Holy Pilgrimage -Vishnu Temples in Tamilnadu State -2

Holy Pilgrimage – Temples in  Tamilnadu State

Uppiliappan Temple (near Kumbakonam)


The Oppiliappan Temple, also known as Thiruvinnagar, Uppliyappan Temple, Oppiliappan Kovil and Oppiliappan Sannidhi is a Narayana temple located near the village of Thirunageswaram in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, India. The presiding deity in this temple is Lord Uppiliappan Perumal with his consort Bhumi Devi and her father sage Markandeya. The temple is regarded as one of the 108 Divya Desams.
The Temple is located about 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from Kumbakonam and is reachable by the State highway SH-147. It one of the main pilgrimage centres of South India and is also known as "South Tirupathi".




The Sthalapuraanam of this temple is discussed in the Brahmanda Purana, one of the eighteen Mahapuranas.
The legend associated with the temple is as follows; Once Tulasi did penance and asked of the Lord Vishnu, "You are bearing Lakshmi alone in your chest; I request such special blessing and attention for me also" to which the Lord replied "Lakshmi occupied my chest after severe penance and now she is about to incarnate on the banks of River Kaveri in bhoologam (Earth) with the name of Bhumi Devi. You may appear there prior to her as a tulasi plant and she will incarnate in your lap (i.e. under your shadow). "I will accept Lakshmi some days later" and since you were the support or "aathaaram" for her incarnation you will be rewarded as being very special to me in this temple; more than Lakshmi. One can attain the blessings of Lakshmi only after severe penance, but one who worships me with your ithaz (leaves), will get the effect of doing Ashvamedha yagam and those who dwell in your vanam as their place of living will surely attain moksham. You will always be the garland that is presented to me. I will accept the thulasi maalai first and will marry Lakshmi only after that".
On hearing this Tulasi appeared in Thiruvinnagaram. This is confirmed by the 53rd paasuram of Sri Nammazhwaar in Thiruviruththam.
Later, Mrikandu Maharishi's son, Markandeya worshipped the Lord Vishnu and desired for the boon that Lakshmi should appear as his daughter and the Lord himself should become his son-in-law. One day, when Markandeya was doing Theerththaadanam and Shethra yaaththirai, after reaching Thiruvinnagaram, he felt that this was the right place for getting his desire fulfilled. Markandeya then started a severe penance for 1000 years seeking Lakshmi's blessings.
After thousand years of severe penance, Lakshmi appeared as a baby under the already incarnated tulasi plant (tulasi chedi). Markandeya felt the presence of Lakshmi as the incarnation in the form of the baby and realised that a part of his desire had been fulfilled. He took possession of the baby and raised her.
When this young girl reached adolescent age or paruvam, one day on the panguni month of Sravana Nakshathram, the Lord appeared as an old man and asked for the hand of Markandeya's daughter in marriage. Markandeya replied that, "You are very ripe and old, my daughter is too young and she does not even know how to cook with proper salt (lavanam) contents. You may get angry and curse her if she does not cook properly. This is not fair. You are bodily old but mentally very aware. You must forgive me and bless me but this will not work out." To which the old man replied, "If your daughter must cook without salt, then I will still take it as my best food, but I will not leave from here without marrying her." Without knowing what to do, Markandeya sought the help of the ever protecting Lord Vishnu. It was then that he realised using his thapobalam, that the old man was none other than Lord Vishnu himself. When he opened his eyes the Lord appeared in front of him with conch and chakram as in Sri Vaikundam. Markandeya asked for forgiveness and offered his daughter's hand in marriage and performed the kannikaathaanam of his daughter (Lakshmi) to the Lord.


Since the Lord had said "I will accept the food that is not salted as my best and most desired food", this temple Neyvethiyam is always done without salt in any food. No one should ever take anything that contains salt into this temple and the puraanaas indicate that such persons who knowingly do so are believed to suffer in hell.

1. O! Lord you should take dishes without salt in this place. But the dishes should taste wounderful to you and your devotees.
2. You should never leave my daughter alone, you have to stay with her forever.
3. This place should be named after me.

