• Vishnu

Kallazhagar Temple

Overview


The Kallazhagar Temple is  located in Alagarkoil, which is a village in Tamil Nadu. It is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. This temple is Located 21 kilometres to the northwest of Madurai on a picturesque wooded hill. Palamudhirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya, is on the same hill, about four kilometres above. A natural spring called Nuburagangai where pilgrims bathe, is situated here. The temple is famed for its beauty of exquisite sculptures in the hall and other mandapams of the temple. The Alwars have sung in praise of the deity of the place and the hills. In addition, Nakkirar, the Tamil poet composed several poems about this deity. The temple is dedicated to Alagar who is popularly known as Sundararajar. It is said that the temple attracted pilgrims even in the early days of the Sangam Age.

Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Kallazhagar and his consort Lakshmi as Thirumamagal. The Alvars added to the honour of the temple. 123 Vaishnavite hymns describe the glory of the temple. Even in the epic Silappathikaram, the greatness of the temple is beautifully described. No less than Six Alvars, namely, Perialvar, Thirumangaiyalvar, Boothathalvar, Andal, Peyalvar, Nammalvar sang about the glory of the shrine. Several religious literary works offer valuable information on this temple.

The Hill was once a safe refuge for the Jain monks in I.B.C. Paranjothi, the Saivaite poet describes the event when a Jain monk sent a magical cow which was over-powered by Siva’s “Nanthi”. The cow which lost its power fell down and turned into a hillock and Siva’s ‘Nandhi’ also turned into a small mountain on the left side of this cow-like hillock. The presence of ‘Brahmin” script carved on stones inside some of the caves in these hills prove the presence of Jains in this area. The temple is also known by other names such as Thirumaliruncholai, Uthiyana sailam, Vanagiri, Vrishabadhri and Solaimalai.


About The Temple


Arulmigu Kallazhagar Thirukoil

The Moorthy, Isthalam and Theertham of this temple had been described in Varaaga puraanam, Pramaanda puraanam, Vaamana puraanam, and Angneya puraanam. The compilation in one form named as Virushapathiri mahathmium is found in Hindi. Alagar malai had been highlighted in the Vaalmigi's Raamaayanam, Veda Viyasar's Mahabharatham and Sugar's Maha Bharatham. Viyaasar quoted in His Mahabharatham, that Yuthistran (Tharuman) came here, when they had been experiencing the forest life for twelve years. A lot of sages belonged to various religion like Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism had been there at the caves found in the hill.

Architectural Style

Arulmigu Kallazhagar Thirukoil

The temple is built on a large area in a rather picturesque area. It is surrounded by ruins of a historic fort. The Kallazhagar Temple covers an area of about 2 acres (0.81 hectares) and has a five-tiered gopuram (gateway tower). The temple is enclosed in a rectangular enclosure with huge granite walls. The impressive main tower at the entrance, believed to have been built by the Pandyan Kings, has some beautiful sculptures depicting scenes from the epics. The Vimanam (roof of the sanctum sanctorum) is called as Somachanda Vimanam and is fully gold plated. The temple houses some rare Vijayanagara sculptures similar to the ones present in Soundararajaperumal Temple, Thadikombu, Krishnapuram Venkatachalapathy temple, Srivilliputhur Divya Desam and Jalakandeswarar Temple, Vellore.

The architecture of the Azhakar temple corresponds to any of those of south Indian temples, with large gopurams and pillared mandapams. The gopuram of the Karuppa swamy shrine depicts the passionate side of human relationship in the form of beautiful statues. Apart from these, it also depicts the evolution of cultural aspects of the local society including a depiction of an Englishman in British police uniforms. There is another half built gopuram on the southern side of the temple which has been used as an artistic backdrop in a few Tamil movie songs.    

The main tower entrance (Mukya Gopuram) always remains closed, with the shrine of Karupana Swami.The very closed door itself is worshipped as Patinettaam padi Karuppan(meaning, the black Lord who (sits) at the Eighteen steps ). There are various legends associated with this. Only Once in a year, the door is opened and Sudarshana Chakra(Or Chakrathaazhvar as the temple devotees mention), the famous Vishnu's wheel, passes over through the open door. Not even the Lord's Utsava Murti (deity for processions and festivals) goes through this passage. This is a centuries-old practice. The style of the buildings denote, 3rd or early 4th Century construction.

