Friday, April 28, 2017

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri, Thirunelveli

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri, Thirunelveli
Vanamamalai Perumal Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu, in Vanamamalai (Nanguneri), TamilnaduIndia on the banks of Thamirabarani river. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabhandham, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam shrines dedicated to Vishnu. Vishnu is worshipped here as Vanamamalai Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Varamangai. The temple is believed to have been built by the Pandyas, with later contributions from Vijayanagar kings and Madurai Nayaks.

The temple covers an area of 5 acres (20,000 m2) and has a five-tiered temple tower. The temple is one of the eight Swayambu Kshetrams, the eight temples associated with Vishnu that manifested on its own. Vanamamalai is believed to have appeared to Adisesha and Garuda. Six daily rituals and a dozen yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the chariot festival, celebrated during the Tamil month of Chittirai (March–April), is the most prominent.

The place came to be known as Nanguneri meaning surrounded by four lakes.  This is the only temple where Perumal graces with his royal attire in Durbar with Mothers Sridevi and Bhoodevi. There are in all 11 Swayambu moorthies in the main sannidhi - a unique feature of this Divyadesam. A bath in the temple tank - Chetruttamari Theertham is said to relieve the devotees of all curses.

Oil at this Divya Desam is as special and sacred as the Laddu at Tirupathi.
This is the headquarters of the 600 year old Vanamamalai Mutt. This Sthalam is also called ‘Bhooloka Vaikuntam’, ‘Totadrikshetram’ or ‘Vanamamalai’.   Since there were 4 big Lakes around this Sthalam, this was named as “Naangu Neri”. (Naangu means four). But currently, only one lake is found. The temple is maintained and administered by the 
Vanamamalai Mutt.

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The Temple
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Temple Opening Time
The temple remains open from morning 8.00 AM to 12.00 noon and in the evening from 5.00 PM to 9.00 PM.
Festivals & Religious Practices
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Religious Importance
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Literary Mention
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Gingelly oil abishek is performed to Lord throughout the year. This abishek oil is stored in a well. Those suffering from skin problems apply this on their body and consume a few drops for total cure. Realizing their wishes from Perumal, devotees buy the Gingelly oil sold the temple itself for abishek to Lord.
Sri Thothadri Nathar Temple,
Nanguneri – 627 108,
Thirunelveli District
Phone: +91 – 4635 – 250 119 / 250 537
Mobile: +91 – 99942 76118
The temple is conspicuously located at the centre of the Nanguneri town. The temple is located near to Thirukkurungudi Divya Desam. Nanguneri is located at about 14 Kms from Valliyur, 16 Kms from Thirukkurungudi, 32 Kms from Thirunelveli, 190 Kms from Madurai and 130 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. All buses from Thirunelveli to Nagercoil pass through Nanguneri.
Buses are available for every 10 minutes between Thirunelveli and Nagercoil (Nanguneri can be reached within 45 minutes from Thirunelveli bus stand). Kanyakumari Exp and Ananthapuri Express from Chennai stop at Nanguneri station. Nearest Railway Station is located at Valliyur and Nanguneri. Nearest Airport is located at Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.


Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Literary Mention

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Literary Mention
Describing the glory of the Lord, Saint Nammazhwar begs him to appear before him to worship him with full satisfaction.
Azhvaar on the Shataari:
Nam Azhvaar is seen on the Lord’s Shataari, a gesture that is said to be equivalent to the Azhvaar himself blessing the devotees. 
Azhvaar pleads for liberation:
புள்ளின் வாய் பிளந்தாய்
மருது இடை போயினாய்
எருது ஏழ் அடர்த்த என் கள்ள மாயவனே
கருமாணிக்கச் சுடரே
தெள்ளியார் திரு நான்மறைகள் வல்லார்
மலி தண்  சிரீவர மங்கை
உள் இருந்த எந்தாய், அருளாய்  உய்யுமாறு எனக்கே - Thiruvaimozhi (5-7)
Nam Azhvaar in his praise of the Lord here refers to him as the one who ripped the bird's beak, the one who entered the Marudu trees and killed the seven bulls. Nam Azhvaar says that many great seers, who were all well versed in all the Vedas, resided here at Vanamamalai. Referring to the Lord who lives in Sri Varamangai Nagar amidst these great seers, Nam Azhvaar pleads with the Lord to show him and the devotees the path to Liberation.

