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.
Other Temples Nearby:
Boarding & Lodging:
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
Gajendra Moksham, from Srimad Bhagavatham.
English translation is by Dr. C. Sivaramamurthy
एवं व्यवसितो बुद्ध्या समाधाय मनो हृदि
जजाप परमं जाप्यं प्राग्जन्मन्यनुशिक्षितम ||
श्रीगजेन्द्र उवाच ||
ओं नमो भगवते तस्मै यत एतच्चिदात्मकम
पुरुषायादिबीजाय परेशायाभिधीमहि ||
Om Namo Bhagawathe Thasmai Yathayetha Chidhathmakam
Purushaa Yaadhi Bheejaaya Paresayaabhi Dheemahi ||
Salutations to the all powerful divine God denoted by “OM”, Due to whom the body and mind are made conscious, And he also exists within them in the form of the seed for the spirit.
यस्मिन्निदं यतश्चेदं येनेदं य इदं स्वयम
योऽस्मात्परस्माच्च परस्तं प्रपद्ये स्वयम्भुवम ||
Yasmin Idham Yatha Schedham Tyenedham Ya Idham Swayam,
Yoasmath Parasamacha Parastham Prapadhye Swayambhuvam ||
I surrender to that God in whom this universe Was born, exists in essence and was made in to the divine, Who becomes all the world that we see, And who is different from it in his physical and spiritual form.
यः स्वात्मनीदं निजमाययार्पितं क्वचिद्विभातं क्व च तत्तिरोहितम
अविद्धदृक्साक्ष्युभयं तदीक्षते स आत्ममूलोऽवतु मां परात्परः ||
Ya Swathmaneedham Nija Mayayaa Arpitham,
Kwachid Vibhatham Kwa Cha Thath Thirohitham,
Aviddha Druk Saksha Yubhayam Thadheekshathe Sa,
Aathma Moolo Avathu Maam Parathpara ||
May I be protected by the God who revealed himself, Who reveals himself as the universe at times of creation, Who keeps the universe as an illusion at the times of deluge, Thus revealing himself sometimes and hiding himself at other times, And who sees them as a witness in both these states.
कालेन पञ्चत्वमितेषु कृत्स्नशो लोकेषु पालेषु च सर्वहेतुषु
तमस्तदासीद्गहनं गभीरं यस्तस्य पारेऽभिविराजते विभुः ||
Kaalena Panchathwamitheshu Kruthsnasao,
Lokeshu Paleshu Cha Sarva Hethushu,
Thamas Thadha Aaseed Gahanam Gabheeram,
Yasthasya Parebhi Virajathe Vibhu ||
Over time when all the worlds and their guardians, Are reduced to the five elements and all their causes, Only Impenetrable and fathomless darkness, remains, Coming out of that darkness, the divine Lord shines from within that.
न यस्य देवा ऋषयः पदं विदुर्जन्तुः पुनः कोऽर्हति गन्तुमीरितुम
यथा नटस्याकृतिभिर्विचेष्टतो दुरत्ययानुक्रमणः स मावतु ||
Na Yasya Devaa Rishaya Padam Vidhu
Janthu Puna Ko Arhathi Ganthu Meerithum,
Yadhaa Natasya Aakruthibhir Vicheshtatho,
Durathya Anukramana Sa Maavathu ||
And his form thus exhibited is not understood even by the devas and sages, Like the actual form of the actor in a drama is not known to the spectator, And definitely the ordinary beings is at a loss to describe it, Thus making his actions unfathomable and let that God protect me.
दिदृक्षवो यस्य पदं सुमङ्गलं विमुक्तसङ्गा मुनयः सुसाधवः
चरन्त्यलोकव्रतमव्रणं वने भूतात्मभूताः सुहृदः स मे गतिः ||
Dhidrukshavo Yasya Padam Su Mangalam,
Vimuktha Sanghaa Munaya Susaadhava,
Charanthya Loka Vrutha Mavranam Vane,
Bhoothama Bhoothaa Shrudh Sa May Gathi ||
He whose auspicious feet is desired even by, The great sages who are bereft of any attachments, Who have benevolent feeling towards all beings, And observe penance and sacred vows in the forest, Is the divine one who is in all beings, And is my only source of support.
