Thirumanikkoodam (Varadaraja Perumal Temple), Thirunangur – Religious Practices & Festivals
The temple is open from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. As at other Vishnu temples of Tamilnadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavaite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: Ushathkalam at 8 a.m. Kalasanthi at 10:00 a.m., Sayarakshai at 5:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 7:00 p.m. Each ritual has three steps: Alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Pallikonda Perumal and Shenbagavalli.
During the worship, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple. The annual Theerthavari festival is celebrated during the New moon day of Tamil month of Aadi when the festival deity of the temple is taken in a procession to the sea at Poompuhar. During the new moon day of the Tamil month Thai, the festival deity of Thirumangai Azhwar is brought to the temple from Thiruvali-Thirunagari.
The Thirumangai Azhwar Mangalasasana Utsavam is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai (January–February). The highlight of the festival is Garuda Sevai, an event in which the festival images of the eleven Thirunangur Tirupathis are brought on mount designed like Garuda, called Garuda Vahana, to Thirunangur. The festive image of Thirumangai Azhwar is also brought on a Hamsa Vahanam (palanquin) and his paasurams (verses) dedicated to each of these eleven temples are recited during the occasion.
The festival images of Thirumangai Alvar and his consort Kumudhavalli Naachiyar are taken in a palanquin to each of the eleven temples. The verses dedicated to each of the eleven temples are chanted in the respective shrines. This is one of the most important festivals in the region which draws thousands of visitors. Vaikasi Brahmotsavam is another festival celebrated during May or June with much fanfare.