An offering at the lotus feet of the divine…..
Temples (….and pleasure spots too!) around Thirunelveli
I thought, making a Thirunelveli temples directory was going to be just a matter of Nava Thirupathis and Nava kailsams, but OMG, I never imagined it’s going to be so vast. Finally I realised that it is yet another Kumbakonam or Kanchipuram and a lovely Nature’s paradise in the backdrop of the Pothigai hill and the Thamirabarani or Porunai river. I made it myself tougher by intertwining the tourist spots and movie shooting spots as well to make our trip a combined Spritiual cum Pleasure trip. Generally, the Eastern region of Thirunelveli towards Tuticorin is a spiritual belt containing all the Nava Thirupathis and most of the Nava Kailasams; and the Western part of Thirunelveli via Ambasamudhram, Papanasam to Thenkasi is a spiritual cum pleasure belt.
Thirunelveli-1 (this) page contains the following routes:
- In and around Thirunelveli
- Thirunelveli – Papanasam – Thenkasi
- Thirunelveli – Mukkudal – Pottalpudur
- Thirunelveli – Alangulam – Thenkasi
- Thenkasi – Shenkotta – Thenmalai (Sabarimala)
- Panpozhi – Achankoil
- Thenkasi – Sankarankoil
Thirunelveli-2 page contains the following routes:
- Thirunelveli – Nagercoil (NH7)
- In and Around Thirukkurungudi
- Thirukkurungudi- Cheranmadevi
- Thirunelvei – Vallanad (Thoothukudi)
- Thirunelveli – Thiruchendur
To be Done:
- Thirunelveli – Sankarankoil
- Thirunelveli – Kayathar – Kovilpatti
- Thirunelveli – Ottapidaram
Last Updated: 27th Sep 2016
The name “Thirunelvei”:
Once there was a poor Brahmin here named Veda Sarma who was a great Siva Bhakta. Every day he used to go out begging and the alms thus gathered were used for offering to the Lord. One day, when the brahmin was drying the paddy which he had collected, it rained suddenly and Veda Sarma feared that all the paddy might be washed away. He prayed to the Lord for help who protected the paddy from the rain by covering it and standing around it like a fence and hence the name Thiru Nel Veli (Nel – means paddy and Veli – means fence). The Lord also came to be known as Nellaiappar who has a massive temple in the town.
Sage Agasthiyar and Pothigai hill:
The Pothigai hill is almost synonymous with Sage Agasthiar. Per Legend, on the occasion of Lord Shiva’s marriage to Goddess Parvati at KAilayam, the whole of celestal world had assembled there and so the equilibrium of the earth got affected. So Lord Shiva sent Sage Agasthya to this region to balance the earth and showed His marriage dharshan in many temples in Tamilnadu. So almost all the temples in this region were worshipped by Agasthiyar and he can be seen in all those temples.
Nava Thirupathi and Nava Kailasam:
Thirunelveli region is popular with 9 Nava Thirupathi temples, part of the 108 Divya desmas and 9 Nava Kailasams – Shiva temples. These temples are located in the Papanasam-Thirunelveli-Thiruchendur belt along the Thamirabarani river on both side banks of it. They are considered as the Navagraha parihara sthalams. Whereas in Kumbakonam we worship the actual (Nava) grahas for the pariharams, here we can worship their bosses Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu themselves as the (Nava) Graha Gods for pariharams.
When Vaishnavites say Azhwar, they mean Nammazhwar and Azhwar Thirunagari, one of the Nava Thirupathis, is his birth place. Just like the cluster of Thirunangur Divya desams near Sirkazhi is closely associated with Thirumangazi Azhwar, this cluster of temples is closely associated with Nammazhwar and he is the only one to have sung on all the nine. Since Udaya Nangai, mother of Nammazhwar is also considered as another Thayar, all the Nava Thirupathis have two Thaayars. These temples are being maintained very nicely by TVS group, even though the temples are under HR&CE.
