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Without a Gopuram, this temple is breaking norms

Eekadu, a village close to Thiruvallur, is home to a small temple for Kalyana Viraraghava Perumal which is rather unique. This temple faces west and the entrance has only a gate and not a gopuram as s

Published: 16th August 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2018 10:28 PM   |  A+A-

Photos: Chithra Madhavan

CHENNAI : Eekadu, a village close to Thiruvallur, is home to a small temple for Kalyana Viraraghava Perumal which is rather unique. This temple faces west and the entrance has only a gate and not a gopuram as seen in most other temples. A mandapa which is seen near the entrance belongs to the Vijayanagara style of architecture with pillars bearing the rearing horse motif, Rama, Madanagopala and other deities. Many small and beautiful sculptures, including those of Rati and Manmatha, have been carved at the base of the mandapa near the steps.

On crossing the mandapa, one comes to the prakaram (circumambulatory passage) where, immediately to the left, is the small sanctum for Goddess Lakshmi, worshipped in this temple as Kanakavalli Thayar and also as Vasumathi Thayar. It is believed to be the place where this Goddess was born and where Viraraghava Perumal married her.

A mandapam leads to the principal sanctum which enshrines the image of Kalyana Viraraghava Perumal in a seated posture with Goddess Lakshmi on the left lap. Generally images of Vishnu with Lakshmi on the left lap are identified as Lakshmi-Narayana. Lakshmi Narayana is generally seen with the upper hands holding the Sankha and Chakra, the lower right hand in abhaya hasta (gesture of assurance) and lower left hand encircling Lakshmi. On close observation, it will be clear that the deity in this temple does not conform exactly to these iconographic prescriptions.

Here, Kalyana Viraraghava Perumal holds the Chakra in the upper right hand and the upper left hand cushions the head of Lakshmi seated on the deity’s lap. Perumal’s lower right hand is in abhaya hasta and lower left hand is around the waist of Lakshmi. Andal is enshrined in the antarala (passage connecting the sanctum and mandapa), facing north and in the same place are worshipped the stone images of Ramanujacharya, Vishvaksena and Srinivasa Perumal.

Original name 
This place was originally called Dharmasenapuram
Code of worship 
The rules of the Vaikhanasa Agama are followed here
Name of Goddess
Lakshmi is called Kanakavalli and Vasumathi

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