The name Oppiliappan is as result of this legend. However, Nammaazhwaar called him "Thannoppaarillappan", that is he who has no comparison (i.e. there is neither an equivalent nor superior to the Lord - mikaiyum oppum illaathavan).
There is also a story behind the tank in this temple. Once a King had consummated (punarchchi) with a daughter of a saint and hence the saint cursed him to become a bird. The King lived as a bird and one night when there was a storm and the branch of the tree the bird was sleeping on broke and fell into the water of this tank. The bird which got dipped by this accident in the tank regained its original form as the King and since then this is known as the only theerththam that one can do theerth thaadanam even in the night. In general "theerthAdanam " in the night is not recommended by our scriptures. Since this tank has such a healing power in the day as well as night, it is called "ahoraathra pushkarani".

Observances and festivals

All offerings to Visnu in this temple are prepared without salt. Salt food is not allowed to be brought inside the temple. The God always appears with the Goddess Padmavathi at his side.
The temple hosts a number of festivals throughout the year. The main Brahmotsavam (festival) is held in the month of Panguni (March - April), culminating on Sravana, the day on which the Lord appeared before the sage; a second Brahmotsavam concluding on Purattasi Sravana (September - October); and a grand Kalyana festival for 12 days in the month of Aippasi Sravana (October - November), during which artists render music and other performances.
A monthly Sravana Deepams (festival of light) is performed. The Sri Ramanavami Festival is celebrated for 10 days in April.

Glimpse of Moolavar Sanathi:
Oppiliappan stands upto 8 feet tall in the centre. Below him Bhoomidevi faces north in a kneeling posture while Makandeya Maharishi who has the boon of retaining his age as 16 forever is the position to perform Kannikadhanam (ie) ready to perform marriage to his daughter.
Left hand of Oppiliappa perumal contains the inscription "Maam Ekam Saranam Vrija" a made of diamonds which is a verse form Bhagavatgita instructing the whole mankind to devote their pure souls into his lotus feet to attain Salvation.
Ahorathra Pushkarani:
There is an interesting tale regarding the reason behind the name of this pushkarani.
Once there was a Brahmin named Devasharma belonging to the clan of Bharadwaja Maharishi. One day it happened so, that he took forcefully the daughter of Gymini Maharishi as his wife. The rishi heard his daughters cries and atonce he cursed Devasharma turn in Krunchu Paravai a type of bord. Then only shrama realised his mistake and he pleded the Maharishi to leave him. As his anger suoded, he told devasharma to wait near pushkarani of Oppiliappan perumal temple and one day he would be freed from the curse.
It happened so one day during night time. A huge strom borke out and the branch in which devasharma was sitting as a bird broke and tell pushkarani. As soon as the divine water splashed in the birds body, devasharma was freed fromhis curse. Generally one has to take bath in the pushkarani only in the day time. Generally one has to take bath in the pushkarani only in the day time. But as unusually this pushkarani paved the way to freedom devashrama's curse during the night time, this pushkarani is named as "Ahorathra Pushkarani" which means litrelly "Unusual in night".
In the tamil months Panguni Bhramotsavam of Eypasi month Kalyana utsavam's are conducted.
On every day of Sravana natchatram (ie) on the sravana day of every month, "Sravana deepam" is taken ie a huge camp is being lit and fortunes are forcasted.
By paying required amount in the Devastanam, we can conduct Kalyana Utsavam, Garuda sevai and Moolavar Thirumanjanam.
Sthala virutcham (Scared Tree): Flower - Herbs, Thulsi etc.
Whenever Oppiliappa Perumal's idol is taken for procession, He is always accompanied along with Bhoomidevi only. The Perumal wont step out the Temple without Thaayar inorder to keep his promise.
Oplliappan perumal is treated as Brother of Srinivasaperumal of Thirumala Thirupathi. So all the offerings due to Thirupathi perumal can be offered here and it's taken as equivalent as it were offered at Thirupathi.
The Moolavar of this Kshetram is Oppiliappan. He is also called with the name "Uppiliappan". The Moolavar is found in Standing posture facing East direction. Prathyaksham for Markandeya Maharishi, Lord Garuda, River Kaveri, lord of Dharma.
The Thayaar found in this sthalam is Bhoomidevi Naachiyaar.
  • Peyalwar - 2 Paasurams.
  • Nammalwar - 11 Paasurams.
  • Thirumangai - 34 Paasurams.
    Total - 47 Paasurams.
1.   Ahorathra pushkarani.
2.   Aarthi pushkarani.
Vishnu Vimaanam - Sudhanandha Vimaanam.