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Religious Importance

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Religious Importance
The temple is considered one of the eight Swayambu Kshetras of Vishnu where presiding deity is believed to have manifested on its own. Seven other temples in the line are Srirangam Ranganathaswamy templeBhu Varaha Swamy temple, and Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in South India and SaligramaNaimisaranyaPushkar and Badrinath Temple in North India. The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabhandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by Nammazhwar in ten hymns. The temple is classified as a Divyadesam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the book. As per the accounts of the Jeeyar, the head of the Vanamamalai Mutt, Janakapuri in Nepal, where Rama (an avatar of Vishnu) got married to Sita also has a place called Nanguneri, similar to the Vanamamalai temple.

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Festivals & Religious Practices

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Festivals & Religious Practices
The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis based on Vaikasana Agama. As at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavite 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: Alankaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and Deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Vanamamalai Perumal and Thayar.
During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (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. Chithirai Brahmmotsavam in April-May and the second in Panguni (March-April) are the two festivals of importance in the temples besides festivals related to Lord Vishnu.
Vishnu is considered as Alankara piriyar (one who prefers decoration), and Shiva as abisheka priyar (one who prefers ablution). Vanamamalai temple is one of the few Vishnu temples where ablution is done for the presiding deity on a daily basis. At around 7 am every day, ablution is performed on the presiding deity with milk, curd and other pooja items. The ghee used for ablution is poured in the oil well in the temple, which is considered sacred. During the festival occasions, the festival idols are brought to the Vanamamalai Mutt located outside the premises of the temple. This temple is administered by the Vanamamalai Jeeyar Mutt. 

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – History

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – History
The temple has many inscriptions, the earliest of which is from 1236 CE. The inscription is from the period of Sundara Pandya I indicate a gift from him on the occasion of Adi Puram. Another inscription from 1275 from Kulasekara I indicates the details of tax collection in the region. The inscription on the Eastern Gopuram from the period of Sundara Pandya II in 1284 indicates gift of land to the temple. The gift of Vikrama Pandya III is inscribed on the northern wall in 1299. A gift of money to sculpt the image of Sadagopar in 1305 is found in the Eastern wall in the second precinct. From the Vijayanagara rulers, the temple came under the administration of kings of Travancore. A sanyasi named Pushpanjali was entrusted with the donations from the kings.
During 1447, the temple came under the administration of Vanamamalai Mutt. The first pontiff of the temple arranged for the installation of the idol of the consort of Vanamamalai from Tirupathi. The Namboodris were also replaced by the priests from Tirupathi during the period. During the 17th century, the then pontiff sought the help of the ruling Naik king to resolve local disputes. During 1794, the Nawab of Carnatic, Abdul Umra, endowed extensive lands to the Mutt. The presiding deity is called Devapiran as he is believed to have married Varamangai, the daughter of the pontiff of Vanamamalai Mutt. The temple is maintained and administered by the pontiff in modern times.

