Ulagalantha Perumal Temple (Trivikrama Temple), Tirukoyilur – Greatness of the Temple
The object of Lord in his Vamanavatara-Trivikrama Avataram was to teach that wealth of even great kings should not land them pride and arrogance. He took the Viswaroopam, measured the space with his right Leg and the Earth with the right. He stood too tall touching both earth and sky. In his extreme delight to bless Emperor Mahabali, the illustrious grandson of Prahalada who was instrumental for his Narasimha Avatar, Lord appears here with the conch in the right hand and the discus in the left-vice-versa. This is described as his teaching wisdom to devotees. His posture-left leg on the earth and the right in the sky-appears as if he is asking where to place his foot for the third foot of land due from Mahabali as promised to him. Lord Brahmma is worshipping the foot in the sky.
This is a very popular story of Lord Vishnu as a Vamana seeking three foot step land from Mahabali, which he could not afford as Lord had covered both earth and sky with two feet itself leaving no space for the third.
Sage Mrigandu wanted to have this Viswaroopa Darshan of Lord and approached Lord Brahmma for his advice. Brahmma suggested that the sage go to Krishna Kshetra (now Thirukkovilur) on the banks of Krishnabadra River to realize his wish. The sage along with his wife Mitravathi came to this place and performed severe penance for the darshan of Lord.
Lord came to their abode in the guise of an old Brahmin and begged for food. They didn’t have even a single grain of rice to offer. The sage turned to his wife. Mitravathi went in, took a bowl in hand and prayed to Lord Narayana to fill the bowl with food if she was the chaste wife of the sage. The bowl was full of delicious food. Pleased with their penance, Perumal granted his Viswaroopa darshan to the sage couple.
This is the holy place where the first three Azhwars-Poigai Azhwar, Boodhathazhwar and Periyazhwar- met together incidentally by the grace of Lord. It was night raining heavily. Poigai Azhwar sought a place in the Ashram of Sage Mrigandu. He was shown a place to rest down. After a little while, Boodhathazhwar came to the same place for a space. The first Azhwar shared the space just sufficient for two to sit. The third Azhwar-Periazhwar too came there. The two shared the space with him sufficient only for standing. Suddenly, they were pressed due to the presence of a fourth comer who was but Perumal himself granting his darshan.
The songs sung by the three Azhwars how they were blessed with darshan of Lord as lighting a lamp to dispense the rainy darkness, is chanted even now by the devotees while lighting lamps in their houses in mornings and evenings.
The Three Azhwars attained salvation in this holy land. Lord Perumal is praised as Ulagu Alanda Perumal-Ulagalanda Perumal as he sought a small piece of land measuring just three feet. The idol is made of wood in a standing posture, the tallest in the country. Against the tradition, Perumal is holding the conch in the right hand and the discus in the left. Of the 108 Divya Desas of Perumal, this is the only temple with Swayambu Vishnu Durga. This is an important Kshetra for the Vaishnavas and Hindus in general in the Nadu Naadu region. The tower of the temple is third tallest in the state scaling 192 feet. Shukracharya, (Venus in the zodiac sign) Guru of the Asuras, has a place in the temple.
It is noteworthy that the Holy Scriptures Nalayira Divya Prabandham containing 4000 verses in praise of Lord Vishnu sung by 12 Azhwars from time to time at various places began from Thirukkovilur.
It is mostly in Shiva temples, we see Mother Vishnu Durga in the prakarams. In Thirukkovilur temple, Lord and his beloved Sister Durga (Maya the feminine form of Lord Vishnu) are in shrines nearby to each other. Thirumangai Azhwar who generally praises Lord alone in his hymns had made a devotional line to Mother Durga in one of his verses. People pray to Mother Vishnu Durga during Rahu Kalams on Tuesdays and Fridays for relief from the adverse aspects of planets.
There is a 40 feet tall Garuda Pillar with a small temple built on it opposite Perumal shrine. It is believed that Garuda Bhagwan is worshipping Lord from this temple.
Of the Pancha Krishna Sthalas – Five great temples of Lord Krishna – 1) Thirukkovilur, 2) Thirukannapuram, 3) Thirukannangudi, 4) Thirukannamangai and 5) Kabisthalam, Thirukkovilur is the first. Lord Krishna in this temple, made of Salagrama stone, graces the devotees from a shrine on the right side of the Gopuram entrance. The devotees must begin the worship from this shrine and pass to the presiding Perumal only then. Great Vaishnava Acharya Manavaala Maamunigal also had rendered many hymns in praise of Lord Perumal.
According to scriptures and Tamil literatures, Sage Parasurama and Sage Agasthya had performed penance at Thirukkovilur. The puranic age Krishnabadra River is flowing now in the name of Thenpennai. Before butter (Vennai in Tamil) melts, Pennai (the name of the river) melts, is an old saying.
This shrine marks the incarnation of Vamana Thirivikrama (Vamana Avatar).At this Divya Desam, the three first Azhwars, Poigai Azhwar, ‘Bhoothathazhwar’ and ‘Pey azhwar’ together had a Dharshan of Perumal and the Devi and composed Three Thiruvandhathi. Moolavar (main idol) holds the conch in his right hand and the chakra on his left hand and measures the world with his raised right foot. The Durgai inside this temple is not considered Devadandiram. The pedigrees of Emperumanar Jeeyars have authority over this shrine. There is a separate Sannidhi for Krishna who is made of Salagramam.