Thirumangai Alvar, Peyalvar, Nammalvar have composed beautiful pasurams dedicated to Lord Uppiliappan and his consort Bhumi Devi. It is one of the compositions in Naalayira Divya Prabandha


 Hayagreeva temple at Chettipunyam, Chennai

  Hayagreeva temple at Cuddalore, ChennaiHayagriva



Hayagriva, also spelt Hayagreeva; (Sanskrit:हयग्रीव, IAST:hayagrīva) is a horse-headed avatar of the god Vishnu in Hinduism. In Sanskrit, Hayagrīva means haya=Horse, grīva=Neck.



In Hinduism, Hayagriva is also considered an avatar of Vishnu. He is worshiped as the God of knowledge and wisdom, with a human body and a horse's head, brilliant white in color, with white garments and seated on a white lotus. Symbolically, the story represents the triumph of pure knowledge, guided by the hand of God, over the demonic forces of passion and darkness.
Hayagriva is a very important deity in the Vaishnava tradition. His blessings are sought when beginning study of both sacred and secular subjects. Special worship is conducted on the day of the full moon in August (Śravaa-Pauramī) (his avatāra-dina) and on Mahanavami, the ninth day of the Navaratri festival. He is also hailed as "Hayasirsa".  Hayaśira means haya=Horse, śira=Head.
jñānānanda maya
deva nirmala sphaikākti
sarvavidyāna hayagrīva upāsmahe

In Devanāgarī
ज्ञानानन्द मयं देवं निर्मल स्फटिकाकृतिं
आधारं सर्वविद्यानं हयग्रीवं उपास्महे
This verse is originally from the Pañcarātra Agamas but is now popularly prefixed to the Hayagriva Stotram of the 13th century poet-philosopher Vedanta Desika. It is very popular among devotees of Hayagrīva.