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Legends

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Nanguneri – Legends
Birthplace of Mother Lakshmi:
As per Hindu legend, Lakshmi, the wife of Vishnu is believed to have born at this place as Srivaramangai (meaning lady) and hence the place came to be known as Varangunamangai.
Adisesha penance on Lord Vishnu:
As per another legend, Adhishesha, the serpent performed penance at this place to seek the grace of Vishnu to lay on him. Vishnu was pleased by his devotion and rested on the serpent. 
Procession idol of Mother came from Thirumalai:
It is said that the procession idol of Mother was originally in Tirupathi. Devotees in Tirupathi were to offer Varamangadevi to Sri Venkateswara in Tirupathi. Perumal appeared in the dream of Jeer Swamigal and said that Varamangadevi was meant to Lord Vanamamalai in Nanguneri, therefore taken to this place. 
Vanamamalai Mutt:
The headquarters of Vanamamalai Jeer, one among the Ashtathik Gajas – Eight pontiffs of Vaishnava order – by Saint Manavala Mamunigal is here.  The Sadari placed on the devotees as blessing of Lord, has the image of Nammazhwar-Sadagopan.
Reference in Purana:
The detail about the presiding deity finds mention in Brhamananda Purana, Skanda Purana and Narasimha Purana. Sage Narada got the narration about the features of Thodatri and Sargunamangai from Shiva
Chetru Thamarai Pushkarani:
When Lord Vishnu destroyed the demons, Madhu and Kaidaba, the bad odour from their body spread polluting the whole earth. Mother Earth lost her natural purity.  She came to this place for cleansing. Lord appeared before Bhoomadevi (Earth) and said, “Pollution set on you is washed off” according to history of the place-Sthala Purana.
King of Sindhu was cursed by Kusasana Muni, and he was roaming like a dog. Finally it reached this place and had a dip in the Chetru Thamarai Pushkarani. (Pushkarani with lotus flowers and the water is muddy). The dog came to its original form and worshipped here.
People who worshipped Lord Vishnu here:
Legend also has it that Brahma, Indra, Bhrigu muni and Markandeya were blessed with a vision of Vishnu at this shrine.
Direction to the temple:
In centuries gone by, this place was identified as being 1 yojana South of Tamaraibarani, 2 yojanas North of Bay of Bengal and 3 yojanas West of Indian Ocean and Half a yojana East of the Mahendra Hills.
Adisesha undertook penance here and hence this place came to be called ‘Naaganai’ Cheri. As the huge lake around the temple was split into 4 canals, this place was referred to as ‘Nangu’ ‘Eri’.
Swayam Vyaktha Kshetram:
This is one of the eight sacred Swayam Vyaktha Vishnu Sthalams, the others being Srirangam, Srimushnam, Tirupathi, Saligramam, Naimi Saranyam, Pushkaram and Badrinath.
Oil Abishekam:
Kaarya Maharaja didn’t have a child. He went to Lord Nambi at Thirukkurungudi who asked him to undertake pooja of the Lord who is present beneath the earth at Nanguneri. The king who dug up the earth here was shocked to find blood oozing out of the Lord’s head. The Lord asked him to perform an Oil Abishekam and to throw the oil into the open well found at this place. Having performed this, he is said to have had children. The temple is believed to have been built by Kaarya Maharaja. 
The tradition of Oil Abishekam has come to stay. Hence, the speciality of this Divya Desam is the daily oil pooja for the main deity and depositing the oil in the 25 feet open well inside the temple. The oil has been hailed by Sage Agastya as ‘Sarva Roha Nivarani’ and is said to have medicinal values helping cure both internal and external illness including ulcer and skin diseases. The oil at this temple is just as special as the ‘laddu’ of Tirupathi temple.
Garuda’s presence in front of Lord Vishnu:
The story goes that Kashyapa, who had two wives - Kathru and Vinathai, remained childless. Invoking the blessings of a rishi, the two wives were given the option of choosing between several children and just the two. Kathru had several children including Adisesha, the Serpent King, on whom Lord Vishnu rests himself. Vinathai had two children- Arunan (Charioteer of Surya) and Garuda (Charioteer of Vishnu). With Lord Vishnu resting himself all the time on Adisesha, an upset Garuda undertook penance at Thothadri.
When the Lord appeared before Garuda, he expressed his disappointment at not accorded the same status as Adisesha. It was then that Lord Narayana asked him to come with him to Vaikuntam and accorded him the status of standing in front of him (facing him) ready all the time to take his Lord on a trip. Thus it came to be that when the Lord leaves Adisesha, he gets on to Garuda.
Liberation from re-birth:
The two beautiful damsels Urvasi and Thilothama undertook penance at Thothadri seeking liberation from re-birth and with the single minded devotion of serving the Lord. Narayana, who appeared before them, expressed surprise at these two beautiful ladies undertaking severe penance at Thothadri instead of enjoying their lives. The two replied that they had now realized that serving him was the ultimate achievement for any one. As desired by them, Lord allowed them a place next to him. Hence, they are seen here at this temple next to the Lord in a gesture of fanning him (white Chamaras) and keeping him always cool.
Story behind the name Vaanama Malai:
This Sthalam is also called as “Vaanama Malai” because a Pandiya king married a Cheran daughter and he got the name as “Vanavan”. Since, he built this temple; this Sthalam is called as “Vaanama Malai”.

