Nachiyar Koil (Thirunaraiyur Nambi Temple) – Greatness of Temple
Thirumangai Azhwar, formerly Neelan the chieftain spent all his wealth in the service of Lord Perumal. As he was not a Vaishnava, nobody recognized his bhakti and services. Sad Azhwar came to this place and begged Perumal to acknowledge him as his devotee. Pleased with Azhwar, Perumal placed the Vaishnava Mudras-symbols of discus and conch on both his hands.
Mudradanam is a ceremony of accepting one in the Vaishnava group by placing the symbols of Discuss and Conch in hands. As Lord came to this place as an Acharya-teacher, He appears with two hands. The discus and the conch are on the reverse with the front Mudradanam style. As a token of his gratitude to Perumal, Thirumangai Azhwar sung over 100 verses praising the Lord and named him Nambi.
Nambi in Tamil means a person of flawless traits. This is the only Divyadesa where Perumal came as a Guru and offered Mudradanam to a devotee.
The temple is famous by Mother Goddess as the Sri Rangam temple with Mother Sri Andal. The sanctum sanctorum is so designed centering the glory of Mother. She is a little ahead of Perumal in a standing form. Worshipping Thayar-Mother in this form is considered to be very beneficial to the devotees.
During processions too, Mother goes forward, Lord following her. First abishek is dedicated to her only. Procession Mother has a parrot in her hand and key bunch on hip confirming her predominance over the Lord.
Sri Garuda Bhagwan graces the devotees from his shrine holding 9 snakes.
A six time puja (Aaru Kalam) with Modhaga- a pudding variety- is offered to him as nivedhana. Generally only wooden or metal idols are used for procession deities. Here stone deities are used for the purpose. Four people bring the Lord out. This multiplies as 16, 32 finally. After the procession is over, He is taken back to the Sanctum Sanctorum in the same order.
It is said that two Garudas use to come during the midday puja to him to accept the nivedhana. After their disappearance in course of time, a separate shrine was built for the two eagles. People use to light the Moksha (salvation) Deepa in this shrine.
Chola king Kochenganan is a staunch Lord Shiva devotee and occupies a place among the Nayanmars. He has built about 70 Shiva temples in his life. He had a desire to see Lord Perumal in his abode Vaikuntam. He prayed to Perumal. Lord Perumal granted darshan to the king with two hands and ordered him to build a temple for him.
The king built a temple with Shiva temple design with Yalis-a lion-like pillar, enabling the devotees to have darshan of Perumal from all sides. This is a Mada-type temple. Thirumangai Aazhwar mentions this temple as Mani Mada Koil. This is the first of the Panchakrishna Perumal sthalas-places. Also, this is one of the 12 Mukti sthalas ensuring salvation to devotees. The Vimana of the temples is like a Rajagopuram.