wall lizard and vishnu

Mani Varadarajan mani at SHASTA.STANFORD.EDU
Fri May 14 23:28:00 UTC 1999

> I do not know the legends but I do know that a sacred lizard is
> associated with (at least) one of the temples of Kanchipuram.

The lizard Ganesan speaks of is in the Varadaraja Swami temple.
In the same building but around the corner from the hillock
on which the deity stands is a small area in which devotees
climb a ladder to touch a sculpted golden lizard on the ceiling.
The lizard is quite large, at least four feet in length, and it
is considered a must for any pilgrim to touch it.

Nowadays the temple charges a fee of one rupee to go through this

On my first trip to Kanchipuram, I skipped the lizard under
the erroneous assumption that Sri Vaishnavas didn't go through
this ritual.  When my father learned of my omission, he was quite
disappointed and rhetorically wondered how someone could go
to Kanchipuram and return without touching the lizard.


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