Please check the appended link below for a detailed journey to the holy places


A word about Sri Mudaliandan Swamy to whose Thirumaligai adiyongal belong to.

Sri Rama incarnated HIMSELF as Dasarathi, nephew of Swamy Ramanujar at Purusha mangalam(presently known as Nazrath Pettai in Chennai).  Lakshmana’s servitude was incomprehensible and to repay this gratitude, SriRama took avataram as DAsarathi and served Swamy Ramanujar in Kaliyugam.

  • Swamy Ramanujar appointed 74 simhadipatis (disciples) to propagate Srivaishnavam and Dasarathi was their leader.  Hence Dasarathi came to be known as “Mudali “”Andan”. Sri Mudaliandan Swamy was entrusted with the job of managing Srirangam temple affairs.
  • Mudaliandan is known as the “paaduka” and “Tridandi” of Swamy Ramanujar.  When Swamy Ramanujar embraced Sanyasasramam, he did not leave Mudaliandan and Kooratazhwan whom he considered as his Tridandam and Pavitram respectively.
  • When Thirugoshtiyur nambi instructed Swamy Ramanujar to come alone to learn about Trimantra rahasyam, Swamy Ramanujar took Mudaliandan along with him. When questioned, Swamy replied that a Sanyasi should  always carry Tridandam with him .Such was the intimacy between Swamy Ramanujar and Mudaliandan.
  • Kooratazhwan says that he has only “Atma sambandham”with Swamy Ramanujar whereas Mudaliandan has both “deha sambandham” and “atma sambandham”.

Swamy Ramanujar established Vishistidadvaitam with Srirangam as his base and was becoming very popular.  The chola king named Krimikanta cholan who was a staunch Saivite was inflicting harm on Srivaishnavas and did not even spare Ramanujar from prosecution.  When his soldiers arrived ,  Kooratazhwan disguised as Ramanujar along with Peria Nambigal attended the king’s summons thus saving Swamy Ramanujar from the king’s cruelties.

It was Namperumal’s thiruvullam to make Ramanujar leave Srirangam and purify other places by placing his holy feet in Melnadu  and retrieve Thirunarayanan who was worshipped by SriRamar and Sri Krishnar.  . Peria Perumal thus created  a difficult situation by which   Swamy Ramanujar had to leave Srirangam after taking Peria Perumal’s consent and   proceeded towards north accompanied by Sri Mudaliandan Swamy.

After many days of travel and undergoing various hardships following the course of Kaveri, Swamy finally arrived in Karnataka where the local tribals served them.  This place is near Srirangapatinam. The local people who were averse to Swamy Ramanujar conspired a plan to do away with him.  Swamy Ramanujar learning their evil intentions ordered Mudaliandan Swamy to place his feet in the drinking water pond in that area  which he obeyed.  By drinking this Sripada theertham, the minds of the evildoers changed and they fell at Swamy Ramanujar seeking forgiveness.  Such was the greatness of our Mudaliandan Swmay.  Ramanujar named this place as “Saligramam” which is near Melkote.  Even today this pond is maintained by the archakar who ensures that no intruder pollutes the pond by locking the gate.  There is a small temple opposite to this pond in which Swamy Ramanujar’s Thiruvadi chuvadugal are worshipped.  There is also a vigraham of Swamy Ramanujar in Sesharoopam near the garbagriham.


At that time, Jainism was prominent in Mel nadu which was ruled by King Bittideva who was a staunch follower of Jainism.  The king’s daughter was possessed by an evil spirit and no one could cure her.  Vaduga Nambi, a disciple of Swamy Ramanujar suggested to the queen that his spiritual master was capable of restoring the princess to normalcy.  The Jain king invited Ramanujar to his palace to cure the princess but Swamy was initially reluctant to enter a palace.  Vaduga nambi persuaded Swamy Ramanujar to resent to the king’s plea which could help in establishing faith in Srivaishanvism. .  Swamy Ramanujar consented and sanctified the place , he drove away the evil spirit by placing a dhastamam (stick) on her head uttering some mantra and splashed some water and immediately the princess became normal.(This stick is at Yoga Narasimhar sannidhi in Thondanur .  The archakar places the dhastamam on the visitors head and sprinkles water on the face..)  King Bittideva, true to his word, became Swamy Ramanujar’s disciple  and embraced Srivaishnavism and was  named  “Vishnu vardhana” and thus the entire kingdom became RAmanujar’s followers.  It is told that about 1000 Jain pandits who could not bear this challenged Ramanujar for an argument .  To defeat them, Ramanujar advised a curtain to be drawn in between and taking his original form of Adisesha with 1000 hoods, he answered and defeated all the 1000 Jains at a time. This incident happened at Narasimhar sannidhi in  Bhakta nagari (presently known as Thondanur).  Sri Mudaliandan Swamy rendered “Dhaati Panchakam”in praise of Ramanujar at this place.

