Nava Thirupathi – Tour
by Smt Godha Sridharan, Chennai
Dear Sri Venkat,
Attached is a write-up on our Azhwar Nava Thirupathi trip. Please read it at your leisure. Last Sunday we had been to Kancheepuram and Sevilimedu. Had a good sevai of Deva Perumal, Perundevi Thaayar and Sevilimedu Nrisimha Perumal. Mama had taken me to nearly 60 divyadesams this year!! There are no words to thank him!
Our next stop was at Nachiyaar Koil (Thirunaraiyur). Here 4 manifestations of our Lord ( Pradyumnan, Anirudhan, Vaasudevan, Sankarshanan) are seen along with Srinivasa Perumal. Thirumangai Azhwar had samasrayanam from this Perumal (Nambi) and has dedicated 100 pasurams to his acharyan, Nambi. Another Perumal to receive 100 pasurams from Azhwar is Thirukannapuram SowriRajan. Vanjulavalli Thaayar gets the “mudhal sthanam” in this temple. We also visited the “KalGarudan” Sannidhi and then left for Nadhan Koil ( ThiruNandhipura Vinnagaram). This place is called Jambakaranya Kshetram and it extends from Mannargudi till Nadhan Koil. This temple is under the administration of Vanamamalai Mutt.
Leaving Nadhan Koil, we again went to Oppilippan Sannidhi to see Sravana Deepam. Three deepams were lighted ( Dasangam, Deepam and Vaal Deepam) and it took about an hour for the entire event to conclude. Badri and I were thrilled by this new experience. We later had lunch at Mani’s home and left for Therazundhur. We were given a warm welcome at Srinivasa Bhattar’s home at Therazundhur. He accompanied us to Perumal’s Sannidhi and gave an enchanting commentary on this Perumal’s Vaibhavam. Perumal’s Thirunamams are DevadiRajan, Aamaruviyappan and Gosakhan.
He stands so majestic with Prahladazhwan and Garudazhwan by His side. The Sthala Puranam as narrated by the bhattar is given below.
King Uchisravas had a boon that his ther (chariot-car) cannot be stopped by any force and can wander freely. Once when he was traveling in the skies, the shadow of his ther fell on the cows of Brindavan and they started dying. On seeing this, our Gopalan grew very angry and pulled the unstoppable ther to the ground. The place where the ther landed came to be known as “Therazundhur” ( Ther Azundhiya oor). The king was overcome with rage and tried to move his ther, but it became impossible for him to do so. Our kannan volunteered to give his ther back, provided the king offers one thousand pots full of fresh butter. The king accepted and all his men were asked to bring the necessary butter. However they were able to manage only 999 pots. The king was arrogant and decided to place one empty pot among the rest 999 pots full of butter. Having hidden one empty pot among the rest, the king invited Kannan to accept his offering and keep up His word (ie., to give his ther back). Our Gopalan ignored all the pots that were filled with butter, but opened the one empty pot. To everyone’s amazement, the empty pot which the king had placed had butter and the rest 999 pots were empty. Uchisravas realized that this cowherd boy is no ordinary person and fell at His feet and begged for His pardon. Gopalan showed his viswaroopam and gave darshan as “DevadiRajan”. The king was overwhelmed with joy and requested our Lord to remain for ever as “DevadiRajan” and “Gopalan (Aamaruviyappan)” at this place.
On hearing the name “DevadiRajan”, Thirumangai Mannan thought that He is a king and decided to move from this place. Perumal panicked at the thought of losing the divine nectarine paasurams from Azhwar and decided to bring him back to his place. He tied Azhwar thru His sakthi and Azhwar was not able to take even a single step forward. Azhwar realized that no one else other than Perumal could restrict him and he ran to the temple to see his beloved Gopalan and poured out his divine Srisookthis.
He addressed this Perumal as “Thiruvukkum Thiruvagiya Selva” and did mangalasasanam to this Thaayar and Perumal.
On seeing Prahladazhwan near Perumal, One is reminded of the parama kaarunyam of Nrisimhan. Bhattar used a phrase “ Ezhai (poor), Idayan (Cowherd boy), Ilichavaayan” (?? Readers who do not know Tamil – Please excuse) and gave a moving commentary on the same. Chakravarthi Thirumagan is Ezhai as He left His kingdom and roamed in the forests with His wife and brother. As we all know, Perumal out of His Soulabhyam, roamed in the Brindavan as a simple cowherd boy (Idayan). Who could be Ilichavaayan other than Nrisimhan who out of His infinite compassion to the child (Prahladan) pervaded the entire universe and was ever waiting to emerge from ‘anything that would be pointed by the child’. No other Perumal could match Nrisimhan’s kaarunyam. We enjoyed the Bhattar’s wonderful anubhavam.
