Ulagalantha Perumal Temple (Trivikrama Temple), Tirukoyilur - Temple
The temple has eleven-tiered Rajagopuram with a height of 192 ft (59 m), the third tallest temple tower in Tamil Nadu, after the one in Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple and Srivilliputhur Andal Temple. The temple covers an area of 5 acres (20,000 m2) and houses residential buildings in the precincts around the temple tower. The presiding deity, Ulagalantha Perumal, has an imposing image made of Tharu wood with foot raised. The images of Azhwars are housed in the hall preceding the sanctum.
The image of Krishna is made of saligrama stone and is housed in a separate shrine. There are separate shrines in the first precinct for Venugopala, Lakshmi Narayana, Lakshmi Raghava, Lakshmi Narasimha, Rama, Veera Anjaneya, Andal and Shukracharya, the Guru of Asuras. Durga, otherwise housed only in Shiva temples, is a rare feature of the temple.
The main Sannidhi has a huge 17 feet Ulaganda perumal with his right foot raised. You can see Brahmma worshipping the right foot and Lakshmi sitting below this foot. The left foot is being worshipped by Bali’s grandson namunchi. In front of the lord are Prahalada and Bali Chakravarthy on one side and several rishis Mrikandu rishi, Brahma, Sounaka rishi, Kashyapa rishi, kavala rishi, on the other side. The unique feature here is the chakra is in the lord’s left hand and the conch is in his right hand a reversal signifying his happy mood. As you exit from the main Sannidhi you see a unique Sannidhi for Vishnu Durga which is rare in Vishnu temples. She is the Maya Devi who is born as the eight children before Sri Krishna.
The outer praharam has separate sannidhis for Thayar Poonkoval Nachiyaar (Pushpavalli), Vamana, Lakshmi Narayana, Lakshmi Hayagriva, Lakshmi Narasimha, Andal, Udayavar, Senai Mudaliyar, Manavaala Mamuni, Chakkarathalwar, Varadaraja and Venugopala here. There is also a Ramar temple behind the Thaayar shrine. The place is one of the Pancha Krishna Kshetrams.
The Temple is under control of the Emperumanar Jeeyar mutt.
From inscriptional evidence it is seen that the temple was constructed & maintained by the Pallava kings & later by the Vijayanagara rulers. From the sixteenth century onwards the temple administration has been in the hands of the Jeers. Emperumanar Jeer & his successors have launched several renovation programmes, mainly concerning Towers.
The temple is surrounded by high rise compound wall. The tower opposite the Rajagopuram measures 192 feet in height with intricate sculptural wonders. The idol of Tirvikramar is in the standing posture, with one raised leg, surrounded by worshipping idols. The idols are made of wood & it is indeed a wonder, that though centuries have passed, the idols still appear fresh & bright in a well preserved state. The Thayar is called Poongovil, enshrined in a huge mandapam of great structural beauty. Goddess Durga, usually seen in Saiva temples, is considered the custodian of the temple worshipped with great devotion.
This is a vast temple with an imposing Rajagopuram seen from a distance. Covering an area of 5 acres, it has three prakarams. There is a small shrine to Vamana behind the image of Trivikrama. An Ardhamandapam, a Mahamandapam, and the Pandya Mandapam are seen in front of the sanctum. There are shrines to Lakshminarayanar, Lakshminarasimhar, Andal, Udayavar, Senai Mudaliyar, Manavaala Mamuni, Chakkarathalwar, Poonkoyil Naachiyaar (Pushpavalli), Varadaraja and Venugopala here. There is also a Ramar temple behind the Thaayar shrine. The rear gopuram in a comparative state of disrepair is not used.
This temple was originally a brick and mortar structure in the period of Parantaka Chola I (early 10th century); it was patronized by the great Chola rulers Raja Raja Chola I and Raja Raja II. Rajendra Deva in the 11th century rebuilt it of granite.
Two gopurams are found (i.e) one in front and another at the back. Front Gopuram is big gopuram and chariot is found close to it.
On the North side of the temple is found a small gopuram, which is built incompletely. Poigai Alwar wanted a small gopuram to be built within a day and he himself wanted to build it. But, he could not build it since the daylight came. So, he left the temple incomplete.