Some research scholars opine that this was earlier a Jain temple, (the somaskanda vimanamfor instance) but which however was later converted into a Vishnu temple. It is true that during archaeological excavations, many Jain caves and inscriptions were found in the same hill around this temple. However, the famous Vaishnava works in Tamil, belonging to the early 4th to 6th Centuries point that to this temple as a Vishnu temple. The famous Silapadikaram, too, belongs to the 3rd Century AD, points out to this temple as a Vishnu temple. In 2013, while cleaning the area on front of Karupana Samy shrine, a big Teppakulam was discovered. Before the whole Teppakulam was covered with sands and bushes. The golden canopy to the dome of temple was done in the 13th Century A.D. by the devoted king Sundara Pandian. Many such sacred dedicatory pieces of artistic additions were added by the king Thirumalai Naickar. A holy spring known as Noopurangangai is perennially sprouting up at the top of the hillock.

The main deity of this temple is called Paramaswamy and the processional idol is called Alagar and also Sundararajan. This beautiful idol is made of gold. The shrine of Kalyana Sundaravalli, Alagar’s consort, is in the southern enclosure. There is another shrine in the north dedicated to Andal who is said to have visited this place with Periyalwar from Srivilliputtur. Other important shrines are those of Sudarshanar and Yoga Narasimha. Karuppannaswamy, the God of Kallars and the finely carved eighteen steps, are held in great reverence by the devotees. It is claimed that nobody will dare tell a lie at this spot. The hill by the side of the temple is about 300 metres high and is famous for its holy springs called Silamboru and Noopura Gangai. According to local tradition, this spring is said to have originated from the anklets of Maha Vishnu during His incarnation as Trivikrama. The 3 kms path on the hillock to the temple of the summit, where bathing facilities are available, offers some beautiful natural scenery to the visitors.

Lord Karupanaswamy Temple

Arulmigu Kallazhagar Thirukoil

Lord Karupanaswamy is worshipped at the main entrance door which is closed. Devotees offer sandal paste to Lord Karupanaswamy. Since no one dares to lie in front of the Lord Karupanaswamy, many people plead here to get justice.

Holy Water Points (Nupura Ganga in Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple)

The water from this pool is supposed to have descended from the heavens and fallen at the top of this hill which in turn flows as Nupura Ganga. Taking a holy bath in this water is said to fulfill the desires of the people and so it is also called as ‘Ishta Siddhi’. In ‘ Silappatikaram ‘ there is a mention of three springs found in this hill namely, ‘Sravanam’. Bava Tarani’ and Ishra Siddhi. When Lord Vishnu took Vishvaroopam in his Vamana avathar and raised His foot over, Lord Brahma performed Padapooja with the Ganga water in the Heaven. Some of the water drops splashed over the anklet of Lord Vishnu, fell on the earth at Azhagar Hills and is still flowing as waterfalls. This is named as Noopura Gangai (Noopuram means anklet) and also as Silambaru. The devotees take bath in the Noopura Gangai Theertham to wash away their sins. This water tastes sweet and has medicinal values. There is a shrine for Rakayee amman here.

Halls Sculptures in Arulmigu Kallalagar Temple, Alagarkoil

The Kalyana Mandapa of the temple has beautiful sculptures on its pillars. These are fine specimens of Nayaka art. In addition to life-size sculptures of the kings who ruled over this place, there are many delicately carved idols relating to epics. They are magnificent in concept and yet jewel-like in the delicacy of the chisel. Some of them surpass the workmanship that has been found in similar pillars of the famous Meenakshi temple of Madurai. The more notable ones are those of Narasimha, Krishna, Rathi seated on the parrot, Manmatha and Vishnu on Garuda and a few others. Apart from these, the idol of Tirumala Nayaka found on a pillar is claimed to be the best when compared with similar figures found elsewhere. The sculptures found here include the following: car mandapam, elephant vehicle mandapam, sixteen pillared mandapam (Aandal mandapam), Kondappa Naicker mandapam, the Thirukkalyana mandapam, the Kodaithirunal mandapam, the  Ponveintha Perumal mandapam, the Aryan mandapam (Padiyetra mandapam), the  Maha mandapam (Alanagara mandapam), the  Vasantha mandapam and the  Madhavi mandapam.