Thanian:          Yath Chakrey Bhakta Nagare Dhaati Panchaka Uthamam

Ramanujaya Sath chaathram vandhey Dasarathim gurum

This place is on the way to Melkote(about 16 kms)  from Srirangapatinam

Swamy Ramanujar instructed Mudaliandan Swamy to establish Pancha Narayana kshetrams(5 temples dedicated to Narayana)with the help of King Vishnuvardhana who provided everything required.   All these five temples were consecrated at almost the same time.  These pancha Narayana kshetrams are :-

Sri Keerthi Naryan Kshetra Talakad
Sri Nambi Narayana , Thondanur
Sri Thirunarayana ,Melkote
Sri Kesava Narayana Temple , Belur
Sri Sowmya Narayana , Nagamangala
Sri Veera Narayana Temple ,Gadag, Srirangam  and Salagrama

(Pl. note: Some consider  Melkote to be one of the Pancha Narayana kshetrams whereas some archakars with whom we interacted opined that as this temple was renovated by Ramanujar and not Mudaliandan and hence is not Pancha Naryana kshetram.  Gundulpet which is about 2 hours drive from Talakad is considered as Pancha Narayana kshetram.)

The places purified by Sri Mudaliandan Swamy’s thiruvadigal during his stay in Mel nadu are :-Srirangapatinam(entry into Mel nadu), Nagamangala(Vijaya sthambam erected here), Saligramam(Sripada theertham-water pond sanctified by  Mudaliandan Swamy), Dodda mallur , Melkote and Pancha Narayana temples.


Having assigned Mudaliandan with the job of constructing temples, Swamy Ramanujar focused on the spread of Vaishnavism.  During his stay, Perumal appeared in his dream and informed him


1) about the availability of Thiruman kaapu on the banks of Kalyani Pushkarini,

2) the place where HE lay hidden by sand dunes .  Swamy Ramanujar with the help of the king retrieved the Moolavar idol of Thirunarayanan and constructed a temple for him and arranged for all utsavams to be performed.

3) When Swamy Ramanujar wanted to have an utsavar , Perumal appeared in his dream and informed that HE was with Delhi Sultan.  At a ripe age of 90+, Swamy Ramanujar undertook this journey and brought back the Utsavar Chella pillai-the utsava murthi literally walked towards Ramunujar and sat on his lap along with the Delhi princess (Thuluka naachiyar)

Swamy Ramanujar stayed for 12 years in Melkote and  laid down the system of worship and assigned jobs to specific persons which is being followed even today.


First, adiyen would like to thank Chi.Sriram Swami who had shared his recent experiences of visiting Pancha Narayana kshetram and provided all the required information including cab driver’s phone no.  . We reached Mysore on 31st May at 10.30 A.M. from Madurai after visiting few avatara sthalams and thiruvarasus of poorvacharyars in and around Chennai, Srirangam and Madurai.

The pancha Narayana kshetrams in Karnataka along with important places visited by Swami Mudaliandan can be covered in 4-5 days.

Necessary arrangements for our trip like engaging a car for two days, accommodation and food arrangements at Melkote, prashad arrangement at ISKCON ,Mysore were already made.  The cab driver Chastamu who can be contacted on 09964387174 is aware of all these places. The charges for Indica are Rs.6/- per day subject to min. 300 kms  and Rs.200/- per day as his allowance.  Total package Rs.4000/-.

From Mysore station, we drove to Talakad which is about 62 kms from Mysore(as per our car reading) and takes about 2 hours.  The driver went to the archakar’s house and requested for the temple to be opened for which he consented.  We then went to River Cauvery for cleansing ourselves in the crystal clear holy waters  which is about 2 kms from the temple and then returned to the temple.  On the way, we saw sign boards leading to Pancha Linga temples.  Talakad is famous as one of the Pancha Narayana kshetrams and also as Pancha Linga kshetrams.

The aged archakar, Sri.Lakshmipathy who can be contacted on 08227-273415 opened the doors of the make shift temple.  WE were amazed looking at the divya mangala Thirumeni of Perumal Keerthi Narayanan.  The moolavar in Nindra Thirukolam clad in green dress is about 10 feet height with ubhaya nachiyars on  either side whose height is about 3 feet. The vigraham is carved in Hoysala style which is a wonder.

Performed archanai and offered fruits to the Lord.  The archakar informed that as the original temple built by Mudaliandan Swamy collapsed, the deities were kept in this place. This place is declared as a heritage site by Archaeological Department.  The ruins of the temple have been collected and numbered accordingly for which ASI needs appreciation.  Hopefully, the temple would be renovated soon.