Subramaniyar Swami Temple, Valliyur, Thirunelveli

Subramaniyar Swami Temple, Valliyur, Thirunelveli
Subramaniyar Swami Temple is rock cut temple dedicated to Hindu God Murugan located at Valliyur near Nanguneri in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. Valliyur is located on the Kasi-Kanyakumari highway. The Valliyur Murugan temple is located in close proximity to the Valliyur railway station. It has been revered in the Thirupugazh hymns of Arunagirinathar. People used to go round the hill as "Girivalam" during festival days.

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Valliyur was under the governance of Kulasekhara Pandyan of 13th century, who fortified the village. Between the years 1162-1173, Valliyur was the capital of Pandiya Kings. It is located fairly close to Sri Lanka. Invasion of Muslim rulers around B C 1310 appears to have destroyed many valuable historical records. In the year 1955, electricity connection was given to the temple. Though Valliyur is synonymous with Murugan temple, requests have been made for archaeological survey in the areas in and around Valliyur.

It is widely believed that Vallioor palace and fort were destroyed by invaders. Archaeological surveys in and around Valliyur have discovered hidden Shiva temples in and around the Nambi river as well as a few Sastha temples that were not maintained so well. Some of the idols that were found were supposedly 3000 years old.

The Temple
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Pooja Timings
·        5.30 – 6.00 am – Vishwaroopam
·        6.30 – 7.00 am – Udhayamarthandam
·        7.30 – 8.00 am – Festival Pooja
·        8.30 – 9.00 am – Sirukalasanthi
·        11.00-11.30 am – Uchikala pooja
·        5.30 – 6.00 pm – Sayaratchai pooja
·        8.00 – 8.30 pm – Arthajamam pooja
Every day at 7:30 am in the morning, abishekams are performed for Lord Muruga. On special occasions like Sashti, Lord Muruga and his consorts are decorated with flowers and clothes and a procession is taken in silver peacock vehicles.
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Well known poet-saint Arunagirinathar has written about Valliyur in Thirupugazh. Keezha Kallur Mu. Azhvarapillai (1839-1925) has sung about Valliyur in his verses. These verses were published by the temple authorities in the year 1942.
No one has ever returned empty-handed from the Valliyur Murugan temple. Childless couples have visited Valliyur, prayed and have come back to pay their respects after their wish was fulfilled by Lord Muruga.
Subramanya Swamy Temple,
Valliyur, Radhapuram,
Thirunelveli District – 627 117
Phone: +91 – 4637 – 222888
Valliyur is located at about 12 Kms from Nanguneri, 43 Kms from Thirunelveli, 40 Kms from Nagercoil, 202 Kms from Madurai and 113 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram.  Valliyur is located on the NH 7 and has a railway station also. Most of the express trains stop at Valliyur. Nearest Airport is located at Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram. Thirukkurungudi Divya Desam is located at about 9 Kms from Valliyur.