Monday, March 6, 2017

Thennazhagar Temple, Kovilkulam, Ambasamudram, Thirunelveli

Thennazhagar Temple, Kovilkulam, Ambasamudram, Thirunelveli
Thennazhagar Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located in Kovilkulam Village near Ambasamudram in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Presiding Deity is called as Thennazhagar (Vinnagar Perumal) and Mother is called as Sundaravalli and Soundaravalli. Theertham of this Temple is Markandeya Theertham. Utsavar is called as Soundararaja Perumal. Shravanam Utsavam was celebrated in a grand manner in this 10th Century AD temple. Sundararaja Perumal is part of the Annual 5 Garuda Seva that takes place at Ambasamudram.

Lord Vishnu gave darshan to Sage Markandeya:
Sage Markandeya was visiting many Vishnu shrines on earth. On his way to Pothigai Hills, responding to his prayer, Lord gave the sage his darshan with Mothers Soundaravalli and Sundaravalli.
There was a staunch Vishnu devotee who lived in this village. In his dream, he was ordered by the God to visit Kalazhagar in Madurai. As the devotee brought the idol from the place where Kalazhagar temple is located and installed in this village, this deity was named as Thennazhagar. He is also praised as Sripathy Vinnagar Peruman.
The Temple
The current structure of the temple appears to be 300 - 400 years old. The temple has no tower. It has flag staff, Bali peetha and Garuda facing the main shrine. The temple as well as the main shrine faces the east direction. The temple is built in "maada kovil" architectural style. It has sanctum sanctorum, ardha mandapa, maha mandapa and also a front side mandapa with pillars.

The corridor that connects the main shrine and the temple entrance has many pillars with the lion sculptures on the top. The sanctum sanctorum has the tall beautiful idol of Thennazhagar along with his consorts Sundaravalli and Soundaravalli on his either sides. The Lord has four arms and carries conch and discus in his upper arms. He graces in a standing form. Presiding deity Perumal in sanctum sanctorum is made of a lime mixture called Karai. 

As the original idol was damaged due to age, this is made and installed again, hence Tirumanjanam is not offered to the idol. Sage Markandeya is in a worshipping for near Perumal gracing with Mothers Soundaravalli and Sundaravalli. Original Garudazhwar is on the temple wall on the northeast corner.  Special Tirumanjanam is offered to Garudazhwar only on Swati star day in Aadi-July-August. He would be dressed with a shirt made of flowers.

Special pujas are performed for 10 days to Lord following the Aadi Pooram festival. As the Murthy-idol is brought from Madurai Kalazhagar temple, Lord is named as Thennazhagar – Azhagar of South. He is also praised as Sripathy Vinnagar Peruman. As there was a tank around the temple earlier, the place is named Kovilkulam, Kovil-temple and Kulam-tank.  Vishwaksenar, Nagar, Thirumangai Azhwar, Nammazhwar and Udayavar Ramanuja adore the front mandapam. 

The temple was known for its festivals in earlier days. Due to lack of proper administration, no festival is celebrated in the temple these days. Several of the vahanas are still found inside the temple, though some of them are in poor shape. The Utsava deities Soundararaja Perumal and his consorts are currently not located in this temple. Due to lack of security in this temple, they were shifted to a temple in the nearby Ambasamudram town.

Burning Perpetual Lamp:
During the rule of Sadaya Maran Pandyan (Raja Simhan II), there was a gift of 25 sheep for lamp to be burnt by Kadan and his wife Narachey Nokki in 905 AD. In centuries gone by, this temple was referred to as Thiru Podhigai Vinnagaram. In 925 – 926 AD, there was a gift of sheep made by one adigal for burning a lamp at the temple.
Shravanam Festival:
During the rule of Jatavaraman Pandya Kulasekara Deva in 1203 AD, there was a gift of money for a festival to be celebrated each month on Shravanam in the temple of Sripati Vinnagaram - Emberaman.
Other Gifts:
Vikrama Pandya Deva, in 1293 AD, there was a gift of money for the Sundararaja Perumal temple by Sundarattol Korriyammai. Earlier in 1287 AD, there was a gift of money for temple by a resident of the fourth hamlet of Raja Raja Chadurvedi Mangalam. During the rule of Vikrama Pandya, there was also gifts of money to development and improvement of the temple. There was a gift of land by Koneri Mel Kondan for offerings to Sripati Vinnagara Azhvaar.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 7.00 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. and from 5.00 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Aadi Pooram in July - August, last Purattasi Saturday in September - October and Vaikunda Ekadasi in December - January are the festivals celebrated in the temple. Special Tirumanjanam is offered to Garudazhwar only on Swati star day in Aadi-July-August. He would be dressed with a shirt made of flowers. Special pujas are performed for 10 days to Lord following the Aadi Pooram festival.
In centuries gone by, a 10day festival in Aadi used to be celebrated in a grand way. Thennazhagar joins Lords from Krishnan Koil, Navaneetha Krishnan temple, Purushothama Koil and Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Ambai in the annual 5 Garuda Sevai Utsavam.
Devotees pray to Lord Soundararaja Perumal seeking beautiful/handsome appearance. Devotees offer sweet pudding-Sarkarai Pongal to Perumal as Nivedhana and perform special pujas.
Sri Thennazhagar Temple,
Kovilkulam, Brahmmadesam Post,
Ambasamudram Taluk, Thirunelveli District
Phone: +91 – 4634 – 251 705
Mobile: +91 – 94891 17581
Kovilkulam is located at about 3 Kms North of Ambasamudram. Buses are available only at specific hours. Ambasamudram is 37 Kms from Tenkasi, 12 Kms from Veeravanallur, 47 Kms from Thirunelveli, 206 Kms from Madurai and 143 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Ambasamudram. Nearest Airport is located Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.

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