About the Deity


Lord Mahavishnu is worshiped in the form of Azhagar, also known as Kallazhagar and Sundararajar. Vishnu presides as Meenakshi's brother Azhagar. In the topmost right hand, He has Prayoka Chakram, which is special one. Goddess Sundaravalli Thayar is in a separate shrine. Unmarried girls pray here to get married. The central shrine houses the image of the presiding deity, Uragamellayan Perumal in reclining posture on a snake bed similar to that of Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple. The images of Sridevi and Bhudevi are also housed in the sanctum. There two life size images of Narasimha, the avatar of Vishnu. One of them is shown holding the demon Hiranya and other slaying him.

Other deities in this temple are: Sri Andal,  Sri Sudarsanar,  Sri Yoga Narasimhar,  Thumbikai azhwar (Vinayaga with Thirumankappu on his forehead), Kshetrabalagarand  Saraswathi.


Legend and Stories


Legend has it that sage Suthapas (Munivar) was bathing in the Nupura Gangai at Azhakar Hill. He did not attend to Durvasar Maharishi, who was passing by. The enraged Durvasar cursed Suthapas, saying that he would turn into a frog until he is redeemed of his curse by Lord Sundararajar, who was also called Kallazhakar. The Suthapas Maharishi, who is named ‘Mandooga maharisi’ munivar because of his frog status, performed ‘thapas’ (prayer) on the banks of River Vaigai, which is otherwise known as Vegavathi at Thenur. The Lord Kallazhakar comes from his abode in Azhakar Hill to redeem Mandooga Maharishi of his curse, when he is praying. Since days unknown, it is believed that the lord Kallazhakar comes to Thenur via Malaipatti, Alanganallur and Vayalur. In Thenur Mandap, the lord redeems the sage of his curse and leaves for his abode. Under the regime of Thirumalai Nayak from 1623 to 1659 AD, the Mandooga Maharishi relieving ritual was shifted to Vandiyur where the event was performed at Thennur Mandapam.

The Alwars period

Aalwars are the twelve devoted disciples of Lord Vishnu. Those days, they praised this hill and its wealth and described this as "South Thirupati." In their hymns called "Paasurams", they had praised the isthalam, Moorthy and the Theertham. They had done "Mangalasaasanam" on this Isthalam. Out of this 12 alwars, six of them namely, Periyaalwar, Aandal, Thirumangaiyaalwar, Bootathaalwar, Paeyaalwar, nammaalwar had praised the hill and the lord Alagar in their 128 paasurams. All these paasuramshave been compiled and called in the name of " Naalaayira thivya prapantham ", which has been called as the Veda of the vaishnavites.

Periyaalwar and Aandal

Aandal is the incarnation of the goddess Sri "Maha lakshmi", the consort of lord Vishnu, who had been the one of the 12 Aalwars. She wanted to mary lord Sri Renga (lord Vishnu), without knowing the birth secret of Her incarnation. She had been also called as the other name "Soodi kodutha sudarkodi", that every day, She had made the garland for the lord Vishnu and had garlanded Him with the flowers and songs in the name of paasurams. She and Her father Periyaalwar (also one of the 12 Aalwars) often visited Alagar kovil and had sung paasurams about the hill and Alagar. Atlast She got married with Alagar in the form of lord Sri Renganatha.

Historical period

According to legend, this temple was built by God Dharmadevan. Later it was renovated by the Pandian King named  Malayadhwaja Pandyan, son of Kulasekhara Pandyan, who is said to have established the Pandyan kingdom, appears to be the earliest known monarch who patronised this temple.It is also said that Malayathdwajan prayed Shri Azhagar in this temple and got Goddess Meenakshi as her daughter. Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan, who reigned during the period 1251-1270 A.D., beautified the 'vimana' of the 'sanctum sanctorum' with gold plates. Later, during the reign of the Vijayanagar king Krishnadeva Raya, the temple was endowed with revenues from two villages for conducting regular festivals. After the end of Pandya rule in Madurai, the Nayaka kings became the chief patrons of this deity. The famous Nayaka king Vishwanatha, who ruled in Madurai during 1558-1563 A.D., made magnificent donations to this temple. In Alagar hills lord "Thirumal” is located in the name of “Alagar” and so it is called Alagar hills.  The pandyan kings were having their flags embedded with the monogram of Fish, which would have been the first incarnation of lord Vishnu, the "Machha Avataar", since they were the followers of the vaishnavam.

