(Last Updated on : 24/01/2009)
The Vishnu temple of Bhaktavatsala Perumal is one of the significant Vishnu temples in Tiruninravur. The legendary stories associated with the temple endowed the temple an additional grandeur. According to the Sthala-Purana, the legendary tale connected with this temple, when Tirumangai Azhvar, the ancient preceptor visited this shrine, Perumal did not notice him. As a result the preceptor Tirumangai Azhvar did not compose any hymn in praise of the deity. However, on the plea of Goddess Lakshmi that His devotee should never be angered or hurt, the Lord went in search of the Azhvar who had by then reached Mamallapuram. When Bhaktavatsala Perumal appeared before the Azhvar, the latter who was looking at the deity at Mamallapuram felt he was seeing the Lord of Tiruninravur.
Surprised and elated Azhvar sung a stanza to this effect. However, when Bhaktavatsala Perumal came back to Tiruninravur, Goddess Lakshmi said that usually this Azhvar composed more than just a single verse on each deity. Therefore goddess requested Perumal to appear before the Azhvar once again so that he would sing at least another hymn in His praise. Perumal followed the request of Goddess Lakshmi, but Tirumangai Azhvar had by this time reached Tirukannapuram. But Bhaktavatsala Perumal appeared in Azhvar's mind's eye. Consequently the Azhvar who was seeing the Lord of Tirukannapuram thought he was viewing the Lord of Tiruninravur and sung hymns eulogizing the Lord of Tiruninravur. Right from this incident the temple became the abode pof Bhaktavatsala Perumal, who is venerated as the lord of Tiruninravur.