In this place, the moolavar vigraham of Sri KeerthiNarayana Perumal with ubhaya nachiyars is in the centre, the moolavar vigraham of Sri Sundaravalli Thayar is kept on the left side and on the right side, we can see vigrahams of Swamy Ramanujar, Mudaliandan and Desikar. Brahmotsavam is performed for 7 days during Chithirai culminating on Utharam (Perumal’s star).  Thiru aadi pooram which is Thayar’s thirunakshitiram and acharyar’s thirunakshitrams are performed here.

The utsava vigrahams which are replica of the Moolavar are housed in a nearby temple.  Perumal seen with chathur bhujam(4 hastams) holding Padmam and Gadam on the upper right and left Thirukaigal (hastams) respectively.  The lower 2 hastams hold sankhu and Chakram on the left and right side respectively.

Sri Lakshmipathi archakar informed that Melkote is not a Pancha Narayana kshetram and Gundulpet which is about 2 hours drive from this place is considered as Pancha Narayana kshetram.  He advised us drive to  Gundulpet via Narsipur, Nanjangud.  As it was already half past 1, we skipped visting gundulpet as it was not advised by our acharyar and we had to rush back to ISKCON ,Mysore where Sri.Jagjeevandasa, in-charge of ISKCON Mysore (09972096996) had arranged prashad for us.  .

Reached ISKCON at 3.30 P.M. and honoured prasadam.  Had darshan of Sri Krishna-Balaram and other deities at 4 P.M.  after making few purchases, we left the temple thanking the Lord for everything.

Proceeded to Thondanur and reached Nambi Narayanan temple at 5.15 P.M. This Pancha Narayana kshetram located amidst greenery was closed and the archakar who stays nearby refused to open the temple doors.  We were dejected as it would not be possible to stay for a day and have darshan of Perumal.  The watchman took pity on us and opened the temple door and took us inside which was pitch dark.  We had to satisfy ourselves by standing in front of the locked garbagriham of Nambi Narayana Perumal.  However, the watchman pointed a sculpture and said that it was the replica of the Lord inside.  Paid obeisance to Swamy Ramanujar and thanking the watchman came out of the temple.

When we were about to get into the car, we met a Srivaishnava who is the archakar in the nearby Yoga Narasimhar sannidhi who was driving towards Narasimhar temple and instructed us to follow him.  A small board displaying Swamy Ramanujar’s temple and Yoga Narasimhar temple welcomed us.  The temple is situated on a small hillock near Nambi Naryanan temple is a revered place.  The archakar showed us the divya mangala thirumeni of Sri Yoga Narasimhar and placed the dhastamam used by Swami Ramanujar for driving off evil spirits on our heads.  Then he splashed some holy water on us and gave us theertha prasadam and was narrating Swamy Ramanujar’s pastimes.  We were then taken to another sannidhi in the temple precincts towards right of Narasimhar sannidhi where Swamy Ramanujar is seen is Sesharoopam.  It was here Swamy Ramanujar defeated 1000 Jain pandits by assuming his original form of Adisesha with 1000 hoods.  Photography is strictly prohibited here.  The archakar showed us the Thirumeni of Udayavar which is made of swadhai (made from herbs- similar to Thirukurungudi, Thiruthankaal Perumals) pointing to the eyes which were similar to that of a snake, abdomen and the hoods.  Another interesting feature is here Swamy Ramanujar seated in Padmasana  shows Jnana mudhra and does not have Tridandam. This thirumeni of Sri Ramanujar is unique which must be seen by everyone. The archakar informed that Swamy Ramanujar is in Sookshma roopam here.??

Devotees whose wishes are fulfilled by praying here , offer white veshti to Lord Narasimhar and kaashayam vastram (orange robe) to Swamy Ramanujar.

The archakar who preferred to remain anonymous informed that Perumal can be seen in 3 forms:-Nambi Narayanan,Yoga Narasimhar,  Parthasarathy, Venugopalan out of which we were not fortunate to have Nambi Narayanan’s darshan.  We visited Venugopalaswamy Temple.  The moolavar is Sri Parthasarathy in sitting posture with chathur  bhujam holding sankhu, chakram in his upper arms, right lower hastam in abhaya hastam and left hastam placed on HIS lap.  Sri, Bhudevi nachiyars are also in veetruirundha thirukolam.  Utsavar Krishnar is in dancing style.  The uniqueness about this idol is Perumal’s right foot is in front and left foot behind.  The archakar informed that this temple was about 5500 years old built by Yudhisita.  The  vigrahams of Chakaratazhwar, Nammazhwar and Ramanujar  are placed outside the garbagriham.  Thanking the archakar profusely, we left the temple at about 7 P.M. and drove to Melkote.

