Kumbakonam is a special grade Municipal Towns of Tamil Nadu, is the second bigger town in Thanjavur District, also known as TEMPLE city. The town is bounded by two rivers - " River Cauvery" on the north and "River Arasalar" on the south. The Nachiar Kovil or Thirunarayur Nambi Temple in Thirunarayur, a village in the outskirts of Kumbakonam in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. 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 to 9th centuries AD. Nachiyar Kovil is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Srinivasa Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Nachiyar. The temple is the place where god Vishnu is believed to have initiated Pancha Samskara (religious initiation) to Thirmangai Azhwar. The temple follows Thenkalai mode of worship.
About The Temple
Legend has it that the temple was built by Kochengan Cholan of the late 3rd century AD, with later contributions from Medieval Cholas and Vijayanagar kings. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines, while it has a 5-tiered rajagopuram, the temple's gateway tower. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu. As Madurai holds in the name of Goddess Meenakshi, the wife of God Shiva, Naachiyar Kovil appears in the name of GodVishnu's wife. Here God Vishnu stands in a begging posture seeking Varulambika's hand from saint Medhavi in the Moolavar Sannadhi. In respect to the saint's wish, Thaayar appears a step ahead to perumal. Shankarshnan, Prathyumnan, Anirudhan and purushothaman too bless us in the Moolavar sannathi by standing a step back to the Narayur Nambi. In this temple, the stone idol of the bird Garuda, Appears as the Vahanam or Vehicle to Narayur Nambi whereas Annam or the Swan is the Vahanam of the Goddess Vagulambika.
Garuda has a separate sannathi within this temple stretching out about 10 1/2 sq.ft's. He has beautiful huge wings, wide chest and long hair. In tamil month Margazhi and Panguni the festival "Kal Garuda Sevai" that is the festival where the idol of Narayur Nambi is placed on the stone idol of Garuda and taken out into radiant procession takes place every year.
There is a unique specialty regarding the stone idol of Garuda. When taken out for a procession, until a step out of his sannathi he can be easily carried by 4 persons. Then inside the temple his weight would increase 8 persons would be needed to carry him, then further outside the praharam he would weigh heavy so that 16 persons are needed to carry him. Totally outside the temple even 32 people are not enough to carry him, he would get heavier and heavier ahead. He would sweat a lot too to ensure that his cloths get soaked in the sweat.
About The deity
The presiding deity of this temple is Goddess Lakshmi who is worshipped here as Goddess Nachiyar and Lord Srinivasa Perumal. The other main deities of this temple are Lord Brahma, Lord Pradyumna, Lord Aniruddha, Lord Sankarshana and Lord Purushothaman. The each idols of Lord Rama, Lord Lakshmana, Goddess Sita, Lord Hanuman, Manavala Mamunigal and Vedanta Desika are located in the separate shrines. Sri Thirunaraiyur Nambi Perumal temple is one among the temples where female deities found to have more prominence than the male deities. In this temple Goddess Nachiyar (Goddess Lakshmi) is given more importance than Lord Srinivasa Perumal (Lord Vishnu). This temple is the sacred place where Lord Vishnu commenced Pancha Samskara, a religious initiation to the Azhwar named Thirumangai. The Garuda (vehicle of Lord Vishnu) is worshipped here as Kal Garuda which is made of Saligrama (an aniconic representation). Sri Thirunarayoor Nambi Perumal Temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham and various hymns sung by the Thirumangai Azhwar.
Legend and Stories
As per a legend, once upon a time there lived a saint named Medhavi in Nachiyar Kovil. He desired Mahalakshmi to become his daughter thus he pleaded to Mahavishnu and on an auspicious day beneath a tree known as "Vanjula Maram", he found a very beautiful girl child. He named her "Vanjulavalli" after the tree from where he got the child. He led a peaceful way of life then by teaching Gnana to his students. As Vanjulavalli grew up and attained the marriage stage. One day, Lord Narayanan separated him into five of his forms that is Shankarshanan, Prathyumnan, Anirudhan, Purushothaman and vasudevan and visited saint Medhavi's Ashram as a Guests. His students bore the guests a warm welcome and Vagulavalli prepared a delicious meal for the guests. After finishing their meal, all the five went to wash their palms. When Vagulavalli assisted them by pouring water, suddenly Vasudevan caught her by hand and immedietely she shouted for help.
Hearing the woman shouting, her father came running to save her. But before he could capture and curse Vasudevan, all the five guests vanished to bring forth the original one - Mahavishnu, saint Medhavi was spellbound, when Mahavishnu asked for his daughters hand for marriage. Contented, Saint Medhavi accepted for marriage. But before which he asked for 3 Boons from Mahavishnu that, he should achieve life beyond birth as well as death - eternity, then all the living beings in Narayur which gave the almighty food and wife, should also achieve salvation and his daughter should be given the first place in all the aspects. Consequently from that day, this place is called as Naachiyar kovil.
1. Ushathkalam Pooja – 7 a.m.
2. Kalasanthi Pooja – 8:00 a.m
3. Uchikalam Pooja – 12:00 p.m.
4. Sayarakshai Pooja – 6:00 p.m.
5. Irandamkalam Pooja – 7:00 p.m.
6. Ardha Jamam Pooja – 10:00 p.m.
1. Brahmmotsavam – December or January
2. Garuda Sever – March or April
3. Vasanthothsavam (Spring festival) – May or June
4. Thirukalyana Utsavam – September or October
Nearby Places to Visit
1. Adi Kumbeswara Temple
2. Ramaswamy Temple
3. Chakrapani Temple
4. Kasi Viswanathar Temple
5. Nageswaran Temple
6. Sarangapani Temple
7. Someswar Temple
8. Swamimalai temple
9. Thiruvalanjuzhi Vinayakar Temple
The nearest international airport is at Tiruchirapalli, which is 91 km (57 miles) from Kumbakonam.
Kumbakonam is connected by rail with most important towns and cities in South India. The Mysore - Mayiladuthurai Express connects Kumbakonam with Mysore and Bangalore. There are regular express trains that connect Kumbakonam with major cities in the state like Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai and Tiruchirapalli.
There are regular government and private bus services to Chennai, Thanjavur, Mannargudi, Tiruchirapalli, Chidambaram, Nagapattinam, Coimbatore, Madurai, Pondicherry, and Tirunelveli. The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates daily services from Bangalore and Mysore to Kumbakonam.
Sri Thirunarayoor Nambi Perumal Temple,
No. 65, Thirunaraiyur, Nachiar Koil, Kumbakonam
Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Freedom from diseases
- Relief from adverse effects from bad planetary aspects
- Relief from bondage
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.