Sri Appan Venkateshwara Perumal koil – Kanchipuram District
The Lord who gave away His Sankhu/Chakram(Conch and Discus)
One Sunday morning we left our house in Vishnu Kanchi at about 7.30a.m. and took a share auto to Kanchipuram bus stand. We did this so as to get assured seats to sit through the journey. From there we took a bus going to Mammalapuram. (All buses going to Chingelpet go via Pazhaya seevaram.) Take an express bus to reach faster. We reached Pazhayaseevaram in about half an hour. It is a good idea to finish Tirumukoodal before going to Pazhayaseevaram firstly because as the day advances it becomes hotter and chances are that you have to walk across the bridge and secondly Pazhayaseevaram temple opens a little late so waiting is avoided.
After alighting at Pazhayaseevaram we spotted an auto and asked to be dropped at Tirumukoodal. Following us was a group of 8 who wanted a ride. The auto driver opted to take the group of 8. So we walked across the bridge watching the lorries loading sand. There were patches of water in the Palar but no water in Cheyyar and Vegavathi. Incidentally the place gets the name Tirumukoodal because of the confluence of the three rivers. Inspite of the heavy rains last year the rivers are dry thanks to uncontrolled sand lifting.
The walk across the bridge took almost half an hour and we felt we had made a mistake by walking. As we reached the end of the bridge we turned right and saw a green board saying ‘Tirumukoodal’. We saw signs of a temple but expecting something bigger we moved on the main road and reached a shop selling puja items. They told us that what we had spotted was where the temple was so we traced our way back and found a huge shady tree on a platform and an iron gate.
We saw the auto man and asked him if he would drop us back. He said in the event of our returning before his passengers he would. That didn’t seem to be a possibility so we went in and went inside a mandapam to our right housing a sannidhi for Hanuman.
This Anjaneya is offered ‘Thenkuzhal malai’ instead of ‘vada-malai’ and people who are in debt pray here and Hanuman helps clear their debts. Every time Perumal goes in purappadu, He stops at this sannidhi before proceeding.
After coming out we saw a four pillared mandpam by the side of the dwajha sthambam and offered our prostrations there. We saw to our left a vahana mandapam with Garuda vahanam and ‘Otrai prabhai’. Facing the dwajha sthambam we saw a door flanked by stone pillars on lion bases typical of Pallava architecture.
We entered and saw to our right Garudazhwar and facing us were seven horses which probably belonged to the prabhai we saw outside. After taking permission from the dwarapalakas we proceeded to the sactum sanctorum. This Perumal looked kind of different from Srinivasa whom we picturise. He had matted locks and did not wear much jewellery or even flower-garlands but what stood out were the shining Shanku/Chakram and Hands with golden kavacham. We waited for the people before us to finish their worship and then moved forward. The aradhakar was a young boy who did archanai to Perumal and Thayar with full sincerity. On our request he told us about the temple’s ‘sthala puranam’. The boy comes from Kanchipuram on two wheeler daily. His father the chief priest had gone to another temple to perform aradhana. There are many many temples around Kanchipuram and priest offer worship in 2-3 temples daily. Devotees visiting should carry flowers and offerings to such temples in remote areas and also make generous offerings to the priest.
The story of this Perumal goes to the period of Thondaiman Chakravarthi who ruled ‘Thondai-Nadu’ with Kanchipuram as his capital. Once he planned a ‘Tirumalai yatra’ but Srinivasa came in his dream and told him not to move as an enemy attack was imminent. Perumal gave His ‘Shanku and Chakram’ to this king and he emerged victorious. The reclining Perumal of Tirumukoodal stood up facing north to give His Divine Weapons’. Seeing this Tondaiman Chakravarthi exclaimed “Yen Appane” (Oh my Father). So Perumal is known as Appan Venkateshwara. The height of Perumal’s ‘audharyam’ (generosity) is exhibited by this incident and as recognition of this there is a special platform displaying Shankhu and Chakram. Having given away His special Attributes Tirupathi Perumal faced an identity crisis and it was Ramanujacharya who resolved the issue. In the vimana above the sanctum Perumal is seen in recling posture.
Utsavar is with Sridevi and Bhudevi and Markandeya rishi is found in seated posture inside the sanctum. On maatu pongal day this Perumal is joined by Narasimha Perumal of Pazhayaseevaram and the reigning Lord of Kanchi Varadaraja. Even if three rivers are not to be seen Three Perumals join and ‘Tirumukoodal’ name gets justified. Again there are three trees which are sthala vrikshams – Sandal wood, Devadri and Vanni. Again Perumal was pratyaksham to these three – Bhumadevi, Bhrighu and Markandeya who are found at Perumal’s sanctum. The inner prakashinam path is interesting and one should do pradakshinam to experience the difference. As we come out we come across Thayar’s sannidhi to our left. Clad in blue and facing East Alamelumanga makes one fold one’s palms in ‘namaskaram’.
As we move out we notice boards displaying a list of herbs and their uses for different ailments. It is on seeing the adjoining board that we understand that there used to be an Ayurvedic hospital and a Veda Patasala here in the Chola Period. We did want to explore the temple further but since we found an auto ready to take us to Pazhayaseevaram we came immediately took the auto and the friendly driver who claimed closeness because we were from Tiruchi and he was a native dropped us at the temple steps of Pazhaseevaram temple for just Rs.30.
Temple opens by 8.30 am and closes by 11.30 p.m.
Evening-4.00p.m. – 6.00p.m.
Write up: Vyjayanthi Rajan