There is a kshetra “Sri Tirumalai Vaiyapuri” near Chennai. The presiding deity of this kshetra is Sri Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal. The temple is atop a hillock. The legend goes that Sri Garuda Bhagawan wished to the Lord of Tirumalai Sri Venkatesa Perumal that he would serve him as an umbrella. Lord granted him that his wishes would be fulfilled at the sacred hillock near Palar, where He will be present as a presiding deity. The said kshetra is now known as “Sri Tirumalai Vaiyapuri” near Chennai which is also known as “Dhakshina Tirumalai” and the hillock is known as “Dhakshina Garudathri”. Since it is the abode of Lord Venkatesa it is Tirumalai, but why the suffix Vaiyapuri?
To know the reason for the suffix Vaiyapuri, let us go back to the Ramayana period. In the fierce battle that happened between Ravana’s son Inderjit and Lakshmana, Inderjit hits Lakshmana with a deadly arrow. Hit by this arrow, Lakshmana falls and losses his consciousness. Seeing his brothers’ condition Rama wailed in despair. Jambhavan calls Vibhishana and Hanuman at this desperate hour for consultation. Vibishan calls the Lankan Royal physician Sushena who adviced them to fetch four divine herbs - Mrutha Sanjeevani (For life), Vishalyakarani (For cuts and injury), Sandhanakarani (For skin) and Savarnyakarani (For skin color) from Dronagiri. He had advised that the medicine should be administrated before sun rise. It was realized that only Sri Hanuman could achieve this task of bringing the plants at this short time.
Sri Hanuman was flying and carrying the Sanjeevani Mountain from Dronagiri to Lanka. On the way when flying over Dhakshina Tirumalai He offered His prayers to Sri Venkatesa Perumal. Since the Sanjeevani Mountain cannot be kept on the ground, Sri Hanuman while offering His prayers to the Lord, changed the mountain from one hand to other without putting it on the ground to offer prayers to the Lord.
This act of Sri Hanuman had given the kshetra the suffix “Vaiyapuri”. In Tamil Vai means keeping, vaiya means not keeping, puri means place. Since Sri Hanuman had offered His prayers to Lord Venkatesa even while on an important mission and not kept the mountain on the ground this kshetra had come to be known as “Tirumalai Vaiyapuri”.
This kshetra is also known in the name of “Tirumalai Vaiyavoor”.
Temple for Lord Sri Venkatesa Perumal is atop the hillock in this kshetra. There are two separate shrines with flag post each for Lord Varaha [with Sri Lakshmi on His lap] and Lord Venkatesa Perumal. As in Tirupati, prayers are offered to Lord Sri Venkatesa Perumal, only after the prayers are offered to Lord Varaha moorthi. There are separate shrines for Alarmel Thyar, Sri Rama – Lakshmana – Sri Sita Devi, Sri Venugopal –Rukmani - Satyabhama, Sri Ramnujar etc. In one of the pillars of mandapam a shilpa depicts the act of Sri Hanuman changing the Sanjeevini Mountain from one hand to other thereby the kshetra getting the name “Vaiyapuri”.
This kshetra is located in the area covered earlier by Tondaimandalam. Tondaimandalam covers the present day areas of Nellore, Chittoor, Vellore, Ranipet, Tirupattur, Tiruvanamalai, Villupuram, Kallakuruchi, Tiruvallur, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu, Cuddalore. The rulers of Tondaimandalam were known by the title Tondaiman. One of the early rulers of Tondaimandalam had built this temple for Sri Venkatesa Perumal on this hillock.
One has to climb about five hundred steps to reach the top of the hillock. The temple of Sri Hanuman is located just in front of the stairs leading to the Lord Venkatesa perumal. Adjacent to Sri Hanuman temple there is a temple for Sri Sidhi Budhi Vinayagar. Car for the temple car festival is also seen in the compound of Hanuman temple. The temple is facing north and the hillock. A huge hall and the Garbhagraham form the temple. Devotees can have dharshan of the Lord from the main road itself.
In the side walls of the hall, large paintings depicting the sthala puranam can be seen. In front of the Garbhagraham on the roof, navagrahas with their vahanam can be seen. Devotee who seeks the blessing of any navagraha can stand just below that and offer his prayers to Sri Hanuman. The devotee will not be able to take his eyes away from imposing and magnificent sight of Sri Hanuman.
Raja Todar Mal was the Finance Minister (Mushriff-i-Diwan) of the Mughal Empire during Emperor Akbar's reign. He was also one of the Navaratnas in Akbar's court. Under Todar Mal, there were 15 other Dewans nominated for 15 Subahs of Akbar. It is said this temple for Sri Hanuman was built by him during 1558.
It is worth mentioning here that there was another Sri RajaTodarmal who was a Hindu chieftain who served under Sadat-ulla-Khan, the first Nawab of the Carnatic. During his time [early 18th century] he had improved and renovated many temples in Tondaimandalam. Possibly this temple is also one of them.
It is also to state that according to book “Sri Veera Anjaneyan” by Sri u.ve. Ramakrishnan Iyengar swamy published by LIFCO, this ancient Sri Veera Anjaneya was reinstalled at the newly constructed temple at the present place by Sri Sitarama Swamigal who is a Govinda uppasakar.
The idol of Sri Hanuman is fully sculpted with tiruvacchi [prabhai] from single hard granite. The Lord is seen facing north and is in standing position.
The lotus feet of the Lord are adorned with thandai and nupuram. Lord is wearing dothi in kacham style and girdle made of a triple string of muJja-grass. His left hand adorning a keauram in the upper arm and bracelet in fore-arm is seen resting on the left hip, and in His right hand he is holding the stem of sowgandika flower. The flower which is still to bloom is seen above His left shoulder. The bahu-vallayam adds beauty to His shoulders. The yagjopaviitam is seen across His broad chest. He is wearing two malas as ornaments, one of which has a pendant adorns His bosom. With His raised right hand showing ‘abhaya mudra’, He showers blessings on His devotees. The tail of the Lord coiled on the back is not seen – as a pious devotee offering prayers to Lord. The Lord is wearing ear-studs which are touching His shoulders. The Lord is also wearing ‘karna pushpam’ in His ears. Neatly combed ‘sheka’ tied in a knot could be seen on the top of the head held neatly by a decorative head band. A portion of His curly kesam is seen flowing on the side of the ears adding beauty to the ‘Sundram’.
The uniqueness of the Lord of this kshetra is that He is facing the devotees directly with both the eyes. His bright eyes are emanating compassion on the devotee. With such bright radiant eyes, the Lord of the kshetra bestows all the righteous things to His devotee.
Hanuman, who had prayed to the Lord of this kshetra with all piety and had discharged all the duties assigned to him without any hindrance, is sure to guide us as to how to achieve righteous things without any obstruction.
Ed: June 2022 :: updated : 10.08.22 :: revised: 12.03.23
All pictures are TV grab from "Puthuyugam"TV
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