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Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Elanagar

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Life is a dream
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The village of Elanagar in Uttiramerur taluk, Kanchipuram District has a history to be proud of. Situated approximately 25kms from Kanchipuram on the road leading to Vandavasi, it is the location of a Vishnu temple dedicated to Srinivasa Perumal. It was also home to several eminent Srivaishnava families who rendered yeoman services to the cause of Srivaishnavism. Gaddam Tatha Desikan, one of the spiritual leaders in Srivaishnavism, had done tirtha kainkaryam for Sri Srinivasa Perumal of Tirumala, bringing water every day from Akasa Ganga (a sacred waterfall in Tirumala) and performing tirumanjanam and other rituals for this deity.

One day, a thirsty man asked him for water, and having given it to him, Gaddam Tatha Desikan went back to Akasa Ganga to bring more water for the temple. However, the thirsty man appeared again and again and on repeatedly bringing water, Sri Desikan became tired and fainted. That man then revealed himself to be the deity enshrined in the Tirumala temple and blessed him. He ordered Tatha Desikan to construct five temples for Himself with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi in the villages of Paiyoor, Elanagar, Karumbur, Natteri and Vilankuppam. On the orders of Srinivasa Perumal, Gaddam Tatha Desikan is believed to have constructed this Srinivasa Perumal temple in 1212 A.D. in Elanagar.

Elanagar was the original home of many Azhagiyasingars belonging to one family of the famous Sri Ahobila Mutt. The Ahobila Mutt was founded in 1398 A.D. by Sri Adivan Satakopa Yatindra Mahadesikan. According to traditional accounts, Srivan Satakopa Parankusa Yatindra Mahadesikan was the 10[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar of the Ahobila Mutt and was from the Elanagar Chakravarthi family. He learned many Sastras from the 9[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar Srivan Satakopa Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikan. He established the agraharam named Gadadharapuram near Kumbakonam. The members of the Elanagar family later migrated to Gadadhrarapuram and hence are known as the Elanagar-Gadadharapuram family. They are the 22[SUP]nd[/SUP] Jiyar, Sri Narayana Yatindra Mahadesikan who held office for 7 months in 1788 A.D.; the 25[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar, Sri Srinivasa Yatindra Mahadesikan (1776-1811 A.D.); the 26[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar, Sri Ranganatha Yatindra Mahadesikan (1811-1828 A.D.), the son of the 25[SUP]th[/SUP] Pontiff; the 27[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar, Sri Veeraraghava Yatindra Mahadesikan (1829-1831 A.D.), who was the son of the 26[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar and the grandson of the 25[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar; the 30[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar, Sri Srinivasa Yatindra Mahadesikan (1837-1842 A.D.) and the 38[SUP]th[/SUP] Jiyar, Sri Srinivasa Satakopa Yatindra Mahadesikan (1905-1909 A.D.).

The Srinivasa Perumal temple in Elanagar is a very small shrine. The entrance to the temple, as well as the main deity, faces east. In the main sanctum-sanctorum Srinivasa Perumal is seen standing holding the Sankhu and Chakra in his upper hands, with his lower right hand in varada hasta (boon giving pose) and lower left hand as though placed on top of his mace. This image is seen with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on either side. The processional images of this temple are similar to the main one. The other utsava-vigrahas worshipped in this shrine are Navanitha Krishna and Chakrattazhwar (Sri Sudarsana). The vimana above the main sanctum is known as Srihari Ramanujacharya, the famous Srivaishnava preceptor and an image of the Sri Vedanta Desika was consecrated in this temple recently. Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Srinivasa Perumal is worshipped as Padmavathi Thayar. Her sanctum, which also faces east, is seen in the small mantapa through which devotees have to pass before reaching the main shrine. The utsava-murti of Padmavathi Thayar is worshipped in the main sanctum for safety reasons. The mantapa of this temple has pillars of the Chola style of architecture and thus the details tally with the traditional account of this temple which states that this shrine was constructed in 1212 A.D. which was then the dynasty of the Cholas was ruling over a large area of Tamil Nadu. In this mantapa are stone images of Sri Vasudeva, Vishvaksena, Nammazhwar, Sri Ramanuja and Sri Vedanta Desika, all facing south. There is a tall deepa-stambha (lamp post) of one piece of stone immediately in front of the mantapa.

An inscription etched on the outer wall of the temple, near the main entrance is clearly visible. This record is in Tamil language and script, but unfortunately, only one part of it can be seen. It is datable to the late 19[SUP]th[/SUP] or early 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century A.D. and registers a charity of a certain amount of money and is dated in Dathu year and in the Tamil month of Chittirai.
A few festivals are celebrated in this temple which follows the Vaikhanasa Agama. The festivals conducted by the Elanagar Sri Srinivasa Kainkarya Trust are Ramanuja Jayanti, celebrated in the month of Chittirai; Tiruvadipuram in the month of Adi, Perumal Avatara Utsavam and Vedanta Desika Tirunakshatram during Sravanam Nakshatram in the month of Purattasi and Panguni Uttiram in the month of Panguni. Other than these Varushapirappu in Chittirai and Sri Jayanti are also celebrated in this temple.

A unique festival is celebrated in the month of Vaikhasi in the asterism of Visakam where there is full moon. Fifteen ustava-murtis of Vishnu with Garuda from fifteen Vishnu temples in the Kanchipuram-Vandavasi route go to River Cheyyar near Cheyyar town. There, each is placed in a separate mantapa where tirumanjanam and decoration are performed for them. Later, they return to their respective temples. The fifteen deities who are worshipped during this unique festival are Pesumperumal from Koozhamandal, Varadaraja Perumal from Perunagar, Srinivasa Perumal from Manampati, Lakshmi Narayana Perumal from Tandarai, Pundarikaksh Perumal from Visur, Vaikuntha Srinivasa Perumal from Elanirkunram, Kalyana Venkatesa Perumal from Sethupattu, Kaliya Perumal from Athi, Venkatesa Perumal from Pendai, Venugopalan from Ukkal, Srinivasa Perumal from Elanagar, Srinivasa Perumal from Teturai, Venkatesa Perumal from Mahajanampakkam, Lakshmi Narayana Perumal from Nedungal and Lakshmi Narayana Perumal from Vellamalai.

The Srinivasa Perumal temple in Elanagar had, for a long time, been in a very dilapidated condition. Due to the efforts taken by the members of the Sri Elanagar Sri Srinivasa Perumal Kainkarya Trust, this shrine has been renovated and the consecration was performed on 22/4/2005.

Elanagar can be reached by going down the road from Kanchipuram to Vandavasi, passing through the villages of Mam andur, Doosi, Ukkal and Koozhamandal and reaching the village of Perunagar. Opposite to the police station in Perunagar is a lane leading to Elanagar. This temple is tucked away in the interior of Elanagar village.
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