After about an hour’s drive, we reached Melkote- the place close to Swamy Ramanujar’s heart. Archakar Sri Narsiraj Bhattar, whom we contacted earlier on 094487 54696 had arranged for our stay in Belur chathiram(the charges are Rs.300/- per day plus Rs.100/- for extra bed) which is on the way to the temple.  We dumped our baggages in the room and rushed to the temple which was about to close. As Bhogam was being offered to Lord Thirunarayanan, the curtains were drawn and we were asked to wait for some time for participating in Sahasranama archana, the last seva of the day.Meantime, we went to obtain the grace of Kalyani Thayar and Swamy Ramanujar.  The archakars in Thayar sannidhi who are related to Narsiraj Bhattar stated that Melkote is not Pancha Narayana kshetram and endorsed Talakad archakar’s views.  They informed that from Talakad one can reach Melkote via Maddur and Srirangapatinam and need not pass thru Mysore.

Just as we reached Perumal sannidhi, the curtains were drawn out and mangala aarthi was being shown to Perumal.  Had a wonderful darshanam of  Moolavar amidst chanting of Prabhastamham.  We then followed the archakar to utsavar sannidhi which is on the left side in the same precincts and had a wonderful darshan of Sampathkumaran /Chellapillai with ubhaya nachiyars.  We were informed that only in this temple, there is a separate sannidhi for utsavar.  We participated in  Sahasranama archanaiand relished Perumal’s soundhariyam..  We were recapitulating how this Perumal showered grace on our Udayavar who is our saviour.  After archanai and shodasa upachaarams, Perumal was laid to rest.. A priest came and gave about 6 dosas as prasadam in our hastams.  The priest in Thayar sannidhi with whom we intereacted introduced himself as Sri Narsiraj Bhattar’s brother and took us to their Thirumaligai for honouring prasadam.  The Lord was gracing us with huge quantities of prasadam that we didn’t have apetitite for another meal. At the same time, we could not refuse the archakar’s hospitality. Learning about our next day’s program to visit Nagamangala, Saligramam and Belur, they advised us to to Belur first as it was very far off and then go to Saligrama via Valiya Narsipur, K.R.Nagar and proceed to Srirangapatinam via K.R.Pettai, Bogadhi, Nagamangala.  They called up Sri Krishnaraj Bhattar, their brother who is the chief priest in Belur and informed about our visit.  The bhattar was glad to host us on the following day as it was Amavasya.  .   After taking their blessings and thanking them profusely for their guidance , we retired for the night.

We were fortunate to see our Thirumaligai which is adjacent to the bhattar’s house .

On 1st June, we suggested the route given by the bhattars to the driver but he refused to follow it and said that his route was the best.  We were left with no choice but listening to the driver.  Checked out of the choultry at about 7A.M. and drove to Kalyani Pushkarini which is nearby.  Sprinkled some water and after purchasing Thiruman kaapu etc., we started off on our journey to Nagamangala and reached at about 9.15 A.M.  The temple doors were closed.  By this time , we got accustomed to this closures.  We tried to enquire from some passerby regarding the temple but unfortunately we just came across a single person with whom we could not communicate properly.  We waited for about 15 minutes and decided to leave.  Meantime, we peeped into the Hanuman shrine nearby which was deserted.  Adiyongal tried to contact  Sri Narayana Bhattar, the temple priest on his mobile no. 094487 50603 but there was no response.  Circumbulated the Vijaya sthambam erected in front of the temple  by Swamy Ramanujar and left the place.  After about an hour’s drive, to our utter dismay, we realized that the diary in which we were jotting out details and which contained imp. information was missing.  WE were guessing that we would have left it at the temple entrance where we had kept our belongings and again contacted bhattar.  Luckily he responded informing that as he was in Bangalore and asked his son to take care of the temple in his absence.  Knowing our plight, he helped us by giving their landline number and asked us to contact his family who would go to the temple and check whether the diary was available or not.  By Perumal’s grace, we got the reply in affirmative and informed the bhattar about the same.  The bhattar opined that this leela was enacted by Perumal to ensure that we visit him again and take HIS blessings as the Perumal is Sowmya Kesavan (Kesavan who is Klesha naasaaya) and suggested us to go back to Nagamangala.  The driver said that it would be impossible to travel so far as we had to board the night train to Bangalore. Hence we decided to visit this place from Bangalore.

