Nachiyar Koil (Thirunaraiyur Nambi Temple) – Kal Garuda (Stone Garuda)
Kal Garuda, an image of Vishnu's mount - Garuda, is the most prominent feature of the temple. As per local legend, the sculptor who sculpted the idol of Garuda got frustrated as the bird flew away each time, a new image was prepared. In frustration, he threw a stone at Garuda, who got injured and decided to stay at the temple as Kal Garuda. The image of Kal Garuda is made of saligrama and is housed in the shrine outside the main sanctum.
During festive procession during the Tamil months of Margazhi (December–January) and Panguni (March - April), the festive images are carried out in procession in Kal Garudan. There is a unique specialty regarding the stone idol of Garuda. When taken out for a procession, until a step out of his Sannathi he can be easily carried by 4 persons. Then inside the temple his weight would increase as to be carried by 8 persons, then further outside the praharam he would weigh heavy so that 16 persons are required to carry him. Totally outside the temple not even 32 persons are enough to carry him, he would get heavier and heavier ahead. He would sweat a lot too so that his cloths get drenched in the sweat.
But after the procession is over, while returning to his Sannadhi he would start losing his weight (step by step) or (stage by stage). This is a remarkable wonder that takes place only at this place.
Only supernatural force is acting on that idol when 4 people carry, if we replicate the same idol somewhere else, 128 people are required to lift. On the way back only 4 people are required to carry the float in the decreasing order 128, 64, 32, 16, 8, 4. The aspect is treated magical as drops of sweat are also observed on the image of Kal Garuda during the six hour long procession. During the festive occasion, Garuda receives honors from Srinivasa Perumal (presiding deity) in the form of dress and ornaments. Jewels and dress are also presented to Garuda by Ranganatha, the presiding Vishnu form of Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple.
Here Stone idol of the bird Garuda, Stands as the Vahanam or Vehicle to Narayur Nambi whereas Annam or the Swan is the Vahanam of the Godess Vagulambika.
Garuda has a separate Sannathi in this temple extending about 10 1/2 sq.ft's. He has beautiful big wings, broad chest and long hair. In Tamil month Margazhi and Panguni the festival "Kal Garuda Sevai" (i.e.) the festival where the idol of Narayur Nambi placed on the stone idol of Garuda and taken out into vibrant procession is taken place every year.
This Garuda is treated in equivalence to Lord Vinayaka and so a dish Mothakam named as "Amudha Kalasam" is offered to him. Also, the slow progress of Lord Narayur Nambi with Garuda reveals his commitments with saint Medhavi indirectly. As all know, the swan or Anna Patchi is a delicate bird which moves in a slow and delicate manner. But, Garuda is a huge bird which can fly swiftly.
But when both the god and goddess are taken out in a procession, the lord god should lead the procession as he is carried by the bird. But his promise that his wife would have the first place in everything would be broken.
Hence, Garuda becomes heavier and it becomes tough for the devotees to carry him faster than the light weight Annapatchi. So, in this way perumal fulfills his word.