July 18, 2014

Mela Tiruvengadanathapuram

Site Name: Vengadachalapathy Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Mela Tiruvengadanathapuram, near Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: An important Vishnu temple in South Tamil Nadu; equivalent to Tirupati
Nearest Railway Station: Tirunelveli
Nearest Airport: Tirunelveli
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tirunelveli
Hotel: Go to Tirunelveli
Restaurants: Go to Tirunelveli 

Tirunveliveli is a historical city located on the banks of the beautiful Tamrabharani river in the southern Tamil Nadu state of India. The city and its surroundings have a lot of scenic spots and temples. Mela Tiruvengadanathapuram is a small village located on the banks of river Tamrabharani near Tirunelveli. The village has an ancient temple, Vengadachalapathy temple. Let us explore this temple in detail.

Highlights:

  •  God – Vengadachalapathy (Utsava - Srinivasa)
  • Goddess – Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi
  • Teerth (holy water) - Tamrabharani 
  • Considered equivalent to Tirupati temple
  • It is an Abhimana Sthalam

Legend/History:

As per the legend, the disciple of Vyasa, the saint Pylar, visited this site as part of his religious trip. He heard a divine voice while taking bath in the river. He was not satisfied with the voice and wanted to get darshan of Lord Vishnu. He performed prayers with various rare varieties of flowers. He wanted Lord Vishnu to appear in his original form in this site. After seven days, the flowers piled up and turned into a very bright light where Vishnu and the river Tamrabharani appeared to the saint. Vishnu asked the saint to create the idol from the huge piece of rock in this hillock. Hence, this place is named as 'Swayam Vyaktha' Kshetram. As per another version, Pylar found three special stones flowing against the tide of the river and he used them to make the idols of Vengadachalapathy, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.

Reference about this place can be found in sage Vyasa's Tamrabharani Mahatmiyam under the topic 'Saal Vaali Puram'. It is the historical name of this place.

The King Vengatappa Naicker who was blessed by Lord Srinivasa with a child built this temple in a big way. The village was named after him. 


Temple Layout:

Tiruvengadanathapuram aka Tirunankovil is located at a distance of around 10 kms from Tirunelveli city. The current structure of Vengadachalapathy temple in this village can be dated back to 700 years old. The temple is located on top of a hillock. The village is a serene and peaceful place located on the banks of the river Tamrabharani. 

The temple faces the east direction. The sanctum enshrines the presiding deity Vengadachalapthy along with his two consorts, Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. All are found in the standing posture. Vengadachalapathy is found with four arms holding conch and discus. 

The utsava metal idols of Srinivasa, Sri Devi, Bhoo Devi and Andal are also found in the main shrine.

In maha mandapa, the bronze idols of Garuda and Hanuman are found. Garuda is holding conch and discus which is a rare sight.

In maha mandapa, the sub-shrine for Ramanujar, Senai Mudaliar and Vishvaksena is located.

The flag staff, Garuda idol and bali peetha are found facing towards the main shrine.

The temple is built as a 'maada kovil' with the main shrine on the elevated platform. The front side mandapa of the temple is full of pillars with carvings.

The temple has two prakaras. The inner prakara has two shrines for the Goddesses - Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.

The outer prakara is located outside the temple compound wall.

Garuda seva is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in this temple. Thousands of devotees throng to this village from various other parts of the state during this time in Sep-Oct every year. 

The temple is considered as equivalent to the popular Tirupati temple. It is even called as 'Then Tirupati' meaning the southern Tirupati. 

It is believed that Lord Vengadachalapathy of this tempel bless childless couples with children. Hence, it is a Prartana Sthalam.

Happy travelling.

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