Vijayanagara kingdom

Pandyan King Jadaavarman Sundarapandiyan (1251 - 1270) had done a lot of religious services to Alagar kovil, like one of them was the golden layer work of the tower of the temple. After the pandyan kingdom, the kings of Vijayanagara had the direct supervision over the pandyan kingdom,allowing the pandya kings as only their representatives. He had done a lot for the welfare of this temple by registering land and assets to the temple. He also made this as his capital and fort. His successors are the persons who had built the big towers of goddess Sri Meenakshi amman, which are seen nowadays.

In 1565, the last king of Vijayanagar had been defeated by the Mohammedans, in the war of "Thalaikottai", the ambassadors of the pandyan kingdom became liberated and declared as they were the kings of those regions. Among the Vijayanagara's kings, the very noted person was "Krishna devaraya", who had immense devotion towards Alagar and the temple. He, then gave two villages called "Samaya nallur" and "Sattha mangalam" to the temple. This news had been in scripted in a stone, near the tower of the lord "Pathinetaamm padi Karuppu".From the revenue collected from those two villages, during the festivals on the Tamil month of Aadi, some 'Thaanams" (free meals and gift etc.) were given to the public.

Krishna Devaraya with his warriors, had come to Alagar kovil and had been halted for three days.  During the reign of Thirumalai nayak (1623 - 1659), Madurai had been on its peak of prosperity. He had done a lot of religious services to the Alagar kovil, like the construction and renovation of yaaga salai, palliyarai, thantha vimaanam, thantha pallakku, abisheka mantapam etc. He also built a palace in Thirmalirunsolai (Alagar kovil).

Periyaalwar and Thirumalirunsolai

He described the beauty of this hill by comparing it with the north Vengadam as like it, here also there were seven hills as follows:

1. Alangaaran malai (here malai means hill)
2. Kula malai
3. Kola malai
4. Kulir maamalai
5. kottra malai
6. Nila malai7.Neenda malai

In these seven hills, there were rivers, springs and fountains, which were described by Periyaalwar in his paarurams.

Arangan Vs Alagar

When Srirangam ( one of the 108 Divya Dhesams of Lord Vishnu in Trichy) was looted by Muslims, to save the sculpture of Lord Vishnu, a fierce devotee, called Pillai Logaachariyaar had taken the sculpture in a "Pallaakku" (in which one can sit and travel, which is carried on the shoulders of the carrying people) and traveled to a safe place towards the south direction. On their way of traveling, Pillai Logaachariyaar had died at the place called Jodishkudi. His followers, with out giving up this effort, took the idol safely to Thirmalirunsolai (Alagar kovil) and had dug a well and named it as Alagiya Manavaalan Thirukinaru, and kept the idol safely in the well and had done all poojaas to the well. Thus for more than a year, Thiru Arangan (idol of lord Vishnu) had stayed in Alagar malai. Here after the idol of Thiru Arangan had been taken to some other places in Kerela (then called as Malayaala desham), and at last after passing 60 years, on 1370, the idol had come back to Sri Rangam safely. All these news have been collected and compiled from the book called "Etheenthra pranavap prabhavam"done by Pillai logamzeeyar.


Festivals


The Chithirai festival of this temple celebrated for ten days is one of the declared festivals in Tamil Nadu. This festival day is declared as Local Holiday. During the Chitrai festival in April/May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarar is celebrated, Azhagar travels to Madurai. A gold processional icon called the Sundararajar is carried by devotees in procession from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai for wedding ritual. Here he steps into river Vaigai in his Horse Vaganam. Lakhs of devotees flock to river Vaigai to see this event. "Ethir Sevai" festival is celebrated on the day before Alagar steps into river Vaigai. It is a tradition for the people of Madurai to welcome Alagar. As Alagar returns from Vandiyur Dhasavatharam festival is celebrated throughout the night at Ramarayar Mandapam in the Northern part of river Vaigai. After this event Alagar is taken to Mysore Veera Mandapam on decorated Anantharayar Palanquin. The next morning Alagar in the form of Kallar returns to Alagar kovil in 'Poo Pallakku'(Palanquin decorated with flowers). During the months of July and August the festival of Aadi Brahmmorchavam is being celebrated for 10 days. This festival occurs within the precincts of the shrine. Devotees from different parts of Tamilnadu throng to participate in this festival. The temple car 'Amaiththa Narayanan’ is taken in procession during Poornami (Full-Moon day) of Aadi (Brahmotchavam).