Hindu iconography

He has four lotus hands, with one in the mode of bestowing knowledge; another holds books of wisdom, and the other two hold the Conch and Discus. His beauty, like fresh cut crystal, is an auspicious brilliance that never decays. May this Lord of speech who showers such cooling rays of grace on me be forever manifest in my heart! In the Mahavairocana-sutra [Sūtra of the Great Sun] translated and copied in 1796 by I-hsing it says: “Beneath the buddhas is Hayagriva. His body is the color of the sun at dawn. He wears flaming effulgence and skulls as a garland. His nails are long and sharp; his face shows a pair of bare tiger’s fangs. His hair is that of a burning lion’s mane. He is awesomely powerful and fierce! This is the fierce Vidyaraja [wrathful vehicle] of the Lotus section. He is just like a horse-jewel of a Cakravartin that wanders the four continents, nowhere and never does he rest, having all the great and terrible force of all the buddhas’. This is his nature, and therefore he possesses this terrible and all-mighty light. Amidst the greatest obstacles of death and evil he is without the slightest care for his own welfare, his conspicuous and uncommon gallantry, intrepidity, and wrath is legendary among the gods, and therefore he easily and quickly vanquishes all who oppose him! Many others submit to him at first sight! This is because though he is fierce and terrible; his heart is full of compassion (unbiased, dispassionate understanding).” -- Hayagrīva Stotram, v.32
Later on Hayagriva is referred to as the “Horse necked one”, Defender of faith”, the “Terrible executioner”, the “Excellent Horse”, and the “Aerial horse”.
This said, the Horse god is seen as pulling the sun up to the heavens every day, bringing light to darkness. Hayagriva’s consort is Marichi (Marishi-Ten/摩利支天) and or Lakshmi (possibly an avatar of Marichi or Kan'non), the goddess of the rising sun, more accurately the sun’s light which is the life force of all things, and which is seen as the female [in, yin] aspect of Hayagriva. This relationship is the classic nonduality of the Hindu tantra. Marichi represents the essence of the power of creation of the cosmos, and is the in/yin half of Dainichi Nyôrai. Whereas Hayagriva represents the other yang/yô aspect, that of the of the manifestation of the power of yin/in as action. In other words, Hayagriva represents the manifestation of yin/in as the power and action of the cosmos manifested as action. This is the very definition of tantra, that of action.
In several other sources he is a white horse who pulls the sun into the sky every morning. In others such as the great epic Taraka-battle where the gods are fallen on and attacked by the danava’s [demons], Vishnu appears as a great ferocious warrior called Hayagriva when he comes to their aid. It says;
Hayagriva appears in his chariot, drawn by 1,000 powerful steeds, crushing the enemies of the gods beneath him!”
There are many other references to Hayagriva throughout the Mahabharata. It is said that Vishnu comes from battle as a conqueror in the magnificent mystic form of the great and terrible Hayagriva;
The great Hayagriva having been praised in this way by the different saints and ascetics, assumes a great white horses head. The verda’s [mantras] made up his shape, his body built of all the great gods; in the middle of his head was Shiva, in his heart was Brahmā [god of heaven]; the rays of sun ([[Marichi]) were his mane, the sun and moon his eyes; the Vasus and Sadhyas were his legs, in all his bones were the gods. Agni [Ka-ten; god of fire] was his tongue, the goddess Satya his speech, while his knees were formed by the Maruts and Varuna. Having assumed this form, a awesome wonder to behold to the gods, he vanquished the asura, and cast them down, with eyes that were red with anger.
Invariably, Hayagriva is depicted seated, most often with his right hand either blessing the supplicant or in the vyākhyā mudrā pose of teaching. The right hand also usually holds a aka-mālā (rosary), indicating his identification with meditative knowledge. His left holds a book, indicating his role as a teacher. His face is always serene and peaceful, if not smiling. Unlike his Buddhist counterpart, there is no hint of a fearsome side in the Hindu description of this deity. Indeed, the two deities seem to be totally unrelated to one another.
Hayagriva is sometimes worshiped in a solitary pose of meditation, as in the Thiruvanthipuram temple. This form is known as Yoga-Hayagriva. However, he is most commonly worshipped along with his consort Lakshmi and is known as Lakshmi-Hayagriva. Hayagriva in this form is the presiding deity of Mysore's Parakala Mutt, a significant Sri Vaishnavism monastic institution.

In Sakta mythology

In the Sakta tradition of Hinduism, Hayagriva occupies a different role. Here, a demon named Hayagriva first appears as son of Kaśyapa Prajāpati. Through great penance the demon managed to obtain a boon from the Goddess Durga that he can only be killed by another "Hayagriva". This instilled a sense of invincibility and he started harassing the Devas. The Devas turned to Vishnu for aid, but despite a long struggle he was also unable to kill Hayagrīva.
Tired and drained after the battle, Vishnu proceeded to Vaikuntha Dharma to rejuvenate and meditate in padamāsana (a yoga posture) with his head supported by the upper end of his taut bow. The Devas once again approached Vishnu for help against Hayagrīva but were unable to rouse him from his meditation. The Devas asked a swarm of termites to assist in waking Vishnu by gnawing away the string of the bow upon which he was resting. However, the snapping of the bow string produced such a resonant sound that the universe trembled, and the broken string lashed out with such force that Vishnu's head was severed from his body.
The Devas were mortified, and prayed to the goddess Durga for guidance. Durga was pleased with their prayers and told the Devas that they need not fear, as no incident in this universe was without some purpose. She then told them of her boon to Hayagriva and asked them to attach the head of a horse to Vishnu so that he in the guise of "Hayagriva" (that is, one with a horse's neck) could kill his foe.
Brahma attached the head of a white horse to Vishnu's body and the revived Vishnu entered into battle with Hayagriva and eventually killed him.
Another legend has it that during the creation, the demons Madhu-Kaitabha stole the Vedas from Brahma, and Vishnu then took the Hayagriva form to recover them. The two bodies of Madhu and Kaitabha disintegrated into twelve pieces (two heads, two torsos, four arms and four legs). These are considered to represent the twelve seismic plates of the Earth. Yet another legend has it that during the creation, Vishnu compiled the Vedas in the Hayagrīva form.
Some consider Hayagriva to be one of the Dashavataras of Maha Vishnu  He along with Śrī Krishna, ShrīRama and Shri Narasimha is considered to be an important avatar of Maha Vishnu.
Lord Hayagriva's Sannithanam is there in Sri rangam Temple. Hayagreev in Srirangam is very famous for children's education. The sannithanam is very beautiful and all rituals done according to vedic principles very strictly.

