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Vilakkoli Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram
Tiruththanka is located in Tamil Nadu
Location in Tamil Nadu
Coordinates 12°49′28″N 79°42′20″E / 12.82444°N 79.70556°E / 12.82444; 79.70556Coordinates: 12°49′28″N 79°42′20″E / 12.82444°N 79.70556°E / 12.82444; 79.70556
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Kanchipuram
Location Tamil Nadu, India
Sanctum Lakshmi Hayagreeva
Architecture Dravidian architecture

Tooppul, or Tiruththanka (also called Deepaprakasa Perumal Temple) located in Kanchipuram in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Deepa Prakasar and his consort Lakshmi as Maragathavailli.

The temple is believed to have been expanded during the Medieval Cholas and Vijayanagar kings, the temple has inscriptions on its walls dating from the period of Rajaraja Chola III (1223 CE). A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all the shrines and two bodies of water. There is a two-tiered rajagopuram, the temple's gateway tower, in the temple.

Deepaprakasar is believed to have appeared to Brahma. Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Brahmotsavam festival, celebrated during the Tamil month of Puratassi (September - October), being the most prominent, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.


Stucco image of legend

As per Hindu legend, there once was an argument between Saraswathi (the consort of Brahma) and Lakshmi (the consort of Vishnu) on superiority. They went to Indra (the king of celestial deities), he judged Lakshmi as the superior. Not satisfied with his argument, Saraswathi went to Brahma, he also chose Lakshmi to be the superior one.

Unhappy with the decision, Saraswathi decided to stay away from Brahma. Brahma did a severe penance praying to Vishnu and performed the Aswametha Yagna. Saraswathi, who was angry that the yagna, which usually is done along with consorts had been done alone by Brahma, tried to disrupt the penance, but Vishnu interfered. Another version of the legend states that Saraswathi sent raakshakas to disrupt the penance, but was intercepted by a stream of light from Vishnu.

Since Vishnu appeared as light to overcome the darkness of the situation, He was termed Deepaprakasa Perumal (God) and the temple named Deepaprakasa Temple. [1][2]

Vedanta Desika (1268 - 1369 CE) was an ardent devotee of Deepaprakasa Perumal at Thoppul. The devotion of Desika is mentioned in Varadaraja Panchasat in 50 verses.[3]


Shrines and temple tank

The temple is located in Kanchipuram in the Vishnu Kanchi area along with most other Vishnu temples, it has a rectangular plan with two precincts and is surrounded by brick walls. The rajagopuram (the gateway tower) is three-tiered, the central shrine has the idol of the presiding deity, Deepaprakasa Perumal, in the sitting posture. There are shrines for Lakshmi, Hayagriva, Andal, Vedanta Desika and the Alwars. Being the birthplace of Vedanta Desika, there is a separate shrine for Lord Hayagreeva along with Vedanta Desika. A shrine dedicated to Vedanta Desika facing South is seen in the temple, the icon of Desika is believed to have been installed by his son Nayinar Varadhachariar. The image is seen sporting Abhaya Mudra (palm displaying an attitude of protection).

The temple tank, Saraswathi Theertham, is located outside the premises.[4]

The temple practices Vaikhasana aagama.[3]

Religious importance[edit]

Image of first precinct

The temple is revered by Thirumangai Azhwar in one hymn in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, it is classified as a Divyadesam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples mentioned in the canon. It is one of the 14 Divyadesams in Kanchipuram,[4] it is believed to be the place where Brahma performed penance seeking the wishes of Vishnu and one of the few places where Brahma worshiped Vishnu.[5][6] It is counted one among the four temples in Kanchipuram that include Yathothkari Perumal Temple, Ashtabhujagara Perumal temple and Varadaraja Perumal Temple where the legend of Brahma performing penance is associated.[5] The temple is also revered in the verses of Vedanta Desikan, Manavala Maamunigal and Pillai Perumal Iyengar.[5]

Festivals and religious practices[edit]

Vedanta Desikar and his shrine located close to entrance tower

The temple follows the traditions of the Vadakalai sect of Vaishnavite tradition and follows Vaikanasa aagama, as at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavaite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. They perform the pooja (rituals) daily and during festivals.

Temple rituals are performed six times a day:

Ushathkalam at 7 a.m.

Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m.

Uchikalam at 12:00 p.m.

Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m.

Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m.

Ardha Jamam at 10:00 p.m.

Each ritual has three steps: alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for the presiding deity, Deepaprakasar and His consort, Maragathavalli. During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played accompanied by religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) recited by priests. The worshipers prostrate in front of the temple mast.

Weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals are also performed.[4]

The Brahmostavam festival during the Tamil month of Puratasi (September-October) is a major festival celebrated in Vedanta Desika shrine, during this festival, the festival image of Desikar is carried to the Varadaraja Perumal Temple. Special worship practices and rituals are followed during the occasion.

During the Brahmostavam in the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in the Tamil month of Vaikasi(May-June), the festival image of Varadaraja Perumal is brought to the shrine of Vedanta Desika on three different days.[3]


  1. ^ MS 1993, pp. 57-60
  2. ^ R. 2001, p. 502
  3. ^ a b c Madhavan 2007, pp. 49-51
  4. ^ a b c "Sri Vilakkoli Perumal temple". Dinamalar. 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c K., Subramaniam (21 November 2003). "Samprokshanam at Kanchi". The Hindu. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  6. ^ C., Chandramouli (2003). Temples of Tamil Nadu Kancheepuram District. Directorate of Census Operations, Tamil Nadu. 


  • M.S., Ramesh (1993). 108 Vaishnavite Divya Desam Volume 1. Tirupati: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. 
  • R., Dr. Vijayalakshmy (2001). An introduction to religion and Philosophy - Tévarám and Tivviyappirapantam (1st ed.). Chennai: International Institute of Tamil Studies. 
  • Madhavan, Chithra (2007). Vishnu Temples of South India Volume 1 (Tamil Nadu). Chithra Madhavan. ISBN 978-81-908445-0-5. 

External links[edit]