We reached Belur at about 11.30 A.M. The magnificent Belur Chenna Kesava temple also known as Vijaya Narayanan temple is one of the Pancha Narayana kshetrams and attracts many tourists and is a heritage site.  WE proceeded to Chenna Kesava Perumal sannidhi and met Sri.Krishnaraj Bhattar and gave his brother’s reference.  We were asked to come closer to Perumal’s sannidhi and had a good darshanam.  The Lord ,true to HIS name, is very beautiful and enchanting.  The Lord is seen sporting a nose ring and anklets as HE had taken the form of Mohini.  Since the Lord gives darshan as Mohini, the Thayar is Padithaanda pathini-she doesn’t compete with Perumal by coming outside  due to HER surpassing beauty.  We were wonderstruck at the beautiful sculptures.  The big hall outside the garbagriham was crowded with tourists who were assisted by the local guides in explaining about the sculptures.  Marvellous indeed.  We then visited a nearby shrine which houses replica of Chenna Kesava Perumal.  This sannidhi was not crowded .  the archakar informed that this replica of Perumal was engraved and shown to Mudaliandan Swamy and King Vishnuvardhana who gave their consent to go ahead with the original vigraham.  This sannidhi and the expenses related to it were borne by Queen Shantala Devi, wife of King Vishnuvardhana.  Pointing to a cenre place in front of the garbagriham, the priest said that the queen would dance in front of this Perumal.  He took us to other shrines in the temple.  When we expressed our desire to have darsanam of Swamy Ramanujar, he informed that it would not be possible as the temple authorities open the sannidhis only twice daily for offering food.  The rest of the day, the shrines remain closed.  We were saddened to know this and decided to atleast stand in front of the sannidhis and pray for our upliftment.  When  two archakars came with the keys to open the sannidhi, our joy knew no bounds.  It was like a thirsty man getting water to drink.   We thanked Swamy Ramanujar for casting his glance on us.  They offered the fruits and gave karpoora aarthi.  We first had darshan of Swamy Ramanujar and then of Sri Mudaliandan whose sannidhi is on the left.  Even the aged archakar who accompanied us was shocked. Thanked the Lord profusely and after taking few photos left the place.

The temple was now closed.  Sri Krishnaraj Bhattar invited us to his Thirumaligai and we were treated with sumptuous lunch and started off on our return journey to Mysore via Saligramam.

Reached Saligram at about 5 P.M.  On reaching Saligramam, while we were enquiring route to temple, the local residents informed that the temple would be closed and directed us to archakar’s house.  The archakar along with his little son accompanied us to the temple which is about 2 kms from his residence.  The small temple  situated in serene surroundings has Swamy Ramanujar’s Thiruvadigal.  Pooja and all upacharaams are done to the Thiruvadigal.  The archakar removed the copper covering and we could have NIja Paada darsanam of Swamy Ramanujar.  Below RAmanujar’s Thiruvadigal, the figures of Mudaliandan Swamy, Embar and Vaduga Nambi are engraved.  Near the entrance on the left side, we were captivated by a beautiful figure of Swamy Ramanujar as Sesharoopam (similar to the one in Thondanur).  After circumbulating the temple, the priest took us to “Sripada Theertham”- a small pond sanctified by Sri Mudaliandan’s Thiruvadigal.  The archakar ensures that this place is not polluted by locking the gate. The archakar collected some water and sprinkled the holy water on us .  We felt blessed to be purified by the most sacred water.  We were constantly remembering asmath acharyan glorifying the importance of Sripada Theertham.  Only in our Thirumaligai, Sripada theertham is given to everyone.. The photos and videos can be viewed here:-

It took about an hour for us to reach Srirangapatinam .  As there was heavy rush in the evening, we paid our obeisances from outside and boarded Bangalore express from Srirangapatinam.

On 2nd June, adiyongal along with my sister and brother-in-law visited Dodda mallur, the place visited by Sri Mudaliandan Swamy.  Had darsanam of the Lord Navaneetha Krishnan in “Vennai kaapu” and visited shrines of our acharyars.  Proceeded to Nagamangala which took about 3 hours .  Luckily the temple was open and we had darsanam of Sri Sowmya Kesava Perumal along with our ubhaya nachiyars and utsava murthis ,Narasimhar and Venugopalan.  The priest pointed a sculpture on the ceiling explaining that a nagam has coiled itself in such a way that the head (considered to be Rahu) and tail(considered to be Keshu) meet.  Hence this kshetram is famous as Raghu-Kethu kshetram and all malefic effects caused by these two planets get cured by visiting this place.   The priest hastamed over our diary saying that the watchman had kept it safely.  The Vijaya sthambam was inaugurated by Swami Ramanujar and later this temple was built.

We reached Hubli on 5th from Bangalore and took a connecting train to Gadag which is about 60 kms from Hubli.  Reached the temple at 10A.M.

Gadag known as Kruthapuram is one of the pancha Narayana kshetram. The presiding Perumal is Sri Veera Narayananabout 5 feet clad in yellow pithambaram holding chakram on the upper hastam and sankhu on the lower side.  The lower right hastam is in abhaya mudra and the Lord holds blossomed Padmam in lower left hastam (like Guruvayurappan).  A gadam is placed on the right side. Ubhaya nachiyars-Sridevi and Bhudevi about 1.5 ft are on either sides.  The utsava murthi is Krishnar . As the moolavar is Saligrama thirumeni, every day thirumanjanam is performed to Perumal.

