TIRUVELLARAI – TRICHY, TN,
One of the 108 Temples and Celestial Abodes of Vishnu revered by Tamil Hymns of the Alwars of the 1st millennium CE
LOCATION: Tiruvellarai (Chola Naadu)
THEERTHAM: Divya Pushkarini
PAASURAM: Tirumangai, Periyalvar
VIMAANAM: Vimalakriti Vimanam
TRAVEL BASE: Tiruchirappalli
DESCRIPTION: This Divyadesam is located at a distance of 27 km from Tiruchirappalli, enroute to Turaiyur. It also goes by the name Swetagiri. Both the tamil and the sanskrit names refer to the hillock of white rock here. It is believed that in terms of antiquity, this temple pre-dates the Srirangam temple and hence the name Aadi Vellarai
DEITIES: Pundareekakshar, in a standing posture faces East. Shenpakavalli, and Pankayachelvi are the names of his consort. There is a separate shrine for Taayaar here. Pankajavalli is the name of her processional image.
THE TEMPLE: Vaayil as in the Sarangapani temple at Kumbhakonam. As implied by their names, the Uttarayana Vaayil is open from the Tamil month of Thai (Capricorn) onwards, until the month of Aadi (Cancer) from when on, the Dakshinayana Vaayil is used. This is a vast temple, with imposing walls. The main shrine has two entrances, referred to as the Uttarayana Vaayil and the Dakshinayana.
In addition, the temple has another entrance referred to as the 'Naazhi Kettaan Vaayil' where it is believed that Vishnu was intercepted and questioned by his consort, upon his returning home later, after his sojourn.
Images of Sree Devi, Bhu Devi, Surya, Chandra and Aadiseshan (in human form) are seen in the east facing sanctum. There are also shrines to Krishna, Nammalwar, Nadamuni, Kulasekharalwar, Tondaradippodiyalwar, Aandaal, Manavaala maamunigal and Ramanuja.
The northern entrance of the temple is adorned with an unfinished rajagopuram in the Hoysala idiom.
There are as many as 7 theerthams within the temple complex. Ramanujacharyar is said to have lived here, and Manavalamaamuni and Desikacharyar have also sung of this shrine. Uyyakkondaan a disciple of Nadamunigal is also associated with this shrine.
LEGENDS: Legend has it that Garudan, Markandeya, Lakshmi and Sibi Chakravarti offered worship here. Legend has it that Vishnu blessed Markandeya, Bhudevi and Sibi Chakravarti 4 caturyugas ago (17.3 million years)
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