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Veera Raghavapuram - Vishnu turned King to protect the land

Tags: temple king veera

Are you familiar with the holy site of Veera Raghavapuram in Tirunelveli? This is where the fascinating story of Raghava as a King who protected the land from enemy invaders took place. The legend goes that Krishna Varma, a King from the Lunar dynasty, was ruling the region by the river Tamraparani. He was a devoted king who spent all his resources on building and renovating temples, but he neglected to create a strong military base for his kingdom.

When an army from Karnataka invaded his land, the King was at a loss as to how to defend his territory without a trained army. Seeking refuge, he turned to the bronze icon of Varadaraja (Vishnu) in the Pooja room of his palace. Taking the form of the King, Vishnu fought the battle and saved the land. He also appeared to the King as a brave warrior named Veera Raghava.

Grateful for the protection, the King built a temple in honor of Veera Raghava Perumal and placed the bronze image of Varadaraja inside. The temple now has Veera Raghava as the main deity in the form of a stone image and Varadaraja as the processional icon. This site is known as Veera Raghavapuram and is home to a beautiful temple with a captivating story.

At the entrance of the temple, there is a colossal five-tiered Rajagopuram facing east. The tower, along with four immense Saptasvara (musical) pillars, was constructed in 2013. To make way for these new structures, the ancient 16-pillared mandapa was replaced.

Inside the sanctum, there is a small stone image of Veera Raghava. This image depicts Vishnu with four arms, holding a conch and a discus in his upper hands, and standing. He is accompanied by his two consorts, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.

The temple's namesake, Varadaraja, can also be found in the sanctum, flanked by his two consorts. Muthuswami Dikshita composed a kirtana that begins with the words "Varadaraja Upasmuhe" in Saranga Raaga, in honor of Varadaraja.

Additionally, the bronze icons of Vedavalli and Andal are located in the sanctum.

The Ardha mandapa entrance is guarded by two Dwarapalas. The Dwarapala on the true right side of the mandapa displays the Taranjai mudra (the gesture of threat) with his left hand, while the other Dwarapala shows surprise or wonder with his left arm (vismaya mudra). This is the typical style of Dwarapalas found in many ancient temples in the Tirunelveli region.

The temple features a large Maha mandapa and a front-facing Mukha mandapa, both adorned with intricately carved pillars.

The east-facing sub-shrines in the prakara house Vedavalli and Perundevi.

Other Murtis found throughout the temple include Sudarsana with Narasimha on his back, Ramanuja, Pillai Lokacharya, Vishwaksena, Hanuman, and Garuda facing the main deity.

Two inscriptions from 1901 and 1941 describe the Kumbhabhisheka conducted at the temple. There are no other old inscriptions recorded.

Based on the architectural features of the sanctum, it appears to be from the later Pandya era (14th or 15th century), while the other shrines are new concrete structures. An adjoining Nayaka-era mandapa is currently used as an office.

Located outside the temple complex is a new chariot constructed in 2015. It stands 32 feet tall and 13 feet wide, featuring over 350 wooden carvings.

Happy travelling.

This post first appeared on Indian Columbus, please read the originial post: here

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Veera Raghavapuram - Vishnu turned King to protect the land


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