Amongst the many festivals that are conducted here, the Chitra festival is the most important one. During this festival, the processional idol of Alagar is taken to Madurai, halting at various places on the way. This festival attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from South India as well as from other parts of the country. A legend is popular how Alagar, the brother of Meenakshi was unable to attend her marriage in time and how he turned back from the banks of the Vaigai river. It is surprising what a strong visible influence this picturesque belief has been left in the environs of Madurai.

Festival's in Month wise

1. Chithirai - Chithirai Grand festival
2. Vaikashi - Vasandha festival
3. Aani - Muppala festival
4. Aadi - Aadi Grand festival
5. Aavani - Thiru Pouthira festival
6. Purattasi - Navarathiri festival
7. Iyppasi - Thailakkappu (Sri Perumal visiting Noopura Gangai)
8. Karthigai - Karthigai Deepa festival
9. Margazhi - Thiruvadhyayana festival (Pagal Patthu Rappatthu festival)
10. Thai - Kanu festival
11. Masi - Gajendra Motcham festival, Float festival
12. Pankuni - Thirukalyana Festival

Worship Time


Morning 6.00 to Afternoon 12.30
Evening 3.30 to Night 8.00

Pooja Timings


In this temple poojas will be conducted for six times per day.

1. Vishva Rupam -6.00 A.M
2. Pongal Kalam-7.00 A.M
3. UcchikKalam -12.00 P.M
4. Sayarakchai -5.00 P.M
5. Nithiyana Santhanam-6.30 P.M
6. Sampakkalam-8.00 P.M

Rituals done by the devotees are as follows



Description

Price

Archanai

Rs 5.00 /-

Sahasranamam

Rs 50.00 /-

Karnaposanam (Ear Boring)

Rs 50.00 /-

Marriage

Rs 250.00 /-

Thirumanjanam

Rs 100.00 /-

Theerthakudam

Rs 25.00 /-

Sannathi Panneer

Rs 5.00 /-

Ubaya thalugai

Rs 20.00 /-

AthirasamThenkulal(3 sets per day)

Rs 15.00 per set

Hair Offering

Rs 10.00 /-

Mavilakku

Rs 2.00 /-

Offering Coconut - Karuppanasamy Sannathi

 

Rs 2.00 /-

Offering Materials - Karuppanasamy Sannathi

 

Rs 20.00 /-

halugai (Prasadam) - Karuppanasamy Sannathi

 

Rs 40.00 /-

Garland - Karuppanasamy Sannathi

Rs 2.00 /-

Offering - Karuppanasamy Sannathi

Rs 54.00 /-

Parivattam

Rs 10.00 /-

Sandal (Santhanam) -Karuppanasamy Sannathi

 

Rs 50.00 /-

Manjal Neer Kaanikkai

Rs 100.00 /-

Exchange of Cattle (Offering Cow)

Rs 200.00 /-

Sannathi Parivattam

Rs 20.00 /-

Ayus Homam

Rs 1,500.00 /-

Sannathi Brass Material (Kuthu vilakku)

 

Rs 20.00 /-

Alangara Thirumanjanam

Rs 2,000.00 /-

Scheme for oneday full Pooja Expenses

Rs 2,500.00 /-

Ubayam Cattle

NA

One day Annadhanam for 100 persons

Rs.2,000 /-

Permanent endowment for one day's Annadhanam Scheme
(The Annadhanam will be done on the day of your choice every year )

 

 

Rs.20,000/-



Entry Fee Structure


1. Sannathi Entrance Fee-Nill
2. Sannathi Special Entrance Fee-Rs 10 /-

Best Time to Visit


October to March.
Peak Season

January to February and April to May.
Temperature

Maximum - 38°C
Minimum – 20.8°C


Rare Facts


The Azhagar Koil Dosai prasadam is a rather famous element. The temple has a Sudarshana Chakra that is 2000 years old. The garland adorned Sri Andal will come from Srivilliputtur every year during the Chitirai festival, and only by wearing that garland, Sri Azhagar enter into the Vaigai River in Kuthirai Vahanm. Sri Koorathazhwar, a chief disciple of Bhagavath Ramanujar, had his eyesight restored in the Azhagar Koil, by composing the Sundararajastvam in praise of Sri Azhagar.


