The Parthasarathy Temple is an 8th-century Hindu Vaishnavite temple dedicated to the god Krishna, located at Triplicane, Chennai, India. The temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil literature canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th–9th centuries CE and is classified as among the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Vishnu. The name 'Parthasarathy', in Sanskrit, means the 'charioteer of Arjuna', referring to Krishna's role as a charioteer to Arjuna in the epic Mahabaratha.
The Parthasarathy Swamy Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams, is said to have been renovated by a King of Pallava dynasty. "Brindaranya" is the traditional Puranic name of Thiru-Alli-Keni now known as Thiruvallikeni or modern Triplicane. It is said that for at least five thousand years, it has been a resting place for pilgrims who had come down from Thirupathy to have a bath in the sea on the days of Solar and Lunar Eclipses and on other auspicious days it being in a direct line to Thirupathy, Thiruthani and Trivellore and the route being free from swamps.
According to Brahmanda Puranam, the five Deities in the temple are said to have been worshipped by the Saptah Rishis viz. Bhrigu, Manchi, Atri, Markandeya, Sumathi, Saptharoma and Jabali and also have been praised by two of the earliest Alwars viz. Thirumazhisai Alwar, Peyalwar and later on by Thirumangai mannan or Kaliyan, who is considered to be the last of the Alwars chronologically and his year of birth would appear to be 476 A.D. according to the era of Salivahana Saka. The presiding Deity of this temple Sri Venkatakrishna Swami also known as "GEETHACHARYA".
According to Brahmanda purana, King Sumathy prayed Lord Thiruvengada of the Seven Hills to give him darshan in the form of the Charioteer to PARTHA during the MAHABHARATA WAR and rendering GEETHA. Lord Thiruvengada appeared in his dream and bade him go to "BRINDARANYA" where he would give him Darshan in the form he wished. Meanwhile, Athreya Maharishi requested his Acharya Vedavyasa to mention to him the place fit for doing Thapas and he was directed by his Acharya to go to Brindaranya on the banks of the Kairavani Theertham overgrown with Thulasi plants and where king Sumathy was doing Thapas.
Saying so, Vedavyasa gave Athreya a Divya-Mangala Vigraha with a conch in his right hand and Gnana Mudra in the left hand pointing to HIS HOLY FEET signifying the famous Charama Sloka of the Bhagavat Geetha:- "Sarva Dharman Parithyajya Mamekam Saranam Vraja Ahamthwa Sarwa Papebhyo Mokshayishyami Ma Suchaha" : This quintessence of the Geetha is rendered into English by Sir Edwin Amold thus:- "And let go those Rites and writ duties! Fly to Me alone! Make Me thy single refuge! I will free Thy soul from all its sins! Be of good cheer!" Accordingly, Athreya Maharishi reached the Ashramam of Sumathy and narrated to him in detail, the circumstances that led him to go there.
Sumathy was pleased with the Divya Mangala image of Sri Parthasarathy Swamy in accordance with the desire and welcomed Athreya. He celebrated the Chaitrotsavam according to Vaikanasa Agama and worshipped him. The central figure enshrined in the sanctum sanctorum is being worsipped as "SRI VENKATAKRISHNA SWAMY". Sri Rukmani Thayar and Satyaki, his younger brother, are installed on his right and left side respectively. His elder brother Balarama is seen on the right side of Rukmani Thayar facing north and his son Prathyumnan and his grandson Anirudhan are seen on the northern side of the Garbagraha facing south.
These five warriors are so placed in these positions as we now worship them to keep in conformity with some incidents that took place in their life-time. Still more grandeur and inspiring is the bewitching and ever smiling UTHSAVAR Deity – Sri Parthasarathy Swami, with marks on the face caused by Bheeshma's arrows during the Maha Bharatha War. The Thilagam set with diamonds with a Safire in the centre resembles the full moon in the crystal clear blue sky.
