Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Temple, Woraiyur – Legends
As per Hindu legend, Vishnu was pleased by the worship of the childless Chola king Nanda Chola and blessed the king that Lakshmi, his consort, would be born to him and at appropriate age, he would get married with her. The king found the child in a lotus tank while hunting in a forest. Since the child was born out of lotus, she was named Kamalavalli by the king. When she attained the marriageable age, she saw Lord Ranganatha riding on a horse and determined to marry him.
Lord appeared in the dream of the king and expressed his desire to marry Kamalavalli. The king took his daughter to Srirangam where Kamalavalli joined the Lord. He built a temple to commemorate the occasion. The event is celebrated as Serthi Sevai festival every year. Since Vishnu appeared as Azhagiya Manavalan, meaning a beautiful groom, the temple is called Azhagiya Manavalan Temple.
New ring for Ranganayaki:
The episode leading to the buying of a new ring for Ranganayaki Thayar goes thus: Learning about the Lords’ trip to Woraiyur to meet Kamalavalli and presenting his ring to the Nachiyar, Ranganayaki Thayar fumes with anger. On the occasion of Panguni Uthiram (the fifth day of Panguni), Namperumal decides to meet Ranganayaki Thayar at her sannidhi located on the Northern side of the Srirangam temple. To convince Ranganayaki, it is believed that, the Lord goes around the Chitra and Uthira streets to meet the devotees and collect money to buy a new ring for Thayar. After over three hours, Namperumal reaches the Thayar Sannidhi.
As if waiting for a chance, Ranganayaki shuts the door refusing him entry into the Sannidhi. The Lord’s repeated attempts to move into the sannidhi fail. To top it all, He is even pelted with butter and fruits from the other side. A war of words ensues between the two with the Lord trying his best to convince Thayar of his commitment to her. During the 90-minute debate, which was one of the biggest highlights of Panguni Uthiram festival, the Araiyars represented Namperumal as the mediator between the Lord (waiting outside the entrance of the Thaayar Sannidhi) and Thayar.
After an intense debate, with Namperumal trying unsuccessfully to convince Thayar, Nammazhwar, who had been closely watching the drama, intervenes and advises the Goddess to accept the Lord once again. Immediately, accepting this directive, Ranganayaki relents – “Lord, I accept you as directed by Nammazhwar. Please come in.” This heated debate between the two and the way it ends, with Thayar accepting the Lord again, showcases to the world the beautiful relationship between a husband and a wife.
Panguni visit of Lord Ranganatha:
Every year in the month of Panguni, a significant event takes place at the Uraiyur temple. Lord Ranganatha, in all his splendour, leaves the Srirangam temple at 4 am to take the 6 km journey across the Cauvery in a golden palanquin to meet his beloved Kamalavalli Naachiyar for the ‘Kalyana Utsavam’ (marriage festivities). On this auspicious day in the month of Panguni, the entire marriage formalities between Lord Ranganatha and Kamalavalli Nachiyar are enacted at the Uraiyur Temple. Lord Ranganatha takes the trip back to Srirangam across the Cauvery that same night. At the Woraiyur temple, Kamalavalli Nachiyar is seen in a grand sitting posture, all set to get married. Being the handsome man in wedding attire, Lord Ranganatha here is called ‘Azhagiya Mana Valan’.
Birth Place of Thirupaan Azhvaar:
Uraiyur is also the birth place of Thirupaan Azhvaar. There is a separate sannidhi for Thirupaan Azhvaar at the Uraiyur temple. The Tiruppanaazhvaar festival is celebrated in a grand way at this temple in Karthigai (Nov-Dec).
Thirumangai Azhvaar's reference to Kozhiyur:
There’s a belief that an Elephant of a Chozha king, which entered this place, was beaten back by a valiant Hen and had to retreat. Hence, this place is also called Kozhiyoor (Kozhi means Hen in Tamil). In his praise of Uraiyur Lord, Thirumangai Azhvaar refers to this place as Kozhiyur and the Lord as being truly handsome.
கோழியும் கடலும் கோயில் கொண்ட கோவலரே யொப்பர் குன்றமன்ன
பாழியும் டோழுமொரே நான் குடையார்
பண்டிவர் தம்மயாம் கண்டறி யோம்
வாழிய ரோ விவர் வண்ண மென்னில்
மாகடல் போன்றுளர் கையில் வெய்ய
அழியோன் றேந்தியோர் சங்கு பற்றி
அச்சோ ஒருவர் அழகிய வா
Visit of 4 Divya Desams:
In centuries gone by, devotees used to first visit the Uraiyur Divya Desam, walk across the Cauvery to the Srirangam Ranganatha temple and then across the Coloroon to Uthamar Koil and finally to Thiru Vellarai, thus covering four Divya Desams in one go.