Significance


This is one of the 108 divya desams. The temple has been praised by Six Azhwars in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham. Andal prayed to offer Akkara Adisil (sweet milk rice) to Sri Azhagar in this temple, if her desire to marry Shri Mahavishnu would be fulfilled. Though she attained her desire, but could not perform her offerings. Later, Bhagavath Ramanujar came to this temple and performed her offerings. Every year, this is remembered by performing that offering on the 27th Day of the Tamil month Margazhi. Shri Sundararajar comes to Madurai for Chitirai festival and to Poigaikaraipatti for Theppam festival.  Thirukalyanam (celestial wedding) of Sri Sundararajar with four Thayars namely Sundaravalli, Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Andal takes place on Panguni Uthiram day. The Mahabharata says that this temple was visited by both Yudhisthira and Arjuna. Unmarried girls pray to Goddess Sundaravalli Thayar to get married. Taking a holy bath in Nupura Gangar (a Holy Water Spring) is said to fulfill the desires of the people.


Nearby Places to Visit

Arulmigu Meenakshi Sundareshwarar Thirukoil

The Meenakshi temple is renowned to have been established by Indra (ruler of Deva heavenly gods) while he was on a journey to make amends for his offenses. He felt his weight lifting as he neared the swayambu lingam (self framed lingam, a representation of Shiva utilized for worship as a part of sanctuaries) of Madurai. He attributed this supernatural occurrence to the lingam and built the sanctuary to cherish it. Indra worshipped Shiva, who brought about brilliant lotuses to show up in the adjacent pool. Tamil writing discusses the sanctuary in the course of the most recent two centuries. Thirugnanasambandar, the celebrated Hindu holy person of Saiva reasoning, said this sanctuary as right on time as the seventh century, and portrayed the god as Aalavai Iraivan. The sanctuary is accepted to have been sacked by the scandalous Muslim trespasser Malik Kafur in 1310 and all the old components were destroyed.

The activity to reconstruct the structure was taken by first Nayak lord of Madurai, Viswanatha Nayak (1559–1600) under the supervision of Ariyanatha Mudaliar, the head administrator of the Nayak Dynasty and the author of the Poligar System. The first plan by Vishwanatha Nayak in 1560 was significantly extended to the present structure amid the rule of Thirumalai Nayak (1623–55). He took significant enthusiasm for raising numerous edifices inside the sanctuary. His real commitments are the Vasantha Mandapam for commending vasanthorsavam (spring celebration) and Kilikoondu Mandapam (passage of parrots). The passageways of the sanctuary tank and Meenatchi Nayakar Mandapam were worked by Rani Mangammal.Rous Peter (1786–1828), the Collector of Madurai in 1812, got handle 'Dwindle Pandian' as he regarded and treated individuals of all beliefs similarly. He gave an arrangement of brilliant stirrups studded with precious stones and red stones to the temple.Goddess Meenatchi is accepted to have spared Rous Peter from a deadly occurrence. He likewise longed that after his demise, his body covered in a position that would empower his eyes to confront the sanctuary.

Arulmigu Koodal Azhagar Perumal Temple, Madurai

This temple hails from the earliest Age of Sangam period. There are references of this temple in Paripadal and Silappadikaram. The presiding deity was praised and worshipped by the Sangam tamil Poets as the president and guardian deity of the Sangam and called him by the name "Thuvarikoman" (the King who ruled over from Dwaraka) and Koodal Alagar. Koodal refers to the assembly of Poets and scholars. The Ancient Pandya rulers celebrated Avani Onam festival in praise of Sri Koodal Alagar for a period seven days. This festival is vividly described in Madurai kanchi, on the ten lengthy poems called Pathupattu of the Sangam period. Ilangovadigal praises the Lord as "Needu Neer-Vaigai Nedumal" meaning the Lord who spanned the universe by taking three strides. (Thiruvokrama) Who is now seated at the bank of the river Vaigai in Archa form. Brahmanda Purana vividly describes this kshetra in seven chapters. Sri Koodal Alagar is seated in the Ashtanga vimana flanked by his consorts.