Divya Desa Kainkarya Trust had arranged for an invertor for this temple to facilitate Darshan during power cuts. It seems many of the temples have such needs and interested Bhagavathas can participate in such kainkaryams either directly or through this trust.
Leaving Therazundhur, we went again to Oppiliappan koil for Perumal’s Thirukalyana Utsavam. Ippasi Sravanam was the auspicious day when Markandeya Maharishi gave his daughter (Bhoomi Piratti) to Oppiliappan. Every year, this thirukalyanam is celebrated in a grand manner by Oppiliappan koil Devasthanam.
This year, we were fortunate to see this utsavam. This day’s visit ended with Oppiliappan koil and we took a bus to Trichy (Kumbakonam to Trichy takes about 2.5 hrs by bus). At Trichy we boarded the Kanyakumari Express and reached Thirunelveli, the next day morning around 5:00 AM. Mama had made reservations at the Janaki Ram Lodge (Details given in the footnote). At Thirunelveli, we were received by the Vanamamalai agent, Mr. Mahalingam. He accompanied us for Nava Thirupathis, Thirukurungudi and Nanguneri.
The first temple we visited was SriVaikuntam. This is first of the Nava Thirupathis. Though the procedure is to start from SriVaikuntam and end at Azhwar Thirunagari, we were unable to follow this as we had made arrangements for breakfast and lunch at the Ahobila Mutt in Azhwar Thirunagari. One should look at the temple timings and then decide the order in which these temples should be visited so that all the Nava Thirupathis can be comfortably covered in a day. All these temples are well maintained by the TVS group.
In SriVaikuntam, Moolavar is Vaikuntapathi and Utsavar is KallaPiraan. Perumal is in the standing posture ( small thirumeni) under the Adiseshan. Utsavar KallaPiraan was getting ready for the ‘Barvettai’ ( a tradition in which the Perumal rides a horse and goes for hunting). There are 2 separate Thaayar Sannidhis. We then left to Azhwar ThiruNagari. Moolavar is AadhiNadhan and Utsavar is Polindhu Nindra Piraan. We then went to Nammazhwar Sannidhi. The divine ecstasy one feels at the Azhwar Sannidhi cannot be explained and one has to experience to believe it. He is seen with the Jnana Mudhirai. By the time we went, Azhwar had Ekantha Thirumanjanam and we were blessed to receive His thaila kaapu , thirumanjana theertham and sandana kaapu.
We also had darshan of the ThiruPuli Azhwar , the tamarind tree where Azhwar had spent several years in Krishnanubhavam. It is believed that Adiseshan incarnated as ThiruPuli Azhwar. Azhwar had done mangalasasanam to 36 Divya desa perumals and all these Perumals can be seen around this ThiruPuli Azhwar. One should always remember Azhwar’s divine charithram and His abundant grace towards all the Baddhajeevans. At this temple, at Thiruvenkatamudaiyan mandapam we get to see many sculptural marvels too. Later we had breakfast in the Ahobila Mutt nearby. Sevarthis can contact this Mutt (details given in the footnote) for food arrangements.
The next temple was Thirukolur (Vaithamanidhi Perumal in Sayana Thirukolam).
Perumal’s left thirukaram (His palm) is shown towards aakasam and His right thirukaram is towards Bhoomi. Bhattar explained us that Perumal is looking for dhanam (wealth) in both Aakasam and Bhoomi to give it to Kuberan. He also showed the veins in Perumal’s Thiruvadi. This is Madurakavi Azhwar’s Avatara Sthalam and there is a separate sannidhi for Azhwar. Sevarthis should not miss to take the blessings from Azhwar.
We then moved to ThenThiruperai. Perumal is MagaraNedunkuzhai kaadhan. Utsava moorthy is so beautiful and is with Sridevi and Bhoomidevi Nachiyars. There are 2 Thani koil Thaayar sannidhis. In fact we have 2 Thaayar sannidhis in SriVaikuntam, Azhwar ThiruNagari, Thirukolur and ThenThiruperai.
