The Tiruvekkaa or Yathothkari Perumal Temple located in Kanchipuram in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Yathothkari Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Komalavalli.Vishnu is also called as “Sonna Vannam Seitha Perumal” and has a wonderful story for that name.
The temple is considered one of three oldest temples in Kanchipuram, the other two being Ulagalantha Perumal Temple and Pandava Thoothar Perumal Temple.
The first of the 12 alwars "PogaiAlwar" was born in this temple Theertham. The Theertham were Poigai Alwar was discovered in the lotus flower is still available and it is called as Poigai Pushkarani. Poigai Alwar is considered to be an avataram of counch of Lord Perumal. This is one of the very oldest temple which might have been there since Dwapara Yuga.
5 temples in Chinna Kanchipuram have stories relating to Brahmma’s Ashwamedha Yagna and Saraswathi’s anger at being ignored for the Yagna. To prove a point to Brahmma that a yagna cannot be successful without her presence, Saraswathi tries many different ways to stop the yagna.In the story relating to ThiruVekka, she takes the form of a fast flowing river (VEGAVATHI) and tries to flood the place.
Brahmma looks up to Lord Vishnu to help him with the smooth and safe conduct of the Yagna.Vishnu, this time, sleeps across the river as a dam, thus stopping the flow of the river. With the river being blocked, Lord Vishnu, along with MahaLakshmi provides darshan to Brahmma, who then continues his Yagna.
The temple is believed to have been built by the Pallavas of the late 8th century AD, with later contributions from Medieval Cholas and Vijayanagar kings. The temple has three inscriptions on its walls, two dating from the period of Kulothunga Chola I (1070–1120 CE) and one to that of Rajadhiraja Chola (1018-54 CE). A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all the shrines. There is a three-tiered rajagopuram, the temple's gateway tower, in the temple The central shrine of the temple has the image of presiding deity, "Sonnavannam Seitha Perumal" sported in Bhuganja Sayanam posture. The temple has separate shrines for Azhwars, Rama along with Seetha and Hanuman and Garuda. The vimana of the central shrine is called Vedasara Vimana.
5 Azhvaars have sung praise of the Lord Here.
Pogai Alwar - 4 Paasurams. Thirumazhisai Alwar - 3 Paasurams. Nammalwar - 1 Paasuram. Thirumangai Alwar - 6 Paasuram. Total - 14 Paasurams.
This is also the birth place of Poigai Azhvaar.
In early days of Vaishnavism, this temple was referred to as the Lord representing ‘Sleeping Posture’ as can be seen from the songs of the Azhvaars.
இசைந்த வரவமும் வேர்புங்கடலும் புருபிடையே நின்றும் புனல் குளித்தும் பசைதனமுது படப்ப ஐந்து நேரிபிடையே நிற்கவும் நீர் வேண்ட விருப்பு அசைந்து கடைந்த வருத்தமோ உடைய வெக்காவே செர்தானை தூயக் தொழுதால் வேக்காவில் கிடந்திருந்து நின்றது மங்கு அக்காவே தீவினைகள் ஐந்து -பேயாழ்வார்
PeyAzhvaar in this Paasuram says 'One need not stand atop mountains to penance. Neither does one need to be stick our neck into ice cold deep water nor in the midst of five fires to penance. It is just enough if we worship Sonna Vannam Seitha Perumal at ThiruVekka with flowers and a sincere heart. And we will liberated from all our sins.'
ThirumazhisaiAzhvaar and the Lord Leaving this Place
Once ThirumazhisaiAzhvaar’s disciple Kani Kannan was heard singing praise of the Lord. Pleased with his voice, the king ordered that Kani Kannan sing praise of him too. KaniKannan refused stating that he would sing praise only of the Lord and not of others.An upset king banished him from the kingdom.
Kanni Kannan narrated the happening to his preceptor Thirumazhisai Azhvaar who decided to accompany him out of the kingdom.Thirumazhisai Azhvaar went up to the Lord and requested him too to join them on their journey.
கனி கண்ணன் போகின்றான் காமருப்பூண் கச்சி மணி வண்ணா நீ கிடக்க வேண்டாம் துணிவுடைய சென்னா புலவனும் போகின்றேன் நீயும் உன்ருன் பை நாகப்பாய் சுருட்டிகொள் - திருமழிசை ஆழ்வார்
And the three left the place- This action plunged the entire kingdom into darkness.Realizing his mistake, the king reached out to Thirumazhisai Azhvaar and requested that the three of them come back to the kingdom. Thirumazhisai Azhvaar asked the Lord to return to his residing place. The Lord is said to have followed this instruction immediately and in this hurried return is said to have slept in the opposite direction.As the Lord listened, in strict obedience, to the instructions of Thirumazhisai Azhvaar and did as the Azhvaar wanted, he is called ‘Sonna Vannam Seitha Perumal’.
In memory of the event marking Thirumazhisai Azhvaar leaving the place, the Lord along with the idol of Thirumazhisai Azhvaar is taken in a procession to the nearby river VegaVathi, every year during the Tamil Calendar month of ‘Thai’(Jan-Feb)
Morning : 8-11 Am Evening :5 -8 PM
How To Reach
Kanchipuram is 75 Kms from Chennai and buses ply every 30 minute from Chennai.Suburban Trains from Chennai is also available.There are couple of Passenger Trains from Arrakonam also
Nearest Airport is Chennai (60 Kms)
Where To Stay
There are lot of stay options available in Kanchipuram Town
Kanchipuram is a temple town and has lot of temples for its glory .The more prominent & Historic among them is
- Ekambareswarar Temple ,Pancha Bootha sthalams of Lord Shiva
- Kamakshi Amman Temple,one of 51 Shakthi Peedams
- Varadharaja Perumal Temple
- Thiru Ooragam Ulagalantha Perumal