Sages Narada, Brigu, Lord Brahma, Adikesan Gajendran had the darshan of Lord Perumal in this sacred temple. The rajagopuram of the temple is 96 feet tall. The antiquity of the temple goes back beyond 2000 years. The temple was renovated by Pallava and Vijainagar kings.
GREATNESS OF TEMPLE:
Lord Varadaraja Perumal in His standing posture facing west blesses the devotees with all mercy. As Perumal granted a boon – Varam in Tamil – to Lord Brahmma pleased with His Yajna, He is praised as Varadaraja Perumal. The place derived the name Athigiri as Iravadam elephant lifted Perumal as a Mount. Athi-Mount. The 24 steps in the temple represent the number of letters of Gayatri Mahamantra.
Two sons of Sage Bringi were the disciples of Sage Gautama. They did not notice that two lizards had fallen into the water they brought for their mentor’s puja. Gautama cursed them to be changed as lizards. When they sought a relief, the Rishi said it lies in Kancheepuram. After a long journey around the world, they reached Kancheepuram and begged Lord Perumal for salvation. Perumal said that their soul would reach Him while their mortal coil would remain in lizard forms. Those who worship the lizards would be relieved of all adverse aspects on them, added Perumal. He also said that Sun and Moon would be witnesses to this boon.
There are two long Mandaps under the tank north of the 100 pillar mandap in the temple, where the 40 feet long Athi Varadaraja Perumal in his reclining posture is placed. The wooden idol is brought out for the darshan of the devotees once in forty years. Special Pujas are offered to Perumal.
Lord Brahmma conducted a yajna at Kanchi to purify Himself. He avoided His consort Mother Saraswathi and did the yajna with His other consorts Gayatri and Savitri. Enraged Saraswathi flowed in spate as River Vegavati. Lord Perumal, at the request of Brahmma checked the floods by placing himself across the river in reclining posture. After the yajna was over, Perumal appeared from the Flames of the Yagna. There are 24 steps to reach Athigiri.
Miracle Based: The ancient Athi Varadaraja Perumal idol is 40 feet long in a reclining posture brought out once in 40 years for darshan. Chakkarathazwar shrine is on the eastern side of the temple tank. Huge in size, He has 16 hands holding conch and discus.
The 40 feet long idol of Lord Athi Varadaraja Perumal in reclining posture is made of Athi wood. This is brought out once in 40 years for the darshan of devotees. Chakkarathazwar shrine – the deity of the discus of Lord Perumal – with 16 hands holding conch and discus is on the eastern side of the temple tank. He is also praised as Sudharsana Azhwar.