Vada SabariThe Rajah Annamalaipuram Iyyappa temple, also popularly known as Vada Sabari (Northern Sabari), is an exact replica of the temple at Sabari Malai, the divine abode of Lord Iyyappa. In contrast to the rocky mountains of Sabari in Kerala, Rajah AnnamalaiPuram temple is located close to the soothing seashore of Chennai. And for all those millions of devotees who long to see the lord but are unable to travel all the way to Sabari Malai every year, it forms the ideal place to obtain His divine grace.
The Raja Annamalaipuram Iyyappa temple is the result of the noble vision of Dr. M. A. M. Ramaswamy, the glorious son of Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar of Chettinad. It took birth in his mind, as early as 1973 , when he first visited Sabari Malai and set his eyes on the Lord. What he saw was an enthralling sight and it bound him in a trance. He heard a divine call urging him to share the bliss he had experienced, and he decided to build a temple for Lord Iyyappa at Chennai, exactly like the one at Sabari Malai.
But why Chennai ? Apart from being the capital of Tamil Nadu and an important commercial centre of the country, Chennai also serves as one of the religious hubs of Tamil Nadu, with temples like Thirukkyilai (Kabaleeswara), Thiruvanmiyur, Thiruvotriyur, Vadapalani, Kanda Kottam, Mangadu and the like, forming the firm roots. And with an Iyyappa Temple to augment this, the picture would only be complete. Dr. M. A. M. Ramaswamy, coming from a race of kings known for their unbounded charitable service, it was only a question of time before this temple as a reality. RA Puram Iyyappan temple was Constructed and congregated in 1982 on the land which was gifted to the temple by his father Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar. The Iyyappa idol, made of five precious metals (representing the five elements of nature), was brought in procession through various centres of religious importance in Tamil Nadu and was installed on January 25, 1982 and the first kumbabishekam performed on 29-1-1982 and the second kumbabishekam was performed on 27-3-1994.
Sabari Malai's worthy twin
Everything about this temple is very much like in Sabari Malai. The temple being constructed in three-floors lends the feeling of being atop a hill and the same 18-step formation leads into the main shrine. Devotees who maintain the Viradham (austerities) and bear the Irumudi Kattu (the sacred twin baggage), come up through these steps as traditionally followed in Sabari. Of course, apart from this passage there is also a normal passage through which other devotees can come in and seek the blessings of the Lord. Separate shrines are present for the supporting deities like Kannimoola Maha Ganapathi, Nagaraja and Maaligaipurathu Amman. As found in most famous temples in India, the apex or the Kumbham adds to the elegance and sanctity of the temple. And all religious practices and methods followed here are the same as those followed in Sabari, Though unlike the Sabari Malai Temple which is open for only a very few days in a year, this temple is open for worship-ping throughout the year.
The huge prayer hall, with a capacity of 1500 people, is made of Jaipur tiles and is a special element of the temple. Yet another special feature is the 40 feet tall, single piece Dhvajasthamba (flag post), The temple has been constructed with wonderful facilities and is maintained with strict cleanliness at all times. Even the passages surrounding the temple are brightly lit with sodium vapour lamps and provide a safe and easy approach way to the devotees.
The Temple is efficiently managed by the Rajah Annamalaipuram Sri Iyyappa Swami Temple Trust for Which Dr. M.A.M. Ramaswamy is the President, Mr. AR. Ramaswamy - The Secretary and the Treasurer who are supported by a band of prominent and devoted friends in the capacity of Trustees.
His Grace is Omni-present
Not only is the temple shaped exactly in the lines of Sabari Malai, but has also found high prowess. The Grace of the Lord is Omni-present and scores of devotees have been blessed with their wishes. The Lord in his presence has also performed some miracles to deepen their faith in him. To the urban but traditionally conservative people of Chennai, it forms a very important part of their religious lives. And only from Chennai, but people from all over the country come here everyday to obtain the Grace of Lord Iyyappa, who only provides it in abundance.