Sri Yathothkari Perumal Temple, also known as ‘Sonnavannam Seitha Perumal Temple’ is situated in Kanchipuram district of Tamilnadu. Sri Yathothkari Perumal Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desam Temples, which are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, and also named as ‘Thiruvekkaa’. This temple is believed to be built by the Pallavas and was later contributed by Chola dynasties and Vijayanagar Kings.
The mythology says that Goddess Lakshmi (the consort of Lord Vishnu) and Goddess Saraswati (the consort of Lord Brahma) had a tough argument on who is superior among them. They decided to make it clear by asking Lord Indira, the king of celestial deities. Lord Indira gave the judgment that Goddess Lakshmi is the superior Goddess. Goddess Saraswati was not satisfied with the decision and asked Lord Brahma about this, and Lord Brahma too chose Goddess Lakshmi to be the Superior Goddess.
Goddess Saraswati got disappointed and started avoiding Lord Brahma. During this crucial time, Lord Brahma did a severe penance towards Lord Vishnu and performed an Aswametha Yagna which is usually done long with His consort Goddess Saraswati.This bought the anger of Goddess Saraswati to the peak. Goddess Saraswati decided to disturb the yagna of Lord Brahma and interrupted it in various ways but Lord Vishnu prevented it every time. And finally Goddess Saraswati sent a curious Sarpam (snake) to disrupt the Yagna. Lord Vishnu took the form of Ashtabhuja (Lord with 8 hands holding 8 different weapons) to kill the snake.
The presiding deity of this Yathothkari Perumal Temple is Lord Yathothkari (Lord Vishnu) also called as ‘Sonnavannam Seitha Perumal’ in a reclining posture turned to His right unlike in other temples. There is a separate shrine found in this temple for Goddess Komalavalli, the consort of Lord Yathothkari. The other main deities of this Yathothkari Perumal Temple are Goddess Andal, Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, Lakshmanan, Lord Hanuman and a small shrine for Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Yathothkari Perumal Temple is considered as one of the very oldest temples in Kanchipuram, which is said to be built in the 8th Century AD. The oldest temples of Kanchipuram are:
- Ulagalantha Perumal Temple
- Pandava Thoothar Perumal Temple
- Yathothkari Perumal Temple
Yathothkari Perumal Temple is glorified in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the Vaishnava canon, and the hymns were sung by the saints Poigai Azhwar, Peyalvar, Bhoothathazhwar and Thirumazhisai Aazhwar. The Vimanam (tower above the sanctum sanctorum) of Yathothkari Perumal Temple is called Vedasara Vimanam.
- Ushathkalam Pooja – 7 a.m.
- Kalasanthi Pooja – 8:00 a.m.
- Uchikalam Pooja – 12:00 p.m.
- Sayarakshai Pooja – 6:00 p.m.
- Irandamkalam Pooja – 7:00 p.m.
- Ardha Jamam Pooja – 10:00 p.m.
- Aippasi Thiruvonam – September or October
- Vaikunta Ekadesi – December or January
- Brahmotsavam – March or April
The city of Kanchipuram is well connected with the other part of the states and it is few kms from the Quadrilateral National Highway. There are frequent bus services from Chennai and it takes 2- 3 hours to reach. The Chennai Metropolitan and the state express transport operate the services.
Kanchipuram is connected with the southern part of the rail network and few trains are running through Kanchipuram. Suburban trains are running between Kanchipuram and Chennai beach on specified intervals.
Chennai, the nearest international airport, is situated around 75 km away from Kanchipuram. Both public and private transport facilities are available at the airport.
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