Thiruninravur Sri Bhakthavatsala Perumal
Thiruninravur (திருநின்றவூர்) is situated in Thiruvallur District and is about 35 kms Northwest of Chennai. On the road from Chennai to Thiruvallur, one has to take right after Thirumazhisai. From there Thiruninravur is about 4 kms. Thiruninravur can also be reached by Suburban trains from Chennai to Arakkonam, after Pattabiram. This village has a beautiful temple for Lord Vishnu, called Bhakthavatsala Perumal, situated very near to Sri Hridayaaleeswarar temple for Lord Shiva. This temple is also called Srinivasa Kshethram and is among the Dhivya Dhesams of Lord Vishnu.
It is believed that Samudraraja (Lord Varuna), who is the father of Goddess Lakshmi worshipped Lord Vishnu here. It is also said that the Perumal here is always giving dharshan (ப்ரத்யக்ஷம்) to Lord Varuna. Thiruninravur is considered as the place of Goddess as she settled here first and then Lord came here to Her place. The rarity of this temple is that the Lord Sri Bhakthavatsala Perumal is staying permanently at his in-law’s place (வீட்டோடு மாப்பிள்ளை). As Goddess settled here first, the place itself had got its name after her. In Thamizh, ‘Thiru’ means Sri Lakshmi, ‘Ninra’ means stood, ‘Vur’ means place. The Goddess of this temple is ‘Ennai Petra Thaayaar’ (என்னைப்பெற்ற தாயார்), also called as Sri Sudhaa Valli.
According to legend, Thirumangai Aazhwaar had visited this temple and left to Thirukkadal Mallai (திருக்கடல் மல்லை - today’s Mahabalipuram)without singing a single Paasuram on the Lord. After he left, Sri Bhakthavatsala Perumal gave Dharshan to him again at Thirukkadal Mallai. It is said that Thirumangai Aazhwaar had God’s dharshan from Mahabalipuram itself, after which he had sung 2 Paasurams on the Lord, admiring the beauty and similarities of the deities in Thirukkadal Mallai, Thiruninravur and Thirukkanna Mangai.
Later days, with the divine instruction of the Lord, a Pallava King had constructed this temple and arranged for Brahmotsavam; The main deity Sri Bhakthavatsala Perumal here gives dharshan in standing posture facing east. Other deities of the temple are Sri Ennai Petra Thaayaar, Sri Aandaal, Sri Chakkarathaazhwar and Sri Aadhiseshan. Paramapatha Vaasal is located on the Northern Praakaaram.
This beautiful temple looks very grand with huge praakaarams and compound walls. There is a stone Mandapam on the outer Praakaaram, meant for Urchavams, with beautiful carvings. The temple has a nice pond nearby, called Varuna Pushkarani, which is the Theertham for this temple. A beautiful stone Mandapam in front of the sanctum has some wonderful carvings on the pillars. There are beautiful carvings on the ceiling at the entrance of Rajagopuram also. There are 2 stone inscriptions on the north east side of the temple, of which one dates back to 1917, where a lady from Chennai had donated her house to the temple, from which the temple shall raise funds to feed the pilgrims visiting the temple.
There is Sri Anjaneyar Shrine opposite the temple, facing west. The beautiful temple chariot is parked there adjacent to Sri Anjaneyar Shrine. Here are few of the sculptures and carvings in the temple. Thiruninravur is an excellent place blessed to have both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu taking abode.