Legend of Sri Harita Vaarana Perumal Temple
The legends attached additional importance to the traditional significance of the temple.
Sri Harita Vaarana Perumal Temple is one of the antique temples found in Nazarethpettai of South India. A number of legendary and mythological stories are associated with it, which are the added grandeur to the antiquity of the temple. The Sthala-purana of the Harita Vaarana Perumal temple is connected to an interesting and well-known episode in the Mahabharata. According to that story, when the Pandavas found it difficult to defeat the famous preceptor Drona who was fighting for the Kauravas, they hatched a plot. Aware of Drona's great affection for his son Ashvatthama, Bhima killed an elephant (kunjara) named Ashvatthama. Consequently He told Drona that Ashvatthama was dead. When Drona wanted to confirm this statement with Yudhishthira (Dharmaputra) who was known never to utter a lie, the latter stated that Ashvatthama was dead, but added very softly that it was the elephant, so that drona could not hear it. Drona was shocked by hearing that his son is dead. He bent on giving up his life, was easily beheaded by Dhrishtadyumna, an ally of the Pandavas.
It was to expiate the sin of having uttered a lie that the repentant Dharmaputra, after praying to Narada performed an elaborate Yajna at this Dharmapuri Kshetra. Out of the sacrificial fire, appeared Lord Krishna in the form of a green elephant. This green colored elephant is referred to as Harita Vaarana (Harita in Sanskrit meaning green and Vaarana meaning elephant) or Pacchai Vaarana and it offered blessings to Yudhishthira. And consequently the Pandavas won over the Kauravas. Following the legendary story of Mahabharata associated with the temple, the temple is known as Sri Harita Vaarana Perumal Temple. The temple is also the abode of the Harita Vaarana form of lord Krishna.