Location:Tiruneermalai, Near Pallavaram and Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:Three temples; Divya Desam in Chennai region
Nearest Railway Station:Pallavaram
How to reach:Well connected by road
Hotel: A lot of options across Chennai
Restaurants: A lot of options across Chennai
Tiruneermalai is a small area located near Pallavaram, which in turn is located near Chennai city in Tamil Nadu state of India. The village has a prominent temple for Vishnu called as Neervanna Perumal Temple. It is considered as the 61st Divya Desam located in the Thondai region. Let us explore about this temple in this article.
Tirumangai Alwar and Bhootatalwar have sung about this site in their verses.
It is considered as the61st Divya Desam temple. It is located in Thondai region.
Vishnu is found in four different forms and postures in four separate shrines in this temple.
Considered as one of eight Swayam Vyakta Kshetrams (the other seven are Srirangam, Sri Mushnam, Tirupati, Salagram, Pushkar, Naimisaranyam and Naranapuram
God - Neervanna Perumal, Narasimha, Ranganath, Tri Vikrama
Goddess - Anima Malar Mangai
Teerth (sacred water) - Kshri Pushkarani for Ranganath, Karunya Pushkarani for Neervanna, Siddha Pushkarani for Tri Vikrama and Swarna Pushkarani for Narasimha (Technically, there is only one tank though)
As per the legend, when Tirumangai Alwar came to this site, the hill was surrounded by water. He waited for six months for water to get drained and then he visited this temple. Hence, the site is called as Tiruneer Malai or Thoyagiri Kshetram. The word Neer and Thoya mean water. The words Malai and Giri mean mount.
King Tondaiman got darshan of Neelamukil Vanna Perumal. After visiting Sri Rangam, the sages Markandeya and Bhrigu were passing through this site and as per their wish, Vishnu appeared to them in the reclining posture (Ranganath).
It is said that the sage Valmiki visited the hilltop temple. After climbing down the hill, he wanted to get darshan of Ram. Hence, Ranganath appeared as Ram to him. Thus, there is a shrine of Ram found at the foothill. As per another version, as per the wish of Valmiki, Ram gave the darshan of his wedding to the sage in this site.
Four Forms of Vishnu:
Everyone admires this temple as the Divya Desam where Lord Vishnu appears in four different forms/postures as:
Neervanna Perumal - Ninram (standing posture)
Bala Narasimha - Irundhan (sitting posture)
Ranganath - Kidandhan (reclining posture)
Trivikrama (also called as Ulagalantha Perumal) - Nadanthan (walking posture)
In fact, Vishnu is also present in the form of Ram. If we include that, there are totally five different forms in which Vishnu appears in this temple.
Ranganath's reclining posture in this temple is referred as "Manicka Sayanam".
Bala Narasimha is not in his usual furious form but he is a Shanta murti (peaceful form); behind him, there is furious form of Narasimha. It is very rare to find Narasimha in both the forms in the same shrine.
Interestingly, Tirumangai Alwar calls this site in four different names depending on the four different forms of Vishnu.
Nindran - Tirunaraiyoor
Irundhan - Tiruvaali
Kidandhan - Tirukudandai
Nadandhan - Tirukoviloor
At the foothill, the temple of Neervannan is found. The east facing temple has a Raja gopura.
The east facing sancum has entrance at the south direction. There is no Garud shrine, but the bali peeth and the flag staff are found as usual.
The sanctum is situated on a high raised platform (maada kovil form). The sanctum enshrines Neervanna Perumal in the standing posture. He has four arms and is found with two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi on his either sides.
The utsav idol is called as Neelmukil Vannan. He is also found along with his consorts in the sanctum.
In the maha mandap area, there is a shrine for Ranganath-Sri Devi-Bhoo Devi. Here, Ranganath is in the standing posture. The sub shrine of Utsav Andal and Alwars are also found in the Maha Mandap.
The Goddess Anima Malar Mangai is found in a separate shrine. The name as well as the idol of Anima Malar Mangai are very beautiful.
There is a sub-shrine of the beautiful Andal in the prakara.
Adjacent to Neervannan sanctum, there is another sanctum dedicated to very big idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman. The stucco idol of Hanuman is also found in this temple. All the sub shrines stated above have the stone idols as well as the respective ustav idols.
A flight of many steps would take us to the hilltop temple adorned by a small tower. On the way to the hilltop temple, there is a small shrine for Hanuman.
The tower and the sanctum are south facing. In the sanctum, Ranganath is found reclining on the five hood serpent Sesha. Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi are found along with Ranganath. Brahma is emerged out from his navel.
The tall flag staff, bali peeth and Garud are found facing towards the sanctum. At the entrance, the idols of Dwarapalas are big in size. The utsav idols of Ranganath and his consorts are also found in the sanctum.
Ranganayaki, the consort of Ranganath, is found in a separate shrine.
The shrine of Bala Narasimha is found in the prakara. The murti of Ugra Narasimha is located behind the Shanta murti.
Trivikrama a.k.a. Ulagalantha Perumal is found in a separate shrine in the prakara. The deity has his left leg raised upwards.