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Devanayaka Perumal

Perumal here is known as Devanayaka and Dēvanâtha, or “Lord of the gods”. He is also known in Tamil as அடியவர்க்கு மெய்யன் / aḍiyavarkku meyyan, “the One Who is true to His devotees”. Thâyâr is known here as Hēmâmbuja Nâyaki.

He is praised here as having manifested Himself as Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva all in one form. Tirumangai Alvar sings of Devanayaka Perumal as மூவர் ஆகிய ஒருவன் / mūvar âkiya oruvan, the One who became three, for the purpose of creation, preservation, and dissolution.

Lord Devanayaka is popularly considered an elder brother of Tirupati Srinivasa Perumal and offerings to Lord Srinivasa can also be done here.

Location

The town of Tiruvahindrapuram (tiru-ahîndra-puram, now called tiru-vēndi-puram) is located just west of Cuddalore, in South Arcot District of Tamil Nadu. It is only a few hours by bus or train from Madras. The temple is located three miles west of the Tiruppappuliyur Railway Station on the metre gauge main line of the Southern Railway. Hotels, choultries, shops, and transportation are available near the station. The setting of the temple is idyllic, with the Garuda Nadi (river) flowing north behind the temple and the hallowed hill known as Aushadha Giri standing in front. 1

Accomodations

Tiruvahindrapuram is a temple town and has no hotels or places to stay unless you know some families there. For convenience and proximity, either Cuddalore or Chidambaram are better places with hotels. Chidambaram has a few more choices. Pondicherry is also a lovely place to use as a base, since it is more used to “tourists from the West”.

Arca Murtis

The main deity, pictured above, stands commandingly in the interior of the temple. His right hand is in the “abhaya hasta” position, reassuring us that there is no cause for fear. To his right is the rishi Markandeya, who legend has it gave his daughter in marriage to Devanayaka. The bride stands to Devanayaka’s left.


Hēmâmbuja Nâyaki

The utsava murtis of Devanayaka Perumal and Hemaambuja Nâyaki shine with grandeur and are breathtaking to see. The Lord bears the distinctive signs of the three gods. On the palm of His right hand can be seen a lotus, the symbol of Brahma. The third eye in the forehead and the braid of hair on the head are two visible signs of Siva. The insignias of Vishnu, the śankha and chakra, are held in both hands. The mūlavar, however, does not have these marks.

As a testament to Lord Dēvanâtha’s beauty, Swami Desikan exclaims, “நின் வடிவழகு மறவாதார் பிறவாதாரே” — “those who don’t forget your divine beauty are born here no more” 2.

Notes

1 There are quite a few temples within a 40 mile radius. The extent of coverage of them depends on your time. Nearby at Chidambaram is the sannidhi of Tillai Tiruccittira Kootam Govindrajan about whom Tirumangai and Kulasekhara have sung. Between Chidambaram and Mayavaram (Tirumaiyiladuturai)is Terazhundur (Sri Gosakhan) and Sirkazhi. In and around the town of Sirkazhi are twelve divya desams celebrated by Tirumangai. Sri Taadaalan at Sirkazhi and the 12 sthalams known collectively as Tirunaangur divya desams are there. You have to take a local Bhattar with you to make sure that you get to these temples at the appropriate puja times. A whole day will be needed at minimum. You can return to Chidambaram for rest. A rented taxi would be the most appropriate transport. The next stop after Sirkazhi would be the temple town of Kumbhakonam to visit the shrines of Aravamudan, Oppiliappan, Nacchiyar Kovil , Adanur , Pullambhuthangudi , Tiruccherai , Thiruvelliyangudi et al. Excellent accomodations are available at Kumbhakonam. (↑)

2 Navamaṇimâlai 6. வஞ்சனை செய் பூதனையை மலியும் சாட்டை* மல்லரையோர் மத களிற்றை வானோரஞ்சும்* கஞ்சனை முன் கடிந்து அவனி பாரம் தீர்தகாவலனே* கோவலனாய் நின்றகோவே* அஞ்சனமும் காயாவும் அனைய மேனி* அடியவர்க்கு மெய்யனே அயிந்தை வாழும்* மஞ்செனவே அருள் பொழியும் வள்ளலே* நின் வடிவழகு மறவாதார் பிறவாதாரே (↑)