Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple, Tirukannamangai – The Temple
The temple has a 5-tier Rajagopuram and a vast temple complex. The prime deity, Bhaktavatsalar has an imposing image. The temple tank is situated right opposite to the temple and is considered one of the largest temple tanks in the state. This shrine is also referred to as Saptamrita Kshetram (seven celebrated elements of nature), referring to seven of its elements such as Vimanam, Mandapam, Aaranyam, theertham, kshetram, river and town. The main entrance of the temple faces the East and at the entrance of the temple, there is a four pillared open hall.
The temple has a 90 ft. (27 m) tall Rajagopuram (temple tower) and is enclosed by rectangular walls around it. There is a smaller temple tower on the western side. The walls of the temple are surrounded by large streets, through which the temple chariot passes along during festivals. A rare image of Buddha, image of Vaikunta Natha and Vishnu mounted on his eagle mount Garuda are the major images in the temple. The depiction of Garuda is colossal in this temple. There is a pillared hall leading to the shrine of Kannamangai Thayar shrine that has pillars with Nayak architectural representation.
The main deity, Moolavar is Bhaktavatsala Perumal, in a standing posture, and facing towards the East, while the deity brought out of the sanctum sanctorum for worship, Utsavar is Perum Purakadal. Similarly, the Thayar or Amman is Kannamangai and the Utsava Thayar is Abhisheka Valli. The sacred temple pond is known as Darshana Pushkarini and is exceedingly beautiful. It is said that during Vishnu's Vamana Avatar, Brahma conducted the Abhishekam to the raised foot of Vamana with the water from his Kamandala. It was during this Abhishekam, that one of the drops of water fell at this sacred place, and created the pond, now known as Darshana Pushkarini.
Later, during the wedding of Mahalakshmi and Vishnu, the lord offered the water of this sacred pond for the Abhishekam of Thayar, and therefore, she is known as Shree Abhisheka Valli. Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple is respected in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, a Vaishnava canon, and the hymns were sang by Tirumazhisai Azhwar. Thirukkannanmangai Aandan, the devotee of saint Nathamunigal, was said to be attained Moksham (liberation) at this temple. The other deities of this temple are Goddess Andal, saint Vedanta Desikar, Lord Kothanda Ramar, Hayagrivar, Sanganidhi, Padmanidhi, Manavala Mamunigal, Thirukannamangai Aandan, Azhwars and Acharyas.
The Vimanam (tower above the sanctum sanctorum) of Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple is called Utpalavathga Vimanam. The Pushkarani (temple tank) of Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple is called Dharshana Pushkarini and Vishnu Paadha Ganga Pushkarani. There’s a Vanam named “Bhadhrivanam” and it’s mostly like the one found in Naimisaranyam and Bhadhrinath. River Cauvery splits up into two brooks and runs in the North and South side of the temple forming a Garland to the Lord.
On the southern side of the praharam, the Swarga vasal is established. The lord comes through this gateway on Vaikunta Ekadasi day. The lord’s foot impressions are found on a platform to the east of this gateway. Alongside this gateway, on the northern side we find Desikan Sannadhi, Navaneetha krishnan Sannadhi, Kothandaramar Sannadhi and the yaga Salai, all facing south. Small figurines of Lakshmi, Lord Narashimha and a lady with a stringed instrument are found in a cubicle in the internal wall opposite Desikan Sannadhi.