Venkatachalapathy Temple (Chakrathazhwar Temple), Karisulndamangalam, Thirunelveli
Venkatachalapathy Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located at Karisulndamangalam Village near Cheranmahadevi in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. It is also called as Chakrathazhwar Temple since the presiding deity is Chakrathazhwar. Processional Deity is only Venkatachalapathy. The Temple is located at about 1km North of Pathamadai Temple on the Southern banks of Thamarai Barani. The Temple is believed to be 1000 years old.
Romasa Rishi penance on Lord Vishnu:
Romasa Rishi undertook penance here at this place and performed pooja invoking the blessings of Lord Venkatachalapathy.
Chakrathazhwar as Presiding Deity:
This deity possesses the characters of Varaha and Narasimha avathars. It is believed that Lord Vishnu has given Chakkarathalwar the “right” to provide the devotees long life as well as sound health in a sound body.
Miracle of disappearing Abisheka Oil:
The Moolasthana deity in this temple has oil abishekam for ten days every month. But within hours of performing the abishekam no trace of oil remains over the idol. So the moolavar here is considered ‘live’, highly omniscient and omnipotent.
Panagam as neivedhyam:
It is believed that during Pradhosha Kalam, if a person offers “Panagam” as neivedhyam and worships the lord with archana for consecutive Pradhosha days, all his wishes would be fulfilled.
Shukra Parihara Sthalam:
Sudharsana Moorthy is also known as Chakkarathzhwar is the Athipathy of Sukkiran. So this temple is considered to be a ‘Sukkiran Parihara Sthalam’.
Childless couples desiring progeny, come to this temple, perform abisheka aradhanai, and offer payasam as ‘neivedhyam’; then distribute the same to village children on the steps of the ‘padithurai’. This is an ancient and strong belief.
The special feature of this temple is the Main Deity. Normally in the temples of Lord Venkatachalapathy, the presiding / principal deity and also the Urchavar are one and the same Venkatachalapathy. Here in this temple in Karisulndamangalam, the Urchavar is Venkatachalapathy where as the main deity is Chakrathazhwar. While the Utsava processional deity is Venkatachalapathy with Sri and Bhoo Devi and the temple is known by that name. Chakkarathzhwar is seen with 16 hands. Behind him is Lord Yoga Narasimha with four hands.
This idol of Narasimha, established by the Nambhoodhiris of Kerala is holding Sudarshana Chakra in all the four hands (no Sangu). As per the inscription of 1250AD dating to the rule of Sundara Pandya II, this temple was referred to as ‘Then Thiruvengadam’ and the place itself was called ‘Kali’ ‘Say’ Mangalam which over time became ‘Kali’ ‘Sul’ntha Mangalam ( and later 'Karisulntha). The distance to this place was indicated as being the Eastern Hamlet of Cheran Maha Devi Chadurvedi Mangalam in Mulli Naadu (in the current measure, it is just 2 kms East of Cheran Maha Devi).
The edicts and inscriptions of Chola dynasty are found in Cheranmahadevi and adjacent areas. The special extremely surprising feature is that not even a single Chola dynasty inscription is found in Karisulndamangalam. From the extracts of Kulasekharan it is noted that Pithusi Raguthar, heir to the Lala Kansa Raguthar, constructed the Vimana of Sri Venkatachalapathy temple. In 1544 AD, Sri Appayyangar sthanathipathy of Errathimmaraju, came to the village and established a Kodimaram (sacred flag-hoisting pillar) coated with copper.
Besides this, his donation included a garuda vahanam, a silver plate and eleven vigrahas of Alwars. In 1545 AD, he donated fertile lands, the revenue thereof , contributing to the cost of daily pooja (six times a day) , besides other connected rituals. The 16th century witnessed the shift from Thanthrik Agamam to Vaikanasa Agamam in this temple. There exists no evidence, hearsay or otherwise, regarding the performance of Kumbabishekam after 1298 AD. But there is enough proof, that at some point , a Kerala Nambudhiri pooja paddathi was being observed.