Hayagrīva Mahatmyam

A great devotee named ŚrīVadirajatirtha of Udupi Śrī Kṛṣṇa Mutt used to offer cooked horse gram (Kollu) to Lord Hayagreeva. He used to recite the Hayagrīva Śloka and keep the offerings on his head. Lord Hayagrīva would come as a beautiful white horse form and would eat the horse gram. As a very staunch devotee, Vadirajatirtha would recite the following sloka -
Na HayagrivAth Param Asthi MangaLam
Na HayagrivAth Param Asthi Paavanam
Na HayagrivAth Param Asthi Dhaivatham
Na Hayagrivam Pranipathya Seedhathi!
There is no auspiciousness greater than Hayagrivan. Nothing is more sacred than Sri Hayagrivan to destroy our accumulated sins. No other God is superior to Hayagrivan. No one grieves after performing Śaraagati at the sacred feet of Hayagrivan.
Hayagriva is listed as one of the ten incarnations of Vishnu in Canto 10 (skandh 10), chapter 40 of the Śrīmadbhagavatam, and Akrūra's prayer contains Hayagriva's name when he had a vision while bathing in Yamuna.
There is a story that more than 500 years ago, a devotee from the Daivajña Brahmin community was casting an idol of Lord Gaapati, when it shaped itself in the image of Lord Hayagriva. Sarvabhauma Sri Vadiraja Guru Swamiji had a dream about this legend which inspired him to approach that devotee and take the idol from him in reverence. He then installed it in Shri Sode Vadiraja Mutt. Since then it has been worshipped there as the originating god of the Daivajnya Brahmin community.
The members of the community who were originally Smartha Brahmins, were instructed in Dvaita philosophy and received into the fold as Mukhya Śiyas by the revered Sri Vadiraja Teertha. To this day, Daivajña Brahmins continue to make offerings to the Mutt and Lord Hayagriva.


Scriptures on Hayagreeva (Madhusoodhana)

