- May 28, 2021
🛕 Varadaraja Perumal Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located at Chettipunnyam Village near Chengalpet Town in Kanchipuram District of Tamilnadu. This Temple is also called as Hayagriva Temple and Devanatha Swamy Temple. However the temple is more popularly known as Yoga Hayagrivar Temple who blesses the devotees with education and knowledge. The Moolavar is Sri Varadaraja perumal while the Utsavar is known as Devanatha perumal. So the temple is called by all three names.
🛕 The Thayar here is known as Hemabuja Nayagi. There is a separate shrine for Rama, Lakshmanan, Sita and Hanuman. Just as Goddess Saraswathi is worshiped before commencing education or the study of any scripture, in the Vaishnava tradition, Hayagriva’s blessings are sought when beginning the study of both sacred and secular subjects. Chettipunnyam village is located about 30 kms from Tambaram on west of GST Road, after Singapperumal Koil.
🛕 The incarnation of Lord Vishnu called Hayagriva is not one of the Dashavatarams (ten primary incarnations). Hayagriva is a horse-faced figure of Vishnu (Sanskrit: haya-horse; griva-neck) and is symbolic of the primary Guru or teacher and the giver of knowledge and learning. He is also hailed as Hayasirsa (Sanskrit: haya-Horse; śira-head).
🛕 When two demons (asuras) Madhu and Kaidaba stole Vedas from Lord Brahma (the creator of the world as per Hinduism), Lord Vishnu took the form of Hayagriva (horse face and human body), killed the demons, and handed over the Vedas to Lord Brahma. Hence, Lord Hayagriva is considered as the God of Knowledge.
🛕 Hayagriva is the Supreme God of Learning, according to Vaishnavite scriptures. Sri Vedanta Desikar meditated on the Lord at Oushathadri (Thiruvahindirapuram) and was blessed with all knowledge. He prays to the Lord in his Hayagriva Sthothram, the first lyrical work of the great Acharya. The idol of Hayagriva worshipped by him is in the Parakala Math at Mysore.
🛕 Though known as Hayagriva Temple, it originally had only the Moolavar and Utsavar images of Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram. The temple’s history dates back to 400 years though it could have existed even before that. The village got the name of Chettipunnyam as Chettiar weavers and dyers lived there in large numbers and they used to dry the dyed yarn and cloth in the nearby hill.
🛕 It was in 1848 that the idols of Hayagriva and Devanathan, which were worshipped in underground chambers at Thiruvaheendrapuram, one of the 108 holy places near Cuddalore, were brought by Dewan Rangachariar to this village to be safeguarded during alien invasion. Though not mentioned in the Azhwar’s hymns, the idols, as they were brought from Thiruvaheendra Puram, are considered no less holy. The Hayagriva idol, though small in size, is said to have been the personal deity of either Ramanujacharya or Appullar.
🛕 In Thiruvaheendrapuram, Sri Vedanta Desika recited the Garuda Mantra taught to him by his uncle, Sri Kidambi Appullar and was initiated into the worship of Hayagriva by Garuda. Sri Vedanta Desika composed the Hayagriva Sthothram in 33 verses. Apart from the `phalasruti’ there are 32 verses. There is a reason for Desika writing the Sthothram in 32 verses. The Brahma vidyas are 32 in number. His composing the Hayagriva Sthothram in 32 verses is to show that Hayagriva is the repository of all vidyas.
🛕 The 32nd verse of the Hayagriva Sthothram which is the ‘Dhyana Sloka’, speaks of Hayagriva’ s right lower hand as ‘Vyakhyamudra’ – the elucidating pose and the left lower hand holds a book. Desika says that Sri Saraswati, Sri Dakshinamurthy and sages like Vyasa reflect a fraction of Lord Hayagriva’s effulgence).
🛕 It may be mentioned that the other beautiful images of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Anjaneya at Vaduvur were also unearthed at Thalainayar during the rule of Serfoji. He later enshrined them in the temple at Vaduvur. `Sita Kalyanamu,’ a work in Telugu and Sanskrit, composed in praise of Lord Rama at Chettipunnyam by Shahji Maharaj of the Serfoji dynasty is said to be preserved in the Saraswathi Mahal Library at Thanjavur.
🛕 The idols of Sri Rama, Sri Sita, Sri Lakshmana and Sri Hanuman were brought to Vandalur in Chennai, in the year 1868, on Oct 5, by Mudumbai Ramaswamy Iyengar, from the Tanjore Palace. When Ramaswamy Iyengar migrated to Bangalore, he had all these Gods installed in the Sri Devanatha Swamy Temple, since Chettipunnyam, was his native village. As per the legends, the first Mysore Dewan Veeravalli Rangachariar (1831-1883) also hailed from this village.
