Gajendra Varadhar Temple at Kapisthalam is one of the 108 Divya Desams. This ancient temple is believed to be more than 2000 years old. Lord Vishnu is present in Bujanga Sayana posture here. The holy water or theertham at this temple are Gajendra Pushkarni and Kapila theertham. There are separate shrines for Yoga Narasimhar, Sudharshana, Azhwars and Garudan. The moolavar, Gajendra Varadar is in bujanga sayana under the Kadhanakkruthi Vimanam. His Consort at this temple is Ramamani Thayar. She is also known as Shenbagavalli or Pottramarayal. She has a separate shrine to the right of the Lord’s shrine. Kapisthalam is one of the Pancha Krishna Kshethrams. The other four are, Thirukkannamangai, Thirukannapuram, Thirukovilur and Thirukannangudi.
The legend of Gajendra Moksham from the Bhagawad Gita, is associated with this temple. Gajendra Moksham is believed to have happened at Kapisthalam. A Pandya King by name Indradyumnan was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. Once, the Great Sage Agastya and his disciples came to visit this King. The King was in his prayers and hence could not attend to his guests immediately. Agastya felt insulted and was very angry. He cursed the King to become an elephant. After Indrayumnan apologized, Sage Agastya also pronounced that he will be absolved of his sins by the Divine Grace of Mahavishnu. Accordingly, the King was born as an elephant.
Around the same time, Huhu, a Gandharva, playfully pulled the leg of Sage Devala while he was bathing. The angry Sage cursed him to be born as a crocodile. The Gandharva apologized and as in the case with Indrayumna, the Sage said that he would attain Moksha by Lord Vishnu’s discus.
Indrayumnan who was reborn as the elephant was very strong and ruled over the forest. As in his previous birth, he continued to be a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. He used to go to a pond daily to pluck lotus and offer to the Lord. On the eventful day, Gajendra as usual went into the pond to fetch the flowers to offer to Mahavishnu. A short while after he got into the pond, Gajendra felt his leg being dragged from under the water. Gajendra tried to free himself but in vain. To his horror he found that a really huge crocodile had caught hold of his leg and was pulling him under water. However much he tried, Gajendra could not free himself from the vice-like grip of the crocodile. After a prolonged struggle and battle, Gajendra realized that it will be a futile effort. He then prayed to Lord Vishnu and surrendered to the Lord to save him. Lord Vishnu used His discus to cut off the head of the crocodile. Immediately, the crocodile turned into Huhu and Gajendra also attained Moksham. It is believed that those who fully surrender to the Lord just like Gajendra had done will be saved and protected by Him. He is known as Papa Vimochakan as He absolves His devotees of all their Sins.
The festival commemorating Gajendra Moksham is celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni. Vaikunta Ekadesi, Rama Navami and Akshaya Tritiya are other festivals that are celebrated on a grand scale at this temple.
Mahavishnu is also believed to have given darshan to Gajendra as Kannan. Hence He is also known as Aatrankarai Kidakkum Kannan. Hanuman the monkey God is also believed to have worshiped the Lord here and was given darshan by the Lord in the form of Rama. Kapi means monkey and hence the name Kapisthalam. This is one of the nine vaishnava navagraha sthalam around Kumbakonam and is the Parihara Sthalam for Rahu.
Kapisthalam is located 3 Kms across Cauvery from Papanasam in Tanjore District. It is located on Kumbakonam Tiruvaiyaru road and is about 16 Kms from Kumbakonam.
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Have your Travel base at Kumbakonam which is 16 kms from here or at Tanjore which is at a distance of 28 kms.
Temple Timings: 7 AM to 12 Noon & 5 PM to 7.30 PM
Arulmigu Gajendra Varadhar Koil
Kapisthalam 614 203
Priest: Shri Seshadri Bhattacharya
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