Since, Lord Hayagreevar killed the asurAs, madhu and kaitapar, He is referred to as Madhusoodhanan.
1.   In BrahmANda puraaNam, Sri RangarajamahAthmyam, Om namO VishnavE Deva MadhussodhanathE Namah: refers to Madhusoodhanan Sri Hayagreevan.
2.   Srimad Valmiki RamayaNam BalakaaNdam 76th sargam, 17th slOkam Parasuraama says to Rama "akshayam madhuhanthaaram jaanaami tvaam surOtthamam". I realise that You are the DevaadhiDevan, immortal, MahAVishNu, the One who killed madhu,kaitapar.
3.   Also, when Rama (before proceeding for His PattabhishEkham), gets up in the wee hours, in Brahma muhUrtham, He performs His anushtaanam and pays obeisance to Lord Hayagreevan "dhushtaava praNadhaischaiva sirasaa madhsoodhanam" (6th sargam-7th slokam).
4.   In Kishkinthaa kaanDam, Vaali tells Sri Rama "Even if that rAvaNan hids SitA in PaathaaLa lOkam, no problem. You could have just told me so. I world have brought SitA back from anywhere wheresoever like Sri Hayagreevar brought the Vedas killing Madhukaitapar. (17th sargam-49th slOkam)
5.   When Hanumaan went in search of sanjeevini, and other aushadhaas, he saw the pleace where chathurmukhan (brahmA) performed thiruvaaraadhanam for Lord Hayagreevar. Commentators, are reported to have praised this slOkam as "hayaananam, hayagreeva araadhana sthaanam", and "hayaananam - BhagawathO Hayagreevasya sthaanam".
6.   Sri MahAbhAratham, Santhi parvam mentions Haygreeva avataar.
7.   Sri HayagreevOpanishad, naturally elaborates the greatness of Haygreevar.
8.   In Rk vEdam, "vaagham bruNi sookhtham", "apradhiratham", Yajur vEdham, "yajnya prakaraNam", Saama vEdham, udgItam, AdharvaNa vEdham, Shanthikam, Bhaushtikam are all referring to the greatness of Lord Hayagreevar.
9.   Periya Thirumozhi 7-8-2, by Thirumangai AzhwAr says "munivvEzhu ulaghum iruL maNdiyuNNa munivarOdu ??parimukhanaay aLittha paramanai kaaNmin".. maeaning: "See the Lord who appeared as the white horse faced Lord to recover the VedhAs when the whole world was pitch dark due to the absence of four Vedas"
10.                     Thiruvaaymozhi 2-7-6 NammAzhwAr says "madhusoodhananai anRi maRRilEn.." There is NONE but Madhusoodhanan only? which refers to Lord Hayagreevan. (eeadu vyAkhyaanam also explicitly refers to Lord Hayagreevan)
11.                     Also Thiruvaaymozhi 2-8-5 "maavaaghi, amaiyaay, meenaaghi, maanidamaay." Commentators say that maavaaghi refers to Lord Hayagrrevan. Upanishad bhAshyakaaarar Sri Rangaraamanuja Swami. HayO bhUthvaa, HayagrIvO bhUthvaa? - is referred to in 9000 padi Bhagavath Vishayam. Says Saakshaath Swami or Periya Parakaala Swami. He refers the padham "maavaaghi to Lord Hayagreevan only.
12.                     PeriyAzhwAr pAsuram 1-9-10 "thunniya pEriruL soozhndhu ulaghai mooda, manniya naan maRai muRRUm maRaindhida?." Refers to Sri Hayagreevan.



Lakshmi Narayana Temple, Pulikkundram


Pulikundram is a village located 2.9 kilometres (1.8 mi) from Thirukazhukundram, an ancient town in Kanchipuram district of the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is known for its Sri Lakshmi Narayana temple. The Lakshmi Narayan temple was built between 1509 and 1529 during the reign of Krishnadevaraya Wodeyar of the Vijayanagara Empire.


  • Perumal Lakshmi
  • Shridevi & Bhoodevi sameth Varadhar Utsavar
  • Perundevi Thayar
  • P Andal 
  • Lakshmi Hayagreevar
  • Lakshmi Narasimhar 
  • Dhanavantri 
  • P Ramar 
  • Chakrathaalvar
  • Hanumar 
  • Desikar 
  • Gajabhaktar 
  • Viswaksena



  • Nithyaardhana
  • Dhanurmaas Vishesha Aaradhana
  • Pavithra Utsavam
  • Annakut Utsavam 
  • Vaikunt Ekdasi Utsavam
  • Portasi Saturday Utsavam



Alagar Koyil, near Madurai


Azhakar Kovil (Thirumaliruncholai or Azhakar temple), is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated 21 km from the city of Madurai, which lies in the Tamil Nadu state of India.
When some historic and original facts surface, people tend to treat them with reverence as it seems to be happening in Thenur, a village in the interiors, 20 km off Madurai city.
Villagers here relive an event with much fanfare which is believed to have been performed here four Centuries ago.
“Mandooga Maharishi’s redemption is an event that was unique to our village. We are trying to revive the ritual,” says hereditary temple trustee P. Neduchezia Pandian.

