Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Srivilliputhur Andal Kovil, Virudhunagar

Srivilliputhur Andal Kovil, Virudhunagar
Srivilliputhur Andal Kovil is a popular 2000-year-old Hindu temple and one of the 108 Divya Desams, the most important abodes of Lord Vishnu. 
It is the birthplace of two of the most important alvars (saints) in the Vaishnavite tradition: Periyazhvar and Andal.

The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship. The temple is in the town of Srivilliputtur, about 74 km from Madurai, India & very near to Rajapalayam. It is significant that the temple tower is used in the Tamil Nadu government's official seal.
Srivilliputtur is a temple town and one of the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Sri Vishnu. To the devotees and vaishnavites, Srivilliputtur is synonymous with Lord Vishnu, Periyalwar and Andal. It is an interesting place to any aesthetic person for enjoying the sculpture and ancient drawings in the temple. It gave –‘Thiruppavai’ of Andal and ‘Tirupallandu’ of Periyalvar- the hymns on Lord Vishnu to Tamil Literature. These Tamil hymns – Tamil Vedam-Alwar pasurams- are recited everyday at this temple. 

Srivilliputhur Andal Kovil is one of the most famous Temples in Tamilnadu. Srivilliputtur is one of the old historical town in Tamilnadu, India for the following aspects
1. A 2000-year-old temple,
2. 200-year-old Hindu School,
3. 135-year-old Pennington Public Library
4. Thiruppavai, one of the important constituent of devotional Tamil literature period was from this temple town.
As per Hindu legend, the land around Srivilliputhur was under the rule of Queen Malli. The queen had two sons called Villi and Kandan. While the two were hunting in a forest, a tiger killed Kandan. Unaware of this, Villi searched for his brother, got tired and fell asleep. In his dream, divinity narrated to him what happened to his brother. By divine orders, Villi founded a city. The city is originally named after its founder, Villi forming the word Sri-Villi-Puthur.
The history of Srivilliputhur centers around the Srivilliputhur Temple, dedicated to Andal (8th century or earlier), the only female Alvar of the 12 Alvar saints of South India. She is credited with the Tamil works of Thiruppavai and Nachiar Tirumozhi that are still recited by devotees during the winter festival season of Margazhi. Andal is known for her unwavering devotion to god Vishnu, the God of the Srivaishnavas. Adopted by her father, the Alvar saint Periyalvar who found her as a baby, Andal avoided earthly marriage, the normal and expected path for women of her culture, to "marry" Vishnu, both spiritually and physically. In many places in India, particularly in Tamil Nadu, Andal is treated more than a saint and as a form of god herself and a shrine for Andal is dedicated in most Vishnu temples.

During the reign of Thirumalai Naikar (1623–1659) and Rani Mangammal (1689–1706), this city became very popular. Thirumalai Nayak renovated the temples of this city. From 1751 to 1756 A.D., Srivilliputhur came under the rule of Nerkattum Seval  Palayakarar Puli Thevar and was maravarpalayam.
Later the Fort of Srivilliputtur was ruled by Periyasami Thevar. Then it fell into the hands of Mohammed Yusuf Khan. Until 1850, Sri Andal temple was under the care of the king of Travancore. Then British ruled the country till India attained freedom in 1947.
The temple consists of two parts. The first part is called Vadabadra Sayanar Temple and the second part is known as Andal Sannathi. Vadabadra Sayanar Temple was constructed by the King villi who ruled the place. The tall tower was constructed by Periya Alwar with the help provided by the Pandiya king Vallabadevan AD 765-815 as per Guru Parampara traditions.
Similarly Andal Sannathi had been constructed by different kings of Pandiyan Dynasty at different times. Even now we can see the Fish Emblem at the roof as a symbol of Pandiya kings. King Thirumalai Naickar had done many renovations. The “Sukravara Kuradu” bears the statues of Thirumalai Naickar, his brother Chokkapa Naickar and their wives.

