Darshan that soothes the mind ... Utsavar Sri Lakshmi Narasimha, His Consorts, Ahobilavalli and Andal.
MANY HOLY places in and around Kanchipuram are linked with the temple for Lord Varadaraja there, in one way or another. One among them is Pazhaiya Seevaram (or Sripuram), a lovely little village with a temple for Lord Narasimha atop a small hillock, about 15 km east of Kanchipuram on the road to Chengalpattu.
The place is also marked by the confluence of three rivers — Palar, Cheyyar and Vegavathi — and one can see the three rivers merging together at the place from the temple on the hillock. Known as Dakshina Prayag, it is a much holier place than the Triveni Sangamam or Prayag in the north, according to the octogenarian priest of the temple, Sri Narasimha Sundara Bhattachariar. This is because, while at Prayag all the three rivers are not visible to the naked eye (river Saraswathi is Antharvahini, running under ground) in Pazhaiya Seevaram the three rivers can be seen at the place of confluence.
In the midst of greenery everywhere with the river Palar running to its south, the hillock was known as Padmagiri in times of yore. It was here that Lord Narasimha was pacified by Goddess Mahalakshmi and hence it came to be known after Her as Sripuram, and later became Seevaram. How it acquired the title of old or pazhaiya is a mystery.
Apart from its holiness due to the confluence of the three rivers, the hill temple is visited by Lord Varadaraja of Kanchipuram on the day following Sankranthi, for what is known as ``Pazhaiya Seevaram Paarivettai''. Paarivettai is observed to mark the destruction of evil forces by the Lord and is celebrated in almost all Vishnu temples.
It is said the present Moolavar idol of Lord Varadaraja at Kanchipuram was sculpted out of a rock here after the original wooden idol of Atthi Varadar got damaged hundreds of years ago. It is said to mark this, Lord Varadaraja is taken to Pazhaiya Seevaram on the day following Sankranthi every year, when thousands of devotees gather here for vana bhojanam and aradhana.
Lord Varadaraja, who leaves His abode at 10 p.m. on Sankranthi day, accompanied by devotees including those reciting Azhwars' Paasurams and Vedas, is carried all the way to a distance of 15 km and goes around Pazhaiya Seevaram village at the foot of the hillock.
He reaches the Narasimha temple, which is in the middle of the hillock, at noon and then He is taken to the Varadaraja Mandapam atop the hill, by climbing the 140 steps. He stays in the mandapam there till 4 p.m. when thirumanjanam (sacred bath) and Aradhana are performed.
Later the Lord reaches the Narasimha Temple and both the Gods are taken to a temple at Thirumukkoodal, on the other side of Palar where a temple for Lord Srinivasa, known as Appan, exists. There the three Gods, along with the Lords of two other temples, give darshan.
The awesome lord bestows grace from atop a hill ... The Moolavar at Pazhaiya Seevaram.
Later Lord Varadaraja returns to Pazhaiya Seevaram along with Narasimhar and then starts His trek back to Kanchipuram late in the night and reaches there next morning.
The idol of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha in the Pazhaiya Seevaram Temple with the Goddess sitting on His left lap is full of grace. Unlike in many temples where He is worshipped as Ugra Narasimha, He is Santha Swaroopi here, full of charming beauty.
According to the 17th chapter of the Brahmanda Puranam, the Lord came to Padmagiri to grant bliss to sages Athri, Markandeya and Bhrigu, who were doing penance here, as directed by other sages at Naimisaranyam. There is a separate shrine for the Goddess where She is worshipped as Ahobalavalli Thayar as at Ahobilam, in Andhra Pradesh.
The Moolavar's image is gigantic, rising to a height of over six feet and He is adorned with a five yards by three yards (pathaaru) dhoti and angavastra. The Goddess is adorned with the traditional nine yards sari. The Lord faces west looking towards Kanchipuram. There are separate shrines for Andal, the Azhwars and Desikar, besides the one for Goddess Ahobilavalli. The temple must have had been in existence long before the Chola rule as inscriptions belonging to the 11th century are found here.
The Thirumukkoodal temple, on the other side of the Palar, also has a hoary past like Pazhaiya Seevaram.
The Lord at Thirumukkoodal is considered a manifestation of Lord Siva, Brahma and Narayana. His crown looks like the matted locks of Siva and He has a third eye on the forehead.
Shrine that beckons the devotee ... the renovated tower of the temple in Pazhaiya Seevaram.
He wears the Shanku and Chakra like Lord Narayana on His left and right hand and a lotus in one of His hands. He also stands on the lotus which is the symbol of Brahma.
In recent times many preceptors including Sri Gokulnathji of Vallabha Sampradaya have stayed here for many years and the temple is managed by Gujarati Vaishnavas who have lived in Chennai for many generations.
The present trustees, headed by Govinda Das Purushotham Das have carried out several works such as renovating the rajagopuram and the vimanam and deepening the temple tank at a cost of Rs.20 lakhs.
A new dwajasthambam is also being installed in the temple and the mahasamprokshanam is to be performed soon. Donations may be sent to Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swami Temple Renovation Committee, Pazhaiya Seevaram - 631606, Kanchipuram district.