The little town of Srimushnam in Cuddalore district, about 30 km from Chidambaram is a place of great antiquity and heritage. It is the abode of the well-known Vishnu temple dedicated to Bhuvarahasvami, the third incarnation of Vishnu (Varaha avatara). Although this place is not one of the 108 Divya Desams since it has not been sanctified by the hymns of the Azhvars, yet it is an Abhimanasthalam. This is considered very sacred to Srivaishnavas. It is considered as one of the eight important Svayamvyakta-kshetrams. The Svayamvyakta-kshetrams signifies the place where God is said to have appeared on His own accord. Hence the Sri Bhuvarasvami Temple is considered auspicious and sacred.
The Legend of the Sri Bhuvarasvami Temple
The Sri Bhuvarasvami Temple is one of the ancient temples in the Southern India. The antiquity of the Temple can be comprehended from its reference in the Sthala Purana.The temple legend recorded in the pages of Sthala-Purana is connected with the story of the Varaha incarnation, which is also found in many of the ancient Puranas. The legendary story associated with the temple provides the temple a stately magnificence. However the legendary story, which manifests the legend of the temple, narrates the tale of Hiranyakashipu and Lord Vishnu. When the demon Hiranyakashipu took the earth under the sea, Vishnu, assuming the form of a boar went to the ocean depths and rescued the earth. The common belief runs that when Lord Vishnu rested at Srimushnam, the drops of water, which fell from His body, led to the formation of the temple-tank named Nityapushkarini. Another story connected with this temple is that a king of Penukonda suffered from a very painful carbuncle. He dreamt that Vishnu in His boar incarnation cured him of this affliction and he thus decided to build a temple for Varahasvami. Hence the temple of Sri Bhuvarasvami was built in Srimushnam.
The legendary chronicles associated with this temple lend it with the greatness of a historical site.
Architecture of Sri Bhuvarasvami Temple
The architecture of the Sri Bhuvarasvami Temple is the chief attraction of the temple. The architectural trappings add to the antique beauty and traditional heritage of the Temple. The architectural and sculptural art found in the Sri Bhuvarasvami temple bears the testimony of the exclusive architect of the ancient period.
Inscriptions of the Sri Bhuvarasvami Temple
The inscription engraved on the temple of Sri Bhuvarasvami enhances the antique significance of the temple. A large number of ancient inscriptions are seen on the walls of this temple. The inscriptions carved on the temple walls point to the chronological significance of the temple. The inscriptions in fact are the evidence to determine the period when the temple was constructed. From the inscriptions it is known that the Bhuvarahasvami temple was in existence even during the Chola period of the 11th century A.D. It is known from an epigraph of king Vira-Rajendra Chola dated 1068 A.D.
Festivals of the Sri Bhuvarasvami Temple
The antique temple of the Sri Bhuvarasvami temple is famous for the observation of the festival, with brightness and grandeur. The performance of the festivals with grandiose splendor is an additional feature of the traditional temple of Sri Bhuvarasvami. A number of important festivals are celebrated in the Bhuvarahasvami temple in which the Pancharatra mode of worship is followed. The most important festivals are the two Brahmotsavams of this temple.