சக்தி விகடன் - 16 May, 2007

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Posted Date : 06:00 (16/05/2007)  VenkatesaPerumalTempleChennai

Chennai’s Great Temples

Saukarpettai Sri Venkatesa Perumal

P. Swaminathan

Saukarpettai of Chennai is where many North Indians live. Ekambaresvarar, Kanthakottam…are among the many temples present here. One among the many important temples is ‘Bairaki Matam Graceful Tiruvenkatamudaiyan Venkatesa Perumal Temple.

Population density is high in Saukarpettai. This Vaishnava temple is in Muththaiya Street over a wide area with its own sacred pond. There are a multitude of shrines. The fixed deity is Sri Venkatesa Perumal reminiscent of Tiruppathi Ezumalaiyan (the Lord of the seven Hills). Alarmel Mangai Thayar (Consort) has a nearby separate shrine here. Shrine for Devaraja Perumal reminds us of Kanchi Kshetra Perumal, along with other shrines for Sri Kannapiran as Venugopal with Sridevi and Bhudevi, Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar, Puri Jagannathar, Azhvars, Acharyas…replete with eternal bliss in the Bairaki Matam of Graceful Venkatesa Perumal Temple.

That is fine. What is Bhairāki Matam as a name in the forefront?

Bhairāki means Sannyāsī. Today, we have transportation facilities to go to holy places like Kāsi, Ramesvaram…We can buy tickets without moving from our seats. In the olden days, travel by foot is the norm.


Sannyasi Lāldās in 1800s came to Chennai from Lahore on foot. Built 420 years ago (presently 2007), the temple hosted his stay. Those days, Rama was the presiding deity according to temple register. Lāldās took a dip in the pond before he came for worship. He worshipped the Supreme Being with melting heart and soul pleading for refuge for all.  He prayed with closed eyes. Responding to Atīta Bhakti (Transcendent devotion) of Lāldās, Perumal decided to reveal himself through Lāldās.

Lāldās established for the North Indian visitors to the temple a place for rest, meals…He stayed for good in Chennai because he had no mind to stop his service to God.  One night, when he was sleeping, Malaiappan Venkatasalapathi of Tiruppathi came in his dream and offered him in-person live vision to Lāldās.

Lāldās seeing him in person in his dream, shed tears of ecstasy. He stood there with his melting heart. Appreciating his ecstasy and transcendental belief in God, Venkatasalapathi in a state of horripilation said, “Bhakta…I want a deed done by you for me.”

Lāldās was ecstatic and said, “Tell me Perumal! You are the refuge and preserver of this world. And you need a deed done by me for you. I am waiting for your order.”

 “Clean up this temple and make it look sparkling clean. Establish a permanent Shrine for me. Also build a separate shrine for my consort Alarmel-Mangai. We selected you knowing well that you are capable of doing this. Saying thus and offering his blessings, Mādhava disappeared.

“I am a Sannyasi. With extraordinary efforts, we built this Matam.  Āṇṭavan is bidding me to build a Sannidhi. Where am I to go for labor and money?  These worries haunted Lāldās.  How many devotees get this boon and command from God?  To build a Sannidhi for him is the biggest and the best Boon from the Lord. He was in ecstasy and forgot all his shortcomings. He decided to take on the assigned task from God. He realized later how difficult it was.  

Lāldās went to the rich people in the neighborhood, narrated to them the dream of bid by Venkatasalapathi to build a temple and asked for monetary support. The interlocutors laughed, derided and sent him on his way home. He rendered service to the lord by singing Bhajans in the streets and receiving pittance from the passersby. For lack of funds, there was a suspension of services. He performed alchemy by converting copper into gold. With the cash, he received for the gold, he was on the cusp of finishing his temple work on time.

Thayat riding on Female Monkey and Garuda 

The neighborhood people came to know that he was an accomplished alchemist. The devotees came forward forcing themselves to render help in building the temple, when they felt bad about their own niggardliness, and hurt to Lāldās considering his extraordinary abilities. The Temple work came to a completion on fast pace.

Under these conditions, Perumal worked one more wonder.  There was a flower garden on Poṉṉappan Sandhu near the Temple.  Perumal appeared in Lāldās’s dream, and told him he could find him (his idol) buried under the garden with Sri Devi and Bhū Devi. Lāldās narrated this news to the supervisor of the temple. One more surprise. As he was getting ready to dig the flower garden, the supervisor told him that Perumal came in his dream the night before advising him to dig the garden for the buried idols.

Both made a search and discovered the idols. Sri Devi and Bhū Devi found as companions in the dugout are the same processional idols still used in the temples today.