ThiruTholaivillimangalam (popularly known as ‘Irattai Thirupathi’) is a set of two temples considered as a single divyadesam. Perumal’s thirunamams are DevaPiraan and Aravinda Lochanan. When Rishis were preparing the yaga salai, they found a ‘thulai (tarasu)’ and a ‘vil (bow)’ which took the form of a woman and a man respectively. Since thulai and vil were relieved from the curse of Kubera and regained their svarupam, this kshetram is called ‘Thulaivilli mangalam’. The place where Aravinda Lochanan’s temple is situated was once a ‘thamarai thadagam (lake of lotuses)’ , from where
Maharishi took the flowers for Devapiraan’s Thiruvaradhanam. Perumal then expressed desire to reside for ever in the thamarai thadagam itself and from then on He is worshipped as Aravinda Lochanan in this Kshetram. We had a good darshan and later left for Azhwar Thirunagari again to have lunch (in Ahobila Mutt). Next temple visited was
ThiruPulingudi (Kaisina Vendhan). Azhwar sings as ‘Pulingudi kidanthu, VaraGunaMangai irundhu Vaikuntanthil nindra Piraan’. Perumal is in sayana thirukolam and His thiruvadi can be seen through a small window at the outer prakaram. Nachiyaars are doing paadha sevai to Perumal and there is no separate sannidhi for Thaayar.
We went to ThiruVaraGunamangai ( popularly known as Natham). Perumal is Vijayasanar and is in veetru irundha thirukolam. He is giving sevai as ParamapadhaNadhan. Then we moved to Thirukulandhai ( popularly known as Perunkulam). Perumal’s thirunamam is MayaKoothan. There is a beautiful utsava moorthy of Garudazhwan here. With this we completed all the Nava Thirupathis.
Later in the evening , we visited the Nanguneri temple. This is one among the eight Swayamvyaktha Kshtrams. Moolavar is called Thothathri Naadhan and Utsavar is DeivaNayakan. Moolavar is giving sevai as ParamapadhaNaadhan . Oorvasi and Rambai can be seen doing the thiruaalavatta kaimkaryam to Perumal. Thaila kaapu is done everyday and this oil is stored in a well. It is believed that this oil is the medicine for all diseases and is sold in the office. One can take a look at this “Ennai Kinaru” at the outer prakaram of this temple. This is a well (open to sky) and thirumanjana oil is accumulated here for centuries. Devotees consume this oil with great Bhakti and get cured of diseases.
Later we met the Srikaryam of Vanamamalai Mutt. Then we had the bhagyam of spending about an hour and a half with HH Jeeyar of Vanamamalai Mutt. We were awestruck by His simplicity and kindness. He was happy to know about the activities of the trust and told us a few things about our sampradayam. The time we spent with HH will remain in our hearts forever. This marked the end of the day’s visit and we returned to Thirunelveli for the night halt.
We started the day by again visiting the Vanamamalai temple. We had viswaroopa sevai of the Lord. First is Acharya ManavalaMamunigal’s viswaroopam, then is Perumal’s Viswaroopam. Here there is no tradition of bringing the cow and elephant for viswaroopam. An Aarthi alone is shown. At the outer prakaram, we saw the ennai kinaru and took some oil as prasadam. This is a very big temple and one should spend a lot of time here, enjoying Perumal and the calm surroundings. Mr. MahaLingam has arranged for our breakfast and later took us to Thirukurungudi( Vamana Kshetram). The Power agent of the Mutt also accompanied us. ThiruKurungudi is around 20 km(??) from Nanguneri. This is a very beautiful temple and the Perumal is called Nambi. In fact there are 5 Perumal sannidhis here. Nindra Nambi (Vadivazhagiya Nambi), Kidandha Nambi and Irundha Nambi are inside this temple. There is a separate shrine for Thirumalai Nambi (Malai mel Nambi) at a hill top which is at a distance of around 10 km from this temple. There is also a separate small temple for Paarkadal Nambi (Nindra Thirukolam) which is at 10 minutes drive from the main temple. The beauty of Nambi should be seen to be believed. The eyes and the red coral lips (pavala vaai) of the Perumal are remarkably beautiful.
We then visited Irundha and Kidandha Nambi sannidhis and Kurungudivalli Thaayar Sannidhi. We went to Mr. Nambi Srinivasan’s home, He made arrangements to visit the Malai Mel Nambi Thirukoil. There are no proper roads to this temple, and one can travel only in a Jeep. All other vehicles are not suitable for travel. It took around 45 minutes to reach the hill top and we were astounded by the beauty of this place. There is a river called ‘Nambi Aaru’ which flows as a waterfall also. The water is crystal clear and many monkeys freely wander at this place.
Kainkaryaparas at this temple have to walk this path everyday and have to fetch water from this Nambi river for Perumal’s Thiruvaradhanam. The service they do is remarkable. By the time we went, Thiruvaradhanam was going on and we had a great sevai of this Perumal. This Perumal will also join the Garuda sevai of 5 Nambi’s.
