Durmukhi Chitrai Chitra (22nd April 2016) and Varadaraja Perumal and His Consorts had left in maina-pallaku on the night of 21/4 itself for Chitra pournami utsavam. Devotees of Punthottam, Thoopul, Sevilimedu, Dusi, Abdullapuram and punjai arasan thangal were delighted to receive the King of gods (Devadirajan) and offer their puja plates of fruits, flowers and camphor on 22nd. The route Perumal took was decorated with mango leaves banana plants and coloured lights. There were colorful pandals erected and the place was filled with people in their best clothes and courtyard filled with elaborate kolams.
People were asking for directions to ‘Iyengar kulam’ and were directed to Sanjeevarayar temple.
This place is 12kms from Kanchi on the Vandavasi route and there is a rare huge temple for Anjaneya and a big tank which goes by the name Iyengar-kulam. Ettur Lakshmikumara Thathacharya built this temple in the 16th century. He was the rajaguru for the Vijayanagara kingdom. Once swami was attacked by bandits and he sang twenty verses on Hanuman who saved him. So he built a temple for Hanuman at the spot he was saved. This then is the temple Varadan visits on Chitra Pournami every year. Tirumanjanam took place inside the sannidhi and then Perumal left in kedayam for the next halt-the nadavapi. We left Sanjeevarayar temple immediately after tirumanjanam to reach the nadavapi spot.
After buying tickets we were allowed to go down a flight of wet steps to see the nadavapi mandapam. Incidentally ‘vapi’ means a waterbody which has to be reached by steps. What we saw was amazing! the stone mandapam had beautiful carvings of Lord Nrisimha and other avatharas. The water had been pumped out and access was possible only during this period. It was covered with vadagalai tirumans and decorated with flower festoons. When we climbed up we saw two huge pillars with tirumans and learnt that they were used to tie bullocks to irrigate the paddy fields. Today there is no sign of agriculture here. Even as we were admiring the structure Perumal’s arrival was announced by the sound of music. As we stood outside we could see Him standing majestically in His silk turban listening to the divya prabhandham chanted on the steps. Then He descended down the steps and ‘pathi-ulathal'(three rounds) took place at the mandapam. As Perumal started His climb upstairs we made our way to Palar river.
After the car was parked we had to take a walk through a sandy path to reach the mandapam where Perumal would be coming to. The whole area wore a carnival atmosphere with vendors selling knick-knacks and eatables. We sat on a sandy mound opposite the pandal where Perumal would come. There was a frenzy when He arrived with parivaram. The air was filled with Veda gosham and the notes of Dravida vedams. It was a delight to watch Him do three rounds in the watery moat around the platform of sand before climbing the platform. Tirumanjanam took place ‘yatha-vidhi’ inspite of it being past midnight. The aradhakars, the goshti, the kainkaryaparas deserve our anjali and praise for their ‘mahath-kainkaryam’. Many people slept on the sandy shore as we watched the Tirumanjanam on the full moon night flanked by the buses and cars crossing the Palar Bridge. We left after Tirumanjanam and reached home by 2.00a.m. We were told that ‘Brahma-aradhanai’ takes place on this night. Perumal stopped by at Thoopul to accord maryadhai to swami Desikan and returned to kanadi-arai by 5.00a.m.
It was a wonderful experience indeed!
Writeup by: Smt Vyjayanthi Rajan, Photography: Sri Tirumundi Krishnan and Krishna Durai