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With numerous temples in every street, with the holy hymns and chants Kancheepuram is truly called the “city of temples”. Vaikunta Perumal Temple is one of the nine Hindu dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Tiruchendur-Tirunelveli route in Tamil Nadu and one of the 108 Divya Desams or Vishnu temples. It was built in the same date as the Kailasanathar Temple which is considered to be the oldest structure in Kancheepuram. Vaikunta Perumal Temple was built around 674 – 800 AD during the Pallava rule supposedly by the Pallava king Nandivarman II which was later modified by the Chola kings and the Vijaynagar rulers.
Road: Vaikunta Perumal Temple is around 2 km from the Koyambedu central bus terminus. Regular bus services are available from there.
Legend Behind Vaikunta Perumal Temple
It is said that once a king lived in Vidarbha Desa, the place where the temple is located now. The name of the king was Viroacha and he remained very sad due to the absence of any progeny. He prayed to Lord Shiva in Kailasanthar temple. Lord Shiva was satisfied with his sheer dedication of prayer and gave him a boon that the gatekeepers of Lord Vishnu will be born as the king’s sons. The princes born were ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, seeing their prayer and devotion Lord Vishnu is said to have appeared in the form of Vaikundanatha before the princes.
Temple entry timings in Vaikunta Perumal Temple
The temple is open all days of the week and can be visited from 08:00 am to 01:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 05:30 pm
Pooja details and timings in Vaikunta Perumal Temple
Pooja is performed every day and on festivals by the Vaishnavites or the temple priests. The temple rituals are performed six times a day. Below are the rituals performed :
Each pooja is completed in three steps which are alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps). The last step of the Pooja deepa aradanai includes the priests reciting texts from Vedic scriptures and the worshipers lie down in front of temple mast.
Architecture of Vaikunta Perumal Temple
This temple was built during the Pallava reign and later modified by the Cholas and the Vijaynagar empire but the style largely retains the Pallava architecture. The entrance to the temple is devoid of any gopuram. A flat mandapam or large hall leads to the inner complex. The pillars of the mandapam are carved with deities. The main structure consists of three vertically aligned sanctum santoram columned one top of the other, these adjoins a columned mandapam which opens to the west. The three sanctum santoram shows the image of Vishnu in three different postures which are seated (ground floor), lying (first floor which is opened to visitors only on Ekadashi days) and standing (second floor which is not accessible to visitors). There are circumambulatory passages connecting all the three sanctums. The entire outer structure Is carved with beautiful sculptures of lions standing on hind legs at regular intervals. There are several inscriptions on the wall of temple depicting the various incarnations of Lord Vishnu, and wars between Cholas and the Pallavas. The inner walls of the temple are carved with the epics and sculptures of kings with queens and attendants. With the growing time lots of these sculptures have been disintegrated.
Currently this temple Vaikunta Perumal Temple is in deteriorated state and is looked after by the Archeological Society of India as a ‘protected monument’.
Festivals celebrated in Vaikunta Perumal Temple
The main festival celebrated here is the Vaikunta Ekadashi which is celebrated during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January). The first floor of the temple is opened to the visitors only during this occasion. Special prayers, yagnas, discourses and speeches are arranged at Vaikunta Perumal Temple on this auspicious day. Other festival celebrated here is Vaikasi Brahmotsavam, celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May-June).