Sevarthis who visit Thirukurungudi should definitely visit this place also and spend a day in ThiruKurungudi enjoying all the 5 Nambi’s. Mr. Nambi Srinivasan had also packed lunch for us and we had prasadams from Malai Mel Nindra Nambi too for lunch.
We had the bhagyam to take the blessings from ThiruKurungudi Jeeyar also. It was so kind of Him to spend a few minutes with us. We were extremely fortunate to be blessed by both Vanamamalai and Thirukurungudi Jeeyars and this was our great bhagyam. Never can such an experience be explained/written, but can only be felt.
There are separate temples for Emperumanaar and ThiruMangai Azhwar here.
The Bhattar of these two sannidhis was kind enough to take us there and explained the vaibhavam of these 2 temples.
Emperumanar (with his sishya Vaduga Nambi) traveled to Kerala with the intent of spreading our Sampradayam. Namboodiri’s of Kerala did not like this and by the use of ‘Garuda Manthram’, invoked Garuda Bhagawan and Garudan carried Ramanujar (while he was asleep) and brought him to ThiruKurungudi and placed him on a rock which can be seen even today and this is called “Thiruparivatta paarai”. Now Garuda Bhagawan had brought only Ramanujar to Thirukurungudi, leaving Vaduga Nambi. When Ramanujar woke up, he was looking for Vaduga Nambi. On hearing Ramanujar’s cry as “Vaduga.. Vaduga”, Our Perumal went in the disguise of Vaduga Nambi. He reached Ramanujar’s place and started doing all kinds of kaimkaryams to the Acharya. Ramanujar after adorning the thirumankaapu used to put the remaining thirumankaapu on Vaduga Nambi. So, this time Perumal had the bhagyam of receiving the thirumankaapu from the Acharya. Later, Ramanujar asked his sishya to bring flowers for Nambi’s Aaradhanam and left to the temple. When he reached the temple, he found that a basket full of flowers had been placed outside but Vaduga Nambi was not to be seen. He ran inside the sannidhi and found that the thirumankaapu he had applied on Vaduga Nambi was there “as it is” on Perumal’s forehead. He realized that it was Perumal who had come as his sishya. Later, it seems that our Acharyan had taught all the Rahasyaarthams to Nambi. Hence this Perumal is also called as “Vaishnava Nambi” ( A unique name to Perumal). At this sannidhi, Emperumanaar is seen with the Jnana Mudhirai (Since he became an acharya to Perumal himself). Usually He will be seen with the Anjali Mudhirai.
There is a separate shrine for Thirumangai Azhwar. This is about 10-15 minutes drive from Emperumanaar Sannidhi. It is believed that Thirukurungudi Nambi gave Moksham to Azhwar. Sevarthis should definitely visit these 2 sannidhis and know the glory of our Azhwar/Acharyas. It is advisable to go with the bhattar to these 2 places.
In my opinion, one entire day should be dedicated and all the 5 Nambi sannidhis ( total of 3 temples) and Emperumanaar/Azhwar temples should be visited. In this kshetram, Kaisika Ekadasi is celebrated in a very grand manner and Natakams (drama) explaining the Kaisika Ekadasi puranam are conducted even today. Pancha Garuda Sevai ( 5 Nambi’s) is another popular festival here.
We then visited the Paarkadal Nambi temple ( 10 minutes from the main temple) also. With this our yatra ended. We then boarded the Anantapuri Express at Thirunelveli Junction and reached around 10:30 AM, the next day morning. This was 3 hours behind schedule. In all, the trip was great and gives us great joy whenever we think of it!!
Ahobila Mutt in Azhwar Thirunagari : 04639-273845
Janaki Ram Hotel in Thirunelveli : 0462-2331941, 2331522
Room Rent Per day : Rs 500/- + taxes
Haritha Travels - Owner Mr Gomathinayagam : 0462-2353730 (at Thirunelveli) Mobile 98434-97903
Driver’s name : Mr. Thiruvenkadam<> Charge for 2 days ( Covering Nava Thirupathis
Nanguneri Vanamamalai mutt : 04635-250119
Sri S.K.Padmanabhan Power Agent of Mutt
Sri Sankara Narayanan(Staff) : 04635 -250492
Thirukkurungudi Sri Nambi Srinivasan : cell No 9443446503<>
Emperumanaar/Thiurumangai Azhwar temples : 04635-265365 265291 (Jeeyar)
November 22nd 2004
Kaisika ekadasi and Thirunakshatram of Srimad Azhagiya singar.