The legend

The legend has it that sage Suthapas (Munivar) was bathing in Nupura Gangai at Azhakar Hill and did not pay heed to Durvasar Maharishi, who was passing by.
The enraged Durvasar cursed Suthapas that he would turn into a frog until he is redeemed of his curse by Lord Sundararajar, who is also known as Kallazhakar.
The Suthapas Maharishi, who is named as ‘Mandooga’ munivar because of his frog status, performed ‘thapas’ (prayer) on the banks of river Vaigai, which is otherwise known as Vegavathi, at Thenur. The Lord Kallazhakar comes from his abode in Azhakar Hill to redeem Mandooga Maharishi of his curse, when he is praying.
Since days unknown, it is believed that the lord Kallazhakar comes to Thenur via Malaipatti, Alanganallur and Vayalur. In Thenur Mandap, the lord redeems the sage of his curse and leaves for his abode.
“During Thirumalai Nayak regime (1623 to 1659 AD), in 1653 the Mandooga Maharishi relieving ritual was shifted to Vandiyur village where the event is performed at Thennur Mandapam, built by Thirumalai Nayak himself,”

The shift

The trustee says that the Nayak king, a Vaishnavite and dedicated devotee of Goddess Meenakshi, wanted to merge the brahmotsavams of Meenakshi and Kallazhakar Temples mainly aiming at fostering communal amity between Saivites and Vaishnavites.
The Thenur villagers readily accepted the shift to Vandiyur. The happy king offered the villagers lands and ensured that they were transported to Madurai and meted out their expenses through the royal exchequer.
Following which, the king constructed a ship-shaped mandapam called ‘Thenur Mandapam’ on the river Vaigai at Vandiyur, where Mandooga episode is revoked every year during the Chithirai festival even today.
“The 24-pillared stone structure is the only testimony to Azhakar’s visit to Thenur, the ritual and the shift of the ritual,” Mr. Neduchezia Pandian notes.
The undated original mandapam at Thenur was renovated as stone structure by R. Periya Naicken Servai few decades ago. Again, in 2007, the mandapam was transformed into a temple named ‘Arulmigu Sri Sundararaja Perumal (Kallazhakar) Temple.’ The newly constructed temple has Lord Vinayaga at the entrance while Lord Sundararaja Perumal (Kallazhakar) stands with his consorts – Sri Devi and Boo Devi. Lord Karudalwar stands at the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum facing the deities. At a cost of Rs.300,000, the devotees have bought various ‘vahanas’ (vehicles) to carry deities during the festival.

Reviving original event

Since last year, the villagers perform the Mandooga Maharishi episode in the month of Vaikasi as part of the three-day temple festival with support of Alazhgar Temple hereditary Archakar Kidaripatti Alangarapattar alias Paramaswamy pattar, Mr. Neduchezia Pandian says.
Another important and unique aspect of the village is the presence of ‘thirupparkadal’ where the curse on rishi was revoked. “Given to Thenur’s association with Lord Sundararaja Perumal, the village is also known as ‘Sundarrajan Boomi,” he points out.


This year the celebrations will begin on June 6 with Kallazhakar in palanquin. The celebration will end on June 9 with ‘pattimandrams’ and light music programmes.
The main event of this Festival is Kallazhakar Crossing river function. Lakhs of people gather in vaigai river to see this festival every year. While Kallazhakar enters the river he comes to know that his sister marriage has been ended already, so he returns to Karuparayar Mandapam and then he takes ten avatharam then returns to Azhakar Kovil.


