Friday, 28 December 2012

Where Vishnu married 360 maidens

This is temple where people throng in large numbers to take the blessings of the presiding deity for matrimonial bliss. This is also the temple where Gavala Rishi married off all his daughters and they numbered a whopping 360.
Gavala had 360 daughters and he was worried about their marriage. He approached Lord Vishnu and Vishnu agreed to marry
His daughters one by one. So the marriage went on for almost an year until all of Galava’s daughters were married.
On the day his last daughter was married, the sage had a vision of Vishnu and realised that the Lord himself  had been the  bridegroom. Vishnu then amalgamated all the 360 daughters of Galava into one being and she became Akhilavalli.
The place where the marriage took place is called Tiruvidanthai and it is just 35 kms from Chennai. It is on the road to Mahabalipuram.
The Utsava Murthy is called Nitya Kalyana Perumal (one who is ever auspicious or one who is married everyday). His consort is Akhilavalli.
Tiruvidanthai is a small village and this temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams – shrines sacred to Vaishnavites or devotees to Vishnu.
Though the temple is small, it is very ornamental and rich in history and sculpture. It is also called Sripuri and Varahapuri.
The main deity is Lakshmi Varaha Perumal and it is in a standing posture. He is the form of a boar. He is in a standing posture in the sanctum, with his right leg on the ground and his left leg raised and resting on Adi Sesha, his serpent.
There is a separate sanctum for Akhilavalli or Komalavalli Nachiyar. As Vishnu has Komalavalli on his left, the temple is also called  Edavendai.
Legend has it that apart from Galava, another saint Markandeya and the demon  king Mahabali worshipped Vishnu here.
The Adi Sesha here is depicted with his consort, both of them together below Vishnu’s foot. With both the deity and mount in the company of their respective consorts, locals say this spells matrimonial bliss for whoever visits the temple.
Thought the present temple appears to have been constructed in the 19th century, there must have been a shrine as Tirumangai Alwar, one of the 12 Vaishnavite saints and who belonged to the 8th century, has composed verses on the deity. 
These verses are in the form of a mother complaining about her lovesick daughter who is pining for Nitya Kalyana Perumal.
Two beautiful tanks adjoin the temple.
People who want to get married and those who seek marital bliss come here and pray. They go around the shrine nine times, wearing floral garlands that have previously gifted to the deity. The priest told me that people will find their life partner within a few weeks after completing their ritual.

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