Friday, August 19, 2016

Venkatamudayan Perumal Temple (Then Tirupati), Ariyakudi, Karaikudi, Sivaganga

Venkatamudayan Perumal Temple (Then Tirupati), Ariyakudi, Karaikudi, Sivaganga
Venkatamudayan Perumal Temple (Also called as Then Tirupati) is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located at Ariyakudi near Karaikudi in Sivaganga District of Tamilnadu. Then Tirupati is 500 years old and is considered to be a distinct change from traditional temples. Garuda, the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu, is shown with two lions on each side. This temple is especially associated with Garuda. The day in the month of Aadi (July-August) called Maha Swathi is considered the birthday of Garuda.

A special pooja is performed on this day. Processional icons of deities used to be supplied by Srirangam temple in Sri Ramanuja’s time. Sevugan Chettiar took special efforts to get Thiruvenkamudayan worshipped by the Ramanuja Acharya for this temple. This temple is an important abode of Lord Balaji. The Sadari (Padukas or feet of the Lord) were brought from Tirupati and Agni (fire) from Thirumayam to commence the temple work. Since then this place came to be known as Ariyakudi (rare land) and Then Tirupathi (Tirupathi of the south).

Then Tirupathi temple is considered important next to Srirangam. People who are unable to go to Tirupathi to fulfill vows can alternatively visit this shrine or Uppiliappan in Kumbakonam. The 17th Century AD temple has a connection with Three Divya Desams - The idol of Srinivasa Perumal was the Abhisheka idol of Ramanuja at Srirangam, Shataari is from Tirupathi and Sacred fire (Agni) from Thirukoshtiyur. This is the biggest Vishnu Temple in the Chettinad Region with the 7 Tier Raja Gopuram measuring 80ft. It is located about 4 kms South East of Karaikudi Railway Station on a huge 3 ½ acre land.

This is a famous Vaishnava place established by Nattukottai Nagarathar community. Sevukan Chettiar, belonging to this community was a staunch Vishnu devotee. Those who visit him use to place their contributions in the Hundi. Each year Chettiar used to carry the accumulated money on his head and place it at Tirupati temple. He walked the whole distance. As he grew old, on one such trip, he fainted on the way.

Lord appeared before him and said that he need not walk at this age and that he would come to his place himself. Lord asked Chettiar to go towards west & he would spot his place there.  He found a Tulsi plant and a coconut shell where the temple now stands.  While curing the land for building the temple, the idol of the presiding deity was found.  As the devotees did not want to install Perumal alone without his consorts as in Tirupati, he was installed with Sridevi and Bhoodevi.

Connection with three Divya Desams:
He was directed to Srirangam to collect the idol, one which was the Abhisheka Murthy of Ramanuja. He came back here to this dense forest area of Ariyakudi and installed the idol of Srinivasa Perumal and built the first prakara. Subsequently, the 7tiered 80ft tall Raja Gopuram was built along with a separate Sannidhi for Alarmel Mangai Thaayar.  

The Speciality at this temple here at Ariyakudi is that the idol is from Srirangam, the Shataari is from Tirupathi and Agni (the sacred fire) is from Thirukoshtiyur. In memory of the construction by Sevukan Chettiyar, his idol can be seen on one of the main pillars inside the first prakara.

Greatness of Temple
It is considered a distinct change in the tradition and a specialty that Garuda the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu graces with two lions on each side.  Special pujas are performed to Garuda on Swati star days each month and a special puja on the Swati Star day in the month of Aadi (July-August) called Maha Swati, the birth day of Garuda.
Knowing that procession deities are supplied by Srirangam temple during Sri Ramanuja’s time, Sevukan Chettiar took efforts to get Thiruvenkamudayan worshipped by the Acharya for this temple.  The Sadari (Padukas or feet of the Lord) was brought from Tirupati and Agni (fire) from Thirumayam to start the temple work.  Since then, the place came to be known as Ariyakudi (rare land) and Then Tirupathi (Tirupati of South).
The Temple
The presiding deity of the temple is Thiruvenkatamudayam with Sridevi and Bhoodevi Thayar. There is a separate Sannadhi for Alarmelmangai Thayar in the temple. The temple is popular as Then Tirupathi meaning Tirupathi of the South. The temple is around 400-500 years old Perumal in the temple is Swayambumurthy. Garuda, the eagle vehicle of Lord Vishnu graces with two lions on each side is the specialty in the temple. There is a Narasimhar temple right opposite the main temple. The seven-tier, 120 ft. Rajagopuram that has link with the three Divya Desams, is the tallest for a Vishnu temple in the Chettinad region.

