Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lizard worship in 1000 years old temple

Golden Lizard, Varadarajar Temple, Kanchi (Kanchipuram), Tamilnadu, India.
Makeshift ladders permit devotees to touch the lizard. Devotees believe that touching the lizard in this sanctified chamber absolves us of the sin of previously hurting lizards; it also protects us from future harm by lizards. 

Varadarajar temple, which is located in Chinna Kanchipuram aka Vishnu Kanchi, is one of the most popular temples in Kanchipuram. Kamakshi Amman temple is the most important Goddess temple in Kanchipuram; EKambareswarar temple is the most important Shiva temple in Kanchipuram; Kumarakottam is the most important Muruga (Subramanya) temple in Kanchipuram; Similarly, Varadarajar temple is the most important Vishnu temple in Kanchipuram city. Chinna Kanchipuram (means "Little" Kanchipuram) is more like a separate town as this is located on the other side of main Kanchipuram (Periya Kanchipuram = "Big" Kanchipuram). Varadarajar temple is the centre of attraction of Chinna Kanchipuram.

Varadarajar temple, located in a sprawling 20 acres area, is one of the 108 Divya desams (108 holy abodes of Vishnu). Lord Vishnu, called as Varadarajar in this temple, was believed to be worshipped by Lord Brahma in Krita yuga, Gajendra in Treta yuga, Brahaspati (Guru) in Dwapara yuga and Aadisesha in Kali yuga. Varadarajar in this temple is also called as Devaraja Perumal, Athigiri Arulala Perumal, Karivaradar, and Giri Varadar. It is believed that Indira's white elephant Iravat, is in the form of a hill bears the image of Lord Vishnu in this temple.

One of the highlights of Varadarajar temple is a small shrine for lizards (lizard worship). Two lizard idols - one with gold plate and another withe silver plate are carved in the ceiling along with the figures of Sun and Moon. Devotees touch these lizard figures; as per the belief, it will relieve them from their diseases and problems. As per the legend, the two sons of sage Srungibera (Hayman and Sukran) were the disciples of the sage Gautama. One day, the lizard was found in the water that they bought of Gautama to perform pooja. Hence, the sage cursed them to become lizards. They got rid of their curse after visiting Varadarajar temple.

There is another legend related to this temple. Lord Brahma wanted to get darshan of Lord Vishnu in Chathur Bhujam (with four hands) and becasue of this, he did penance towards him. First Vishnu gave his seva in the form of Teerth, which is now called as "Pushkar". Next he gave the seva in the form of forest, which in now called as "Naimisaranyam". But still, Lord Brahma was not satisfied. At that time, he heard an Asarari (an unknown voice from heaven) which said that to get the darshan Sri Varadarajar, he must do the great Ashwameta yagna for hundred times. But, Lord Brahma felt so depressed that he didn't have patience to perform 100 Ashwameta yagna. Finally as per Vishnu's advice, he performed one Ashwameta yagna which is equivalent to 100 Ashwameta yagnas. It is said that doing one Ashwameta yagna in Kanchipuram is equivalent to 100 times of doing Ashwameta yagna somewhere else. Brahma started the yagna and from the fire of the yagna, Sri Varadarajar came out and gave his darshan.

"Ka" - means Brahma and "Anjitham" - means who was worshipped. Since, Brahma worshipped Vishnu as Varadharajar, this place is called "Kanchi".

Varadarajar temple is one place which should not be missed when you go to tamilnadu.

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