The dasa avataaras of Perumal are beautifully engraved on the arch covering Perumal.  He said that Perumal here is “Darshana Murthi”-we had Thiruvadi darsanam referring to Lord Srinivasar in Tirumala as Kanchana Murthi, Lord Panduranga as Bhajana murthi and Lord Jagannath in  Puri as “Bhoga murthi”.   As Kruthu muni did penance here, this place is known after him as Kruthapuram” .  While circumbulating the sannidhi, we visited Narasimhar sannidhi which is behind Sri Veera Narayanan’s sannidhi.  Opposite to Narasimhar sannidhi, we can find a small brindavan (tulasi pot) with Raghavendra Swamy.  We were told that saint Raghavendra Swamy visited this place and after he attained Samadhi, as per his instructions, little mud from his Brindavan at Mantralayam was brought and kept in this place.  During Sravan month (Aavani), 3days pooja is performed here. Navaratiri utsavam for 10 days and Gokulasthami are celebrated grandly.  They celebrat Sri Krishna Janmashtami when Rohini is ascendant and decorate the Lord with floral garlands..

Sri Krishnachari gudi who is incharge of temple affairs can be contacted on 099019 15561 and the priest Sri Rameshachargudi on 099457 18229.  The temple timings are 5A.M.-12 and 5P.M. -8.30 P.M.

Thus by acharyar’s anugraham , adiyongal could visit all the sacred places.  With a prayer to enhance our bhakti and enlighten us more about our Poorvacharyars and Ramanuja darsanam , adiyen humbly offers this write up at the feet of asmath acharyar and seeks forgiveness from the bhagavatas for this agnani’s mistakes and correct adiyen.

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan



Sriman Narayana Charanau Saranam Prapathye
Srimathe Narayanaya namah
Sri Kumudavalli sametha Thirumangai Azhwar Saranam Prapathye
Srimathe Ramanujayah namah
Sri Dasarathaya namah
Sri Vara Vara Muniye namah

Offering obeisances to asmath Acharyar, Sri Mudaliandan Swamy, Adiyen wishes to share our experience at Thirunangoor this year. Due to acharyar’s kataksham, adiyen could participate in Manjal kuliyal after a gap of 11 years and also have acharyar’s darshan.

We reached Sirkazhi at 11.30 P.M. and took an auto to Annan kovil for refreshing at Sri.Balaji’s swamin thirumaligai, we got ready to go to Thirunagari temple, the place from where the procession starts, and reached Thirunagari temple which is about 12 kms from Annan kovil.

In the village of Thirunangoor near Sirkazhi, every year Thai Amavasya and the succeeding 2days are celebrated in a grand manner. On Thai Amavasya, Thirumangai Azhwar is given Manjal Kuliyal(holy bath with turmeric water) which is being celebrated for more than 12 centuries, on the next day, 11 Garuda Seva is celebrated which is more than a 100 year old festival. The third day marks the return of Azhwar to Tiruvali-Thirunagari temple. Srivaishnavas make it a point to participate in these festivities.

Many bhagavathas had gathered in front of the temple and several autos were parked near the temple. Usually, devotees engage a vehicle to go to these temples which are located in and around Thirunangoor within a radius of about 40 kms.and participate in the festivities. Blessed are the devotees who go behind the Azhwar by foot on that day. To cover all these 13 temples, the auto drivers charged app Rs .900/-

As this is celebrated every year, Adiyen wishes to narrate the happenings of the day in brief in present continuous …..(for many thousands of years to come, this has to be celebrated and cherished by bhagavatha bandhus)

On Thai Amavasya (no moon ) midnight, at sharp 0130 hours , Azhwar along with Kumudavalli Thayar accompanied by the deity worshipped by Thirumangai Azhwar himself named “Sindhanaiku Iniyan”(one who is sweet for contemplating) and a small vigraham of the diety and Sri Ramanujar’s vigraham seated in a well decorated palanquin leave the Thiruvaali Thirunagari premises. To mark the arrival of Azhwar, crackers are burst and trumpets blown. The temple elephant leads the procession followed by a horse and azhwar’s palanquin follows.

The procession leaves thirunagari temple and heads towards Thirukuraiyalur, the birth place of Azhwar situated about 12 kms at 1 .AM . It takes more than one hour for the procession to reach Thirukuraliyur.. The procession winds its way through narrow, rough, dislevelled, stony roads in the dark. There are no street lights. As Azhwar used to start in the midnight for his hunting expedition, this system is followed. The palanquin bearers about 20 persons literally run through these roads carrying the Azhwar unmindful of the stony path. With the routes cleaned with water and kolams drawn , the residents both young and old alike eagerly wait to receive Azhwar . The procession stops at few places and mangala aarthi is given to Azhwar. Finally the procession reaches Thirukuraiyalur temple , the birth place of Azhwar. The presiding diety, Lord Narasimhar eagerly awaits Azhwar’s arrival.