Let us obtain Temple Darśan. 

The temple is facing south. In the front, there is a 60-foot high five-level Raja Gopuram (Flagpole). July 8, 2007 was the dedicated day for the consecration ceremony (Kumbabishekam), the last one in 1997. The temporary shrine is functioning with services, while the temple is under repair. For that reason, Darśanas of all shrines including the primary shrine with fixed deity are not possible.

Going past the temple tower are Bali Pīdam, Flagpole, Garuda shrine, Maha Mandapam with the image of Temple car in its façade, two rock elephants pulling the car. During festival days, beautiful arrangement had been made for the appearance of processional deities.


The fixed idol of Venkatesa Perumal is about 6.5 feet tall. Beyond the gatekeepers, Jaya and Vijaya, in the sanctum is the idol reminiscent of Tiruppathi Perumal idol’s regalia. Broad and expansive chest and shoulders, wherein abides Sorna Lakshmi (made of Lapis Lazuli). Sanku Sakradari evokes ecstasy. Wonderful form. The services here are the exact duplicates of Tiruppathi temple.  All festivals including Brahmotsavam, Pavithrosavam, Rathorsavam… are just like those in Tiruppathi, celebrated with pomp and circumstance. One of the Temple Battachariyars says that the ones unable to visit Tiruppathi obtain Darśan and grace here.

The circumambulatory walkway is wide. There are umpteen shrines. Twelve Azhvars and famous Acharyas are resident in the shrines. The noteworthy Sannidhi is that of Tirumangai Azhvar with his consort Kumudavalli. Near Thayar Sannidhi are those of Periyanambhi, Tirumalai Nambhi, Tirugoshtiyur Nambhi, Tirumalaiyandan, Tirukkacchi Nambhi… Special and elaborate services of idols of Azhvars, Achariyars…are conducted on their Nakshatra days.


Along the circumambulatory pathway is the Melmangai Thāyār Sannidhi. In the forefront is the Hall of processional deity. All the festivals in Tirucchanur at the foothills of Tiruppathi also are celebrated here in the honor of Thāyār (Sri Devi). Among them, the Kārttikai (kārttikai = November-December) month festival of Pañćami Tīrtham is important. On Panchami day, you can have Darśan of bathing of Idol and worshippers and next day of Santhāṉa Lakshmi.

During festival days Garuda Vāhaa (Bird as transport) of Thāyār is of female gender, worth noting. Garuda Vahana in other temples has a portrayal of Garuda with a twisted mustache, muscular shoulders… The Garuda here has earrings, and pierced nose rings wearing sari. Hanuman also takes on the female form. There are a multitude of shrines for Sri Devi, Bhu Devi, Plus Varadarāja Perumal; Anjaneya and Lakshmana, Sita and Kothandarāmar; Sri Devi, Bhu Devi plus Sri Venugopālan (Kaṇṇaṉ); Aṇḍāl, Varāha Perumāḷ, Ranganāthar, Lakshmi Narasimhar, Puri Jagannāthar…


Sannidhi of Sri Lakshmi Narasimhar needs a particular mention. He presents himself in a fierce manner. His eyes, when lighted up with ārati appears to stare at the devotees. The temple Battāchāriyār sprinkles the sacred water from the conch containing the ablution so the droplets strike the face fiercely. This sacred water can cure any diseases. The drops drive away any fear in the devotees. Just to get doused with these striking drops of water, many visit the temple.

Adjacent to walkway, Vara Pukarai is the sacred lake, appearing pleasantly cool.  Near this are the Sannidhis for Siva, Anjaneya…built by the spiritual descendants of Bhairāki Matam.  The present (2007) Mahant Dvārakadās comes in the family lineage of caretakers of the temple.

This temple is the (spiritual) bank in the heart of Chennai, wherein we get Darśan and blessings of Venkatavan.


Sthala name: Bhairāki Mutt Graceful TiruVenakataMudaiyāṉ Venkatesa Perumāḷ Temple.


Fixed Deity: SriVenkatesa Perumal

Thayar: Sri Alrmelmangai’s sacred site: Paris Corner N.S.C Bose Road (Netaji Subas Chandrabose Road adjacent to General Muththaiah Mudali Street, near Central Railway station. Approach to temple from Waltax Road and Flower Bazar Police station is easy of access.

Executive Officer, Bhairaki Mutt.

 Arulmigu Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Koil,

Bairagi Mutt, Thiruvngadamudiyan Venkatesaperumal Thirukoil.

 1 General Muthiah Mudali St, Sowcarpet, Chennai 600079
Phone : (044) 2538-2142