Vaikunta Perumal koil or Tiru Parameshwara Vinnagaram is situated near East Raja Street and is close to the Kanchipuram Bus Terminus. Since it is not on the main road one should ask for the location from locals. If one is travelling from Varadaraja Perumal koil one can take a share auto to the bus stand. Normal auto fare will be about Rs.80. This temple is one of the five vinnagarams (Abode of Vishnu) listed in the 108 divyadesams. It is declared a heritage temple and is under the ASI (Archaelogical Survey of India). So in typical ASI style we have manicured lawns with iron painted fencing .
We had planned a visit on an ekadasi day inorder to access the first floor housing Ranganathaswami which is open only on ekadasis. This temple has three tiers and has Perumal in three kolams: irundha, sayana and ninra that is seated, lying and standing positions.This temple does not have a rajagopuram at the entrance and one can view the top of the dwajha sthambam from the outside and the Garudas stand guard on either side.
After entering we offered dandavath pranams at the dwajha sthambam and then had ‘Garuda darsanam’ at the entrance. As we moved inside to our left was Thayar Sannidhi. Vaikuntavalli Thayar draped in light green silk was as usual beautiful and invited a second look. As we proceeded inside there was a flight of steps and a long orderly queue going in. We went to the left and joined the line. The advantage of going in a queue is that people get friendly while waiting and locals give you information.
The line we were waiting in was for the darsan of Vaikuntanath or Paramapadanatha. When our turn came we had darsan of Vaikunta Perumal in seated posture with one Leg folded and the other dangling. He faces west. He was decked with jasmines and Tulasi and other flowers and seemed to convey the message that those who reach Him in Srivaikuntam could be relaxed. After offering our fruit offering and getting Perumal theertham and Srisathari we came out and turned left along a colonnade of impressive lion pillars to join the queue for Ranganatha darsan on the first floor or the second level. As we waited we saw the disfigured statues outside and were pained to think how anyone would have had the heart to destroy these beautiful creations. We see the destruction done by muslim invaders in many temples .
The temple construction is attributed to Nandivarma pallavamala aka Parameshvara varman in the seventh century. As we wait for our turn let us recollect the history of the temple. The temple goes by the name Paramesvara Vinnagaram. The Parameshvara referred to was the adopted child of a pallava king who was a devotee of Vishnu. Vishnu revealed His three Forms to him and Parameshvara Pallava built this temple in three levels in three postures.
We reached the entrance of Ranganatha temple and stood rooted by a sandstone sculpture depicting Chathurbhuja(Four armed) Naryana in seated posture with flying celestials offering chamarams on either side and the four faced Brahma at His right.
The flight of stairs are to our left and as we ascended them we waited for the aradhakar to finish with the group infront of us. When it was our turn we were struck by the divyamangalamurthi of Ranganatha swami reclining inside a golden mandapa with Sridevi and Bhudevi at His Feet. Our usual complaint about sayana tirukolam perumal is that we are not able to enjoy the Beauty of His Tirumeni in entirity but here the Perumal’s size afforded a complete view and was very satisfying. This sannidhi is open only on ekadashis and Vaikunta ekadasi attracts almost 3 lakhs of pilgrims. We then descended down the stairs as the third level wherein Perumal is in standing posture is not accessible. The interesting feature of the steps is that there is one flight of steps for ascending and another for descending and the steps are not visible from outside.
After coming out we did pradakshinam (went clockwise) of the temple. The pradakshinam path is paved with small bushes planted by the side lawns. As one moves along Perumal’s vimanam can be sighted. It is called ‘Astanga mukunda vimanam’ and the temple is called ‘mumada koil’. As we circumbulated watching the lion figurines on the outer wall we spotted the vimanam of Thayar. As we proceeded further we spotted a huge Peepul tree entwined with another with many stone nagas on the platform.
We had completed our pradakshinam and rested for sometime near Garudazhwar sannidhi. As we went out we saw the large temple tank which was totally dry.This temple tank goes by the name ‘Irramatha Theertham or Viraja Theertham’. Behind the tank was a mosque.
As we made our way home with our head full of the magnificent sculptures and architectural skills of our Hindu kingdoms we bowed our heads to these men who have preserved history in stone and who understood clearly that there was a Lord above them “The King of The Universe” who always rules the world.
Photos: Sri Sundararajan, Write – up: Smt Vyjayanthi Rajan