Srivilliputhur Andal Temple is situated in Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu near Madurai. It is one of the 108 Divyadesams dedicated to Lord Vishnu, who is worshipped as Vatapatrashaayi along with his consort Andal. Known as Varaha Kshetram and Shenbakaaranyam in the past, this is the birthplace of two of the Alvars, namely Periyazhwar and his daughter Andal.
As per legend, sages Bhrigu and Markandeya were doing penance in a dense forest named Champaka/Shenbaga. A demon named Kalanemi was harassing the sages. They prayed to Lord Vishnu to help them. Pleased with their devotion, the Lord came down to earth and slayed the demon. The Lord then took abode in the forest in a reclining position on a banyan leaf. He came to be known as Vatapatrashaayi (vata – banyan, patra – leaf and shaayi – reclining position).
As per another legend, the land around Srivilliputhur was under the rule of Queen Malli who had two sons one of whom was Villi. One day, the Lord came in Villi’s dream and ordered him to found a city. Villi did so and the city became known by his name, Sri-villi-puthur. He then built a temple by installing the statue of Lord Vatapatrashaayi in it.
Birth of Andal
Periyazhwar was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. He was involved in stringing garlands to the Lord everyday. One day, he found an infant under a Thulasi plant in the garden inside the temple. He named the child as Kothai, who grew up to be a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Overcome with extreme affection towards the Lord, Kothai started to wear the garland herself before dedicating it to the temple deity. When Periyazhwar found about this, he became upset and chided her.
On that night, Lord Vishnu appeared in his dream and told him that he preferred the garland that was worn by Kothai first. Thus the girl who ruled over the Lord came to be known as ‘Andal’. The practice is followed even today when the garland of Andal is sent to Azhagar Koyil on Chitra Pournami and to Tirumala during Garudostavam on Purattasi month. Owing to her extreme devotion, Lord Ranganatha married Andal, who later merged with the idol with the name, Rangamannar.
The Rajagopuram, the temple’s gateway tower has 11-tiers rising to a height of 194 ft. The tower was built by Periyazhwar with the prize money he obtained from winning a religious debate in the court of a Pandiya king. This awe-inspiring tower is the chosen emblem of Tamil Nadu. The temple has two sections – Andal temple located in the Southwest section and the Vatapatrashaayi temple in the Northeast section. The Andal shrine houses the image of Andal and Rangamannar. Garuda, who brought Lord Ranganatha the divine bridegroom, from Srirangam is also present in the same shrine. The second hall from the entrance towards the sanctum, houses sculptures of Mohini, Rama, Kamadeva, Ratidevi and many other deities.
The Vatapatrashaayi temple premise houses Lord Vatapatrashaayi in a reclining posture and his consorts Lakshmi (Sridevi) and Bhudevi. Sage Bhrigu stands near his head and sage Markandeya is near his feet. The banyan tree on whose leaf the Lord reclines is present behind Bhrigu. The hall leading to the sanctum has detailed teak wood carvings depicting Puranic events and Dashavataras. Near the dwajasthambam and bali peetam, there are shrines for Nammazhwar and Ramanujar on the left and Periyazhwar on the right. There is a shrine of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha facing the dwajasthamba.
On the way to Andal shrine is the Tirupoora Nandavanam. It was here that Periazhwar found the divine child Kothai on Adi Pooram day. Inside the Nandavanam there is an idol of child Andal. By her side is the thulasi mantapam. The entire verses of divine Thiruppavai can been seen inscribed on marble in the Nandavanam.
Aadi Pooram, Adhyayana Utsavam, Vasantha Utsavam, Peria Perumal Bramhotsavam, Theppostavam and Andal Mannar Thirukalyanam are the important festivals celebrated in Srivilliputhur temple. Aadipooram festival, the birthday of Andal, celebrated during the Tamil month of Aadi (July – August), is the most prominent. During the festival, the presiding deities Sri Rangamannar and Goddess Andal are taken in decorated palanquins to the temple chariot. The festival marks the adoption of Andal, by Periyazhwar after he found her near the temple nandavanam.
Some Temple Facts
|Main Deity||Rangamannar, Andal|
|Location||Srivilliputhur, Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu (Pandya Nadu)|
|Architecture Style||Dravidian Style|
|Temple Age||1000 – 2000 years|
|Azwars who did Mangalasasanam||Periazhwar & Andal|
Periazhwar Thirumozhi : 133 (Periazhwar)
Nachiar Thirumozhi – 549 (Andal)
Birthplace of two Azhwars (Periyazhwar & Andal) Garudal’s idol inside the sanctum sanctorum. Temple tower is present in the emblem of Tamil Nadu
|Prayers made for||
Marriage, Children and General well being
Aadipooram (Jul-Aug), Thiru-adhyayana Utsavam (Dec-Jan) and Thirukkalyanam (Panguni)
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