The architecture of the Azhakar temple corresponds to any of those of south Indian temples, with large gopurams and pillared mandapams.The gopuram of the Karuppa swamy shrine depicts the passionate side of human relationship in the form of beautiful statues. Apart from these, it also depicts the evolution of cultural aspects of the local society including a depiction of an Englishman in British police uniforms. There is another half built gopuram on the southern side of the temple which has been used as an artistic backdrop in a few Tamil movie songs.
The Main tower entrance (Mukya Gopuram) always remains closed, with the shrine of Karupana Swami. The very closed door itself is worshipped as PatinettAm padi Karuppan(meaning, the black Lord who (sits) at the Eighteen steps ). There are various legends associated with this. Only Once in a year, the door is opened and Sudarshana Chakra(Or ChakrathAlvar as the temple devotees mention), the famous Vishnu's wheel, passes over through the open door. Not even the Lord's Utsava Murti(deity for processions and festivals) goes through this passage. This is a centuries old practice.
The style of the buildings denote, 3rd or early 4th Century construction.
Some research scholars opine that this was earlier a Jain temple, (the somaskanda vimanamfor instance) but which however was later converted into a Vishnu temple. It is true that during archeological excavations, many Jain caves and inscriptions were found in the same hill around this temple. However, the famous Vaishnava works in Tamil, belonging to the early 4th to 6th Centuries point that to this temple as a Vishnu temple. The famous Silapadikaramtoo, that belongs to the 3rd Century AD, points out to this temple as a Vishnu temple.

Herbal forest

The Azhakar Hills has a tropical forest cover which extend from Azhakar Kovil in the south to Natham in the north. The Tamil Nadu state forest department has been maintaining a herbal garden on the hills.The entrance to the garden is restricted to siddha research scholars. The garden is irrigated by a natural spring locally known as the devi theertham or Noobura Gangai. There is a temple dedicated for Goddess Rakkayi at the top of the hill near the spring.


There is a huge population of wild Indian bison available in this forest which is not much known by the enthusiasts. Nice trek into the forest from the Nuburagangai takes you to a velley which is called Bison Valley, a lush green valley which hosts few hundreds of wild Indian bisons. The growth of wild bison population is healthy as there is no predators and the forest guards are vigilant on these animals.

Some other Sri Vishnu Temples

  • Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Vellore
  • Narasimha temple at Tindivanam
  • Yoga Narasimha temple at Velachery, Chennai
  • Uppiliappan Temple at Mayavaram
  • Chakrapani temple at Kumbakonam
  • Sarangapani temple at Kumbakonam
  • Ramaswamy temple at Kumbakonam
  • Saranathan temple at Tirucherai, Kumbakonam
  • Adi Narayana Perumal Temple, Pariyur, Gobichettipalayam
  • Kripasamudra Perumal (Arulmakadal) temple at Mayavaram
  • Thanjai Mamani Koil, Thanjavur
  • Parimala Rangantha temple at Mayavaram
  • Ugra Narasimha temple at Singaperumal Koil
  • Ari Katha Rama temple at Maduranthakam, Chennai
  • Varaha temple (Nithya kalyana Perumal) at Tiruvidanthai, Chennai
  • Varaha temple (Bhoovaraha) at Simushnam
  • Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram
  • The Parthasarathy Temple at Chennai
  • Kasthuri Ranganatha Perumal Temple at Erode Fort
  • Magudeswarar Temple, Kodumudi, Erode
  • Kongu Tirupati at Erode
  • The LakshmiNarasimhar Temple at Tindivanam
  • The Lakshmi Narayan temple at Pulikkundram near Thirukazhukundram
  • The Kesavaperumal Temple at Chennai
  • The Lakshmi Narasimhar Temple at Chennai
  • The Madhavaperumal Temple at Chennai
  • The Koodalazhagar temple,Madurai
  • The Devaraja Swami temple at Cuddalore
  • Sri Mayakoothar Devasthanams, Perungulam, Tuticorin [Thoothukudi]
  • Kottai Alagiri Nathar temple, Salem
  • Pandurangan temple, Shevapet, Salem
  • Arulmegu sattur perumal swamy temple, Solavampalayam, Kinathukadavu, Pollachi, Coimbatore
  • Sri Rajagopalan Temple, Mannargudi
  • Sri Srinivasan Temple, Thannthoni Malai, Karur

Om Tat Sat

(My humble  salutations to the great devotees ,  wikisources  and Pilgrimage tourist guide for the collection )


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