Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Tiruvengadamudaiyan||Ambal / Thayar:||Alarmel Mangai Thayar|
|Timing:||6 to 12 & 4 to 8||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Ariyakudi||District:||Sivaganga|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (5 km)||Pudukkottai (46 km)|
|Madurai (93 km)||Ramanathapuram (94 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
Locally known as the Tiruvengadamudaiyan temple, this temple for Vishnu as Srinivasa Perumal, together with Alarmel Mangai Thayar is considered the largest Vishnu temple in the Chettinadu region, and with its imposing presence and the 7-tiered raja gopuram.
It is said that back in the day, the entire village of Ariyakudi reverberated with the chants of Vedas and the Nalayira Divya Prabandham.
The sthala puranam here is about one Sevukan Chettiar, a staunch devotee of Vishnu. Every year, he would collect donations from the locals, and on the occasion of Purattasi Tiruvonam, offer it to Srinivasa Perumal at Tirupati after walking all the way there. Once, the Chettiar fell ill and could not undertake his usual pilgrimage, and felt despondent about the situation, when a voice told him that the Lord would Himself be present at Ariyakudi for the sake of His devotee. Soon after, the Lord appeared in a dream and to the Chettiar to locate a place where he would find a coconut shell and a Tulasi tree, when walking westwards from his house. The Chettiar located the place and found Perumal giving him darshan. At the very place, he installed the vigraham of Srinivasa Perumal as it is at Tirupati, and also built the innermost prakaram here. However, in a departure from the Tirupati representation, Sridevi and Bhudevi were also installed in the temple. The shrine for Alarmel Mangai Thayar was built separately. Later, he was directed to Srirangam, where he received the abhisheka murti of Ramanujar, which be brought back to this temple.
The memory of Chettiar is still preserved, through a sculpture of his on one of the pillars in the temple.
Given the sthala puranam’s connection, Purattasi Tiruvonam is celebrated grandly at this temple, with nigh-long chanting of “Govinda” by the devotees, and specifically the Nagarathar community here.
After Perumal and Thayar, Garuda here is most famous. Called Moolai Garudan – whose shrine rather unusually, has lions on either side – is worshipped with great fervour. Every month, on the day of Swati nakshatram, a special abhishekam / Tirumanjanam is performed for Garuda, which is said to remove all doshams and the ill effects of enmities. On the day of Maha Swati, ie Swati nakshatram in the Tamil month of Aadi (July-August), special poojas are performed, as it is regarded as the janmotsavam day of Garuda.
The other interesting tradition here is that on the day of Vijayadasami, the utsava murtis of this temple and the nearby Ratnapureeswarar Siva temple, jointly undertake the procession around town, which lasts almost the entire day.
The temple is connected to three Divya Desam temples – the abhisheka murti of Ramanujar in the garbhagriham is from Srirangam, the agni (sacred fire) is from the Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple at Tirukostiyur, and the Sadari is from Tirupati. Because of this uniqueness, the place came to be called Ariya-Kudi, or Rare-place.
The temple welcomes visitors with its imposing 7-storey raja gopuram, followed by a long corridor leading to the maha mandapam. Further ahead is the shrine for Perumal. In the prakaram, on the south is the Thayar shrine, and on the north is the Andal shrine. The inner prakaram also has separate shrines for Chakarathazhvar, Vishwaksena, Rama and Vedanta Desika. The Dasavatara mandapam has paintings and sculptures, including stucco images, of the various avatarams of Vishnu.
There are also several herbal and vegetable dye paintings in the Ekadasi Mandapam of the temple, in addition to the superb examples of Nagarathar architecture from the time this temple was last renovated on a major scale, about 300 years ago. The temple is also famous for its palliyarai (celestial bedchamber) because of its architecture.
The temple is also called Then Tirupati (Southern Tirupati), and it is believed that those who are unable to visit Tirupati can offer their worship to Srinivasa Perumal here instead. In consonance with the puranam of Tirupati, this temple is also a prarthana sthalam for those seeking to get married.
Other information for your visit
There is also a Narasimhar temple opposite the raja gopuram, which one normally visits after worshipping at the Perumal temple.
The village of Ariyakudi is also famous for Ramanuja Iyengar, the Carnatic vocalist who was born here. He developed the unique style that has come to be known as The Ariyakudi Tradition, and is best known for having established the kutcheri (concert) tradition in Carnatic music. Among his many achievements and awards are the Padma Bhushan, in 1958.
Srinivasa Bhattar: 94866 34228