Sundararaja Perumal, Sundaraperumal Koil, Thanjavur


Basic information about the temple

Moolavar:Sundararaja PerumalAmbal / Thayar:Soundaravalli Thayar
Deity:PerumalHistorical name:
Vriksham:Teertham:
Agamam:

Age (years):

1000-2000

Timing:6 to 12 & 4 to 8.30Parikaram:

Temple group:
Sung by:

Temple set:

Navagraham:

Nakshatram:

City / town:Sundaraperumal KoilDistrict:Thanjavur
Maps from (click): Current location Kumbakonam (12 km)Thanjavur (31 km)

Ariyalur (41 km)Tiruvarur (49 km)

Location

Sthala puranam and temple information

This temple is regarded as the Abhimana Perumal for Vishnu at the temples at Tirupullaboothangudi, Tirunageswaram Oppiliappan Koil and the Azhagar Koil near Madurai.

Indra, the leader of the devas, was struck by illness as a result of a curse from a sage. To seek relief from this disease, he came to Bhulokam and to this place, and performed penance under the Vanni tree here, to propitiate Vishnu. As part of his penance, he was to donate pumpkins to brahmins. But to his ill luck, not a single brahmin was to be found. Seeing that Indra truly repented, and undertook his penance with all due rigour, Vishnu appeared disguised as a handsome brahmin, and accepted the donation of the pumpkin. At once, Indra’s illness vanished, and Vishnu revealed His true form. Awestruck, Indra built this temple for the handsome Lord as Sundara Perumal here.

The place gets its name from the temple, which is in turn named for the handsome Perumal that Vishnu is depicted as, here.

As with the Kallazhagar Sundararaja Perumal Koil at Azhagar Hills, the guardian of the temple is Karuppar, who does not have a separate shrine here as he does at Azhagar Koil. Instead, Karuppar is on the eastern side wall of the Andal shrine, facing west. He does not receive any animal sacrifice here, and instead, the neivedyam done for all other deities is performed for Karuppar as well.

The temple is clearly over 1000 years old, likely from the Chola period based on the architecture, with subsequent renovations by the Pandyas and the Vijayanagara dynasty. Some remnants of that renovation work are visible outside the inner courtyard wall.

We understood that the last samproskshanam was performed in 1939. In recent years, some efforts have been undertaken to restore some aspects of the temple – a couple of vimanams to begin with– but work has stalled or is going at snail’s pace. [Read article in The Hindu, here]. A balalayam was also constructed but the samprokshanam has never happened since. After the passing away of the dedicated Sri Sundararaja Bhattar some years ago, very little has gone into taking care of the temple.

The tall raja gopuram is in dire need of maintenance (as of December 2021). There is a beautiful vigraham of Vinayakar in the side wall of the raja gopuram. Further on is a mandapam, inside which are a granite post / sthambam that serves as the dhwajasthambam, followed by the bali peetham and the Garudazhvar sannidhi.

In the garbhagriham is Sundararaja Perumal with Sridevi and Bhudevi. Despite the lack of any ornamentation inside the garbhagriham, Perumal looks resplendent and majestic, in nindra kolam. On the three sides of the garbhagriham inner wall is a panel with depictions from the puranams. The utsavar is the equally stunning Gopalakrishna Perumal. Soundaravalli Thayar’s shrine is to the south and Andal’s shrine is to the north, of the garbhagriham, outside the main mandapam. In the main mandapam, there are separate shrines for Vishwaksena, Narasimhar, Krishnan, Anjaneyar and Azhvars.

It is believed that worshipping Perumal’s holy feet cures all illnesses. Devotees worship Soundaravalli Thayar to get married soon and to remove obstacles in getting married. Worshipping Andal is believed to ensure that all good things one wishes will happen soon. Worshipping Narasimhar here is said to not only give strength, but remove impediments in one’s professional work.

Other information for your visit

Contact

Contact: 94446 56944

Watch Sriram’s video here:

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