Varagur is a small village in Thanjavur district located on the banks of the Kaveri.There is an ancient temple for Srinivasa Perumal of Lord Vishnu. The main deity is seen facing east as Lakshmi Narayana.In most of the temples, there will be a main deity made of stone and a processional deity made of metal. It is this processional deity which is usually taken out during the temple festivals. The processional deity here is Lord Srinivasa along with his consorts Sri and Bhu Devi.
As per the temple legends, a devotee who was carrying these idols stayed in this place for some months and performed pujas. When was planning to move from this place and tried removing the idols he could not move them. He was divinely instructed not to disturb the vigrahas and a temple was built.
Life History of Narayana Tirtha
The mention of Varagur immediately bring to mind for those who known carnatic music, is the great saint Sri Narayana Tirtha. He is the author of Krishna Leela Tharangini – a set of great hyms on Lord Krishna which are full of mysticism.
Narayana Tirtha, who was known as Govinda Sastri, became an ascetic (sanyasi) early in life under Sivaramananda Tirtha. Once, when Narayana Tirtha was suffering from a severe stomach ache. He was staying Nadukkaveri village near Kumbakonam. He had a dream where the Lord instructed that he should follow the animal he saw as soon as he got up in the morning. In the morning, he saw a boar (varaha) which led him to the village of Bhupati rajapuram where the temple is located. Varagur was called Bhupati rajapuram in the past. The boar, on entering the temple, vanished and Sri Narayana Tirtha’s stomach pain also vanished. After that incident, he stayed at the same village and rarely moved out.
He composed his magnum opus Krishna Leela Tharangini based on Srimad Bhagavatam with 12 cantos (called Tarangam). After completing this work, he is said to have a divine vision of Krishna and Sri Hanuman. He composed songs for the rituals in the temple at Varagur and refers to the deity as ‘Sri Varahapuri Venkatesa’. Narayana Tirtha also wrote another book “Parijatha apaharana Natakam”.His songs are still played in several music festivals, Divya Nama Sangeeth and in several devotional events in Tamilnadu and elsewhere.
It is said that he attained samadhi in Tirupoonthuruthi nearby. But Sivan Sir in his book “Yenipadigalil Manthargal” says that its incorrect. He says there were two saints – one by the name of “Narayana Tirtha” , whose life history is provided above and other one “Teertha Narayana”. Sivan Sir says the samadhi at Tirupoonthuruthi is actually that of “Teertha Narayana” who was a Siva devotee.
He also mentions that Sri Narayana Teertha never moved out Varagur and attained Maha Samadhi there itself and it was lost over a period of time.
But, today the shrine at Tirupoonthuruthi is still considered to be of Sri Narayana Teertha and yearly bhajan festival is conducted. Musicians go and offer their homage to Sri Narayana Teertha who was one of the great musicians down south.
The most famous festival in Varagur is Krishna Janmashtami or Krishna Jayanthi. The uriyadi utsavam is well known ( Dahi Handi). During this time, Rukmini Kalyanam, Veda chanting and Bhagavath Sapthaham are also conducted. The Rukmini Kalyanam is a symbolic marriage of Krishna and Rukmini which implies the advaitic union of Jiva and the Paramathma.
Temple timings: 7 am to 12 pm , 5 pm to 8 pm
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Location: Varagoor, Tamil Nadu, India