Sri Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple
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.
As per the legends, in Bhavishyotra Puranam, one finds reference to the significance of this temple in Gunaseela Mahaatmiyam. 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 Naimisaaranyam. 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 came to an abrupt end. 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.
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. Unlike other Vishnu temples where thirumanjanam (ablution) is performed one in a week, the temple has thrumajanam performed daily to the central deity.
A visit 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 Venkatachalapathi. 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.
From Trichy Airport Sri Prasanna Venkatachalapathy Temple is 31 KM. It is 30 KM from Tiruchirappalli Railway Station and 30.2 KM from Trichy Central Bus Stand. From Gunaseelam Bus Stop the temple is only 170 m
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Sri K.R.Pichumani Iyengar
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