न विद्यते यस्य च जन्म कर्म वा न नामरूपे गुणदोष एव वा
तथापि लोकाप्ययसम्भवाय यः स्वमायया तान्यनुकालमृच्छति ||
Na Vidhyathe Yasya Cha Janma Karma Vaa,
Na Naama Roope Guna Dosha Yeva Vaa,
Thadhapi Lokaapya Ya Sambhavaya Ya,
Swa Mayaya Thaanyunukala Mruchathi ||
He does not have either birth or Karmas, He does not have any name or properties, And he does not have any faults as he is beyond nature, And in spite of that he assumes several forms, At different times to carry out the creation and upkeep of the world
तस्मै नमः परेशाय ब्रह्मणेऽनन्तशक्तये
अरूपायोरुरूपाय नम आश्चर्यकर्मणे ||
Thasmai Nama Paresaaya Brahmane Anatha Shakthaye,
Aroopyo Roopaya Nama Aascharya Karmane ||
Salutations to him who does wonderful acts, Who is beyond birth and death and the Brahman The one without endless power and one who Neither has a form or is formless
नम आत्मप्रदीपाय साक्षिणे परमात्मने
नमो गिरां विदूराय मनसश्चेतसामपि ||
Nama Aathma Pradheepaya Sakshine Paramathmane,
Namo Giraam Vidhooraya Maanasa Schethasam Api ||
My salutations to him who shines within himself, Who is the witness for all, who is the divine soul, My salutations to him who is far, far away, From the activities of the mind and its faculties.
सत्त्वेन प्रतिलभ्याय नैष्कर्म्येण विपश्चिता
नमः कैवल्यनाथाय निर्वाणसुखसंविदे ||
Sathvena Prathi Labhyaya Naishkarmyena Vipaschitha,
Nama Kaivalya Nadhaya Nirvana Sukha Samvidhe ||
Salutations to him who gives us Kaivalya, And who makes us realize the infinite joy of salvation, And one who can be seen by the real sages with purity of mind, By the constant practice of detached activity .
नमः शान्ताय घोराय मूढाय गुणधर्मिणे
निर्विशेषाय साम्याय नमो ज्ञानघनाय च ||
Nama Santhaya Ghoraya, Moodaaya Guna Dharmine,
Nirviseshaya Samyaya Namo Jnana Ganaya Cha. ||
Salutations to the one who appears to be serene, ferocious and foolish, But really the one who is devoid of any qualities and is always alike. Salutations to the great treasure of wisdom
क्षेत्रज्ञाय नमस्तुभ्यं सर्वाध्यक्षाय साक्षिणे
पुरुषायात्ममूलाय मूलप्रकृतये नमः ||
Kshethragnaya Namasthubhyam Sarvadhyakshaya Sakshine,
Purushaa Yaathma Moolaya Moola Prakruthaye Nama ||
Salutations to one who knows the form, Who is lord and witness of everything, Who is the Purusha and who is the seed of every being, And salutations to the basic nature which exists
असता च्छाययोक्ताय सदाभासाय ते नमः ||
Sarvendrye Guna Drushte Sarva Prathyaya Hethave,
Asathaa Cchaya Yokthaya Sadaa Basaaya They Nama ||
Salutations to one who watches the health of all senses, And also the objectives of all such senses, And to him who is the one who activates, The immobile nature that follows you like a shadow.
नमो नमस्तेऽखिलकारणाय निष्कारणायाद्भुतकारणाय
सर्वागमाम्नायमहार्णवाय नमोऽपवर्गाय परायणाय ||
Namo Namasthe Akhila Kaaranaya Nish Kaaranaaya Adbhutha Kaaranaya,
Sarvaa Gamaamnaya Maharnavaya Namo Apavargaya Parayanaya ||
Salutations to him who is the cause of everything, To him who is not caused by anything and also, The wonderful cause which does not become what it causes, Salutations to him who is the ocean of Thanthras, To the personification of saintliness and refuge of the great.
नैष्कर्म्यभावेन विवर्जितागम स्वयंप्रकाशाय नमस्करोमि ||
Gunarani Cchanna Chidooshmapaaya,
Thathkshobha Visphoorjitha Manasaya
Naishkarmya Bhavena Vivarjithagama
Swayam Prakasaya Namaskaromi ||
Salutations to him who hides similar to the fire of consciousness, That is hid in a piece of wood of qualities and characters, Whose creative mind is aroused when the characters are disturbed, Who comes shining before those who do detached actions.
मादृक्प्रपन्नपशुपाशविमोक्षणाय मुक्ताय भूरिकरुणाय नमोऽलयाय
स्वांशेन सर्वतनुभृन्मनसि प्रतीत प्रत्यग्दृशे भगवते बृहते नमस्ते ||
Madruk Prapanna Pasu Pasa Vimokshanaya,
Mukthaaya Bhoori Karunaya Namo Aalayaaya,
Swaamsena Sarva Thanu Brun Manasi Pratheetha,
Prathyag Druse Bhagwathe Bruhathe Namasthe ||
Salutations to the God of boundless compassion, Who frees those ignorant beings from the ties of this world, As soon as they surrender to him though, He himself is ever free and is endowed to the great mercy, And he also shines in the minds of all as their own soul, Though he himself is the limitless Para Brahman.
