Appan Venkatachalapathy Temple, Cheranmahadevi, Thirunelveli
Appan Venkatachalapathy Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located at Cheranmahadevi in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. The Temple is located at about 1 km North of Ramaswamy temple on the Cheran Maha Devi - Kallur- Thirunelveli route. This Temple was recently renovated after having remained closed for almost 50 years. It is believed to be built during the Vijayanagara dynasty. It has inscriptions on Tamil as well as Sanskrit on its wall.
The Lord Venkatachalapathy who adorns the temple is worshipped as equivalent to that of Lord Balaji of Tirupathi. The Temple is situated amidst picturesque paddy fields and banana plantations; Appan Venkatachalapathy Temple offers peace and tranquility to worshipers. River Thamirabarani flows within a km from the temple. Spring Festival for the Appan Lord and 6 offerings to the Lord on New Moon days are conducted during ancient times.
The story goes that a Cheran king, who could not find a solution from the doctor, for his daughter’s stomach pain approached an astrologer who asked to give ‘Milagu Rasam’ to his daughter. To his surprise, his daughter recovered. Hence, Milagu Rasam is special at this temple.
Presiding Deity is called as Appan Venkatachalapathy facing east in Standing Posture. Thayar of this Temple is Alarmel Mangai and Padmavathy Thaayar. Utsavar is Srinivasan. The Lord Venkatachalapathy who adorns the temple is worshipped as equivalent to that of Lord Balaji of Tirupathi.
There are about 60 inscriptions at this temple the earliest of which dates back to the 12th Century AD to the rule of Jatavaraman Pandya (Kulasekhara I) who in 1200 AD on the suggestion of his brother in law Ravivarma ordered that the land of Karungulapparru, an Eastern Hamlet of Cheran Maha Devi Chadurvedi Mangalam, be made completely tax free for daily offerings to the Lord and for the recital of Vedas and Puranas at this temple.
Monthly requirements of the Lord:
Also, inscription dating back to 1209 AD indicates that provision was made for Sandal, Camphor and all other monthly requirements of the Lord.
Garland for the Lord:
Also, during the rule of Sundara Pandya Deva, there was a gift of money by Virasinga Deva for providing Garland of flowers in the Cheran Narayanan Nandavanam in return for some prasadam from the temple. There was also an agreement given by the temple authorities to Pillai Vijayarayan for the 8 Achchu given by him for maintaining the flower garden and supplying garlands to the temple.
40 Kalam of Paddy for Services to the Appan Temple:
A 1267 AD Inscription during the rule of Vira Pandya II records an agreement deed given to Sriranganatha Bhattar by the Pandarikal Sri Vaishnavas and Nambiman of the Appan temple of Cheran Maha Devi Chadurvedi Mangalam. As per this deed, the latter agreed to measure out 40 Kalam of Paddy to the temple for certain services in lieu of interest on a sum of 20 Achchus as they were in arrears to the temple.
Maravarman Pandya who reigned Malai Nadu, Chola and Kongu Kingdom, Ilam and Thondai Mandalam registered the remission of all kinds of taxes by assembly of Cheran Maha Devi Chadurvedi Mangalam on certain lands in Idaigal for conducting service called ‘Kulasekharan Sandhi’ instituted in the Appan temple by Veenaadudaiyan.
Gifting of Aanai Achchu:
A 1288 AD inscription on the Eastern Wall of the temple records a gift of 2 Aanai Achchu for a lamp by pupils of Pinsenra Villi Jeeyar of Mudivalangum Perumal Mutt. The interest on each Achchu was one Ulakku of oil per day.
Recognizing the work of Smith:
In an interesting recognition, Kulasekhara Deva records a gift of an annuity of Paddy and a portion of the ‘deity offered food’ to the Smith Cherai Mangai Silpasari for doing stone work in the Appan temple.
New Moon Day and 6 offerings for the Lord:
On the side wall of the temple is a record that states the gift of money for providing 6 offerings to the God on New Moon days.
Feeding Sanyasins and maintaining a Teacher for the Paatshaala:
On the wall of the South Verandah in the first prakara of the Appan temple contains yet another inscription in Tamil that provides interesting insights about the functioning of the temple in the 13th Century AD. As per the request of Malavaraayan, Sundara Pandya II promised to make a gift of a tax free land at Karungulam, in the Eastern Hamlet of Cheran Maha Devi Chadurvedi Mangalam for benefit of a service instituted in the name of Nakkan Irattai (Thondai Maanaar) for feeding every day 17 persons including Tridanda Sanyasins and for maintaining a teacher for the Sastras in the mutt called Mudivalangum Perumal Mutt at the temple.
On the same wall, there is a record of a gift of land by the temple authorities to Azhagiya Manavala Jeeyar, one of the Tridandi Sanyasins who was in charge of the above mutt on the Northern side of the temple for conducting the spring festival of God every year. Interestingly, the renovation has not spoilt any of the inscriptions at the Appan temple and they see to be intact on all sides including the pillars.
Temple Opening Time
The Temple remains open from 6 am – 8 am (Saturday and Sunday 6 am – 11am)
With the Appan temple having been just renovated after several decades, the temple authorities are currently in the process of working out the festival details for the year ahead. With their passion in bringing the temple to wear a new refreshing look, one can expect the temple to also bring back the festivals of centuries gone by that this temple was home to.
Appan Venkatachalapathy Temple,
Cheranmahadevi, Thirunelveli District
Mobile: +91 89036 69263 / 04634 265268
The Temple is located at about 1 km North of Ramaswamy temple on the Cheran Maha Devi - Kallur- Thirunelveli route. Cheranmahadevi is located at about 50 Kms from Tenkasi, 17 Kms from Ambasamudram, 6 Kms from Veeravanallur, 30 Kms from Thirunelveli, 190 Kms from Madurai & 155 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram.
Thirunelveli bound buses (Kallur route) stop at the Rama temple. Buses are available every 15 minutes from Thirunelveli to Cheranmahadevi. The temple is 2 kms North of Cheran Maha Devi bus stand and railway station. Nearest Railway Station is located at Cheranmahadevi and Nearest Airport is located at Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.