March 5, 2013

Uraiyur Nachiyar Temple

Site Name: Kamalavalli Nachiyar Koil
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Uraiyur, near Trichy, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A temple which stands in the name of the Goddess
Nearest Railway Station: Trichy
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road from Trichy 
Hotel: Go to Trichy where there are a lot of options
Restaurants: Go to Trichy where there are a lot of options; few small vegetarian mess or restaurants are found near the temple

Uraiyur is a small area located near Trichy city in South India. Historically, it was the capital city of the great Chola empire once. It is also called as Tirukkozhi. This is the second Divya Desam temple in Chola country. Tirumangai Alwar and Kulasekara Alwar have praised the Lord in their Pasuram hymns. 

Highlights:
  • One of 108 Divya Desam temples.
  • The Goddess is given prominent importance and the temple is named after her.
  • The birthplace of Kamalavalli, an incarnation of Lakshmi.
  • The birthplace of Tirupannalwar, one of 12 Alwars - the great devotees of Lord Vishnu.
  • God - Azhagiya Manavalan
  • Goddess - Kamalavalli
  • Holy water - Kalyana Teerth
Legend:
    Once an elephant entered the site; a valiant hen fought with the elephant and warded it off. Hence, the name is also called as Tirukkozhi (Kozhi means hen in Tamil language).

    As per the legend, there was a Chola king Nanda Chola by name; he ruled with Uraiyur as his capital city. He was childless and praying to Lord Ranganath of Srirangam for child. The Lord made her consort Lakshmi to be reborn. The king found a child lying on a lotus in a pond. He brought that child and named as Kamalavalli (Kamal=lotus). When she grew, she also became the devotee of Ranganath. She often visited the temple and ultimately wanted to marry the Lord. The Lord ordered the king to get his daughter married to him in his dream. Kamalavalli was dressed up as a bride, entered into the sanctum sanctorum at Srirangam temple and disappeared. To commemorate the marriage of his daughter with Lord Ranganath, the king built this temple in Uraiyur.


    Temple Layout:
      It is a 'maada kovil' style temple architecture believed to be built by the Chola King Nanda Chola. The main shrine has the gigantic idols of Azhagiya Manavalan in the standing posture with four arms; to his right side, the Goddess Kamalavalli is found in the sitting posture holding a lotus flower. The utsava (processional) idol of Kamalavalli is also found in the main shrine. It should be noted that there is no utsava idol for the Lord in this temple. The prominence is given to the Goddess here.

      Opposite to the main shrine there stands the small shrine of Garuda.

      The big holy tank is situated in the prakara; the prakara is full of pillars and the pillars in turn have a lot of exquisitely carved sculptures.

      As this is the birth place of Tirupaan Alwar, there is a separate shrine for him.

      This moderately big temple has a five tiered tower at the entrance. It is said that this is the only Divya Desam temple where the Goddess is facing the north direction. (The Goddess is facing toward Srirangam temple.)

      Happy travelling.


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