Vaikuntavasa Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram


Kanchipuram, once the capital of the Pallava dynasty, and the surrounding places are historic areas, and home to several ancient temples. This entire region was part of the well-known Thondaimandalam. Other than the fourteen famous Vishnu temples in Kanchipuram which are in the list of the 108 Divya Desams, there are many more in and around this sacred town which were once important religious centres. One such place, located on the southern bank of River Palar, about 10 km from Kanchipuram is known by the quaint name of Dusi.

The original name of this village was Satakopapuram as Sri Adi Van Satakopan, the first preceptor of the Ahobila Math stayed here for a few years. Much later, the name changed to Dusi as the armies of the British and French, which were stationed in areas nearby, used to march (against the Nawab of Arcot) through this place, raising a lot of dust (dusi in Tamil). It was once known as Chaturvedimangalam, place where scholars well-versed in the Vedas and allied Sastras lived.

The Vaikunthavasa Perumal temple in this village is believed to belong to the Pallava times just like the Vaikunta Perumal temple in Kanchipuram which was constructed in the reign of Nandivarman II Pallavamalla (731-798 A.D.). The main deity is a majestic image, flanked by Sridevi and Bhudevi (Ubhaya Nachiyar).

Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped here as Santhanavalli Thayar in a separate shrine. There are also images of the Vaishnava saints, Nammazhvar and Tirumangai Azhwar and preceptors (acharyas). Incidentally, Tupil, a suburb of Kanchipuram which is the birthplace of Vedanta Desika is not too far from Dusi.

One of the most important festivals of this temple is celebrated on full-moon day (Pournami) in the month of Chitirai (April-May) when the processional deity (utsava murti) of Sri Varadaraja Swami from the famous temple in Kanchipuram visits Dusi and blesses every house in this place. This well-attended celebration attracts a multitude of devotees from Kanchipuram and surrounding villages. Among the visitors is the Jeeyar of Ahobila Math. Some of the other festivals celebrated in this temple are Ekadasi, Navaratri and Sankaranti.

Between the villages of Dusi and Mamandur is one of the largest irrigation tanks in Tamil Nadu. Aptly called the Dusi-Mamandur tank, it has a water spread area of 13.5 and a capacity to store 180 million cubic feet of water. This tank is believed to have been constructed in the seventh century A.D. in the reign of the famous Mahendravarman I.

The Vaikuntavasa Perumal temple must have once been not only a hub of religious activity but also a socio-economic and cultural centre like many other temples in this region. However, over the centuries it became dilapidated due to the vagaries of nature and neglect. It is due to the healthy interest and untiring efforts of the people in Dusi and members of families of this village now living elsewhere that this ancient temple has sprung back to life. Renovation includes a new shrine for Santhanavalli Thayar and kitchen (Madapalli).

Courtesy: Sri Uppili Appan

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