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Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44

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Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44
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.

Divya Desam 44 - Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple:

Moolavar : Sthalasayana Perumal
Urchavar : Ulaguyya Nindran
Amman / Thayar : Nilamangai Thayar
Thala Virutcham : Punnai
Theertham : Pundareeka Pushkarani
Old year : 1000-2000 years old
Historical Name : Thiru Kadalmallai
City : Mahabalipuram
State : Tamil Nadu

Sthala Sayana Perumal temple is situated in Mammalapuram or Mahabaliuram which is about 56 Kms from Chennai. Mamallapuram is the heritage town of South India. The town, located near Chennai city, is full of Pallava era rock cut temples and beautiful sculptures. The sites such as Shore Temple, Five Rathas and Arjuna's Penance in Mamallapuram are world famous. Thousands of travellers throng to Mamallapuram town to view the extraordinary sculptures. However, only few travellers do visit to Sthalasayana Perumal Temple, another important landmark of the heritage rich town.

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44
It may be true that Mamallapuram became a popular tourist site due to Pallava kings. However, the town was popular as a port even in the ancient time. In due course, the town also got religious importance. It is the birthplace of Bhoothath Alwar, one of twelve Alwars, the great devotees of Lord Vishnu. It is believed that he lived during the 7th century AD. Being the birthplace of one of Vaishnaivite saints, the town became an important religious place for Hindus. Also, the temple located at the heart of the town, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, is one of 108 Divya Desam temples (108 important temples for Lord Vishnu). Several other temples built on the sea shore have been washed away, leaving this Divya Desam temple as the only prominent one.

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44
The lord is found in Sayana sevai (kidantha thirukolam / sleeping posture) in 27 divya desams. The most common or abundant is Bhujanga sayanam (20 Divya desams), the most popular being Sri Rangam. Emperumaan in 26 divya desams recline on Ananda (five headed snake popularly known as Adhisesha). In Thiru Kadal Mallai the lord reclines on floor (Bhoomi / Sthal) with four hands.

The front two hands rests on Bhoomi and points towards His Lotus feet. While the lord’s right rear arm rest under his head and the left arm is in rising position as if to call the bhakths. Here the emperuman appears in a simple form without AdhisEsha, Chanku (counch) and chakram (discus), as he appeared in this divya desam to appreciate the rishi’s devotion and not to save or protect his bhaktha (rishi) from any evil or deamon. Pundarika Muni is seen with folded arms in the sanctum sanctorum by the lotus feet of the lord.

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44
As if following suit with the lord, Thayar in this temple is also sitting on the floor (instead of sitting on lotus as seen in other temples) in a separate sannidhi. Thayar is named as “Nilamangai Thayar” which means Thayar is sitting on the floor.

Utsavar in this lovely temple is Sthalasayanatturaivaar also known as Ulagyuua ninraan, he portrays a lotus bud in his right arm. The lord is seen wearing a sweater to protect him from the cold as this picture was taken during the month of puratassi (December to January) which being the coldest months during the year in this part.

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44


Pundareeka Maharshi, who was staying in Mahaballipuram, desirous of worshipping Lord Vishnu with 1000 lotus patels, proceeded eastward and was trying to drain the waters of the ocean to make his way. Pleased with the effort of the rishi, Lord Narayana came in the guise of an old man and asked for some food. Leaving aside the work of removing the water the rishi went to fetch him some food, and when he returned he found Lord Vishnu adorning Himslef with the flowers and giving dharsan as Ananthasayanam and having adorned himself with 1000 lotus petals. The lord is to have touched the sea water to swap away or to dry the sea water on behalf of rishi, by His soft hand. Hence the sea here is called "Artha Sethu".

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44
The current structure of the temple appears to have been built by Vijayanagara kings in the 14th century AD. The east facing temple has a beautiful Raja gopuram (tower). The sanctum santorum of the temple has Sthala Sayana Perumal - resting on the floor with Garud near his feet; Pundareeka rishi is also found in the sanctorum. The utsav (metal) idols of Perumal along with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi are also found in the santum santorum.

The Goddess of the temple is called as Nila Mangai Thayar, who is found in a separate shrine. Similar to other South Indian Vishnu temples, Garud shrine is facing the main shrine. The flag staff (kodi maram) and bali peeth are also found in the temple.

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44
The prakara (corridor surrounding the main shrine) has few small shrines dedicated to various deities such as Andal, Bhoothath Alwar, Ram-Lakshman-Sita, Hanuman and Lakshmi Narasimha. All the metal idols of the temple are found in a separate shrine near the main shrine.
Tirumangai Alwar and Bhoothath Alwar have sung the praise (mangala sasanam) of Sthala Sayana Perumal. The temple tank is located outside the temple complex.

Sri Sthala Sayana Perumal Temple (ThiruKadalmallai) Chennai - Divya Desam 44

Temple Timings:

06:30 am – 12:00 noon ; 03:00 pm - 08:30 pm.


This place 56 kms from Chennai. Excellent bus services are available.and the fare is nominal. Frequency of the buses is about every 10-15 minutes. There are also many tour operators who offer package tours to temples in and around Mammalapuram.

Temple Address & Contact Details:

Arulmigu Sthala Sayana Perumal Thirukkoil,
Tamil Nadu.
Phone : 044-2744 3245.
Contact : Balaji Bhattar 044-2744 2183 or 94442 35284.
Gopalakrishnan Bhattar @ 98404 08755.


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