Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Vaikuntanatha Perumal||Ambal / Thayar:||Vaikunta Nayaki, Chornathanayaki, Bhoonayaki|
|Vriksham:||Teertham:||Brigu Teertham, Tamirabarani river|
|Timing:||7.30 to 12 & 5 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Temple group:||Divya Desam||–|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Srivaikundam||District:||Tirunelveli|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Tirunelveli (31 km)||Thoothukudi (41 km)|
|Nagercoil (89 km)||Kanyakumari (90 km)|
Srivakundam is located 22km from Tirunelveli and is the starting point for visiting the Nava Tirupati group of temples in the region between Tirunelveli and Thooothukudi.
Sthala puranam and temple information
This is the first of the Nava Tirupati temples, and is associated with Suryan. Here the moolvar is in nindra kolam, Thayar Vaikunthavalli being in a separate shrine. Adiseshan protects him as the umbrella. Vishnu has a dandam in his hand. During the months of April and October the rays of the sun fall directly on the Lord’s feet.
There was a thief named Kaladooshakan in these parts. He used to steal jewellery and money from the travelers and rich. Whatever he stole was shared equally with Perumal out of his devotion. One day the when he went to steal in a particular village he was caught and the locals were preparing to take him to the king. At this, the Lord himself went to the king in the form of the thief and demanded as to why he should be arrested. The Lord said that he was compelled to steal because he did not have the wealth to live an honest life and the king should be responsible for the plight of his people.
The king realized that the thief was none other than Vishnu himself and fell at his feet. Vishnu presented his true form to the king and blessed him. Since the lord came as a thief (kallan) he was named Kallapiran.
Demon Somukan once stole the Vedas from Brahma thereby suspending the creation of living beings. Brahma approached Vishnu for help by undertaking penance on the banks of the river Tambraparani. Vishnu appeared and killed the demon to retrieve the Vedas.
At the site of the temple, over a period, the moolavar murti became hidden under the earth. Once, a villager saw the grazing cows pouring milk in a particular place and informed the Pandya king of this event. The king unearthed the murti and built the temple. Based on this the name Paalpandi is quite popular in these parts.
The specialty for this town is that both Vaikuntam and Kailasam are here as this is also one of the Nava Kailasam sthalams.
During Vaikunta Ekadasi the utsavamurti is taken inside the ardhamandapam and the sanctorum is closed. After the pooja the sannidhi doors are opened for a few seconds for mangala haarthi and is then closed again. Devotees who view the Lord during this short time are believed to attain salvation and reach Vaikuntam. Naamazhvar comes from Azhvartirunagari to visit this temple with and returns after the pooja. At this time, the murtis from Varagunamangai and Tirupuliangudi accept Garudasevai along with Vaikuntha Perumal and Polindhuninra Perumal.
As the Lord himself depicts the planets, there are no Navagraha shrines in any of these temples. Devotees come and pray here for relief from navagraha dosham.
On the first day of Tamil month Thai, Perumal wears 108 drapes and goes around the flagstaff. For each round the drapes are removed one by one.
The Garuda Sevai utsavam in the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May-June) is a sight to be seen! The utsava murtis from all the 9 Nava Tirupati temples are brought on their respective Garuda vahanams. Nammazhvar also comes on an Anna Vahanam (swan shaped vehicle), and his pasurams for each of the nine temples are recited. Then the murti of Nammazhvar is taken through the paddy fields in the area surrounding the temple.
Other information for your visit
Srivaikundam is also home to one of the Nava Kailasam temples – Kailasanathar at Srivaikundam.
In the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January), these temples open relatively early (some even at 5 or 5.30 am), and close by 11. Some others are open till 1 or 2 pm.
We visited temples in the following order, which enabled us to complete all these temples (plus 4 Nava Kailasam temples) between 5.30 am and 2 pm, in the month of Margazhi starting at Tirunelveli: Srivaikuntam, Alwartirunagari, Tirukolur, Thenthirupperai, Perunkulam, Tholaivillimangalam (2 temples), Tirupuliangudi and Natham (Tiruvaragunamangai). Our trip was not rushed at all, and we had ample time at each of these temples.
Budget and mid-range accommodation is available at Tirunelveli. If coming down on the East Coast Road, then some limited options may also be available at Toothukudi (Tuticorin) and Tiruchendur.
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