🛕 Though the main deity of this temple is Varadharaja Perumal, many people throng here to worship Yoga Hayagrivar. One can see that the temple is always filled with school and college students coming here to worship Yoga Hayagrivar, as he is the believed as the God for education, knowledge and wisdom. It is said that, originally this temple had Sri Varadharaja Perumal only. Later during 1848, the idols of Sri Devanaadha Perumal and Sri Yoga Hayagrivar have been brought here from Thiruvaheendrapuram (near Cuddalore) to safe guard them from invaders.
🛕 Now, the main deity here is Varadharaja Perumal and Goddess Hemambuja Nayagi. The Urchavar of this temple is Devanaadha Perumal. Devanaadha Perumal is seen here with Prayoga Chakra on his right hand, which is a rare sight. Usually Hayagrivar is seen along with Sri Lakshmi in many places. But here unusually, he is seen meditating in Yogic posture with his legs folded without Sri Lakshmi. Yoga Hayagriva is a rare form of idol and the idol is short. Dhwajasthambha is made of stone here on which Sri Garuda is seen facing the Lord, towards the sanctum.
🛕 An Azhinjal tree is present at the northern side of the temple, where people tie a thread or a piece of cloth and pray the Lord for marriage, children and also to fare well in examinations. The idol of Varadaraja is found along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. There are also separate shrines for Andal, Alwars, and Garuda. In the corridor surrounding the main shrine (prakaram), you can find the idols of Hayagriva and Nagaraja.
🛕 There is a big shrine for Lord Rama (Kothanda Raman), where he is found along with Sita, Lakshman, and Hanuman/Anjanayar. In the recent time, the popularity of this temple has increased as people started bringing their school going children to this temple (as Hayagriva is considered as the God of Knowledge). The prakaram is beautifully maintained with garden and found very neat.
🛕 A big bell is found hanged onto the iron, but not encouraged to touch it, as it is found cracked. Looks like the bell is very old and also there is a mention above it on the wall as “Got Donation Rs 200 from Rajaram Naidu in 1920. It is difficult to take one’s eyes off the images at this temple, not only those of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Anjaneya, but also those of Lord Devanathan, Goddess Hemambujavalli, Yoga Hayagriva, Lord Varadaraja and Andal.
🛕 The temple is under the control of the HR and CE Department. It owns landed property donated by philanthropists and a house gifted by the Mudumbai Ramaswamy Iyengar family, who brought the idols of Rama, Sita and others from the Serfoji palace at Thanjavur. A beautiful temple, especially granting wishes for students.
🛕 The Temple is open from 7.30 AM to 12 Noon and, 4 PM to 7.30 PM (open all days of the week).
🛕 Festivals are conducted for Lord Devanatha during Vaikasi Makam, the day when he was first brought to the temple. Parivettai on a Sunday in the month of Thai, Adhyayana Utsavam, Adi Pooram, Panguni Uthiram, Sri Ramanavami and Sattrumurai for Nammazhwar, Ramanuja and Desikar are the other festivals held here. Hayagriva Jayanthi, celebrated on Avani Thiruvonam day, draws thousands of devotees from far and near.
🛕 The temple rituals are conducted according to the Vaikhanasa Agama. The priests, who accompanied the Lord from Thiruvahindirapuram when he was brought here, stayed on and their descendants conduct the poojas now. There is a practice of lighting deepam and praying their wish. You may buy the lamp inside the temple for Rs 2 per lamp. Few temple cows and calves were seen and people offer them bananas etc. and worship them by touching them. Some people even offer cash/coins on top of the cattle, which the temple caretakers collects it.
🛕 Many students visit this temple praying for their good scores in examinations. One can see students coming here with their pens, pencils, hall tickets etc. keep them at the Lord’s feet before taking their exams. Many of these students write their exam roll numbers and wishes to perform well all along the walls. Also we can see students writing their target scores on the exam with their roll number all over the walls of the temple. Though the temple administration has announced on the walls, not to scribble on them, no one seems to respect that.
🛕 People who suffer from speaking disorder may do honey neivedyam and consuming it daily will help them curing from the disorder. Praying Yoga Hayagrivar will lift one from studies, improves memory, clear hurdles on marriage proposals. Azhinjal tree is found on the prakaram, where students tie pieces of cloth and arranges stones in decks and pray.
🛕 Chettipunnyam village is located about 50 Kms from Chennai and 30 kms from Tambaram on west of GST Road, after Singapperumal Koil. The temple situated 5 Kms from Singapperumal Koil and 3 Kms from the Mahindra World City (take road right opposite to the Mahendra World City entrance). It is 3 km from GST road and there are autos easily available that would take you to the temple arena. There is also 60C Bus available.
🛕 Travelling on the GST from Chennai, take the right just opposite Mahindra City gate after Singapperumal koil. Cross the railway gate and continue straight on the road for about 3 kms. Once you reach the village you need the take a left and the temple is on a small lane in the right side. The nearest Railway Station is located on Singapperumal koil on the Chennai Beach – Chengalpet route.
Sri Yoga Hayagrivar Temple,
Phone: +91 – 44 – 27400863 / 274631731 / 28173263,
Mobile: +91 – 8675127999.