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Monday, July 18, 2011

Sri Madhava Perumal Temple

Sri Madhava Perumal Temple is located to the east of Sanskrit College and north of Kapaleeswarar temple it is very near to the Mundakkanni amman temple. The temple is amazingly clean, aesthetically painted, well lit and very well maintained.
The Sthala-Purana related to this place also mentions that during the churning of the ocean of milk, when Goddess Mahalakshmi arose from the ocean, Vishnu sent Her to Mayurapuri to Brighu Maharishi`s ashram. Hence the place also attained a mythological significance. According to that story She appeared before Brighu Maharishi who was then praying for a child, and he brought Her up and named her Amritavalli. Sriman Narayana as Madhava Perumal came to this place and asked for Her hand in marriage which took place in Panguni Uttiram. It is believed that this temple is situated in the place where sage Bhrigu`s ashram existed. The temple was also named following the name of Lord Narayana in his disguise. Thus the reference of the place in the legendary accounts like Brahmanda Purana and the Vedas is an added grandeur to the temple and nowadays Sri Madhava Perumal temple existed as the legendary shrine of the historical place of Mylapore.
 The presiding deity of this temple is Madhava Perumal is the chief attraction of the temple. The deity is seen in a seated posture flanked by the goddess Sri Devi and Bhu Devi by His side. Madhava Perumal, the presiding deity is also called Kalyana Madhava as He married Amritavalli Thayar (goddess Lakshmi is known by this name here). Those devotees desirous of marriage considered Him as Prarthanai niraivetra Perumal. These devotees also believe that in order to get married soon, they should satisfy the lord enshrined here by offering their worship and veneration. The large processional image (utsava murti) of this shrine is another striking feature of the temple. It is seen in a standing posture flanked by Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. This processional  image deserves special mention on account of His exquisite and serene countenance. In the exquisite utsava murti is also seen the image of Niranjana Madhavan (Chinna Madhavan) holding the sacred sankha and chakra. His lower hands is found in the gesture of abhaya hasta and his left hand resting on His thigh (uru hasta), also with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. The imposing image of the Lord created a sense of awe and veneration in the heart of the devotees and the same time this unusual image cast a beautiful sight.
In the mandapa in front of the principal sanctum is erected the shrine dedicated to the consecrated preceptor Pey Azhvar. The other Azhvars are also enshrined in the temple complex. But they are worshipped with high admiration in a shrine a little outside in the courtyard. This is in keeping with the special position given to this Azhvar in the Mylapore area, his birthplace (Avatara-Sthala). The Pey Azhvar avatara Utsavam is celebrated annually in the month of Aippasi (October-November). Next to the sanctum of this Azhvar is erected another sanctum for Lord Sri Ramanuja, the pre-eminent Srivaishnava Acharya.
There is a shrine for Goddess Lakshmi, who is worshipped here as Amritavalli Thayar. The sanctum for the goddess is located to the right of the main sanctum (garbha-griha). Many festivals like the Navaratri Utsavam and Tirukalyana Utsavam during Panguni Uttiram are celebrated here for praising the deity and on all Fridays the Unjal Utsavam for those desirous of offspring are conducted. Like in most Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, there is a sannidhi for Sri Andal to the left of the main sanctum. In this sanctum dedicated to sri Andal is observed a festival every month. During the occasion of Puram Nakshatram there is held a procession (tiruveedhi purapaadu) and during the month of Adi, for ten days, the Tiru Adi Utsavam is celebrated on a grand style. A large number of devotees flocked in the temple precincts and participate in this processional festival.

A small sanctum for Bhu Varaha, the third incarnation of Vishnu is seen near the Goddess Amritavalli shrine, which is facing to the east. In this place he is popularly known as Jnanappiran. This beautiful image of Varahasvami with Bhu Devi on His left lap is extremely captivating. The image was earlier placed in a shrine near the sacred tank (pushkarini) but presently it is consecrated in a separate sanctum near the Thayar sannidhi. 

Another significant feature of the temple is the sacred tree on the bank of the river. The sacred tree of this temple is known as the Punnai tree. This tree has a special connection with the presiding deity Madhava Perumal, who is also known as Lord Krishna. The tree is seen on the rear side of the main sanctum of Madhava Perumal.

This east-facing temple has a beautiful five-tier Rajagopuram at its entrance, which is the specimen of its excellent architecture. The temple tank Sandhana Pushkarani here is the erstwhile pond of Bruhu Maharishi’s Ashram.

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