The maha mandapa , and the thiruvaimozhi Prabanda Mandapam , Show clear architecture of Pre Pallava period and the perceptible differences seen in the structures in the main shrine and the mandapam in front, go to determine that the mandapams are later annexures to the original shrine by ruling race, as is generally the from the figures on the pillars of the main shrine and the Dwajarohana mandapam of Sri Parthasarathy Swamy as the later and remoter than the former.The Mandapam in Front of Sri Parthasarathy Swamy called Thiruvoimozhi Prabandha Mandapam contains peculiar figures of the pre-Pallava period.
The figures in the Kalyana Mandapam,four-pillared mandapam in front of the temple and the Hanuman temple on the eastern side tank of Vijayanagara Art. Except for Sri Parthasarathy Swamy shrine, other shrines have been renovated in the beginning of the century and shrine of Sri Vedavalli Thayar and the 36 pillared mandapam in front of the temple were built in the later part of the last century.
Parthasarathy Temple Chennai
Triplicane owes its name to its historic existence as Tiruvallikeni or Tiru-Alli-Keni denoting the pond in front of the temple, amidst a big Tulasi forest. The place was also referred to as Vrundha-raNyam in Puranic scriptures. Krishna was the charioteer for the Pandava prince Arjuna during the Kurukshetra War in the epic Mahabaratha. Kunti , Arjuna's mother was the aunt of Krishna and the sister of Krishna's father, Vasudeva.
Krishna addressed Arjuna as Partha, the son of Pritha. Krishna was thus referred as Partha Sarthy, meaning the charioteer of Arjuna. The Bhagavat Gita is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place in the middle of the battlefield before the start of the war with armies on both sides ready to battle. Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma about fighting his own cousins who command a tyranny imposed on a disputed empire, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a warrior and prince, and elaborates on yoga, Samkhya, reincarnation, moksha, karma yoga and jnana yoga among other topics. Krishna was neutral during the war, giving his army to Kauravas and offered himself for the Pandavas. Parthasarathy in the temple is thus depicted with a moustache and having only the conch, without his weapon Chakra.
This is attributed to the promise he made to the Kauravas not to take weapons during the war. Following the traditions of a charioteer, he sported the moustache and the same is depicted in the temple. The scars in the face of Parthasarathy's festival idol in the temple is full of scars depicted to show the injuries caused by the arrows of Bhishma in the war. The utsavar also has only a stick depicting Krishna was born in a cowherd clan. Venkateswara, another form of Vishnu, appeared as Parthasarathy to fulfil his promise to King Sumathi that he would give darshan to the king in this form. Sage Athreya had installed the idol of Parthasarathy.
Legend has it that the parents of the Sri Vaishnava saint, Ramanuja came to the temple and prayed to the Lord for a son and eventually the saint was born. It is also believed that the Ramanuja is none other than Parthasarathy himself who was born to revive Vishishtadvaita. Vedavalli Thayar is said to be born to Sage Bhrigu as a result of his penance in the banks of Kairaveni in a lily pond . The legend says, that so many kings attempted to marry Thayar, but she chose Ranganatha in the midst of many kings and called the lord vaarum en manare, means "Welcome, my lord of this universe".
The celestial wedding took place between Vedavalli Thayar and Sri Mannanathar on 12th Day during the month of Thai - Masi. The wedding is celebrated every year. Vaikasi Festival is exclusively held off the presiding deity Gajendra Varadhar. It is said that Rama appeared here on the request by Sage Madhuman in Thirvallikeni. A grand festival of Rama Navami is celebrated here for 9 days in the Tamil month of Panguni.
The glory of the temple lies in its being one among the 108 Divya Desas of Perumal. Presiding deity is 9 feet tall. This is the only Vishnu temple where Perumal appears with a moustache of a Sarathi – conducting Arjuna’s Rath in the Kurukshetra battlefield. He also appears with His family.