The Raja Gopuram is one of the tallest in Tamilnadu. It is also the Emblem of Tamil Nadu Government. It has eleven stages. The great poet Kamban has praises it in lofty terms and the poem finds a place in the Tower.
Within the temple's sanctum sanctorum is an image of the Lord in a reclining posture; His consorts, Sri Devi and Bhooma Devi, are shown attending to him at His feet. Sage Bhrgu stands near His head and Markandeya is near His feet. The banyan tree — whose leaf is known as Vatapatram, on which the Lord is said to rest in the form of a baby during deluge — is at His head, behind Sage Bhrgu.

Images of Panchamurtis, Thumburu, Narada, Sanatkumara, Kinnara Mithuna, the Sun and the Moon are shown all around Rangamannar as well as representations of Villi and Puttan, who stand reverently at His feet. The sanctum sanctorum has three doorways from which the Lord can be seen in His reclining posture. A flight of stairs leads to the sanctum sanctorum; below them is a large, impressive hall with detailed wooden carvings depicting incidents from the Puranas. These carvings support as well as decorate the ceiling.

The tall towers, massive car, huge tank, sculpted pillars, ancient Ramayana frescoes and modern wall paintings depicting the Lords of 108 Divyadesams, numerous inscriptions dating back to the rule of Pandya kings, fine rectangular hall with a wooden roof and above all its unique “Thiruppavai Vimanam” speak volumes of their rich architectural heritage. ”
Andal Legend
Andal is believed to have been discovered under a Tulsi (Basil) plant in the temple garden of Srivilliputtur, by a person named Vishnucitta who later became one of the most revered saints in Hinduism, Periyalvar.
The child was named Kodhai. This is popularly thought to mean “a beautiful garland” in Tamil. The name Kodhai is often Sanskritized as Goda. She has been accepted as a reincarnation of Bhumi Devi (the Earth Goddess).
She is considered to be bhooma devi avatar just after that of Sita (wife of Lord Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu, as described in the epic Ramayana).The series of Bhumi Devi’s incarnations start from the Varaha Puranam – In Hindu mythology, Vedavati is speculated to have been the spirit of Sita Devi, the wife of Lord Rama in the epic Ramayana. She was another avatar of Devi Lakshmi. Vedavati is the daughter of Brahmarshi Kusadhvaja, who is the son of Brihaspati, Lord-Guru of the Devas, the Gods.
Having spent his life chanting and studying the sacred Vedas, he names his daughter Vedavati, or Embodiment of the Vedas, born as the fruit of his bhakti and tapasya.
Kodhai was brought up by Vishnucitta. Kodhai grew up in an atmosphere of love and devotion. Vishnucitta doted on her in every respect, singing songs to her about Lord Vishnu; teaching her all the stories and philosophy he knew; and sharing with her his love for Tamil poetry.
As Kodhai grew into a beautiful maiden, her love and devotion for the Lord grew to the extent that she decided to marry none but the Lord Himself only. As days progressed, her resolve strengthened and she started to live in a dream world with her beloved Lord and was constantly fantasizing about marrying Him.
Vishnucitta had the responsibility of delivering flower garlands to the Lord’s temple, everyday. Kodhai made these garlands and sent it to her beloved Lord through her father. Eventually she started acting unusual by wearing the flower garland which was meant to be offered to the Lord. This is generally considered sacrilege in Hinduism because the scriptures teach the devotees not to offer to the Lord, a thing that has already been used by a human being.
However, Kodhai felt she should test to see how the garland suited her and only if it did, she should offer it to the Lord.
One day, she was caught red-handed by her father in this strange act, and as an orthodox devotee he was extremely upset. He rebuked her and told her not to repeat the sacrilegious act in the future. Frightened and apologetic, Kodhai made a new garland for the offering that day.
Legend says that that very night the Lord appeared to Vishnucitta in his dream and asked him why he had discarded Kodhai’s garland instead of offering it to Him. The Lord is believed to have told Vishnucitta that He had whole-heartedly accepted Kodhai’s offering all this time.
This moved Vishnucitta so much even as he started to realize the Divine Love that existed between the Lord and his daughter. From this day on, Kodhai is believed to have been respected by the devotees and came to be known as “Andal”, the girl who “ruled” over the Lord. She is also known by a phrase Soodi kodutha Sudarkodi which means “The bright creeper-like woman who gave her garlands after wearing them”.
As Andal blossomed into a fifteen-year-old beautiful young woman of marriageable age (girls were married at a much younger age in those days), her father prepared to get her married to a suitable groom.
Andal, however, was stubborn and insisted that she would marry only the Lord Vishnu. This perplexed and worried her father. However, the Lord appeared in Vishnuchitta’s dream and informed him that He would marry Andal at Srirangam; the Lord simultaneously commanded the priests at Srirangam, in their dreams, to prepare for the wedding.
Andal who was anxious to reach Srirangam was unable to control herself in her urgency to meet her beloved Lord. She ran into the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Ranganatha and is believed to have merged with Him completely at that point.
Religious significance
Srivilliputtur (Shenbagaranyakshetram) finds mention in the Brahmakaivatsapuranam and the Varaha puranam. The Varaha puranam foretells the existence of Srivilliputtur and the consequent visit of Bhagavan during the Varaha Avataram. The Brahmakaivatsa puranam mentions the location of Vatapatrasayi Temple in Srivilliputtur.
The Srivilliputtur divya desam has the unique distinction among all other divya desams of being the birthplace of two important azhwars among the twelve azhwars, sri periyazhwar, who became the father-in-law of the Lord Ranganatha himself and Sri Andal who was the incaranation of Bhoomadevi and attained union with the Lord Ranganathan at Srirangam. It is one of the few divyadesams where all the Srivaishnava temple traditions and festivals are followed regularly every year. The town, which wakes up to the sounds of Thiruppavai, a sublime atmosphere throughout the day.
Festivals and religious practises
The temple priests perform the Pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. Like other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavaite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed six times a day: Ushathkalam at 7 a.m., Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:00 p.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m., Irandamkalam at 7:00 p.m. and Ardha Jamam at 10:00 p.m.
Each ritual has three steps: alangaram (decoration), neivethanam ( food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Vatapathrasayi and Andal. During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) andtavil (percussion instrument) are played, 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.

