Neelamegha Perumal Temple, Thirukannapuram – The Temple
The temple has a 7-tier Rajagopuram about 100 ft. (30 m) and a vast temple complex measuring 1.5 acres (0.61 ha). The complex measures 316 ft. (96 m) from East to West and 210 ft. (64 m) from North to South. The second gateway tower, approached from the main gateway, measures 60 ft. (18 m). The image of the presiding deity, Neela Meghar, is housed in the sanctum, which is approached through the gateways and the Mahamandapa. The sanctum also houses the image of Sridevi and Bhoodevi on either side of Neelameghar, Dandaka Maharishi and Garuda.
The metal image of the festival deity, Sowriraja Perumal, is also housed in the sanctum, with four consorts namely Sridevi, Bhudevi, Padmini and Andal. There are also metal images of Santhana Krishnar and Chakrathaazhwar. The temple tank is situated right opposite to the temple. The hall preceding the sanctum is called Mahamandapa and the northern part of it is called Thirumanjana Mandapam, where sacred bath is performed to the festive images during festivals.
The Palliarai is the sacred chamber where the festive images of Vishnu and his consort are housed during festivals. There are separate shrines for Senai Mudaliar (the general of Vishnu's forces), Nardhana Krishna, the twelve Azhwars, Rama, Consort of presiding deity and Thaylapura Nayagi. There are four temple tanks associated with the temple, with the largest, Nitya Pushkarani, located opposite the temple measuring 450 ft. (140 m) by 415 ft. (126 m). Ksheerapati Pushkarani, Bhootavadan and Muthakaram are other three tanks of the temple.
As per a legend, the original structure extended up to seven compounds and 13 miles leading to the seashore. The ruling Chola ruler was against Vaishnavism and wanted to destroy the temple. An ardent devotee pleaded to Vishnu to appear and destruct the ruler. Vishnu was unmoved and in anger, the devotee threw discuss at the image, creating a scar. It is believed that the scar is seen in the image even during modern times. The presiding deity threw a discus to hurl the Chola forces. The image of the presiding deity is depicted hurling a discus.
The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desas of Perumal. There is a vibration effect in the sanctum sanctorum which is said to exist from days of yore. The Navagrahas the nine planets installed by Indira is on the wall under the tower facing west with respective zodiac signs. Navagrahas carved in a single stone with relative zodiac signs are installed on the northern wall at the Rajagopuram entrance. Lord Sri Rama and Mother Sita are shown as the masters of planets.
There is no Sorgavasal here as in other Perumal temples opened on the Vaikunda Ekadasi day only, because this is considered a Sorga-Vaikunda on Earth. It is also the belief that sages are on the Utpalavadhaga vimana, performing penance of Lord Vishnu. The Vimana darshan is not possible in this temple as it is covered by walls on four sides. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamilnadu.
The Moolavar of this kshetram is Sri Neelamegha Perumal. The Moolavar is giving his Seva in the standing posture facing east. Instead of Abhaya Hastham he has Varadha Hastham similar to Kanchi Varadharaja perumal. Also, he has the Prayoga Chakkaram, similar to that of Ranganatha perumal of Srirangam. Prathyaksham had been given for Kanva Maharishi, Thandaka Maharishi and Garudan.
The Thayaar found in this sthalam is Kannapura Naayaki along with Periya Piraati, Sridevi, Aandal and Padmini Thaayar.
The Utsavar of this sthalam is Utsavar Sowriraja perumal is in a pose of seeking hands for marriage.
· Nithiya Pushkarani
· Utpalaavataka Vimanam