Upon arrival, amidst mangala vaadyam, the Azhwar is received with full temple honours. The temple priest approaches Azhwar with Perumal’s parivattam , garlands etc and welcome him. Azhwar accepts the same and in return the priest is given a gift of garland and parivattam adorned by Azhwar. Azhwar’s procession enters the temple. In this way, Azhwar is received at all the temples and this procedure is followed at all places In one temple, Hare Krishna maha mantram is sung whereas in another temple, musical fest is performed.

Azhwar faces Perumal. As this is the first temple, the prabhandham starts with the recitation of Thirupallandu, Kanninunsiruthambhu, followed by Azhwar’s Thaniyan and the 1st decad of Peria Thirumozhi- “Vaadinen Vaadi”.. is recited in chorus by nearly 200 srivaishnavas. Then food offering is made to Perumal and then to Azhwar. Karpoora aarthi is given to Azhwar and Saatrumarai is recited followed by Azhwar’s Vaazhi Thirunaamam. Prashad is distributed to the assembled devotees(usually sweet and pongal). Devotees have darshan of Thirumangai Azhwar’s moola vigraham in the temple prakaaram . ( In this temple, Azhwar is alone whereas at Mangai maadam, Azhwar is with Kumudavalli Thayar.)

Leaving Thirukuraiyalur, the procession marches its way to Thirumangai maadam, the birth place of Kumudavalli Thayar. It takes about 30 minutes for the procession to reach this place. At Thirumangai maadam, the reception is more grand as it is Azhwar’s in-laws’ place. Here the presiding diety is Sri.Veera Narasimhar. Inside the temple towards right, a small vigraham of Azhwar with his kumudhavalli nachiyar welcomes. Azhwar is received with full temple honours . Mangalasaasanam to Lord Narasimhar is done by reciting the decad of pasuram on Ahobila Narasimhar from Peria Thirumozhi by the assembled bhagavatas . Later food offering is done to Perumal and then to Azhwar and saaturmarai and vaazhi thirunaamam are recited. Rice upma and Pongal offered to the Lordships is distributed to all the assembled devotees .

The above two temples are the birth places of Azhwar and Nachiyar. From Thirumangai madam, Azhwar starts visiting the 11 divya desams in and around Thirunangoor. On the first day morning, Azhwar visits 3 divyadesams-Thirukaavalampadi, Thirumanikoodam,Thirupaarthanpalli, 5 temples in the evening-namely, Thirumanimada Kovil, Thiruvan Purushothaman Kovil, Thiru Vaikunta Vinnagaram Kovil, Thiru Sempon Sei Kovil, Thiru Thetri Ambalan Kovil, Thiru Arimeya Vinnagaram Kovil. and 3 temples ,namely, Thiruvellakulam (Annan Koil), Thiru Devanar Thogai, and Thiruvali and reaches Thirunagari.on his way back to Thirunagari.

At each divyadesam, Azhwar is received with full temple honours- mangala vaadyam is played, the corresponding temple priest bears a plate containing Perumal’s parivattam and garland on his head, the Perumal’s umbrella and other insignia etc .is brought forward. Azhwar adorns Lord’s parivattam and garland and Srisatari is offered to Azhwar. Azhwar felicitates the representative similarly and enters the temple. Mangalaasaasanam on that Perumal comprising of 10 stanzas rendered by Azhwar is recited . This is followed by Neivedyam and saatrumarai.

Azhwar leaves Thiurpaarthanpalli at about 10 A.M. and reaches Manjal kuliyal mandapam in an hour’s time. Azhwar ‘s procession is taken thru canal to reach the place (this route is not accessible by vehicles hence they take a different route). In the meantime, at Manjal Kuliyal mandapam which is on the banks of Manikarnikarai(a tirubtary of Cauvery), a group of samartha Vaishnavas glorify Azhwar and sing important pasurams from Peria thirumozhi- Vaadinen Vaadi…., Thaaye Thandhai endrum….” and other pasurams set to mind rapturing melodious tunes accompanied by musical instruments like harmonium, kartaal. The entire area is electrified with bhakti. Few devotees dance in ecstasy. The entire area surrounding Manjal kuliyal mandapam wears a festive look- we can see vendors selling books, CDs, photos,toys, tender coconut etc while few residents engage in offering buttermilk to the assembled devotees. All the 11 villages gather together and organize a large scale feast to serve the bhagavatas.

The residents of Thirunangoor feel very pleased to serve the bhagavatas. WE can see many residents stopping us on the way and request us to have hot milk offered by them and thank us when we fulfill their wish. They follow Azhwar in serving bhagavatas and opine that Azhwar would be pleased with them only when they serve the bhagavatas. We can see the residents irrespective of age doing this service. In the afternoons, they offer buttermilk. Few residents have the practice of offering food to 1000 srivaishnavas once in a year even today . they are unmindful of the rising prices and are keen only on serving the bhagavatas and thus obtain Azhwar’s mercy……This can be seen only at Thirunangoor.

