Varadaraja Perumal Temple

varadaraja perumal temple

Varadaraja Perumal Temple is located at the eastern end of Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.

It is one among the 108 Divya desams of Sri Vaishnavas.

This temple was built by the Pallava rulers in the 9th century.


Brahma wanted to get darshanam of Perumal in his Chaturbhuja (with four hands) form.

For this, he observed tapas for a long time.

First, Perumal gave him darshanam in the form of water.

This is known as Pushkaram.

Brahma was not satisfied and continued his tapas.

Perumal again appeared in the form of a forest.

This is Naimisharanyam.

Brahma was still not satisfied.

Perumal told Brahma that to get darshanam the way he wanted, he should earn punya by performing a hundred Ashwamedha yagas.

Brahma found this difficult to do.

He prayed to Perumal for an easier way.

Perumal said: Kanchipuram is a very sacred place.

Performing Ashwamedha yaga once there is equal to a hundred yagas performed elsewhere.

Accordingly, Brahma performed Ashwamedha yaga in Kanchipuram.

His wish was fulfilled.

Greatness of Kanchipuram

Ka (कः) in Sanskrit means Brahma.

Anchi in Tamil means to worship.

Because Brahma worshiped Perumal there, it became known as Ka+Anchi+Puram.

  • Kanchipuram is praised in the Mahabhashya of Patanjali, Manimekalai, Perumpannatrupadai, and also by Kalidasa.
  • Sakkiya Nayanar, Thirukkurippu Thonda Nayanar, and Iyadiogal Kadaverku attained moksha here,
  • Pey Alvar, Bhoothath Alvar, Thirumazhisai Alvar, and Poigai Alvar were born either in or near Kanchipuram.
  • Parimelalagar lived here.
  • Adi Shankarar, Ramanujar, Mooka Shankarar, Manavala Mamuni, and Nigamanta Mahadeshikar have been associated with Kanchipuram.
  • Kanchi is one among the Saptapuris - seven places that can confer moksha.
  • Among the Pancha Bhutas, Ekambareswarar represents Prithvi, Kamakshi Devi represents Akasha, and Varadaraja Perumal represents Agni.

Names of Varadaraja Perumal

  • Attiyuran - the place where the temple exists was known as Attiyur.
  • Arulalar - bestower of boons.
  • Varadaraja - king of the bestowers of boons.
  • Hastigiri Nathan - the legendary elephant (Hasti) of Gajendra Moksham lived here.
  • Karigirishan - a name coined by Bhoothath Alvar with the same meaning.
  • Hasti Bhhoshanan - ornament of Hastigiri.
  • Devadi Devarajan.
  • Devaraja Swamy.
  • Pranatarti Haran.
  • Kari Varadan.
  • Manikka Varadan.
  • Gajendra Girinathan.


When Akasha Bhoopati ruled Kanchi, there was a famine.

The king did not have a child.

He prayed to Kamakshi Devi.

She blessed him with a son.

On the occasion of the birth of the child, a huge anna danam was organized.

Kamakshi Devi herself took food disguised as an old woman.

At that time, there was a shower of gold.

The reason behind this was later found out.

When the grains for the anna danam were being cleaned, a bit of gold from the queen’s ring fell into it.

It got mixed up in the cooked rice.

Devi consumed this.

Thus the shower of gold occurred as her blessing and Kanchipuram became prosperous.


The great Vaishnavite saint, Nigamanta Deshikar lived in Kanchipuram.

He was famous for his charitable nature.

Once, when he had no money with him, his opponents sent a boy to him to ask for help.

Deshikar prayed to Mahalakshmi.

A shower of gold occurred even at that time.


Tirumangai Alvar could not pay tax as he had spent all the money he had on the Thadi Aradhanai of Perumal.

He was imprisoned by the king.

Varadaraja Perumal appeared in the dream of the king.

The king was told about some gold hidden near Vegavathi river.

He was instructed to take it and release Triumangai Alvar.


There was going to be an attempt on the life of Ramanujar when he was on the way to Kashi along with his Guru and fellow disciples.

