Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 57

BY: SUN STAFF - 13.3 2018


Sundaravarathaja Perumal Temple 
(Renovated entrance)

A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.


Lord Brahma at Nallur

In the village of Nallur, in Vandavasi taluk of Thiruvanamalai district, Tamil Nadu is a temple with ancient roots. The Sri Sundaravaratharaja Perumal temple of Nallur village is home to the presiding deity, Sri Sundaravarathaja Perumal (Visnu) and Sri Sundaravalli Thaayar (Laksmi).


Sri Sundaravarathaja Perumal and Sri Sundaravalli Thaayar

The present village grown up around the temple just 300 years old, but in fact, Sundaravarathaja Perumal Temple was preceded by a much older temple for Lord Sundar, in which the worship of Lord Brahma was also going on.


Nallur Village

Arasanipalai Venkatdhwari Swami is said to have established the present village of Nallur some 300 years ago, when he came here from nearby Arasanipalai with a group of Srivaisnavas. He conducted many yagnas, during one of which a stupi was erected. A temple was then built for Lord Sundaravarathar and his consorts. The Swami's descendents continued to reside in Nallur until about fifty years ago.


Sundaravaratharaja Perumal Temple 
(Original temple)

But approximately 500 years prior to the establishment of Sundaravaratharaja Perumal Temple, an ancient Chola temple was built in Nallur (not to be confused with the ancient town of Nallur in Jaffna district of Sri Lanka). Sundar Perumal was worshipped here by the name Kalyana-sundaresa, for whom the temple was named.


Lord Sundar and consorts

The Kalyanasundaresa Temple was built on an artificial hillock, three miles east of the Papanasam Railway station. A Puranic mention of this temple states that here, the Sage Agastya witnessed the wedding of Siva and Parvati in Kailasa. At a sacred tank in front of the temple, Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas, took bath before worshipping the Lord. This pastime was depicted in sculptures alongside the tank.

In the central shrine is a lingam on a pedestal, with a corresponding lingam on the other side. The presiding lingam was highly polished, changing colors five times a day. On the sanctum's interior walls are many fine sculptural images of Shiva and Parvati on the west, Visnu on the north, and Brahma on the south. There is also a bronze Sabhapati, or murti of Shiva Nataraj, eight-handed and dancing on an asura's head. This piece is thought to be one of the Navathandavan, or nine dancing aspects of Shiva.

In addition there are murtis, in stone or metal, of Ganapati, Agastya and Sundarar with his consort. Kalyanasundaresa is reported to have performed a miracle through Amarneethi Nayanar.

There are many Chola inscriptions found in the temple, one of which refers to a Chola king's inquiry into the temple management. In the Agastya-sakaladhikara, a text dedicated to Puranic architecture and attributed to the Sage Agastya, mention is made of the Kalyana-sundara-lakshan image of Kalyana-Sundara.

In more recent times, in honor of the yagnas performed by Shri Srinivasadwari of the Arasanipalai clan, whose swami founded the village here 300 years ago, an agraharam (stupi, or pole) was erected in Nallur, and in 17 other local spots where he performed yagnas.

In 1925, a local devotee conducted Samprokshnam (a ritual of fundraising for temple maintenance) for the Sri Sundaravaratharaja Perumal temple, and renovations were made. An anniversary of this event was held in February 2009. Nallur village became prominent due to the service rendered to the Vaishnavite Sampradayam by Shri Seva Swami, well known for his expertise in Sanskrit.


New temple vimana

The Vandavasi taluk, in which Nallur village is situated has some mundane historical importance in the region. It was the site of a decisive battle in the 18th c. war between France and the United Kingdom, who fought for control of South Asia.

There are many temples in the area, including the Narsimha temle at Sogathoor, Panduranga at Thennangur, Sreenivasa Perumal at Navalpakkam, Kamatchi Amman, Adhi Ranganatha Swamy, Jalakandaeshwara, and two Jain temples.