Celebrating the Azhwars and the Divya Desams of Lord Sriman Narayana!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ThiruvallikENi Divya dEsam (aka Triplicane in Chennai city)


ThiruvallikENi is a compact, impeccably maintained Divya Desam located in the heart of Chennai city. Chennai is the largest metropolis in South India, and is very well connected by land and air.

Location and Access:

Triplicane is about 5 km from Chennai’s main railway station (Chennai Central) and about 15 km from Chennai’s international airport. Triplicane is well connected by public transport from all parts of Chennai and its suburbs – although public transport can get pretty crowded during peak hours. It is also perfectly possible to take a call-taxi or auto from any part of Chennai to Triplicane. The temple is locally referred to as “Parthasarathy Koil”.

Legends and History:

This is probably the only Divya Desam whose name is derived from the temple tank (pushkariNi). The word “alli-kENi” literally means lily-pond. The theertham is also known as “kairavini-saras”.

The incarnation of Sri Ramanuja is attributed to the Grace of the perumAL here. Sri Asuri KesavAchArya and his wife prayed at this temple seeking progeny. Their prayers were answered resoundingly with the birth of Sri Ramanuja.

The mUlavar here goes by the name of Sri vEnkatakrishnan. The uthsavar is known as Sri pArthasArathy (literally means Arjuna’s charioteer). The uthsavar’s face bears numerous scars, that reflect the injuries caused by Bhishma’s arrows during the course of the great mahAbhAratha war, when Lord Krishna directed ArjunA’s chariot. Lord Krishna intercepted most of the arrows directed towards His devotee ArjunA, saving the latter from certain destruction. The mUlavar here is tall and supremely imposing, with His Consort standing at His right. On His left, we see sAtyaki, who was His beloved friend and confidant during the KrishnAvataram. Also, seen standing along with them are Sri BalarAma, Krishna’s brother, and Sri Pradyumna and Sri Aniruddha. The idols of Sri Pradyumna and Aniruddha are at one side of the sanctum sanctorum and may not be seen easily.

A very unique feature of the mUlavar here is His prominent moustache, which is painted in white on His divine face. This imparts a rather stern look to His visage. On certain occasions, the moustache is removed. I have had the privilege of seeing Him without the moustache, and found that He assumes a very kind, mischievous, youthful (almost boyish) look without it – indicative of His Infinite soulabhyam.

The Temple:

As we enter the temple, there is a large stone mandapam. As we proceed further, we see the dhwaja-sthambam (flagstaff). To the right, there is a fairly large stone mandapam. At one corner of the mandapam, there is a kannAdi-arai (Mirror-room) where Sri pArthasArathy often gives darshan with His ubhaya nAchiyArs. Also in this mandapam is a sannidhi for Sri garudAzhwAr directly facing Sri perumAL. As we cross this mandapam, there is a partially open corridor. As we proceed clockwise in this corridor, we first see the sannidhi of Sri vEdavaLLi thAyAr with a mandapam in front. As we proceed further, there is a small sannidhi for Sri gajEndra varadhan. As we proceed further clockwise, there is a sannidhi for Sri yOga narasimhA, who is known as “TheLLiya-singar” (the serene lion). The uthsavar of Sri narasimhar is of ineffable beauty. Then we see a sannidhi for Sri ANDAL, and as we proceed further clockwise, we arrive at the sannidhi of Sri pArthasArathy. On the way to this sannidhi, there are smaller sannidhis for Sri vaishnava AchAryas. Also, there are separate sannidhis for Sri rAmA (accompanied by His brother and His Consort) and Sri RanganAthA.

The temple is not very big, and if it is not crowded, all sannidhis can be covered in a little over an hour. However, the temple can get crowded in the evenings and on weekends – especially Saturdays.

The ambience:

A unique feature about this Divya Desam is the ambience of the area around the temple. Even though the area is now congested and teeming with apartments, still there is a certain old-world charm that pervades the area, which can never be described adequately. It can only be experienced. The uthsavar Sri pArthasArathy often comes out in procession on the streets, eager to mingle with His devotees. Whenever He does so, it is an enthralling sight. In terms of rituals, uthsavams and alankAram for PerumAl, this temple ranks at the very top among Divya Desams. Often, it is common to see a bunch of young kids following perumAl during uthsavams, with a miniature procession of their own, complete with vAhanams and full alankAram for Sri PerumAl.

AzhwAr mangaLAsAsanams:

Sri Tirumangai AzhwAr 1068-77
Sri pEyAzhwAr 2297
Sri TirumazhisaiAzhwAr 2416
(pAsuram numbers are according to the number listed in any standard 4000 Divya prabandham book)

A sample pAsuram:

பரதனும் தம்பி சத்ருக் கனனும்
லக்கும நோடு மை திலியும்
இரவும் நன் பகலும் துதிசெய்ய நின்ற
ராவணாந்தகனை எம்மானை
குரவமே கமழும் குளிர்பொழி லூடு
குயிலோடு மயில்கள் நின்றால
இரவியின் கதிர்கள் நுழைதல் செய் தறியாத்
திருவல்லி கேணிக் கண்டேனே

In this pAsuram SrI Tirumangai AzhwAr says that he beheld the terminator of rAvaNA, Sri rAmA – who is worshipped day and night by His brothers BharathA, SathrugNA and lakshmaNA and His Consort Sri Mythili – at TiruvallikENi. AzhwAr further describes this Divya dEsam as one teeming with cuckoo birds and peacocks, and filled with dense green forestry – so dense that it is impossible for sunrays to penetrate through the canopy of trees.

The TiruvallikENi of today is far removed from how it was in the days of Sri Tirumangai AzhwAr (~8th century AD). Today’s TiruvallikENi is a concrete jungle with hardly any trees- not to speak of cuckoo birds and peacocks. However, the place still retains a devotional ambience.

SrI vEdavaLLi thAyAr samEtha SrI pArthasArathy perumAL thiruvadigaLaE saraNam

1 comment:

Naveen Kumar said...

SrI vEdavaLLi thAyAr samEtha SrI pArthasArathy perumAL

- Possible please correct..
SrI vEdavaLLi thAyAr samEtha SrI Mannathar and Sri Andal Nachair is the thayar for SrI pArthasArathy perumAL