Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple, Gunaseelam, Trichy
|Architectural style:||Dravidian architecture|
|Address:||Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple,Gunaseelam,
Trichy District – 621 204
|Phone||+91 4326 275 210 / 275 310|
Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple is a Hindu Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located at Gunaseelam in Trichy District of Tamilnadu. It is located on the banks of river Kollidam. This Temple is one of the Abhimana Kshetrams of Lord Vishnu located on the banks of River Cauvery. It is believed that visit to this temple (South Thirupathi) brings abundance of pieties equivalent to Thirupathi Balaji of Andhra Pradesh. The temple has six daily rituals at various times from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and three yearly festivals on its calendar. The annual Brahmotsavam (prime festival) is an eleven-day festival attended by thousands of devotees from far and near.
A visit to the temple is believed to be a curative to the mentally challenged people, who are taken to the temple and kept in the temple premises for 48 days. At the end of the 48 days it is believed that their illness is cured by the grace of the presiding deity, Prasanna Venkatachalapathy. The temple has set up a mental health rehabilitation centre that has the official stamp of the Tamil Nadu Government license, the first of its kind in Tamil Nadu. The temple is maintained by a hereditary executive trustee.
Temple Opening Time
This temple remains open from 6.30 AM to 1.00 PM in the morning and 4.00 PM to 8.30 PM in the evenings.
Those suffering from impaired vision, physical disabilities, depression and mental problems pray for remedy in the temple. People also seek mental peace. Devotees perform Tirumanjanam to Lord. Pilgrims with mental illnesses, stay here for 48 days, worship the deity and partake of the prasadam (holy offering) from the temple. They believe that this will cure them. The Thirumanjanam (ablution) ceremony is performed every day in the Gunaseelam Temple and the water is distributed to devotees as a curative elixir.
The temple rituals are performed six times a day; Ushathkalam at 6:30 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:30 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:30 p.m., Thirumalvadai at 5:30 p.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 8:30 p.m. Each ritual comprises four steps: abhisheka (sacred bath), alangaram (decoration), naivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai. Since Tirupathi Lord himself appeared before Gunaseela Maharishi, it is believed that those who are not able to go to Tirupathi can visit Gunaseelam and all their wishes are said to be fulfilled here. During the Uchikalam and Arthajamam, water is sprinkled on devotees, which is believed to expel evil diseases and mental diseases.
The major festival of the temple, Brahmotsavam, is celebrated in the Tamil month of Puratasi (September – October) for 11 days that includes a nine-day chariot festival. The Chitrai Theppotsavam festival is the float festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Chittirai (March – April). The Pavitrotsavam is a three-day festival celebrated during the Tamil month of Aavani, Srirama Navami (Rama’s birthday) in Panguni (March-April) and Gokulastami (Krishna’s birthday) in Aavani (August-September). Unlike other Vishnu temples where Thirumanjanam (ablution) is performed one in a week, the temple has Thirumanjanam performed daily to the central deity.
The Lord appears on his eagle vehicle Garuda on each Tiruvonam star day. Special pujas are performed on Vaikasi Visakam day. Mentally ill people stay here to become normal. During the Uchi Kala Pooja (11:30 AM to 12:30 PM) and Artha Jama Pooja (8:30 PM) the holy water is sprinkled on the devotees which is said to be expiating all kinds of evils effects and mind diseases like depression. This is a Prarthana Sthalam and people wanting to get good marriage and childhood come here and get their wishes sanctioned. The temple is maintained by a hereditary executive trustee.
Legend / Local stories
The name of the place Gunaseelam derives from “Gunam” (meaning cure) and “Seelam” (meaning place), meaning the place in which illness is cured. “Gunam” also means qualities and “Seelam” also means “Assuming a lower position”. Hence Gunaseelam is the place where Vishnu comes down and addresses the devotees problems from his heavenly position.
Greatness of Gunaseelam Temple:
In Bhavishyotra Puranam, one finds reference to the significance of this temple in Gunaseela Mahatmiyam. Thaalpiya Maharishi along with his disciple Gunaseela Rishi once went to the Himalayas. On his way back, Gunaseela Rishi stayed back at Tirupathi and was so attracted to Lord Venkatachalapathy that he wanted the Lord to appear in Gunaseelam and bless the devotees. He came back, bathed in the Cauvery and undertook severe penance here in his ashram in Gunaseelam. Impressed with his sincerity, the Lord appeared before him along with Goddess and promised to remain here till the end of Kali Yugam.
