January 4, 2014

Kovilkulam Tennazhagar Temple

Site Name: Tennazhagar Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Kovilkulam, near Ambasamudram town, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: A beautiful temple in a remote village which needs attention and maintenance
Nearest Railway Station: Ambasamudram
Nearest Airport: Madurai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Ambasamudram; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Ambasamudram - even there only limited options are available
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Ambasamudram - even there only limited options are available

Kovilkulam is a small village located adjacent to Ambasamudram town near Tirunelveli city in South India. The village has a beautiful temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu named as Tennazhagar temple.

  • God Tennazhagar aka Vinnagar Perumal
  • Goddess Sundaravalli and Soundaravalli
  • Teerth (Holy water) - Markandeya Teerth


It is believed that Lord Vishnu gave darshan to the sage Markandeya in this site.

There was a staunch Vishnu devotee who lived in this village. In his dream, he was ordered by the God to visit Kallazhagar in Madurai. As the devotee brought the idol from the place where Kallazhagar temple is located and installed in this village, this deity was named as Tennazhagar.

Temple Layout:

The current structure of the temple appears to be 300-400 years old. 

The temple has no tower. It has flag staff, bali peetha and Garuda facing the main shrine.

The temple as well as the main shrine faces the east direction.

The temple is built in "maada kovil" architectural style. It has sanctum sanctorum, ardha mandapa, maha mandapa and also a front side mandapa (mukha mandap) with pillars. The corridor that connects the main shrine and the temple entrance has many pillars with the lion sculptures on the top.

The sanctum sanctorum has the tall beautiful idol of Tennazhagar along with his consorts Sundaravalli and Soundaravalli on his either sides. The Lord has four arms and carries conch and discus in his upper arms. It should be noted that all these three deities are made up of a lime mixture called Karai (stucco images and not stone images). Markandeya sage is also seen inside the sanctum. 

The utsava deities Soundararaja Perumal and his consorts are currently not located in this temple. Due to lack of security in this temple, they were shifted to a temple in the nearby Ambasamudram town.

The idols of Nammalvar, Tirumangai Alwar, Udayavar, Vishwaksena and Naga are also found in this temple.

This temple needs maintenance and attention. When you get an opportunity to go to southern Tamil Nadu, try to visit this temple.

Happy travelling.

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