Only temple dedicated to this name of Vishnu in Tamil Nadu
Amirthavalli Thaayar goes to the Garden to provide Oonjal Sevai in Thai- the only such darshan in a temple in Madras
Located 10kms West of Madras is the Sowmya Damodara Perumal Temple in Villivakkam off the Madras-Manali-Calcutta Highway, a temple that could date back at least 800years and could have been built by the Pandyas as seen from the fish symbols that one sees on the upper walls of the sanctum.
Damodaran is one of the 12 special names (Dwadasam) of Vishnu and this temple in Villivakkam is possibly the only temple, in Tamil Nadu, specifically dedicated to this special name of Lord Vishnu (The utsavar at Thiru Kannangudi is also known by this name- Damodara Narayanan).
Durvasa wanted to bring his sons-Vilvan and Vatapi – in the righteous and vedic path. However, their mother (one with asura qualities) was more inclined on the asura path. Angered at this, Durvasa left them and went to the forest.
An upset mother sought revenge and wanted her sons to destroy the rishis. Taking up her orders, the two consumed one rishi after another. They would first play host to the rishi coming their way. During lunch, Vatapi would enter the rishi through the food they consumed. Once done, Vilvan would call out for his brother Vatapi, who would then tear open the rishi and come out.
The worried rishis looked up to Lord Shiva for help, who directed them to Sage Agastiya. Vatapi and Vilvan tried their prank on Agastiya who came this way. After the Sage consumed the food, he digested Vatapi before Vilvan could call out for him in their usual planned way.
Sage Agastiya wanted Shiva and Vishnu to provide darshan at this place. Hence, at the Shiva temple, he is seen as Agasteeswarar. At the Vishnu temple, the Lord is seen as Sowmya Damodaran.
The Name Villivakkam
As the asuras were killed here, this place was referred to as ‘Konnur’. Later, this took the specific name of the two asuras- ‘Vil’( from Vilvan) and ‘Va’ (from Vatapi) and came to be referred to as Villivakkam.
This Kshetram came to be called ‘Samhara Puri’ Kshetram.
12 special names of Vishnu
While Vishnu is known by several different names, these 12 - Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Madhusudhana, Thiruvikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Rishikesava, Padmanabha and Damodaran - are particularly sacred ones.
Andal's Thiruppavai and reference to Damodaran
In the fifth verse of Andal’s Thiruppavai, this Lord finds a reference
“Maayanai Mannu Vada Madurai Mainthanai…
Thaayaik Kudalvilanjcheitha Damodaranai…..”
Chitrai Thiruvonam 1008 Kalasa Abhishekam
Vaikasi 10day Brahmotsavam ( The Brahmotsavam here starts on the day the Brahmotsavam ends at the Kanchi Varadar temple)
Aani Thiruvonam 108 Satha Kalasam
Aavani Krishna Jayanthi ( Thirumanjanam)
Thai ‘Thotta’ Utsavam- Thaayar goes to the garden on the four Fridays in Thai and provides Oonjal Sevai
AMIRTHA VALLI THAAYAR
Theppo Utsavam in Maasi
Moolavar : Sowmya Damodara Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Goddess : Amirtha Valli Thaayar
Temple Time : 630am-1130am and 5pm-9pm
Priest : KP Raghunatha Bhattar @ 94448 07899
How to reach
The temple is 100yards North of Villivakkam bus stand in the West of Madras near the Madras-Manali-Calcutta National Highway and off the Konnur Highway