He foresaw this and escaped.

He lost his way in the Vindhya mountains.

Varadaraja Perumal along with his consort Perundevi came disguised as a hunter couple and showed him the way back to Kanchipuram.

They also showed him a well from which he should carry back water for bathing Perumal.

Ramanujar reached back safely.

Thereafter, he performed teertha kainkaryam for Varadaraja Perumal every day.


Tirukkachi Nambi performed the duty of fanning Varadaraja Perumal.

He used to talk to Perumal while doing this.

When Ramanujar was planning for the revival of Vaishnavism, he got the approval of Varadaraja Perumal through Tirukkachi Nambi.

All his doubts were cleared by Perumal through Tirukkachi Nambi.


Doddacharyra was a great devotee of Perumal.

He lived in Sholingur, 60 k.m. away from Kanchipuram.

He used to attend the Brahmotsavam of Varadaraja Perumal every year.

As he turned old, he could not do that anymore.

Once, during Bramotsavam, Doddacharyar was standing sad and disappointed near Thanakkankulam in Sholingur because he was unable to attend the Brahmotsavam.

At that time, Garuda Sevai was going on.

As the procession reached the entrance of the temple, Perumal made the attendants hold the umbrellas in a slanting position so that Doddacharyar could darshanam even from far away.

Even today, this practice is followed.

Athi Varadar

The original idol (Moolavar) of Varadaraja Perumal is made of wood from Athi tree (Ficus racemosa).

Vishwakarma had made this for Brahma.

This is called Adi Hastigiri Nathar.

It is forty feet long.

But Brahma felt that continuous use of a wooden idol for puja may spoil it.

Another idol was made from stone and installed as the Moolavar.

The wooden idol was enclosed in a silver box and immersed in Anantasaras Pushkarini, the temple tank.

It is taken out once in forty years and worshiped for a mandalam before immersing it again.

Temple structure

The temple has got five prakaras.

Vayya Maligai - It is on Hastigiri hill. The garbhagriha is here and also the path for pradakshinam around it.

Thirumalai Pradakshinam - around the hill.

Madapalli prakaram, Alavandar prakaram - It is connected to the temple kitchen. Sannidhi of Perundevi Thayar is in this.

Alvar Thiruveedhi - Temples of the Alvars are in this. The tank holding Athi Varadar is in this.

In his Chaturbhuja Swaroopa, Varadaraja Perumal holds Shankha, Chakra, and Gada in his three hands while the fourth hand is held in Abhaya Mudra.

The temple is famous for its architectural beauty, wooden carvings and paintings.

The lizards

There is a pair of motifs of lizards - one of gold and one of silver.

Bhringi Rishi had two sons.

Gautama Rishi was their Guru.

Once, when they brought water for their Guru, there was a lizard in it.

Guru cursed them to become lizards.

They got relief from the curse with the blessing of Varadaraja Perumal.

Those who touch these lizards after worshiping Varadaraja Perumal will be relieved of all their troubles.

They are also prayed to for warding off the ill effects of a lizard falling onto someone’s body.


  • Vaikasi Brahmotsavam
  • Navaratri
  • Vaikuntha Ekadashi

Temple timings

6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m.

4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Nearest Railway Stations


Chennai Egmore - 85 k.m.

Nearest Airport

Chennai - 65 k.m.

Nearby Divya Desams

  • Deepaprakasha Temple, Tirutanka.
  • Azhagiya Singar Temple, Velukkai.
  • Yathoktakari Temple, Tiruvehka.
  • Ashtabhuja Perumal Temple, Ennaikaran.
  • Pandava Dhootha Perumal Temple, Tiruppadagam.
  • Ulagalanda Perumal Temple.
  • Neeragham Temple.
  • Karagham Temple.
  • Karvannan Temple.
  • Adi Varaha Perumal Temple, Kalvanur.
  • Pavalavannar Temple.
  • Vaikuntha Perumal Temple.
  • Nilathingal Thundathan Perumal Temple.


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