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Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27

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Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27
Divya Desams refer to the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the works of the Tamil Azhvars (saints). Divya in the Tamil language indicates "premium" and Desam indicates "place" (temple). Of the 108 temples, 105 are located in India, one in Nepal and two outside of the Earthly realms. Most of the Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu follow the Thenkalai tradition. This includes the important temples of Srirangam and Triplicane.

The Divya Desams are revered by the 12 Azhvars in the Divya Prabandha, a collection of 4,000 Tamil verses. Lord Shiva, the other major deity in Hinduism, is similarly associated with the Paadal Petra Sthalams, 275 Shiva temples which are praised in the Tevaram canon by the 63 Nayanars. Worshipped by – Serpent Gods in Kritha Yuga, Bhoomi Devi in Thretha Yugam and Sage Markandeya in Dwaparayugam.

Divya Desam 27 - Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple:

NAMAVALI : Sri Pundareegavalli nayiga sameda Sri Govindaraja parabramane namaha

The temple is among the 108 divyadesams of SriVaishnavas and comes under Choza naatu divyadesams. The presiding deity is Sri Govindaraja perumal in reclining posture and thayar in a seperate sannadhi is Pundarikavalli thayar. This divyadesam is inside Lord Nataraja's temple in Chidambaram - similar to Kamakshi amman and Ekambareshwar temple in Kanchipuram wherein Lord Vishnu's shrine is inside a Shaivite temple. There are two utsava moorthies in the temple by the names Sri Parathasarathy perumal and Sri Chitrakootattilullaan. The Lord gives darshan in three forms - standing, sitting and reclining posture. The shrine of Sri Govindarajar is just besides the Natarajar shrine and is a mini temple in itself with small sannadhis around the seperate prakaram. Listening to Kulasekara Azhvaar's paasurams on Chitrakoodathullan is said to be equivalent to listening to the entire Ramayana. Natarajan and Govindarajan in the same temple complex. Vishnu is said to have watched the dance duel between Shiva and Parvathi.

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27

History & Legends:

Lord Shiva and Mother Parvathi offered a grand dance performance in Kailash when they were in a happy mood. At the end, they wanted to know the winner. They approached Lord Brahmma. He was not able to decide. They sought the opinion of Lord Vishnu. He suggested a stage be built by divine sculptor Vishwakarma for the dance contest. The contest began. For every type of Thandavas (dancing) Shiva did, Mother Parvathi too did Her part thrillingly. They excelled each other. At the end, Lord Shiva simply lifted His right leg and kept it above His head which Parvathi could not. Lord Shiva was declared winner by Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva stayed in this temple as Lord Nataraja and requested Perumal too to stay with Him. Lord Vishnu is here in His reclining posture.

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27
It is believed that Cauvery’s parents undertook penance at this place uttering the name of Govinda. And were blessed with Moksham. Hence this Lord came to be called Govindarajan. One can see the Lord in 3 postures here- Standing, Sitting and in Bhoga Sayanam.

This is a land devotees seek for salvation. Kaveran the king of Kalinga had a daughter named Lopamudra married to Sage Agasthya. Sage changed Lopamudra as River Cauvery. Kaveran and his wife bathed in the river everyday and asked their daughter Lopamudra-Cauvery the means of attaining salvation. She advised them to go to Thillai Nagar and perform penance on Lord Vishnu to realize their wish and darshan of Lord. Pleased with their penance, Lord appeared with Mothers Sridevi and Bhoodevi and granted salvation to the couples.

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27
As a tradition, Lord Brahma on the naval chord of Lord Vishnu is seen in a sitting form. Differing from this tradition, Brahma is in a standing form in this temple. It is said that Brahmma chose to stand as a respect to Lord Vishnu who was to judge the winner in the dance competition taking place in the Chitra Sabha. Lord is looking at the sky as the place come under the Akash category.

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27
Divine serpent Adisesha, serving as the bed of Lord Vishnu, desired to have the Thandava Darshan of Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu sent him to have his desire fulfilled. Adisesha made friends with Maharshi Vyakrapada and had the darshan of Lord Shiva. He also had the blessings of Lord Vishnu here and returned to the milk ocean to resume his job as bed of Perumal. He has his shrine in the prakara at the feet of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that prayer to Adisesha would bring the dual benefit of the blessings of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu.

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27
A demon woman Dhilli by name prayed to Lord Perumal to be a forest herself full of trees and that Lord should grace the place with His presence. She became Thillai trees. Named after her, the place came to be known as Thillai Nagar. Mother Pundarikavalli graces from a separate shrine. The Padukas of Lord are in a shrine in the prakara ensuring salvation to the devotees. Garuda Baghwan holding the devotee elephant Gajendra, Lords Narasimha, Venugopala and Maharshi Patanjali, Sri Andal and Sri Anjaneya also grace the devotees from their shrines in the prakara.

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27
One can see the Chidambaram Rahasyam (the Lord in the ‘form of a Yantram’) inside the sanctum of Nataraja, to his right. The Chidambaram Rahasyam is covered with a screen and is shown to devotees at regular intervals.

Sri Govindaraja Perumal Temple (Thiruchithrakoodam), Thanjavur - Divya Desam 27
In the temple tank, on the northern side, fishes come out of the water and on to the ground to pick up eatables thrown in by the devotees.
The Vimana above the sanctum sanctorum is called Sadvika Vimana. Procession deity Devadhi Devan is in a sitting posture with Mothers. Another procession deity in a standing posture is with presiding Lord near His feet. Lord Govindaraja is in a separate temple with His flag post in the temple known as Chitra Sabha. Standing in the front mandap, the devotee can have the joint darshan of Lord Nataraja, Lord Govindaraja and Lord Brahmma on his the naval chord simultaneously

Temple Timings:

06:30 am to 12:00 am ; 05:00 pm to 10:30 pm.

How to reach:

The temple is close to Chidambaram railway station and Chidambaram is on the Villupuram -Mayavaram rail route. Chidambaram is well connected with important cities of Tamilnadu by road.

Temple Contact Details:

Arulmigu Govindaraja Perumal Thirukkoil,
Chidambaram – 608 001,
Cuddalore District.
Tamil Nadu.
Phone: 04144 - 222552 ; 98940 69422.
Contact Person - Sri Balaji Bhattar @ 04144 - 230787 ; 94439 86939.


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