The legendary Kings Prithu, Malaydioaja workshipped Sri Koodal Alagar, who bestowed them with prosperity and attainment of moksha at the end.Alwars are mystical saints who glorified the presence of Narayana in temples by their hymns. Among them vishnu chittha has a unique position. He was invited to visit the Pandya Court at Madurai in order to settle the disputes among the various religious sects. Vishnuchitha established the supremacy of Sriman Narayana by quoting profusely the vedic texts in support of his argument. At the end of his argument a miracle happened. The purse containing gold coins suspended in a pole landed down in the hand of Vishnuchittha.

Thirupparankundram Murugan Temple

Thiruparankundram temple is dedicated to the Lord Subramaniya. It is situated 8km south from Madurai district. Thiruparankundram is one of the six abodes of Lord Subramaniya. This is cave temple, One of the sangam poet Nakkirar has sung a log poem about this Temple is called Thirumurugatrupadai. Devayanai Marriage, Thirumalai Nayak and Mangammal Sculptures are there in this temple. The most important sculputure is Lord siva with flag of Rishaba in his hand cannot be found anywhere else. The important festival in this Temple is Vaigasi visagam, which is celebrated as Lord Subramaniyar's birthday, and Surasamharam, which is celebrated in the month November or December every year. Presiding deities of the temple are Lord Muruga and Goddess Devasena.

Other deities - Shiva, Vishnu, Durga and Ganapathy - are represented as well.Entrance in the ancient cave temple leads through a row of massive square pillars ornamented with lotus-shaped medallions. Inside the cave temple there has been preserved ancient painting of Nataraja - dancing Shiva. Cave temple contains also the sculpture of presiding deity Sri Subramaniyaswamy (Muruga).Rock-cut temple contains also 41 inscriptions revealing the early history of the temple. Before the ancient rock-cut temple there is a front part - mugha mandapam. Separate entrance leads into Sani Bhagawan - another shrine in this temple. In the western side there is rock-cut chamber which houses the lingam but in the eastern side there is one more shrine with Vishnu and Durga opposite to him. Temple contains many more carvings of deities. In the south-eastern part of Kambaththadi mandapam there has been found a 30 m long tunnel. Temple contains also two historical wooden carts which are used for ceremonial purposes in certain proccessions.

Thirumalai Nayak Palace

Thirumalai Nayak Palace is a 17th-century palace erected in 1636 AD by King Thirumalai Nayak, a king of Madurai's Nayaka dynasty who ruled Madurai from 1623–59, in the city of Madurai, India. This Palace is a classic fusion of Dravidian and Islamic styles. The building, which can be seen today, was the main Palace, in which the king lived. The original Palace Complex was four times bigger than the present structure. In its heyday, Tirumalai Nayak Palace at Madurai was considered to be one of the wonders of the South. This palace is situated 2 km south east of the Meenakshi Amman Temple.

Thirumalai Nayak succeeded his brother Muttu Virappa Nayak on the Madurai there in A.D 1623. The political situation in south Tamil Nadu was confused with the decline of the Vijayanagar empire, and the once feudatory Nayak governors of Madurai, Thanjavur, Gingee and Mysore were quarrelling to divide the dissolving Vijayanagara Empire. The Muslim kingdoms in the Deccan began to press southwards. Immediately after becoming king, Thirumalai Nayak withheld the payment of tributes to the Vijayanargara kings. He also gathered a large army in Thiruchirapalli and strengthened its fortifications.

Mariamman Teppakulam

Mariamman Teppakulam is the pond located near to Vandiyur Mariamman Temple and situated at a distance of about 2 km from the Meenakshi Amman Temple. Literally, Teppakulam means temple pond mainly used for devotional festivals. The tank is connected to Vaigai River through an ingenious system of underground Channels. It has total of 12 long stairs (steps) made of granite on all four sides. The temple as well as the stairs was built by the King Thirumalai Nayak. In the centre of the tank there is a Madapam called Maiya Mandapam (Central Mandapam) with Vinayakar temple and garde. This is the location where the king Thirumalai Naicker excavated the soil to fabricate the bricks required for constructing his palace, Thirumalai Nayakkar Mahal. The pit that was thus formed is seen as tank now. It is approximately 305 M long and 290 M wide nearly equal area to that of Meenakshi Amman Temple.