Inside the temple, the Kodi Maram (Dhwajasthambham) and the Gopura Vaayil (entrance) is found. This is said to be built by Thirumangai Alwar and then a big Mandapam built by King Pandiyan followed is the Mulasthanam (Where Moolavar is found).
The Utsavar (Procession Deity) is Shri Aayanaar, Shri Govalan (Shri Gopalan). The Utsavar show 3 postures (Nindra (Standing), Kidantha (Reclining) and Veetrirundha (sitting) Sevas). Utsavar Thaayar (Consort) name is Shri Pushpa valli Thaayar.
Shrine inside the temple:
· Shri Durga
· Shri Lakshmi Narayanan
· Shri Lakshmi Varaagan
· Shri Lakshmi Narasimhan
· Shri Ramar
· Sri Aandaal
· Shri Udayavar
· Shri Thiru Kacha Nambi
· Sri Manavaala Maamunigal.
One of the special features is that one idol contains the forms of two Gods - front side as Chakkarathalwar with sixteen hands and the back side as Narasimhar.
Devout Hindus offer pindas and arrange samaradhanas on large scale at this place. There are several sacred theerthas around this temple. One of them is the Chakra Theertha. It is believed that Brahma washed the feet of Trivikrama with water from his kamandalam. This water is said to have collected in a pool called Chakra Theertha. According to tradition, Agasthya bathed in this tirtha before the commencement of his dirghatapas to get the darshan of Lord Trivikrama. Bathing in the waters of this theertham is considered very sacred, especially in the Tamil month Ani.
Some of the other theerthas are Mrikanda theertham - bathing here blesses one with health, wealth, strength, money, fame, power and above all with offspring.
Kalava theertham - situated on the south-west of the main temple, the water is always pure, clear, sweet and sparkles like crystal, purging off sins instantly.
Varaha Thirtham - Parasuramar, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is said to have bathed in these holy waters to atone his sins of having killed the kshatriyas.
The tower of the temple has eleven tiers and is 192 feet tall – the third tallest in the state, the first being at Sri Rangam, and the second at Srivilliputhur. The tower is filled with intricate figurines of god and goddesses. Pastimes from the Ramayana and Srimad Bhagavatam are the subject of the carvings on the gopuram. The temple premise is 5 acres in area. Even after crossing the main tower, there are residential parts.
The Deity, made of tharu wood, is in a standing posture. Against tradition, the Supreme Lord as Vaamadeva here holds the conch in His right hand and the discus in His left. Of the 108 temples of the Supreme Lord, this is the only temple with a self-manifested Durga deity in one of the sub shrines. This is an important Kshetra for the Vaishnavas and Hindus in general in the Tamilnadu region.
Shukracharya (Venus in the zodiac sign), Guru of the asuras, has a place in the temple, commemorating his position as the spiritual master of Mahabali.
It is mostly in Shiva temples that we see Mother Vishnu Durga in the prakarams. Deities other than Vishnu and Vishnu tattvas are not generally seen in Vaishnava temples. In Thirukkovilur temple, Lord and His beloved sister Durga (Maya form of Lord Vishnu) are in shrines near each other. Thirumangai Alwar, who generally praises only the Lord in his hymns, had glorified Mother Durga in one of his verses. There is a 40 feet tall Garuda pillar with a small temple built on it opposite the Supreme Lord’s shrine. It is believed that Garuda deva is worshipping Lord from this temple.
Lord Krishna made of Salagrama graces the devotees from a shrine on the right side of the gopuram entrance. The devotees must begin worship from this shrine and only then pass on to have darshana of the presiding Lord Thirivikrama. The great Vaishnava acharya, Manavala Maamunigal, also had rendered many hymns in praise of Lord Ulagalantha Perumal. The consort of the Lord is devotionally addressed as Sri Pushpavalli Thayar.
According to scriptures, Sage Parasurama and Sage Agasthya had performed penance at Thirukkovilur. The river flowing nearby was known in ancient times as Krishnabadra and is now known as Thenpennai. The temple pond adjacent to the gopuram is called Krishnathirtha. Srikara vimana is atop the sanctum sanctorum.
Main Deity: Thiruvikraman (with feet lifted up posture)
Ambal: Poongovil Nachiar.
Holy Water: Pennai River; Krishna Theertham; Chakra Theertham.
Temple Tree: Punnai tree (calophyllum inophyllum).
Vimanam: Sri Hara Vimanam.