by Suhasini on 11/06/10 at 11:41 am
A unique lizard worship is done in the 1000 years old temple of Lord Varadarajar in Kanchipuram, in South India. This temple is one of the 108 holy adobes of Lord Vishnu (108 Divya desams).
Varadarajar temple, which is located in Chinna Kanchipuram aka Vishnu Kanchi, is one of the most popular temples in Kanchipuram. Kamakshi Amman temple is the most important Goddess temple in Kanchipuram; EKambareswarar temple is the most important Shiva temple in Kanchipuram; Kumarakottam is the most important Muruga (Subramanya) temple in Kanchipuram; Similarly, Varadarajar temple is the most important Vishnu temple in Kanchipuram city. Chinna Kanchipuram (means “Little” Kanchipuram) is more like a separate town as this is located on the other side of main Kanchipuram (Periya Kanchipuram = “Big” Kanchipuram). Varadarajar temple is the centre of attraction of Chinna Kanchipuram.
Varadarajar temple, located in a sprawling 20 acres area, is one of the 108 Divya desams (108 holy abodes of Vishnu). Lord Vishnu, called as Varadarajar in this temple, was believed to be worshipped by Lord Brahma in Krita yuga, Gajendra in Treta yuga, Brahaspati (Guru) in Dwapara yuga and Aadisesha in Kali yuga. Varadarajar in this temple is also called as Devaraja Perumal, Athigiri Arulala Perumal, Karivaradar, and Giri Varadar. It is believed that Indira’s white elephant Iravat, is in the form of a hill bears the image of Lord Vishnu in this temple.
This huge temple of Varadaraja was built by Pallava kings in 11th century AD. The temple was patronized by Chola and Vijayanagara kings. There is a big Raja gopuram (temple tower) for this temple in the main entrance. Once you enter the temple, you can find the beautiful 100 pillared hall (Nuttrukkal mandapa) with full of extraordinary sculptures. Behind the mandapa, the tank is located. The original figure of Lord Varadarajar made out of fig wood is kept at the bed of the tank and is taken out only once in every 40 years.
The first roundabout (prakara) of the temple is on the holy mound ”Hasthigiri’. The main shrine is about 40 feet height and you need to take 43 steps to reach. The main shrine has Lord Varadarajar in standing posture with four hands. The main idol of Lord Varadarajar is believed to the second largest idol and the largest idol is Tirupati Balaji idol. There is a separate shrine for the goddess Perundevi. The idol of the goddess is very beautiful. Opposite to Varadarajar, there is a small shrine housing Garuda. Next to Perundevi shrine, there is a shrine for Lord Krishna.