On reaching Manikarnikarai, the palanquin bearers literally jump into the cool muddy waters along with Azhwar . While they stand in knee deep waters, pasurmas rendered by Azhwar on his acharyar, Thirunaraiyur Nambi are recited along with pasuram on SriRanganathar. The muddy water is splashed on Azhwar’s thirumeni. Azhwar is honoured with the gifts sent by Sri Ranganathar and thirunaraiyur Nambi. A priest from Srirangam temple brings forth Perumal’s parivattam and garland (uduthi kalaindha peethaga aadai and soodi kudutha maalai) with a golden umbrella and offers the same to Azhwar. With the sole desire to construct the surrounding walls of Srirangam temple, Azhwar resorted to wayside robbery and plundering wealth. To honour Azhwar for the various kainkaryams done by him like constructing walls, starting Thiruadhyanautsavam etc.,, Ranganathar sends parivattam and garland. Likewise, Lord Thirunaraiyur Nambi of Nachiyar kovil, Kumbakonam who is considered as Azhwar’s guru (as HE gave him the mantropadesam) feels pleased with HIS student and sends parivattam etc. After this, Azhwar is taken to Manjal kuliyal mandapam for giving holy bath,Thirumanjanam.

Azhwar alongwith Kumudavalli Nachiyar is placed in the centre, to the left, Lord Sindhanikku Iniyan along with Ubhaya Naachiyars and silver utsava murthi is placed .to the right of Azhwar, a small vigraham of Sri Ramanujar is placed. Thirumanjanam with water, milk, curd, tender coconut, turmeric water etc .is first performed to Lord Sindhanikku Iniyan, then to azhwar and lastly to Sri Ramanujar. After this, the silver utsava murthi of Sindhanaiku Iniyan is taken to Manikarni karai and given a holy dip. This marks the end of Manjal Kuliyal. A curtain is drawn and after few minutes, the devotees can have darshan of Azhwar along with Nachiyar adorned with floral garlands. Thirumanjana theertha prasadam is offered to the assembled devotees and once again the curtain is drawn for decorating the deities which takes about an hour or so.

Meantime, most of the assembled devotees are served prashad in the nearby school premises while few devotees get the opportunity to have prasadam in thirumaligai. In almost every house, Thadhiaaradhanai is done (serving bhagavatas).

At about 6 P.M., Azhwar reaches Thirumanimada kovil popularly known as Narayana Perumal kovil. It is here that 11 Garuda sevai is performed. The garuda vahanams of all Perumals are kept here in designated mandapams. Azhwar is greeted as usual and pasurams comprising of Thirupallandu, Kanninunsiruthambhu, respective pasuram from Peria Thirumozhi are recited followed by neivedyam, saatrumarai and vaazhi thirunaamam.

Azhwar then visits Thiruvanpurushothaman kovil where professional musicians entertain Azhwar by exhibiting their talent in playing nadaswaram and mrudangam . After mangalasaasanam, Azhwar visits Manavaala maamunigal sannidhi in the temple precincts. Azhwar was one of the favourites for Manavala mamunigal mamunigal organizes the 11 garuda seva on the following day.

From there, Azhwar reaches the remaining temples and returns to Manimada kovil after midnight.

On the succeeding day,all the divya desa Perumals arrive in palanquins from their respective places and reach Thirumanimada kovil.. In the evening, Thirumanjanam is performed to all the deities who are later well decorated. The deities occupy their respective Garuda vaahanams . At about 1030 P.M., the much awaited Garuda sevai begins. Manavaala mamunigal in his parangi naarkali comes out first and receives Azhwar seated on Hamsa vahanam. One by one all the Perumals arrive in Garuda vaahanams. Mangalasaasanam sung by Azhwar is recited and after due honours, the Perumal goes round the 4 mada streets..

On the third day, after all the divyadesa Perumals leave to their respective divyadesams, Azhwar also leaves Manimada kovil.. On the way he visits Annan Kovil where he is received grandly as he is considered as their “Maapillai”(son-in-law”). Finally Azhwar reaches Thirunagari where Vayalaali Manavalan-the presiding diety of Thiruvali-Thirunagari temple waits near the entrance on Garuda Vaahanam to welcome Azhwar . Perumal and Azhwar then enter into the temple together. This marks the end of the three day festivities at Thirunangoor which is celebrated for more than 140 years.

Due to laukik commitments, Adiyen could participate only in Manjal Kuliyal. Adiyen begs the bhagavatas to bless me to once again participate in all the three day festivities. Azhwar graced Adiyen by allowing me to visit Singaperumalkovil and have darshan of Sri Ranganathar, Pataladri Narasimhar and our Acharyar.

Adiyen concludes this travelogue and profusely thank the bhagavatas for patient reading and advise this insignificant, ignorant soul who is groping in darkness attempting to find a way to enlightenment.

Kazhiyur Varadan