Built in 1645 A.D.,this is the biggest tank in Tamil Nadu. foot tall Mukuruny Vinayakar idol in Meenakshi Amman Temple is believed to be found during excavation process of this pond. Mariamman Teppakulam is famous for the celebrations of the Float festival, which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai (January 14th to February 15th). The celebrations take place on a full moon night (Thaipusam) and the pristine water turns colourful as the temple is lit. The idols of Goddess Meenakshi and her consort Lord Sundareshwarar, the deities of the Meenakshi Amman Temple come down to the tank in colorful floats, presenting a mesmerizing sight. Pilgrims across India come to Madurai to participate in the festival.

Gandhi Memorial Museum, Madurai

The Gandhi Memorial Museum, established in 1959, is a memorial museum for Gandhi located in the city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. Known as Gandhi Museum, it is now one of the five Gandhi Sanghralayas (Gandhi Museums) in the country. It includes a part of the blood-stained garment worn by Gandhi when he was assassinated by Nathuram Godse. Years after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 an appeal was made to the citizens of India nationwide to build memorials for Gandhi. With the help of contributions from poor and rich citizens of India, a trust was established with the name Mahatma Gandhi National Memorial Trust, for this cause. This museum was inaugurated by the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on 15 April 1959. Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai comes under the Peace Museums Worldwide selected by United Nations Organisation(UNO).

The palace of Rani Mangammal has been renovated and converted into the museum. A Original letter written personally by Gandhi to Narayanan Sathsangi of Devakottai. A congratulatory message sent by Gandhi to freedom fighter and poet Subramania Bharati is also preserved in this museum. Yet another interesting letter is the one, written by the Mahatma to Adolf Hitler addressing him as Dear Friend. Located in a quiet place, it is a very good memorial of Gandhiji, it contains a "Visual Biography of Bapuji" containing photos, paintings, sculptures, manuscripts, quotations and some of the selected Photostat copies of many of letters written by him and some of his renderings. This section contains 124 rare photographs depicting various phases of Mahatma Gandhi right from his childhood days until being taken to the crematorium. The pictures displayed here are carefully selected making viewers remember the importance of a national leader, who lived his life as an example to all.


Accessibility

Airport

The nearest airport is in Madurai.

Railways

By Train, one can reach the temple from Madurai.

Road

The temple is accessible by bus. The Distance to reach Madurai from Chennai to Trichy is 365 km, and from Trichy to Madurai is 120 km, and then from Madurai to Alagarkoil it is 21 km, and from Dindigul, Natham to Alagarkoil 56 km.



Temple Address


Arulmigu Kallalagar Thirukovil,
Alagar Kovil, Melur Taluk,
Madurai District – 625301.

Significance

Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-

  • For prosperity
  • For cure from diseases and illnesses
Shlokas

Achutham Keyshavam Rama Narayanam Krishna Damodaram Vasudevam Harim Shridharam Madhavam Gopika Vallabham Janaki Nayakam Ramachandram Bhajey

Meaning -Oh Lord who cannot be perished, who also has names like Keshava, Rama, Damodara, Narayana, Sridhara, Madhava, Krishna, Ramachandra the beloved of Janaki, let me say your name regularly.

Vasudeva Sutham Devam Kamsa Chanoora Mardhanam Devaki Paramanandham Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum

Meaning -I bow to you O Krishna, the ultimate guru, Devaki and Vasudeva's son, and the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanur.

Adharam Madhuram Vadanam Madhuram Nayanam Madhuram Hasitam Madhuram Hridayam Madhuram Gamanam Madhuram Mathuraa Dhipate Rakhilam Madhuram

Meaning -Meaning - Sweet are Your lips, sweet is Your face, sweet are Your eyes, sweet is Your smile, sweet is Your heart, sweet is Your gait, O Lord of Mathura, everything about You is sweet.

Alokya Mathur Mukha Madarena Sthanyam Pibantham Saraseeruhaksham Sachinmayam Devam Anantha Roopam Balam Mukundam Manasa Smarami

Meaning -I think of this Balamukundan as the one who looks lovingly at his mother's face while taking milk from her, who has eyes similar to the red lotus, who is the embodiment of truth and intelligence and other forms.

Timings

6 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.3.30 p.m. to 8.00 p.m.

Weather in Alagar Kovil
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