Mani Varadarajan-Gajendramoksha

Mani Varadarajan mani at SHASTA.STANFORD.EDU
Tue Jun 30 21:49:43 UTC 1998

Katja Hofmann wrote:
> Am I right in assuming that "aTTabuya karan" in Kanchi is the same as
> described by R. Champakalakshmi (1981):"appears to date from at least
> the sixth century A.D. as there is a reference to it in one of the hymns
> of PEyAlvAr..."-?

I do not recall the exact reference in Champakalakshmi's work, but
it is most likely the same temple. Here is the paasuram by Pey Alvar:

        toTTa paDaiyeTTum tolaata venRiyaan
        aTTa puyakarattaan a~n~naanRu, kuTTattuk
        kOLmutalai tu~ncak kuRitteRinta cakkarattaan
        taaL mutalE nangaTkuc caarvu.

                        -- mUnRaam tiruvantaati, 99

The sannidhi in Tiruvallikkeni is popularly known simply as
Varadaraja Sannidhi, so it is easy to think that this deity
is just a replica of Kanchipuram's Varadaraja Swami. Knowledgable
locals, however, regularly refer to this deity as Gajendra varadan
and Tirumangai's hymn in praise of this god refers to his saving
the elephant.  If you look carefully at the mUrti (the sannidhi
is not well lit and is frequently closed), you will see Vishnu
standing on Garuda ready to use his cakra, the classic
Gajendra-moksha pose.

Tiruvallikkeni, like many divya-desams, forbids photography of
mUla bera-s, so it is unlikely you will see a photograph of this
idol.  Gajendra varadan's shrine is also nowhere near as popular
as teLLiya singar (Narasimha), venkatakrishnan (parthasarathy),
or the goddesses, so artistic renderings of this particular
deity are also hard to come by.


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