- May 28, 2021
🛕 The Vaikunta Perumal Temple in Uthiramerur, a village in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. The temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. Vishnu is worshipped as Vaikunta Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Anandavalli. The temple was originally built by Pallavas, with later additions from the Cholas. The temple is known for the inscriptions indicating the democratic practises of electing representatives for the village bodies during the regime of Parantaka Chola (907-55 CE).
🛕 The building is declared as a heritage monument and administered by the Archeological Survey of India. Rajiv Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India was inspired by the system after paying a visit to the temple and insisted on improving Panchayat Raj, India’s system of local bodies in villages.
🛕 Uthiramerur was ruled by the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, Sambuvaraya, Vijayanagara Rayas and Nayaks. As per the inscriptions in the temple, the Pallava king Nandivarman II (Pallavamalla) 730–795 CE established the village around 750 A.D. It is believed that he donated the village to Vedic Brahmins from Srivaishanva community. The Cholas captured the region and it came under their dominion during the latter part of 9th century.
🛕 There are inscriptions from the period of Parantaka Chola I (907–950), Rajaraja Chola I (985–1014), Rajendra Chola I (1012–1044) and Kulothunga Chola I(1070–1120) indicating various gifts to the temples. The process of democratically electing the local representatives through a system called Kudavolai during the Chola regime is documented in the inscriptions. The temple is known for the inscriptions indicating the democratic practises of electing representatives for the village bodies during the regime of Parantaka Chola.
🛕 The region and the village went under the sway of Pandyas during the 13th century and subsequently to the Telugu Chola ruler Vijaya Gandagopala. During the later period, the village switched hands to Pallava chieftains, Telugu Cholas, Samburavarayars & Kumara Kampana. The Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya (1502–29) made contributions to the Vaikunta temple, Subramanya temple and Kailasanatha temple in the village. The temple is declared as a heritage monument and administered by the Archeological Survey of India.
🛕 Vaikunta Perumal temple covers an area of about 0.5 acres (0.20 hectares). The sanctum houses the image of Vaikuntanatha in seated posture with Sridevi and Bhudevi on his either sides. There is an assembly hall 2,500 sq. ft. (230 m2). The roof of the temple rests on the walls and there are no pillars. The inscriptions from the Chola period are made on the walls of the assembly hall.
🛕 Kulothunga Chola is believed to have built the roof of the assembly hall that made it an assembly hall along with the temple. As per another view, the entire structure was originally an assembly hall and it collapsed during the regime of Kulothunga Chola. He rebuilt the assembly hall along with the temple housing the image of Vaikunta Perumal in it.
🛕 Some of the inscriptions also read that the village was planned as per agamic texts with the assembly hall in the centre of the village and the temples of the village built around it. This temple is now under ASI maintenance as a heritage monument. It is adjacent to the town bus stand. It stands as silent witness to past and present amidst very busy road and a bus stand.
🛕 Uthiramerur is well connected by bus from Tambaram. Tambaram to Uthiramerur is about one and half hours journey. Plenty of buses are there – roughly every half an hour. After Mamandur on the GST, the bus takes a right turn. Once we leave the GST, it is pristine country side with occasional granite factories.
🛕 The town is very busy and has very good bus facilities to Kanchipuram and Chengalpet. The temple can be reached through Kancheepuram – Uthiramerur buses running via Magaral. The temple is 22 km far from Kancheepuram.
🛕 Uthiramerur can be reached either from Chengalpet side from the NH 45. It is about 18 kms from Bukathurai. Take the right on the highway after Andal Azhagar engineering college. The road ends at Uthiramerur in front of the Sundara Varada Perumal temple and this temple is walkable from this place.
Bazar St, Uthiramerur,
Tamil Nadu 603406.