CHENNAI : Vellalar Street, a narrow road in Purasavakkam, one of the oldest areas of Chennai, is home to a small temple dedicated to Srinivasa Perumal (Vishnu). The main east-facing image (moolavar) of Srinivasa Perumal which is large, has the conch (sankha) and discus (chakra) in the upper hands; the lower right hand is in varada hasta (boon-giving gesture) and the left hand is in gada-hasta (as though resting on the top of a mace). At the feet of the main deity is a small stone image of Varaha Svami (the third incarnation of Vishnu), worshipped as Chinna Moolavar, which was the original image of this temple before Srinivasa Perumal was consecrated. It is noteworthy that a similar tradition exists in Tirumala (Thirupati) where there is a separate temple for Varaha Svami near the main one.

Other sanctums are for Goddess Lakshmi worshipped as Alarmelmangai Thayar, Andal Garuda, Hayagriva, Satyanarayana Perumal, Sudarsana (personification of the discus of Vishnu) and Anjaneya. Images of Azhvars (pre-eminent devotees of Vishnu) like Nammazhvar, Periazhvar and Tirumangai Azhvar and also the illustrious preceptors (Acharyas), Ramanujacharya and Vedanta Desika are in worship. Sculptures of the River-Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna adorn either side of the entrance way while the tall flag post (dvajastambha) next to the entrance is an eye-catching feature of this temple.

It is 64 feet in height and is of one single log of teak wood sourced from Anamalai (Top Slip) near Pollachi. A special feature here is the tulabhara ritual, conducted regularly, wherein devotees weigh themselves against an equal amount of food grains, jaggery, sugar, etc.

The first Samprokshanam (temple consecration) was conducted in 1850 and several thereafter. It is worthy of mention that this temple is very clean and tidy and has therefore been awarded the best-maintained temple in Chennai city thrice — in 1987, 1998 and 2002.

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