आत्मात्मजाप्तगृहवित्तजनेषु सक्तैर्दुष्प्रापणाय गुणसङ्गविवर्जिताय
मुक्तात्मभिः स्वहृदये परिभाविताय ज्ञानात्मने भगवते नम ईश्वराय ||
Athma Athmajaaptha Gruha Vitha Janeshu Saakthai,
Dush Praapaanaaya Guna Sanghaa Vivarjithaaya,
Nukthaathmabhi Swahrudaye Pari Bhavithaya,
Jnanathmane Bhagwathe Nama Ishwaraya ||
Salutations to that God, who is not attainable to those, Who are attached to themselves, their sons, house, wealth and friends, Who himself is completely free of all attachments to senses, And who is brought in to their own hearts by his devotees
यं धर्मकामार्थविमुक्तिकामा भजन्त इष्टां गतिमाप्नुवन्ति
किं चाशिषो रात्यपि देहमव्ययं करोतु मेऽदभ्रदयो विमोक्षणम ||
Yam Dharma Kama Artha Vimukthi Kaama,
Bhajantha Ishtaam Gathi Mapnuvanthi,
Kim Thwaasisho Rathyapi Deha Mavyayam,
Karothu May Adha Brudhayo Vimokshanam ||
Whosoever prays you for Dharma, Desire , wealth or salvation, They get their desires fulfilled, And even when your devotees, Do not ask anything from you, You give them an imperishable body, And I request from you salvation for me.
एकान्तिनो यस्य न कञ्चनार्थं वाञ्छन्ति ये वै भगवत्प्रपन्नाः
अत्यद्भुतं तच्चरितं सुमङ्गलं गायन्त आनन्दसमुद्रमग्नाः ||
Yekanthino Yasya Na Kanchanarrdhaa,
Vanchasnthi Ye Vai Bhagawat Prapanna,
Athyadbhutham Thaccharitham Sumangalam,
Gayantha Aananda Samudhra Magnaa ||
Those devotees who in loneliness, pray you, Without wanting gold or similar things,
And are not even desirous of salvation, And sing your wonderful story, Drown themselves in the ocean of bliss.
तमक्षरं ब्रह्म परं परेशमव्यक्तमाध्यात्मिकयोगगम्यम
अतीन्द्रियं सूक्ष्ममिवातिदूरमनन्तमाद्यं परिपूर्णमीडे ||
Thamaksharam Brahma Param Paresam,
Avyaktha Madhyathmika Yoga Gamyam,
Athheendriyam Sookshma Mivathi Dhooram,
Anantha Maadhyam Paripoorna Meede ||
I saute that complete God who never dies, Who is the divine God much beyond Lord Brahma, Who is not clear and is available for spiritual seekers, Who is beyond senses like the very micro things, And who does not have an end and is primeval.
यस्य ब्रह्मादयो देवा वेदा लोकाश्चराचराः
नामरूपविभेदेन फल्ग्व्या च कलया कृताः ||
Yasya Brahmadayo Deva Loka Scharachara,
Nama Roopa Vibheedheena Phalgvyaa Cha Kalaya Krutha ||
I salute him from whose very micro form are created. Brahma and others, devas, all worlds , all moving and stable beings, Assuming very different names and bear fruit.
यथार्चिषोऽग्नेः सवितुर्गभस्तयो निर्यान्ति संयान्त्यसकृत्स्वरोचिषः
तथा यतोऽयं गुणसम्प्रवाहो बुद्धिर्मनः खानि शरीरसर्गाः ||
Yadharchisho Agne Savithur Gabhasthayo,
Niryanthi Samyaanthya Sakruth Swarochisha,
Thadhaa Yathoyam Guna Sampravaho,
Budhir Mana Kaani Sareera Sargaa ||
Similar to the heat generating from the fire, And rays generating from Sun, ultimately,
Merges in to the form from where they came, Wisdom, mind, senses and the body, Originate from you and merge in you.
स वै न देवासुरमर्त्यतिर्यङ्न स्त्री न षण्ढो न पुमान्न जन्तुः
नायं गुणः कर्म न सन्न चासन्निषेधशेषो जयतादशेषः ||
Savaina devaa asura marthaya thiryang,
Na Sthree Na Shando Na Puman Na Janthu,
Naayam Guna Karma Na Sanna Na Chasath,
Nishedha Sesho Jayathad Asesha.
He is not god, asura or man or animal, He is not woman, eunuch or man or animal, He is not characteristic, nor mobile or immobile, And he is what is remaining after all these negations.
