Sundararaja Perumal Temple at Vembathur near Tirupachethi in Sivaganga district has a significant association with Madurai. Poems written in praise of the presiding deity are found in Sangam literature.
According to inscriptions in the temple, the presiding deity, Sri Sundararaja Perumal, has blessed ‘Kavichakravarti’ Kamban and Kalamega Pulavar, who offered prayers there. The temple, which has a 2,000-year-old history, has two important Goddesses, Saraswathi (Goddess of education) and Mahalakshmi (Goddess of wealth). Lord Sundararaja Perumal is known as the protector against all evils.
The inscriptions also suggest that one among the poets of Tamil Sangam, Vembathur Kumaranar, had written poems in praise of the deity, and they are found in ‘Ahananooru’ and ‘Purananooru’. Vembathur Kannan Koothanar’s poems written in praise of the deity are in ‘Kurunthogai’.
The uniqueness of the deity is his posture. Even before the Sirpa Sastra was known, the sculptors had used sharp-edged stones, instead of chisels, to give shape to what was in their mind. The deity’s ‘Abhayamuthra’ symbolises knowledge, wisdom and wealth.
Like many noted poets, Kaviraja Pandithar, who lived in the 11th century, translated ‘Soundarya Lahari’ and ‘Ananda Lahari’ of Adi Sankara into Tamil, which drew appreciation from very many, say inscriptions.
As a way of conveying the message that both ‘Hari’ and ‘Siva’ are the same, pujas are performed to ‘Sudarshana Chakra’ with ‘Vibuthi’, which is distributed as ‘prasadam’ to devotees at the temple in the evenings.
Bhuvarahar Perumal idol was unearthed a decade ago when renovation work was under way. The deity, who holds Bhoomadevi on His lap, is considered powerful, and the devotees offer pongal to him on days of Revathi star.
Likewise, Hayagreevar is also considered powerful, and honey abishekam is performed to Him every Thursday. The small temple also has some other deities such as Garudalwar, Anjaneya, Sundararaja Vinayagar and Karuppanasami.
Following the tradition, Vishnu Sahasranamam, Lakshmi Sthothram, Sudarshana Manthram and other sacred hymns are recited in the temple, which is located eight km away from Tirupachethi junction on Madurai-Rameswaram national highway.
The temple is open from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Balalaya pradishta has been scheduled for November 6. The temple renovation committee members can be contacted at 9791583169.