Sunday, June 12, 2016

Kallazhagar Temple, Alagarkoil, Madurai

Kallazhagar Temple, Alagarkoil, Madurai 
Kallazhagar Temple in Alagarkoil, a village in the South Indian state of Tamilnadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Kallazhagar and his consort Lakshmi as Thirumamagal.




It is situated at a distance of 21 km from Madurai, on foot of Alagar hills, amongst the natural beauty of the woods. The Vaishnavite temple is famous for its beautiful sculptures and exquisite 'mandapams'. It is believed that pilgrims visited Azhagar Kovil even in the early days of the Sangam age. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Vishnu came to this place from his heavenly abode to give away Goddess Meenakshi in marriage to Lord Sundareswarar.



Here 'Vishnu' presides as Meenakshi's brother 'Azhagar'. During the Chitrai festival in April/May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarar is celebrated, Azhagar travels to Madurai. A gold processional icon called the Sundararajar is carried by devotees in procession from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai for wedding ritual. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a seven-tiered Rajagopuram. Kallazhagar is believed to have appeared sage Suthapava.



The Kalyana Mandapa of the temple has beautiful sculptures on its pillars which are fine specimens of Nayaka art. In addition to the life-size sculptures of the kings who ruled over this place, there are many delicately carved idols relating to the epics. They are magnificent in concept and yet jewel-like in the delicacy of the chisel. Some of them surpass the workmanship found in similar pillars of the famous Meenakshi temple of Madurai. The notable ones are those of Narasimha, Krishna, Rathi seated on the parrot, Manmatha and Vishnu on Garuda and a few others.



Apart from these the idol of Tirumala Nayaka found on a pillar is claimed to be the best when compared with similar figures found elsewhere. The inscriptions of various dynasties found in this temple, as also in a cavern on the hill, throw light on the antiquity of this place. Some of them date back to the glorious reign of Ashoka. It is believed that the renowned Jaina teacher Ajjanandi and his disciples were staying on the caves of this hillock.



Amongst the many festivals that are conducted here, the Chitra festival is the most important one. During this festival, the processional idol of Alagar is taken to Madurai, halting at various places on the way. This festival attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from South India as well as from other parts of the country. 



A legend is popular how Alagar, the brother of Meenakshi was unable to attend her marriage in time and how he turned back from the banks of the Vaigai River. It is surprising what a strong visible influence this picturesque belief has been left in the environs of Madurai. 



The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship. Six daily rituals and many yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the float festival during the Tamil month of Masi (February–March), Navarathri during September–October and Vaikunta Ekadasi during Margazhi (December–January) being the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamilnadu.




Alagarkoil is only 21 kms from Madurai and is connected by an excellent road. Frequent buses operate to this place from Madurai. Taxis are also available. There are a few rest houses at Alagar koil, but it is advisable to stay at Madurai where excellent lodgings of all grades are available.




Legends
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History
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The Temple
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Theerthams
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Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6 am to 12 noon in the morning and from 4 pm to 9 pm in the evenings.
Pooja Timings & Fees Details
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Religious Practises & Festivals
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Literary Mention
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Contact Details
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Connectivity
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