Celebrating the tirunakshatram of an outstanding acharya

The 437th annual Tirunakshatram day of Lakshmikumara Thathadesikan is to be celebrated on the morning of November 27. Every year during the utsavam that goes on throughout the day, Perumal and Thayar visit his sannidhi in a grand procession amidst the chanting of Vedas. Kotikanyakadanam Lakshmikumara Thathadesikan (1571 A.D.-1632 A.D.) was one of the outstanding personalities in the SriVaishnavite hierarchy of acharyas of the 16th and 17th Centuries. He hailed from the eminent lineage of Nadamuni, his grandson the great Alanvandar, his grandson Peria Tirumalai Nambi who was called as Thatha by Lord Srinivasa of Tirumalai and whose nephew and disciple was great Bagavatha Ramanuja. Thathadesikan inherited the management and administration of Sri Varadaraja temple at Kanchipuram. He continued and established the procedure as prescribed by Ramanuja and Swami Desikan. He developed and maintained the Varadaraja temple and was the Mirasdaar and proprietor of the temple. He was the Pradhana Acharya Purusha and was the royal guru and preceptor of Sri Venkatapathi Maharaja of the Vijayanagara dynasty. He officiated on his coronation too. His achievements were the gold guilded Ananda Vimanam tower at Tirumalai, the Punyakoti vimanam and Thayaar vimanam at Kanchi, Sarangapani vimanam at Kumbakonam, and the vimanam at Trivandrum temple. He constructed a beautiful temple for Sri Hanuman at Ayyangaarkulam near Kanchi along with the Nadavapi and a huge tank where the annual Chitrapournami festival of Sri Varadaraja is conducted.

He established 500 agraharams, performed 99 yaagas and weighed himself 32 times against gold (Thulabaaram). He laid 24,000 steps to reach Tirumala hills, built temples in Simhachalam, Vrishabaadri and also at Kanchi and Melkote. He renovated Saivite temples of Irukkazhikundram and Punya Koteeshwarar temple in Kanchi.

Being an asukavi, he was the author of several granthas, poems and slokas. One of his important works was the ‘Hanumath Vimsadhi’ which was composed in praise of Lord Hanuman. The annual Chitrapournami festival and the Thotta utsavam festival are continued even today in commemoration of his outstanding services.

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