The third in this series of Divya Desams in and around Kanchipuram looks at Ashtabujam Gajendra Varadan temple, situated 2 kms South West of Varadaraja Perumal temple and ½ km South of ThiruVekka. The story of this temple too revolves around Saraswathi’s attempt to stop Brahmma’s Ashwamedha Yaagam.
Lord with 8 hands and Thirumangai’s curiosity
Thirumangai Azhvaar had praised Lord Vishnu in different forms and sizes but he had not seen one with 8 hands. Looking at this Lord, he could not understand who the one with 8 hands was and how one could be in this form.
He tires to recount all the different forms of Lords Vishnu that he had praised but could not relate to this one. Hence, in each of his Paasurams directed at the Lord here, he, with a lot of curiosity, constantly asks the question “ who are you- the one with 8 hands”.
Mevi Apaalum Vinnor Vananga, Vedham Uraipar Muneer Madanthai Devi
Appaal Athir Sangam, Ippaal Chakram, Matru Ivar Vannam Ennil,
Kaavi Oppaar Kadaleyum Oppaar Kannum Vadivum Nediyar Aai,
En Aavi Oppaar Ivar Yaarkol, Enna Ashatabuyagarathen Enraare
மேவி எப்பாலும் விண்ணோர் வணங்க
வேதம் உரைப்பர் முந்நீர் மடந்தை
தேவி அப்பால் அதிர் சங்கம் இப்பால்
சக்கரம் மற்று இவர் வண்ணம் எண்ணில்
காவி ஒப்பார் கடலேயும் ஒப்பார்
கண்ணும் வடிவும் நெடியர் ஆய் என்
ஆவி ஒப்பார் இவர் ஆர்கொல்? என்ன-
“Everyone stood and offered worship with Vedhic Chants. The Lord with Conch on one side, and discus on the other, was he Lotus red or Ocean blue in colour. Who is this Lord, whose frame has gone deeply into my soul.”
Continuing her quest to stop Brahmma’s Ashwamedha Yaagam, Saraswathi sends a dangerous looking Kaali along with an asura. Lord Vishnu appeared with 8 hands with a weapon in each hand to kill the asuras and to subdue Kaali. In memory of this event, there is a Kaali temple next to this Divya Desam.
An elephant which came to the temple tank to pick up flowers for the Lord was caught in the clutches of a crocodile. Lord Vishnu is said to have hurled his disc at the crocodile to save the elephant.
Lord here is said to have provide a ‘replayed version’ of Gajendra Moksham to PeyAzhvaar.
This is the only Divya Desam in Kanchipuram that has a Vaikunda Vaasal.
Deity : Gajendra Varadan, Aathi Kesavan
Posture : Standing West facing
Goddess : Alarmel Mangai, Pushpavalli Thayar
Azhvaar : Thirumangai(1118-27),2674 , PeyAzhvaar(2380)- 12 Paasurams
Timing : 730am-12noon, 430pm-8pm
Festivals: 10 day festival in Chitrai, Gajendra Moksham in Aadi, Pavithra festival in Avani and Margazhi Festival