जिजीविषे नाहमिहामुया किमन्तर्बहिश्चावृतयेभयोन्या
इच्छामि कालेन न यस्य विप्लवस्तस्यात्मलोकावरणस्य मोक्षम ||
Jeejee Vishe Naaha Mihaamuyaa Kim,
Anthar Bahi Schavrutha Ye Bhayonyaa,
Icchami Kalena Na Yasya Viplava,
Thasya Aathma Loka Varanasya Moksham ||
I do not desire to survive for what I have to do here, As an elephant enveloped inside out, by ignorance, I do desire that this veil of ignorance is lifted, And I get salvation from this world as an elephant.
सोऽहं विश्वसृजं विश्वमविश्वं विश्ववेदसम
विश्वात्मानमजं ब्रह्म प्रणतोऽस्मि परं पदम ||
Soham Viswa Srujam Visamam Aviswam Viswa Vedhasam,
Vishwathamanam Ajam Brahma Pranathosmi Param Padam ||
I salute that God who created the universe, Who is the universe but is different from it, Who knows the universe, who is the soul of the universe, Who is devoid of birth and is the divine Brahmam.
योगरन्धितकर्माणो हृदि योगविभाविते
योगिनो यं प्रपश्यन्ति योगेशं तं नतोऽस्म्यहम ||
Yoga Randhitha Karmaano,
Hrudhi Yoga Vibhavithe,
Yogino Yam Prapasyanthi,
Yogesam Tham Nathosyam Aham ||
I worship that God of Yoga, Whom only the Yogis who have burnt their Karma, Can visualize by their heart, And see him by the practice of yoga.
नमो नमस्तुभ्यमसह्यवेग शक्तित्रयायाखिलधीगुणाय
प्रपन्नपालाय दुरन्तशक्तये कदिन्द्रियाणामनवाप्यवर्त्मने ||
Namo Namasthubhyam Asahya Veda Shakthi Thrayaya Akhiladhi Gunaaya,
Prapanna Paalaya Durantha Shakthaye Kadheendriyaanamana Vapya Vaathmane ||
Salutations to him whose three fold power is unstoppable, Who has all the characteristics, Who protects those who surrender to him, And who cannot be attained by those who have not won over their senses.
नायं वेद स्वमात्मानं यच्छक्त्याहंधिया हतम
तं दुरत्ययमाहात्म्यं भगवन्तमितोऽस्म्यहम ||
Nayam Veda Swamaathmaanam Yacchakthyaa Hamdhiyaa Hatham,
Tham Durathyaya Maahatmyam Bhagawantha Mitho Asmyaham ||
I am searching that God, whose power can never be surpassed, And due to the illusion of ego created by him, people think that, Their body is their soul and are not able to understand their real soul.
श्रीशुक उवाच ||
तत्राखिलामरमयो हरिराविरासीत ||
तं तद्वदार्तमुपलभ्य जगन्निवासः
स्तोत्रं निशम्य दिविजैः सह संस्तुवद्भिः
छन्दोमयेन गरुडेन समुह्यमानश
चक्रायुधोऽभ्यगमदाशु यतो गजेन्द्रः ||
सोऽन्तःसरस्युरुबलेन गृहीत आर्तो
दृष्ट्वा गरुत्मति हरिं ख उपात्तचक्रम
उत्क्षिप्य साम्बुजकरं गिरमाह कृच्छ्रान
नारायणाखिलगुरो भगवन्नमस्ते ||
Thus, as the elephant prayed to the Lord who is indistinctive, the celestials headed byBrahma, who had each his own distinction and ego in his own form, did not approachhim, as the prayer was to the all embracing One, when on the spot there appeared Hari,who is of the form of all the celestials together, that Lord of the universe, having listenedto that hymn, addressed in great distress, and prayed to by all the denizens of heaven,with the wheel as his weapon, speedily came riding Garuda, the very embodiment of the Vedas, approaching the elephant. The elephant caught in the lake by that mighty crocodileand in distress, sighting Hari on Garuda with the discus in His hand, raised up to Him histrunk in salute with the lotus in it and with great difficulty uttered the words : Narayana,Lord of all worlds; Salutation to you. (30-32)
तं वीक्ष्य पीडितमजः सहसावतीर्य
सग्राहमाशु सरसः कृपयोज्जहार
संपश्यतां हरिरमूमुचदुच्छ्रियाणाम ||
The Lord seeing his distress, compassionately quickly dismounted and protected him along with the crocodile in a trice. The Lord of the elephants was released from the crocodile’s mouth which was cut by the discus even as all the celestials looked on.
The Lord said, “For those who praise me, reciting through this hymn waking up at the end of the night, I give them the highest understanding at the end of their life.