June 24, 2016

Alwar Tirunagari

Site Name: Adinathar Temple 
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:  Alwar Tirunagari, in Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur route, 33 kms from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of Nava Tirupati temples and a Divya Desam
Nearest Railway Station: Alwar Tirunagari
Nearest Airport: Madurai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Srivaikundam, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur and Tuticorin
Hotel: Go to Srivaikundam, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur or Tuticorin - all of them are located within the range of 30-35 kms
Restaurants: Go to Srivaikundam, Tirunelveli, Tiruchendur or Tuticorin - all of them are located within the range of 30-35 kms

Alwar Tirunagari is a beautiful village near Tirunelveli city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The nearest well known site is Srivaikundam. The village has a prominent temple for Vishnu called as Adinathar TempleIt is considered as the 98th Divya Desam located in the Pandya region. There are nine Vishnu temples on the banks of the river Tamrabharani, which are popularly called as Nava Tirupatis. This site is the fifth 'Nava Tirupati' temple (one among nine important Vishnu temples in Tirunelveli-Tiruchendur route).  Let us explore about this temple in this article.


  • Nammalwar has sung 11 Pasurams about this site in his verses.
  • It is considered as the 98th Divya Desam temple. It is located in Pandya region.
  • It is considered as the 5th Nava Tirupati temple.
  • It is the birthplace of Nammalwar.
  • God - Adinath
  • Goddess - Adinatha Valli and Kurukoora Valli
  • Utsav - Polindhu Ninra Piraan
  • Teerth (holy water) - Brahma Teerth
  • Sthala Vruksha (holy tree) - Tamarind
  • Vimana Govinda Vimana



The original name of the village was Kurukoor. Various reasons are provided why it was called as Kurukoor. Vishnu became Guru of Brahma and taught his few Mantras. Hence it became Gurukoor and then Kurukoor. This is one version of the story. As per another version, Nammalvar's ancestor, a chieftain by name Kurukan ruled this place and it was named after him. There is another version which claims that Sankkha or conch of Vishnu attained Moksha in this site. The word Kuruku in Tamil language means conch and hence this place was called as Kurukoor. 


Nammalwar is considered as a great Alwar among all the 12 Alwars. It is believed that he remained speechless since his birth and was sitting under a tamarind tree. This tree is found in the temple complex today. It is believed that he was born under this tree. He first interacted with Madurakavi Alwar. Madurakavi traveled towards south as he observed a bright light shining in that direction. It lead him to this site. Without visiting any Divya Desams, Nammalwar recited hymns about various sites of Vishnu. Madurakavi compiled Nammalwar's works in four different books namely Tiruvaimozhi, Tiruviruttam, Tiruvaasiriyam and Periya Tiruvandadi.

As Nammalwar was born, this site is named after him as Alwar Tirunagari.


When a well disciplined person named Dhanta came to visit the temple, he was not allowed by the priests due to his caste. Dhanta made a sand image of Vishnu on the banks of the river Tamrabharani and worshiped it. The priests lost their eye sight and an Asariri voice asked them to go and seek pardon to the boy. They did so and got back their sight. This site is also called as Dhanta Kshetra and an image of this devotee is found in the Ardha Mandap.


To fulfill the wishes of few sages, Vishnu appeared as Varaha along with Bhoo Devi and gave darshan to them in this site. Hence, this site is also called as Varaha Kshetra.


Indra was absolved of his curse by praying to the deity in this site.


It is believed that Lakshmi incarnated as a tamarind tree in this site, under which Nammalwar was born. She meditated to marry Vishnu. He married her in the form of a Magizha flower garland. 


There is another legend which states that Ram asked Lakshman to take birth as the tamarind tree. For the sin that he had committed by sending Sita to the forest, he decided to remain motionless. Thus, he incarnated as Nammalwar and crawled towards the hole in the tree. There, he remained in the Yogic posture for 16 years. As Lakshman (Sesha) took the form of a tree in this site, this site is also called as Sesha Kshetra. 


As per the advice of Narad, a sage named Shankha, prayed to Lord Vishnu in this site. He worshiped Vishnu in the form a human in the morning and every night he would become a conch and enter into the sea where the Tamrabharani merged with the sea. In the form of conch, he would perform pooja everynight. Once, a whale tried to swallow the conch. The sage prayed to Vishnu; Vishnu came as a human and swallowed the whale. At last, the devotee got moksha due to the blessing of Vishnu. This site is also called as Teertha Kshetra due to its connection with the sea and conch.

Temple Layout:


The east facing sanctum enshrines the tall deity named as Adinath along with his two consorts Adi Nayaki and Kurukoora Nayaki. All of them are in the standing posture. It is believed that the idol of the presiding deity is self manifested (swayambhu).

The beautiful utsav idols of Adinath along with three consorts including Andal are also found in the sanctum.


The east facing gopura is small and has a mandap in front of it. 


Facing towards the sanctum, the bali peetha, flag staff and Garud shrine are located. Garud is unique in this temple. He is found with four arms and holds conch and discus in his upper arms. 

Near the flag staff, Hanuman is gracing us in a separate sub-shrine.

Other Shrines

In the Ardha Mandap, the shrines of Ram-Sita-Lakshman, Tirunindra Perumal and Vishwaksena are located.

In the prakara, there are so many interesting sub-shrines found. Some of them include the shrines of Gnanapiran (Vishnu with four arms) with Garud in the opposite, Venu Gopal along with his two consorts, Paramapadanath, Dasavatar, Sudarshan, Nadamuni, Alwars, Tiruvengadamudaiyan and Narasimha with two consorts.


The Goddesses of the temple, Adi Nayaki and Kurukoora Nayaki are found in two separate shrines in the prakara.


The tamarind tree where Nammalwar was born and the site where the upanyas of Manavala Mamuni took place are also situated within this temple complex.

There is a big shrine for Nammalwar with separate flag staff and bali peeth.


The temple has some of the very beautiful sculptures. The life sized sculptures of Ram, Sita, Lakshman, Bharat, Shatrughna, Hanuman and few beautiful women are found in the mandap in front of the shrine of Nammalwar. 

There are few mandaps located near the flag staff. All those mandaps have pillars with interesting sculptures.

Some carvings on the walls of the temple are very interesting.

Other Temples

The village has few other temples located around this main temple. Thy are Tiruvengada Mudaiyan in South Mada Street, Srinivasa in West Mada Street, Aranganathan in North Mada Street and Appan Sannadhi (temple for father of Nammalwar) at a distance of 1 km from the main temple.


During the Tamil calendar month of Vaikasi, the festival called Arayar Sevai is being conducted every year. The utsav murtis of all the nine Tirupati temples mounted on Garud are brought to this temple and give darshan to Nammalwar seated on Hamsa vahan. 

Happy travelling.

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