The Kari Varadaraja Perumal Temple is located in the Perumal Koil Street, Madhavaram, Chennai suburb.The Kari Varadaraja Perumal Temple is dedicated to Sri Vishnu asKari Varadaraja Perumal and Divine Mother Shakti asKanakavalli Thayar.
Kari means an elephant, and "Varam tharum raja is Varadharaja (A king who gives a boon). This is a story similar to "Gajendra moksham one, with a slight twist in climax scene. Ideally, this Varadharaja has given a boon to an elephant.
Long long ago, there was a king called Indra-dhyuman. Once Maharishi Agasthiyar came to his courtyard, and fury with the disrespect meted out to Him, cursed the king to become an elephant (Personally I don't believe this as character of Agasthiya though. This could have been a blessing in disguise!). Since the king knew in advance, that, that was his last birth, he prayed Vishnu.
As "Akashvani (அசிரீரி), Vishnu told the king, to go to a place, where harvested paddy lay like mountains ("நெல் குன்று போல் விளைய கூடிய நெற்குன்றம்), and He resided as "Varadharaja. Immediately the king came here and prayed the Lord, and got turned into an elephant. Though he changed like this, he did have old memories, and hence was offering a lotus to this Lord everyday.
One day, a Gandharva called Goo-Goo came to this place from Devaloham, turned himself a crocodile and was playing in the pushkarini, where the lotus was taken by the elephant everyday. In parallel, Maharishi Bharadhwaja came to this pond and was doing his Sandhi pooja.
This crocodile, when moving around, hit him with its tail, for which the frowning Rishi, cursed the Gandharva to remain a crocodile itself (since his pooja was interrupted). When the Gandharva begged for mercy, the great sage told "There is a Vishnu Bhaktha elephant and if you catch his legs, you will get your old form.
So, the crocodile started waiting for the elephant, and one day in the Brahma-muhurtha, the elephant came and took a lotus from the pond. The crocodile swiftly moved and caught its leg. Since the flower it took started to dry, the elephant did try to free himself, but when he couldn't, called Vishnu "Aadhi-moolame!!!
Till this the story resembles "Gajendra moksham" ! Vishnu, on hearing His bhaktas voice, appeared on the shore of the pushkarini, and used His "Sudharshana-chakram", to drag both out of the pond. Once they came out, Vishnu gave them "Moksha-gathi? !
So, Varadharaja has "Varadha-hastham" , Perumal in Tirumala has "Abhaya hastham" (which means, those who catch His feet shall remain protected.) Here He says, for people who come here, and pray Him as "Kesava, Madhava, Govindha", and come into His "Saranaagathi", He shall forgive all their sins, and will grant them moksham.
Sri Kari varadaraja perumal temple is located in the city of Nerkundram, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and is about 500 years old.
the speciality of this Varadharaja, is the Lord opening His eyes to see His bhaktas. (Many visitors were very proud to say this there in the temple. I could only feel the eyes of the statue glowing when the deepam was taken near.
In 1894, there was a troop of Bhagavathas, who were doing Bhajans and were travelling to Kanchipuram, to have darshan of "Kanchi Varadha? on "Vaikasi Vishakam , Garuda seva" day from Chennai.
When they crossed this province, there was a huge rain lashing out at them. Fearing they will miss the seva, since there were only 2 days to reach Kanchipuram, that too by walk, they did pray Vishnu, and as "Akashvaani", Vishnu ordered them to have His darshan here first