Thiruvidandhai Sri Nithya Kalyaana Perumaal

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By Saravanan Iyer

Thiruvidandhai is located about 40 kms from Chennai on the East Coast Road (ECR) before Mahabalipuram. While going from Chennai, one can see a big arch on the right side of the road, indicating the temple. Thiruvidandhai (திருவிடந்தை) got its name as the Lord here is seen holding Sri Lakshmi on His left lap. In Thamizh ‘Thiru’ means Lakshmi, ‘Ida’ means left and ‘Endhai’ means ‘my father’ (God). Hence the place came to be known as Thiru Ida Endhai which later corrupted to become Thiruvidandhai.

During Thretha Yuga (second among 4 Yugas), there lived a king called Bali, who was the son of King Meganaatha. He remained a victorious ruler. Three demon kings by name Maali, Maalyavaan and Sumaali approached him and requested him to support them in their war against Devas for which Bali refused. The demon kings went ahead and fought with Devas in which they were defeated. They again came to Bali and requested him that if he can be with them, they can win over Devas.

As they insisted much, Bali accepted to help them in their battle against Devas. This time the demon kings (Asuras) won Devas in the battle. As Bali fought against Devas and won them, he acquired Brammahathi Dhosham and to get relieved of the ill effects of the Dhosham, he came to Thiruvidandhai and did penance towards the Lord. The Lord pleased with the devotion of Bali gave dharshan to him as Sri Varaaha Perumaal. Varaaha Avatar is the 3rd one of 10 Avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu.

Once, there lived a sage called Kuni. He along with his daughter performed severe penance together as they wanted to reach heaven. Sage Kuni succeeded in his penance and reached heaven but his daughter couldn’t. Sage Naradha appeared and told her that an unmarried woman cannot reach the heaven. She met many sages and requested them to marry her. Finally a sage called Kaalava Rishi, who lived in Thiruvidandhai agreed to marry her.

After their marriage, she gave birth to 360 female children. As the girls grew up the Rishi was worried as he had to get all his daughters married, which was a huge task. He prayed Lord Vishnu for help but the Lord didn’t turn up. One day a handsome bachelor youth came to Thiruvidandhai as part of his holy pilgrimage. Kaalava Rishi requested the youth to marry his daughters. The young man agreed to marry one daughter everyday and the marriages went on everyday for 360 days. On the last day, the young man revealed himself as Lord Varaaha Perumaal to Kaalava Rishi and all the 360 daughters combined to become one woman, who was none other than Sri Lakshmi. The Lord gave her His left side and made her seated on His lap. The Goddess here is called as Komalavalli Thaayaar, as that was the name of the first daughter of Kaalava Rishi.

As all the 360 wives merged together as one, the Goddess here is also called as Akilavalli Thaayaar. This story also signifies the philosophy that the Supreme God is the only male of the universe, who is, the ‘Maha Purusha’ or ‘Purushothama’ and all the living beings are Naayagis or females who with much devotion can reach the Lord. This beautiful temple on ECR belongs to Chozha period. Though this temple is popularly known as Nithya Kalyaana Perumaal temple, the main deity here is Sri Varaaha Perumaal and Goddess Komalavalli Thaayaar. The Lord Sri Varaaha Perumaal is seen in the standing position with left leg folded, facing east. He is resting His left leg on Sri Aadhiseshan. He has Thaayaar seated on His left lap. The Urchavar here is Sri Nithya Kalyaana Perumaal, who is the processional deity.

The temple is so huge and is made of stone throughout. As the Lord married all 360 daughters, one each day, the Lord here came to be known as Sri Nithya Kalyaana Perumaal. Kalyaana Urchavam is performed to the Lord everyday here. Also the Lord blesses the unmarried ones for a speedy marriage here. Many unmarried men and women visit this temple to worship the Lord and get married soon. There is a procedure for the unmarried to offer worship here. They are offered a garland to wear and walk around the temple 9 times after which they are given a garland to carry home and keep safely till they are married. They have to bring back the same dried garland back to the temple after marriage along with their spouse. One can see many unmarried youths walking around the temple.

This temple is one of the Dhivya Desams of Lord Vishnu. Sri Manavaala Maamuni and Sri Thirumangai Aazhwaar (8th Century) have sung Mangalaasaasanams on the Lord here. The inscriptions found in the temple reveal that 12 fisherman families were dedicated to this temple during the 17th year of reign of Raja Raja 1. It is also found that a 7 day annual festival was organized by Raja Raja 1 during the Thamizh month of Aavani. There is also information found that the installation of the Goddess was done by a merchant from Mayilaarppu (presently Mylapore). The inscriptions also reveal that the present deity Sri Nithya Kalyaana Perumaal was called as Sri Manavaala Perumaal in those days.

There is a beautiful 16 pillared stone Mandapam in front of the temple in which all the pillars have wonderful sculptures on them. I give below a few I shot. There is a separate shrine for Sri Anjaneyar near the end of the street, facing the temple. There is a beautiful temple tank for this temple called Kalyaana Theertham where the devotees take bath before visiting the Lord. Thiruvidandhai is a lovely temple that will take one to the Chozha period itself.