Poovirundavalli  (Poonamallee)


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Poovirundavalli, more popularly know in its corrupted form as Poonamallee, the birth place of Thirukatchi Nambi Alwar, a staunch devotee of Varadaraja Perumal is at a distance of 20 kilometres from Chennai, on the road leading to Bangalore. It has got very good bus facility, served by both the private operators and government transport corporations. Buses to Bangalore, Vellore, Kancheepuram, Tiruttani,l Tiruvallr etc., pass through this town which has become one of the busiest sub urban centre. Nine kilometres from here is the Avadi Railway station, which is the nearest one.

The name 'Poovirundavalli" (or Poonamallee) may be attributed to the fact that the area around, is full of jasmine being cultivated extensively. Jasmine means ' Malli" in Tamil and hence, 'Poonamallee' may refer to the place where jasmine is cultivated. In Sanskrit, the place is called Pushpakavalli. Pushpam' means flower and Valli denotes Goddess. There is a legend that Goddess Laxmi rose from jasmine flower and gave darashan to Thirukatchi Nambi Alwar. It is also said the Alwar worshipped God Varadaraja, deity at Kanchi with the jasmine flowers plucked from here. This place is also called "Lakshmipuram' and Ulagu Vuyya Konda Cholapuram.

Here is an ancient temple for lord Varadaraja Perumal with His Consort, Pushpakavalli Thayar. It is also known as Arulaperumal72. Moved by the prayers of Thirukatchi Nambi Alwar, Sri Varadarajaswami, Sri Venkatesaperumal and Sri Ranganathar gave Darshan to him simultaneously at this place. Tere are shrines for Thirukatchi Nambi Alwar is also constructed here. There is a strong belief that the sun God and Mars (Angarga) worshipped the Lord of this temple. Every year during February - March between the 21st and 25th at 6.00 a.m., the sun's rays fall on the face of the Lord of this temple. Like its counterpart at kanchi, Varadaraja temple , at Poonamallee faces west. This temple is unique in one respect as it possess the most magnificent five storeyed Gopura at its entrance. It is a broad based at the bottom and rises in diminishing tires to a height of about 25 meters from the ground level. The south wall of the central shrine contains epigraphs of 13th , 14th and 17th Centuries. A later addition to the temple in the Vijayanagar time, was the Unjal Mantapa which was built by Achyutappa Nayaka 73. The Annual Brahmotsvam conducted during May - June. A festival for Thirukatchi Nambi Alwar is celebrated in a grand manner every year during February - March, i.e., in the Tamil month of Masi. A few inscriptions are found on the walls of this temple.

There is also another temple, a medium sized one, here for Lord Vaidyanathaswami with His Consort Thaiyal Nayagi. He is known as Theera Vinai Theertha Perumal. Daily poojas are performed here. There is also a Mariamman temple here. Besides these Hindu temples, there are three churches and a mosque was built and completed by Rustom, son of Dhulfiquer of Astrabad, a servant of Nawab Jumlat-ul-mulk. A Persian inscription dated 1653 A.D., found in the mosque reveals this information.

Poonamallee was a Jaghir which was granted to the East India Company 74. A British Cantonment was there. There were barracks for 500 men. There was an old fort constructed by Mughals which was later used as a godown and hospital. This is now the headquarters of the Poonamallee Panchayt Union. There is a town Panchayat for this place.

Panchayat Union Office, town panchayat office, M.E.S. sub-station, District Munsifi court, Judicial Magistrate's, Police station, sub-Jail, Sub-Registrar's office, Office of the Assistant Educational Officer, Scholl of the blind, boy's higher secondary school, girl's higher Secondary Scholl, institute of Public health, mission secondary school, madhar sangam, veterinary hospital, artificial insemination centre, government dispensary telephone exchange, state Bank, Canara Bank, Co-operative Bank, branch library, community hall and highways traveler's bungalow are located here.

This place has gained importance after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India in May 1991, as the accused are kept in the sub-jail located here. Unlike the other sub-jails, the sub-jail here has got special Security arrangements.