Pleased with the darshan of Prasanna Venkatachalapathy, Gunaseela Maharishi continued to offer his daily poojas to the lord from his ashram here. At the end of the Dwapara Yugam, the Gunaseela Maharishi’s Guru wanted him to go to Naimisaranya. Gunaseela Rishi designated his young disciple to continue the daily poojas. However, floods in the Cauvery and dangerous animals in the forest led the disciple to flee the place and thus the poojas ended abruptly. The Lord decided to hide himself in a pit. After several years, Chola king Nyana Varma, who ruled this place with Uraiyur as the capital, used to visit Gunaseelam regularly.
Every day, cowherds would milk the cows from near the pit and carry the milk all the way back to his court. One day, to everyone’s shock, the milk that was filled to the brim of the pot vanished all of a sudden. An invisible voice wanted the king to dissolve the pit by pouring milk. The king brought in his army and used thousands of litres of milk to complete this exercise. Once dissolved, Vaikunta Vasudevan is said to have appeared before the king as Prasanna Venkatesan. As per the king’s wishes, the Lord agreed to remain here till the end of Kali Yugam and help fulfil all the prayers of the devotees, who visit this temple.
Delighted at the darshan of Prasanna Venkatachalapathy, the king shifted from Uraiyur to Kallur, (this place was then called ‘Badra Chakra Pattinam’) near Gunaseelam and built the beautiful Gunaseelam temple and laid down the process of the daily poojas as directed by Prasanna Venkatesan. He also allocated a lot of land for the temple as well as funds to undertake the daily pooja formalities.
People with physical problem pray here for cure:
It is said that Srudadeva, disciple of Sage Bharadhwaja regained his vision. King Bahuviraja was cured of his paralysis in the legs. Prince of Koorjara kingdom not only was cured of his speech disorder but also became a poet and sung in praise of the Lord. People with any physical problem pray here for cure and mental peace.
Destination for mentally ill people:
This temple is a destination for those mentally ill. Saint Gunaseela was the disciple of Saint Sreethalpya. He was such an adept at serving his Guru that he was bestowed with all the superior knowledge that the Guru possessed. Once Gunaseelar went on a pilgrimage to the Seven Hills and had darshan of Lord Venkateswara. So, moved was he that he pleaded with the Lord to go with him to his Ashram, as he felt that he could not stay away from him anymore.
The Lord who is ever moved by the true love of his devotees spoke to Gunaseelar and told him that as he was in a state of debt, he could not leave Tirumala. He directed Gunaseelar to return to his Ashram on the banks of the Cauvery and do penance. The Lord told the saint that none other than Vaikuntavasa Narayana would appear. Gunaseelar did as the Lord had directed and many years later in Kritha Yuga on Saturday in the month of Purattasi on the day of the star Sravana, Venkatachalapathy appeared in the Ashram of Gunaseelar as a Swayambu.
Gunaseelar was overjoyed and spent his days performing pujas to his Lord. At the time, his guru Sreethalpya wanted to go to Badrinath and perform penance. He however didn’t feel like parting from his dear disciple Gunaseela. Gunaseela could feel the desire of his Guru and also his dilemma. But he was himself in the horns of a dilemma: Whether to go with his Guru and in the process, forsake his dear Lord who came to his abode or to forsake his Guru and stay with his Lord?
The ever-compassionate Narayana was so moved at seeing the predicament of his devotee that when he prayed to Him to clear his mind and make him do the right thing, the Lord blessed his devotee and bade him to serve the guru. Since Venkatachalapathy cleared his mind, Gunaseela made a prayer that all those who pray to win at Gunaseelam should be rid of illusions and delusions and be blessed with clarity of mind. This is why there is a belief that praying at this temple is a cure to insanity and madness.
Equivalent to Thiruppathy:
Since Tirupathi Lord himself appeared before Gunaseela Maharishi, it is believed that those who are not able to go to Tirupathi can visit Gunaseelam and all their wishes are said to be fulfilled here.
Saturday Visit to this Temple:
Visiting this temple on a Saturday is special. Lord Prasanna Venkatesan is said to have asked king Nyana Varma to visit the temple every Saturday and offer special poojas.
How to Reach:
The Temple is situated on the Trichy – Namakkal – Salem Highway. The Temple is located at about 200 meters from Gunaseelam Bus Stop, 2.5 Kms from Mukkombu Dam, 6 Kms from Thirupparaithurai, 13 Kms from Thiruppainjeeli, 18 Kms from Manachanallur, 16 Kms from Musiri, 16 Kms from Uthamar Kovil, 19 Kms from Thiruvellarai, 22 Kms from Kulithalai, 23 Kms from Samayapuram, 14 Kms from Pachur, 19 Kms from Srirangam, 19 Kms from Thiruvanaikoil and 27 Kms from Trichy. Nearest Railway Stations are located at Elamanur (4.5 Kms), Uthamar Kovil (16 Kms) and Trichy (30 Kms). Nearest Airport is located at Trichy (31 Kms).