrittapapanashini Teertha which was built by the devas. It was a very beautiful tank full of lotus flowers growing over it. Hritta means heart, Papa means sin and Nashini means destroyer. Thus a bath in this tank destroys our sins and makes us pure. The place is so sacred that it is known as Punyavrata Kshetram. It is said that sages like Vasistha, Vamadeva and Vyasadeva performed sadhana in this place. However, the place gets the name Thiruvallur from the penance of sage Salihotra. There are many incidents related to people and celestial beings getting purified in this place. There is great significance of taking bath in the Hrittappanashini Teertha on the Thai Amavasai date. Viksharanya Kshetram is also associated with the incarnation of Devi Lakshmi as Vasumati, the daughter of king Dharmasena.

Lord killing demons Madhu and Kaitabha: It is said that to kill the demons Madhu and Kaitabha, when Sri Vishnu released his Sudarshana Chakra, the demons tried to escape and finally came to the Viksharanya Kshetram, where the chakra killed them. Hence the vimanam here is known as Vijaya Koti vimanam, signifying the victory.

Veerabhadra taking bath in the Hrittapapanashini Teertha: When Veerabhadra killed Daksha and destroyed his yagna he wanted to atone his sins. A divine voice told him to go to the Hrittapapanashini Teertha and take bath there. Accordingly, Vearabhadra took bath in this Teertha and became absolved of his sins. There is a small shrine of Vearabhadra near the temple tank.

Penance of king Pradyumna near the Hrittapapanashini Teertha: The significance of taking bath in the Thai Amavasai day in the Hrittapapanashini Teertha is related to the penance of king Pradyumna. King Pradyumna did not have any sons as his heir. So he performed penance on the bank of the Hrittapapanashini Teertha for nearly hundred years standing on the toe of his left feet. Lord Vishnu appeared before him on the Thai Amavasai day and gave him the boon of a son.

Brahmin Kaushika taking bath in the Hrittapapanashini Teertha: A brahmin named Kaushika once decided to take bath in the river Ganges. He started from home and passing through many places came to Dandakaranyam. He was very tired and lied down in that place. A Panchama passing through that place saw him and carried him to his house. He asked his daughter to look after the brahmin. In due course the brahmin fell in love with the daughter and married her. He incurred the sin of marrying outside the community. However, during one of his pilgrimage, he took bath in the Hrittapapanashini Teertha on the Thai Amavasai day by mere accident. Therefore, after his death, Yamadharmaraja told his assistants to take him to heaven instead of hell.

Penance of sage Salihotra: According to legend, Sri Vishnu gave darshan to Salihotra rishi who did severe penance in the Viksharanya Kshetram. During the penance Salihotra rishi did not take any food for one whole year and on the Thai Amavasai day collected grains of paddy, converted them to rice and cooked food with that rice. He divided the food into four parts setting aside one part for the guest. Sri Vishnu came in the form of an old hungry brahmin and ate the entire food prepared by Salihotra rishi. Salihotra rishi was happy to satisfy the brahmin and continued penance for another year. As before, on the Thai Amavasai day he cooked food and divided into four parts, setting aside one part for the guest. As in the previous year, Sri Vishnu came in the form of an old brahmin and ate the entire food of Salihotra rishi. He then asked Salihotra rishi - "Where can I sleep?". Evvul in Tamil means "which place" and Thiru is the divine prefix. Hence the place came to be known as Thiru-Evvullur, which later became Thiruvallur. Salihotra rishi showed him his own hermitage for the brahmin to sleep. The Lord became pleased and gave darshan to the rishi in his true form.

Image: The image of Lord Vishnu here is in reclining posture on the Adisesha with head towards the south and feet towards the north. From his Nabhi has emerged Lord Brahma. One hand of the Lord is stretched out towards Lord Brahma. The other hand is placed on the head of Salihotra rishi.

Incarnation of Devi Lakshmi as Vasumati: Devi Lakshmi was born as the daughter of king Dharmasena in a place known as Dharmasenapuram near the Viksharanya Kshetram. She was known as Vasumati. When she grew up, Lord Veeraraghava came in the disguise of a prince and proposed the king to marry his daughter to him. The king was impressed by the appearance and manner of the prince and consented for the marriage. After the marriage the Lord and his consort came to the Viksharanya Kshetram and merged with the idol of Lord Veeraraghava before the full view of others. The king then realised that the bridegroom was none other than the Lord himself and his daughter Vasumati was none other than Devi Mahalakshmi herself.

• Thiruvallur is located in the Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu.

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Last updated on Sep-2021

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