Girivalam shrines – Sri Raghavendra Swamy Brindavanam
Sri Raghavendra Swami was one of the great proponents of the Madhva philosophy (Dvaita or Duality believing that God and Man are different entities and that Man should approach God through devoted worship). He lived in South India during the 16th century. For nearly 50 years, he was the revered head of one of the great peethams (hindu religious authority). He excelled in many fields such as logistics, Mimamsa, music, yoga, dharmashastra and all the 64 vedic arts. He was believed to be an avatar of Prahlada, a famous child devotee of Lord Vishnu and so he chose his Brindavanam or divine abode (Mantralaya) on the banks of the river Tungabadhra, where Prahlada had performed his yajna in Krita yuga. It is said that the stone used for the Brindavan was sanctified by the touch of Sri Rama and Sita in the Treta yuga.
The Raghavendra Swamigal shrine can be found on the outer girivalam road right beside the Hanuman or Anjaneya temple. It is situated on a large courtyard with the backdrop of Arunachala. The shrine consists of a stone statue of Sri Raghavendra depicted against a stone scultpure of Kamadhenu, the celestial wish fulfilling cow. The maintenance and running of the temple are funded by a local private group of Raghavendra devotees who come daily in the evening to participate in the pujas. There is also a daily feeding of Sadhus at this time. On festival days this temple is often a venue for carnatic music concerts with the participation of good musicians from Chennai. And so this has become a regular halt for traditional music lovers in the area.