This puja paddathi is evidenced in the structure of Kodimaram and the Bali Peedam in the southern corner of the prakaram. The custom of entering the sanctum sanctorum (Moolasthanam) only after removal of the upper garments, also indicates the above mentioned fact - that Kerala Nampoothiri pooja paddathi was adopted and followed in principle and practice.
There was a gift of 3anai achchu in 1202AD by a merchant residing in 'Ulaguyya Vanda Pandya Perum Theru' ( one of the streets here at that time) for providing Kitchen requisites. A renovation of the Vimana took place in 1297 AD during the rule of Kulasekara I with the repairs being undertaken by Lata Pittusi Rahuttar. Inscriptions also register that in the 30th year of his rule, the temple was rebuilt on the banks of Mauthika Vahini (now Thamarai Barani).
A certain ‘Then Thiruvengada Manikkam’ was appointed as the Musician of the temple with a stipulation that she and her two brothers should be the hereditary servants of the temple. Before 2000 AD the compound wall of the temple was in a dilapidated state, cracked and weak. During the floods of 1993, river water entered the temple, flooding the inside of the temple up to a height of two feet, leaving dirt and water all over the temple floor. After the flood receded, the temple was cleaned, made presentable and neat and readied for daily poojas.
During that period, there was no approach road for autos or taxis to go up to the temple. The devotees had to stop their vehicle near Kanaga Sabapathi temple, get down and then walk a distance of ½ KM; a small canal needed to be crossed; only then was the temple reached. For performing “Garuda Sevai” the help of many persons were required. There was no facility for the bhaktas (pilgrims) to answer nature’s call. Because of these hardships the number of visitors (bhaktas) gradually reduced.
In order to remove the hardships and provide ample facilities, it was decided that a Kumbabishekam should be performed; a Kumbabishekam committee , namely “Venkateswara Baktha Sabha” was formed and renovation work carried out. The ‘Vimana’ of the temple was renovated, a solid new compound wall built. The ‘garuda vahanam’ was provided with a new separate room. There was also concretization and strengthening of the garuda vaahana path, that is, the path around the temple. This improvement helped in reducing to two or three, the number of persons necessary for the task of garuda Sevai.
Thanks to these renovations, at present almost 75 ‘garuda Sevas’ are being performed in a year. For the convenience of devotees a toilet and a bath room have been constructed just outside the compound wall, on the southern side. With the help of munificent land owners who have provided lands, an approach road has been laid from near the Kanaga Sabapathy Temple to Venkatachalapathy temple. Besides, a bridge has been erected over the canal. Attempts are being made to conduct ‘Ashtabandhana Maha Kumbabishekam’ of Venkatachalapathy temple in 2012.
Temple Opening Time
The Temple will remain open from 6 am – 11 am and 4 pm – 5.30 pm.
On Garuda Sevai days, the temple opens from 6 AM to 6 PM without any break and there are 65 permanent Garuda Sevas in a year.
Venkatachalapathy Temple (Chakrathazhwar Temple),
Karisulndamangalam, Thirunelveli District
Mobile: +91 75985 78254 / 94880 62925 / 75981 88716 / 75981 78716
Karisulndamangalam is located at about 3 Kms from Pattamadai, 5 Kms from Cheranmahadevi, 12 Kms from Veeravanallur, 30 Kms from Thirunelveli, 191 Kms from Madurai, 75 Kms from Thoothukudi and 150 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. From Tirunelveli, buses every 15minutes to Pathamadai (Ambai / Papanasam) bound buses. Take an auto from Pathamadai to reach Karisulntha Mangalam( 2kms). Auto will cost Rs. 80 (to and fro). Bus 36D runs between Tirunelveli and Karisulntha Mangalam. Nearest Railway Station is located at Cheranmahadevi and Veeravanallur. Nearest Airport is located at Madurai, Thoothukudi and Thiruvananthapuram.