Ulagalantha Perumal Temple Tirukoyilur

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Thiruvikrama Ulagalantha Perumal

Tirukoyilur Located about 40 kms West of Villipuram in the South Arcot district of Tamil Nadu on the banks of Pennai River (Krishna Bhadra), the Ulagalanda Perumal temple in Thiru Kovilur dates back to a period before the four Yugams.This is one of the 108 Holy Divya Desams of Perumal.Lord Trivikrama Perumal graces the devotees from the sanctum under the Sri Chakra Vimana. Lord Venugopala plays the Kshetra Balaka role. Presiding deity Perumal is made of Tharu-wood. So tall a Perumal is no where in Tamilnadu temples.Lord Krishna made of Salagrama stone is gracing devotees from a separate shrine. The temple plays a special part in Vaishnavism as it is where the first three Azhwars sang the first three Thiruvandadhis compiled in Nalayira Divya Prabandam

Deity     : Trivikrama Ulagalantha Perumal
Goddess   : Poongoval Nachiyar
Utsavar   : Ayanar or Gopalan

Pancha Krishnaranya Kshetram

Five great temples of Lord Krishna- 1)Tirukovilur, 2) Tirukannapuram, 3) Tirukannangudi, 4) Tirukannamangai and 5) Kabisthalam, Tirukovilur is the first. Lord Krishhna in this temple, made of Salagrama stone, graces the devotees from a shrine on the right side of the Gopuram entrance.

The devotees must begin the worship from the Krishna shrine and then worship the presiding Perumal '

Architecture

Thiruvikrama Ulagalantha Perumal

The temple is believed to have been built by the Medieval Cholas, with later contributions from Vijayanagar kings and Madurai Nayaks. The temple has an eleven-tiered rajagopuram with a height of 192 ft (59 m), the third tallest temple tower in Tamil Nadu, after the one in Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple and Srivilliputhur Andal Temple. The temple covers an area of 5 acres (20,000 m2) and houses residential buildings in the precincts around the temple tower.The temple was originally made of bricks, but during the period of Virarajendra Chola (1063–70), a granite structure was developed. Narasimha Varma constructed the other shrines also in granite. The temple received benevolent contributions from most of the later Chola rulers like Rajadhiraja Chola (1018–1054), Rajendra Chola II (1051–1063) and other rulers of the region like Vikramapandiya, Koperujinga and Vijayanagara rulers like Saluva Narasimha Deva Raya (1485–1491) and Sadasiva Raya (1542–1570) as seen from the inscriptions in the temple. The temple was expanded during the rule of the Vijayanagar kings and Nayaks. The temple was the fortress to the British during the Carnatic wars. It was also attacked during the days of the period of Hyder Ali. The presiding deity, Ulagalantha Perumal, has an imposing image made of Tharu wood with foot raised. The images of Azhwars are housed in the hall preceding the sanctum. A number of water bodies are associated with the temple. Chakra Theertha, the temple tank located outside the temple is believed to have been from the waters used by Brahma to wash the feet of Vamana. It is believed that the water is source of river Pennar, which flows nearby the temple. Chank Theertha, located in the east, Akasha Ganga, Varava Theertha and Kalava Theertha are the various other temple tanks in the temple. The image of Krishna is made of saligrama stone and is housed in a separate shrine. There are separate shrines in the first precinct for Venugopala, Lakshmi Narayana, Lakshmi Raghava, Lakshmi Narasimha, Rama, Veera Anjaneya, Andal and Shukracharya, the Guru of Asuras. Durga, otherwise housed only in Shiva temples, is a rare feature of the temple

History

Sage Mrigandu wanted to have this Vishwarupa Darshan of Lord and approached Lord Brahmma for His advice. Brahmma suggested that the sage go to Krishna Kshetra (now Tirukovilur) on the banks of Krishnabadra River to realize his wish. The sage along with his wife Mitravathi came to this place and performed severe penance for the darshan of Lord. Lord came to their abode in the guise of an old Brahmin and begged for food. They didn’t have even a single grain of rice to offer. The sage turned to his wife. Mitravathi went in, took a bowl in hand and prayed to Lord Narayana to fill the bowl with food if she was the chaste wife of the sage. The bowl was full of delicious food. Pleased with their penance, Perumal granted His Vishwarupa darshan to the sage couple.

Azhwars

Vishnu appeared to the mudhal azhwars (first three azhwars) at Thirukkoilur. It was day time, but it darkened and started raining heavily. The wandering Poigai Azhwar found out a small hide out, which has a space for one person to lie down. Boodathazhwar arrived there looking for a hiding place and Poigai accommodated him, with both sitting together. In the meanwhile, Peyazhwar also came to the same place as all the three preferred to stand because of lack of space. The darkness became dense and inside the small room, they were not able to see each other. In the meanwhile, they felt a fourth person also forced his way among them. The three azhwars realised from the light of the lightning that the fourth one had a charming face that was sublime and divine. The trio could immediately realize that it was Vishnu who was huddling among them. Poigai wished to see Vishnu's face continuously but could view only from the simmering light of the lightening. With a view to maintain the continuity of light, he instantly composed hundred songs wishing the earth to be a big pot full of ghee like an ocean where the Sun could be the burning wick