Thousands of people from the state participate in the "Aadi Pooram" festival celebrated in the Andal Temple. After early morning special pujas, the presiding deities, Sri Rengamannar and Goddess Andal are taken in decorated palanquins to the car. The festival marks the adoption of presiding deity, Andal, by Periyazhwar after he found her near a Tulsi plant in the garden of Vadabadrasai Temple at Srivilliputhur on the eighth day of the Tamil month of Adi.
Pooja Timings
Pooja Time
Pooja Name
6.30 A.M
8.30 A.M
1.00 P.M
4.00 P.M
6.00 P.M
8.00 P.M
9.00 P.M

Pooja Time
Pooja Name
7.00 A.M
8.00 A.M

Pooja Time
Pooja Name
8.00 A.M
9.30 A.M
12.30 P.M
4.30 P.M
5.30 P.M
8.00 P.M
8.30 P.M

Pooja Time
Pooja Name
7.00 A.M
6.30 P.M
7.00 P.M

Other names
Srivilliputtur is known by other names such as
1.  Varaha kshetram
2.  Thenpuduvai
3.  Vadeswarapuram
4.  Vadamahadamapuram
5.  Shenbagaranya kshetram
6.  Vikrama chola chaturvedhi mangalam
7.   Sridhanvipuri.
This temple implements Honourable Tamilnadu Chief Minister's Food Donation Scheme” & 100 persons are provided Food Daily.
*Person willing to provide "Food donation" in their name can give it by paying Rs.2000/- per day and can get the receipt for the same. Or can pay Rs.20.000/- as fixed deposit and with its interest can provide 'food donation' during their birthday, marriage day, etc.
*Donors can also avail 80G tax relaxation for all their donations tax towards the 'Food Donation Scheme'.
Temple Administration
Executive Officer
Srivilliputtur Andal Temple 
Srivilliputtur- 626125
Tamil Nadu
Phone No: 04563-260254


Swathi said...

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Chandan Bhatia said...

Thank you for very valuable information about Srivilliputhur Andal Temple.

Hare Krishna!
Chandan Yatra Das

Puja N Pujari said...

Nice post.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Nice post

Swathi said...

Srivilliputhur Andal temple in Srivilliputhur, a town in Virudhunagar district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. It is located 80 km from Madurai. It is a very famous place to visit.

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