Adikesava Perumal Thiruvattar

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Sree Adi Kesava Perumal

Thiruvattar Sree Adikesava Perumal Temple is situated 6 km north-east of Marthandam and 30 km north-west of Nagercoil (in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu). The temple is surrounded on three sides by rivers (Kothai,Parali and Thamirabarani). Paraliyar takes a turn in this place and it is called vattaru and when the temple of Adikeasav Perumal was created it came to be known as Thriuvattaru. This Temple is older than Padmanabha Swamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram. Its structure is similar to that of Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The style and the architechture of this temple is taken as the sample to construct the Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The idol of Adikesava and Sree Padmanabha are installed in such a way that they face each other. The lord is lying on his snake couch and has to be viewed through three doors. We could see Lord Shiva near the Lord Adikesava Perumal inside the sannidhi. Adi Kesava Perumal is said to be the elder brother of Anantha Padmanabhan and hence, this place is referred to as Aadhi Ananthapuram. This temple is also known as Chera Naatu Srirangam.

Deity    : Adi Kesava Perumal , West Facing Bujanga Sayanam
Goddess  : Maragada Valli Thaayar
Utsavar  : Adi Kesavan
Theertham: Sea, Vattaru, Rama theertha


Thiruvattar Temple

Lord Brahma performed a Yaga without Saraswathi Devi and as a result of Saraswathi's angry, two asuras by name Kesan and Kesi emerged out of the Yagagni (sacrificial fire). They were troubling the three worlds. The Devas approached Vishnu and requested him to find a solution. Lord Mahavishnu in the form of Kesava Perumal fought with Kesan. Perumal threw Kesan who fell on top of Mahendragiri and Perumal blew His conch.Instantaneously, Adisesha wound himself around Kesan thus disabling the asura to move and immediately Perumal laid on Adisesha thus putting His weight.

Kesi who saw her brother defeated wanted to avenge and hence she along with her friend, Kothai took the form of rivers and encircled the temple with the intention of submerging the temple. At that time, it is believed that Bhoomi devi raised the temple . Hence, the temple is situated at a height of 55 feet from the ground level. The image of the Gopuram clearly indicates this. The rivers joined with Arabian Sea at a place known as Moovaatru mukham. The rivers were cursed by Perumal and they repented for their action. Perumal forgave them and had a dip in Moovaatru mukham. Even today, during Painguni utsavam, Perumal comes on golden Garuda and has dip in the river thus enacting the saapa vimochana incident.

In 1740 the men of the Nawab of Arcot looted this temple and the golden idol (ulsava vigraham). It was so heavy. He kept the idol along with rubbish in a lumber room. Every day, the idol would come on top and in spite of being tied down with ropes, the idol would come to the top. At that time, the Nawab's wife developed serious illness which could not be cured by anyone. Perumal appeared in the dream of the temple priest and ordered him to go to Nawab's palace and inform the Nawab that if the idol was returned, his wife would be cured of illness. The Nawab acted accordingly and his wife was cured. The Nawab gifted a silver plate and a cap to Perumal and this is used at the time of Sheeveli everyday.He also provided the fund for conducting annual puja -Thiru Alla Pooja. When the priest who was bringing back the idol halted in a place for completing his evening rituals, the idol got stuck to the ground. Later under the supervision of the King, suddhi kalasam was performed and this is carried out every year during the last day of the utsavam in the month of Tulam. The idol is taken from Thiruvattaru to River Parali on the golden Garuda.


The temple architecture is Dravidian style architecture with wooden pillars, doors and roofs. The lord is lying on his snake couch and has to be viewed through three doors. We could see Lord Shiva near Lord Adikesava Perumal inside the sannidhi. Deepalakshmis are many but none resembles the other. The Otraikkal Mandapam (single stone hall) made of a single stone 3 feet thick, is a marvel. Oorthuva Thandavam, Venugopala, Rathi, Manmatha, Lakshmana and Indrajit are excellently carved. The temple is also renowned for its murals.