Sadly, some of the beautifully crafted idols atop the rishi gopuram and the one behind the raja gopuram have been damaged by monkeys. In some, the heads are missing, while the hand in Brahma’s idol has come off. The temple looks so beautiful with colourful images. One can see the "Moolai Garuda" in the corner with vimana. It is a small shrine gracing here is most significant feature of the temple. Puja for Garuda on Swati star is observed every month & a special puja is performed for Garuda on Mahaswati, the birthday of Garuda in the month of Aadi (July-August).

One cannot miss the Palliarai of the temple as it attracts with lot of colourful images. Famous saying about this temple is One can be relieved from "Mukkala Vinai" by worshipping Moola Garuda. Also Golden Garuda is found in this temple looks so graceful. Garuda here graces with two lions on each side is significant. The offerings and contributions to Tirupathi can be made here. Thiruvenkatamudayam is east facing and in standing posture. Utsavar Idol is Srinivasa Perumal.

On the North East corner of the temple is the Garuda Sannidhi. Every month on the Swathi star day, a special Thirumanjana, with 108 sacred Kudam, is performed for Garuda, who is said to remove doshams and enemies.

Ancient Herbal Paintings:
There are several ancient herbal paintings inside the temple each of which still has a breadth of freshness about them. These paintings are on the walls of the Ekadasi Mandapa in the temple. The mandapa, a unique feature of the temple is open to devotees only once a year during Vaikunta Ekadasi. A shed will be built to prevent water from entering the mandapa during the rains.

Temple Tank:
There is a huge tank to the North of the temple where the annual Theppotsavam takes place in the month of Vaikasi. 
·        Tiruvenkatamudaiyaan
·        Alarmel Mangai Thayar
·        Andal
·        Senai Mudaliyar
·        Chakrathaazhwar
·        Vishwaksenar
·        Desikar
·        Ramar
·        Garuda (one in outer prakaram too)
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Thirumanjanam on Chithirai first day and Lord’s procession on Full Moon day in the same month (April-May), Swarna Garuda Vahana Procession on the opening day of Chitrai, 14day Brahmotsavam in Vaikasi including Chariot Festival and Theppotsavam, Aadi Pooram in July-August, Gokhulashtami in August-September, Saturdays in the month of Purattasi (September-October), Vaikunda Ekadasi in December-January and Wedding Festival to Lord and Mother on Panguni Uthiram in March-April, are the festivals celebrated in the temple.
Puratasi Thiruvonam Festival - Every year during the Thiruvonam festival in Puratasi, devotees have the honour of being blessed by the Lords from these three Divya Desams (via the Abhisheka idol, the Shataari and the sacred fire brought from Thirukoshtiyur for the Karpoora Aradhana) at the Dasavathara mandapa.
The chariot festival and theppotsavam take place in Vaikasi as part of the 15-day Brahmotsavam. While thousands of devotees visit the temple during the annual Vaikasi festival, as well as on Saturdays during Purattasi.
The 20th century Carnatic Music legend Ramanuja Iyengar hailed from Ariyakudi. An archival record dating back to 1937 features a Kutcheri presentation by him here at Ariyakudi.
Devotees pray for removal of obstacle in marriage talks, for child boon and excellence in academic pursuits. Devotees perform Thirumanjanam with vastras to Perumal and Mother.
Sri Tiruvengadam Udayan Temple,
Ariyakudi, Sivaganga District
Phone: +91 - 4565 - 231 299 / 04565 221961
Phone: +91 - 4565 250144 / 04565 250028
Mobile: +91 - 94866 34228 / 99400 77991
This Ariyakudi temple is 4 km from Karaikudi on the Rameswaram Road. Buses and autos are available from Karaikudi. Nearest Railway Station is located at Karaikudi and Nearest Airport is located at Trichy.