வையம் தகளியா வார்கடலே நெய்யாக                      vaiyam thagaLiyA vArkadalE neyyAga
வெய்ய கதிரோன் விளக்காக - செய்ய                        veyya kadhirOn viLakkAga - seyya
சுடர் ஆழியான் அடிக்கே சுட்டினேன் சொல் மாலை         sudar AzhiyAn adikkE sUttinEn sol mAlai
இடராழி நிங்குகவே என்று                                     idarAzhi nIngkugavE enRu

Deeming in the world as lamp; the full sea as ghee, the fierce-rayed sun as a luminous wick, I have twined a garland of speech for the feet of Him who wields the red flaming discus so that there may be freedom from the ocean of misery

The song is also interpreted as the azhwar praying to god to remove the darkness and ask for his unlimited knowledge and power. Bhoothathazhwar also sang 100 songs imagining to light the lamp constantly through ardent love for Him.

‘ThiruKanden Ponmeni Kanden’ is how an excited Pey Azhvaar described the moment of his happiness after darshan of Ulagalandha Perumal on one dark stormy night here in Aippasi at Mrugandu Rishi’s Ashram in Thiru Kovilur.

திருக்கண்டேன் பொன்மேனி கண்டேன் 
திகழும் அருக்கன் அணி நிறமும் கண்டேன் 
செருகிலரும் பொன்னாழி கண்டேன் 
புரிசங்கம் கை கண்டேன் 
என்னாழி வண்ணன் பால் இன்று 

Peyazhwar sang another 100 songs where he described the enchanting charm of the divine face and the association of Narayana equipped with chakra and sankha, and his divine consort goddess Lakshmi.

This is the only Divya Desam with an idol of Durgai. Thiru Mangai Azhvaar in his praise of this temple refers to Durgai and says “ Karpudaya Madakanni Kaaval Poonda……..”

Other Literary Mention

The temple finds mention in Sangam literature in Tamil from 3rd BC to 3rd centuries CE. Agananuru, Purananuru, Natrinai and Kurunthogai have mention about the temple. Malayaman Tirumudikari, the ruler of Thirukovilur, was lavished praise in the texts for his charitable disposition to the institutions. It is believed that Avvayar, the celebrated Sangam period poet, arranged marriage for two cheiftians at this place. Poet Kapilar is believed to have found suitable grooms for king Pari's daughter Angavai and Sangavai at this place and set himself up in fire. The event is commemorated every year in a huge rock called Kapilar Kal, where a small shrine exists even in modern times

According to scriptures and Tamil literatures. Sage Parasurama and Sage Agasthya had performed penance at Tirukovilur. The puranic age Krishnabadra River is flowing now in the name of Thenpennai. Before butter (Vennai in Tamil) melts, Pennai (the name of the river) melts, is an old saying

Prayers

Devotees strongly believe that Lord Trivikrama would respond their prayers seeking high positions, promotions and regaining the positions they have lost. Devotees are blessed with happy wedding, children and freedom from enemies. Lord Chakarathzhwar frees the devotees from the evil effects of spells and witchcrafts. People pray to Mother Vishnu Durga during Rahu Kalams on Tuesdays and Fridays for relief from the adverse aspects of planets.

Temple Timings

  • Morning : 06:30am-12noon
  • Evening : 04:30pm-08:00pm

Festivals

  • 15 day Panguni Brahmmotsavam in March-April with Sri Pushpavalli Thayar Oonjal
  • Masi Magam in February-March, Lord visiting Cuddalore carried on the shoulders of devotees are the main festivals of the temple.
  • Purattasi Pavithra Utsav and Navarathri in September-October
  • 10 day Sri Manavala Mamunigal utsav in October-November;
  • And Chithirai Sri Rama Navami, Sri Ramanuja Jayanthi and Vasanth Utsav in April-May; Vaikasi Visaka Garuda Seva, Nammazhwar Sattrumurai in May-June; Aani Periazhwar Sattrumurai in June-July; Aadi Thiruvadipooram, Andal Utsav in July-August; Avani Sri Jayanthi, Uriyadi utsav in August-September; Aipasi Mudalazwar Sattrumurai,Karthikai Kaisika Ekadasi; Tirukarthikai in November-December; Margazhi Rapathu, Pagal Pathu, Vaikunda Ekadasi in December-January. Besides the above, important days as Pongal-Makar Snkranti, Deepavali, Tamil and English New Year days are also observed with special pujas to Lord Trivikrama.

How to Reach

From Chennai, ThiruKovilur is about 200 kms South West via Villupuram and 40kms from Villupuram. Take right at Villupuram into the Perumbakkam, Mugaiyur, Arakandanallur State Highway.

From Chennai, one can also take a train to Villipuram (2 ½ hours) and then a bus from Villipuram to Thiru Kovilur( 1 hour)

Tirukoilur has a railway station and the train departures can be found here. Puduchery - Dadar Triweekly express connects Thirukoyilur with Bangalore & Mumbai.A Daily passenger train from Tirupati also exists.

Buses are available from Bangalore also

Stay

There are couple of Hotels & lodges in Tirukoyilur .

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