This temple is noted for its beautiful sculptures in stone and wood. The inscriptions in the Balikkal mandapam belongs to the period of Rajendra Chozhan I (A.D 1013-1045). It refers the deity as the thiruvattaru pallikondu arulkindra perumal. Udaya marthanda mandapam has exquisite wood carvings and the highlight is the wedding procession of Lord Ganapathi. The corridor has 222 salabhanjikas (feminine forms holding a lamp), and are unique. There is also a small shrine for Lord Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy near the river and opposite to the Adikesava Perumal Temple.


NammAzhvaar has sung 11 verses of praise of Adi Kesavan of ThiruVattaru.

“வாற்றாடான் அடி வணங்கி மா ஞாலப்பிரப்பு அறுப்பான் 
கேட்டாயே மட நெஞ்சே  கேசவன்  எம்பெருமானைப் 
பாட்டாய் பல பாடி பலவினைகள் பற்று அறுத்து 
நாட்டாரோடு இயல்வு ஒழிந்து  நாரணனை  நன்னினமே" - Tiruvoimozhi

Singing praise of Kesavan and worshipping Him provides salvation from rebirth and takes one away from worldly attachments.


Map of Shivalaya Ottam

Shivalaya Ottam When the asura Kesan tried to get out of Adisesha's coils, Perumal made 12 Shivalingams to stand as guard around the asura and Perumal. These famous Shiva Temples are Thirumala, Thikkurussi, Thrupparappu, Thirunandhikkara, Ponmana, Pannippakam, Kalkkulam, Melankodu, Thiruvidaikkodu, Thiruvithamkode, Thiruppanrikkode and Thirunattalam. Even today, the worship to Lord Shiva on Sivarathiri day - The famous Shivalaya ottam- is said to be complete only when the devotee after visiting the 12 Shiva shrines ends his trip in the Perumal Temple.

Vaikunta Ekadesi is celebrated with pomp and glory. Paal Payasam (Milk Kheer), Aval and Appam are delicious prasadams at this temple.

Other Facts

  • One has to climb 18 steps to reach the Adi Kesavan Sannidhi, where the 22 feet Lord, made out of 16008 Saligramams, is seen in a West facing Bhujanga Sayanam (seen sleeping in the opposite direction –Head in the South, Feet in the North).
  • Between the 3rd and 9th day of Puratasi and Panguni, during dusk, Sun’s rays directly falls on the Lord inside the sanctum, almost as a mark of respect from the Sun God to Adi Kesava Perumal.
  • Parasuraman is said to have undertaken penance at this place and performed daily poojas for Adi Kesavan
  • Chaitanya Maha Prabhu visited the temple in 1510AD
  • Sage Vashista is said to have stayed here for several years
  • The Lord AdiKesava Swamy means 'Foremost Friend'
  • The renowned sage Vilvamangala Swamiyar had a vision of Lord Vishnu resting on Anantha. Anantha’s one end is where the Padmanabhaswamy temple is located and the other end where Thiruvattar temple stands. The sage requested the Lord to reduce his size which he did, manifesting himself at both places
  • There is reference to Thiru Vattaru in the more than 2000 year old famous Sangha time Tamil literature ‘Pura Naanooru’. Hence, this temple can be said to belong to that time or before.

Temple Timings

  • Morning 5am-12noon
  • Evening 5pm-8pm

Nearby Temples

How To Reach & Stay

Thiruvattaru is located 7 kms from Marthandam which lies in between Nagercoil(24) & Trivandrum Highway (46)

Nearest Railway Station: Kulithurai (Marthandam)

Bus No. 89 to Thiruvattaru from Marthandam,Temple is about 2minutes walk from the bus stop.

Bus Frequencies are less though one can find Autos plying

By car, one can reach Thiruvattaru in half hour from Nagercoil by taking a right just after Padmanabhapuram at Azhagiya Mandapam (23kms).

Pechiparai Dam,Thiruparappu Falls & Hanging Mathoor Bridge are Tourist Attractions.

Better Stay options can be found in Thiruvananthapuram & Nagercoil

Websites & Blogs