One good thing about Nava Thirupathis is the temple timings – they are so arranged that you can very conveniently complete the dharshan in all of them between 7:30 AM and 2:30 PM. You can start with Sri Vaikundam at 7:30 AM, then to Azhwar Thirunagari, Thirukkolur and Then Thirupperai before 11 AM since they are big and close early at 11 AM. All the other temples have only half an hour or one hour lunch break between 1 and 1:30 PM or between 1 and 2 PM and so can be very conveniently covered before 2:30 PM even with a little wait, if at all needed.
1. DD91 – Sri Vaikundam – Sooriyan
2. DD92 – Thiruvaragunamangai (Natham) – Chandran
3. DD93 – Thirupuliangudi – Bhudhan
4 & 5. DD94 – Irattai Thirupathigal (Tholavillimangalam) – Rahu & Kethu
6. DD95 – Thirukuzhandai (Perungulam) – Sani
7. DD96 – Thirukolur – Chevvai
8. DD97 – Then Thirupperai – Sukkiran
9. DD98 – Azhwar Thirunagari (Thirukkurugur) – Viyalan
Photos of the Nava Thirupathis are here
Sage Agasthiyar was doing penance in the Podhikai hills and Uromasa rishi was his prime disciple. Uromasar wanted to get liberation and he prayed to Lord Shiva. The Lord wanted to bless through his Guru Sage Agasthiar who put nine flowers in the Thamirabarani river and asked Uromasar to install a Shiva lingam and pray at places wherever these flowers dock on the banks. Also he was advised to take bath in the place where the river confluence with the sea. Uromasar did the same and got liberated. These nine abodes are called Nava Kailasam. Most of the temples look very beautiful, though small in size.
1. Papanasam – Sooriyan
2. Cheranmahadevi – Chandran
3. Kodaganallur – Chevvai
4. Kunnathur – Rahu
5. Murappanadu – Viyalan
6. Srivaikundam – Sani
7. Thenthiruperai – Bhuthan
8. Rajapadhi – Kethu
9. Serntha Poo Mangalam – Sukkiran
Photos of the Nava Kailasams are here
Pancha Natarajar Sthalams:
The sthapathy who created the Chidamabaram Nataraja moorthy is said to have created five moorthies. Apart from Chidambaram, the other four moorthies are present in the following temples around Thrunelveli: Kari Soozhntha mangalam, Kattarimangalam, Mela Karuvelankulam and Sepparai.
Pancha Krosha Temples:
One krosha means 1.3 miles and these temples are located within five krosha distances. Worshipping all the five temples on a single day is said to be very sacred. The five temples are: Papanasam, Azhwar Kurichi, Siva sailam, Kadayam and Thiruppudai marudhur.
In and Around Thirunelveli
Sri Nellaiappar Temple
Location: The temple is located within the town, at about 2.5 kms from the railway junction in the straight road opposite the junction.
- One of the 275 Thevara Padal Petra Sthalams
- One of the Pancha Natya Sabha Temples (Copper) of Lord Natarajar (Shiva).
- Reverred by Arunagiri nathar’s Thiruppugazh
- A massive temple, bigger than even Madurai Meenakshi amman temple
- Main deities: Nellaiappar / Venuvana Nathar with Kanthimathi ammai
- A poor Brahmin Veda Sarma who was a great Siva Bhakta, used to go out begging and offer the alms thus gathered to the Lord everyday. One day, when he was drying the paddy which he had collected, it rained suddenly and Veda Sarma was worried. He prayed to Lord in distress and the Lord protected the paddy from the rain by covering it and standing around it like a fence. So this place came to be known as Thiru Nel Veli (Nel – means paddy and Veli – means fence). The Lord also came to be known as Nellaiappar.
- Lord Shiva once took the form of a Lingam, came to Thirunelveli and took His abode here. All the four Vedas stood around Him as bamboo trees and provided Him the shade. So this Sthalam is came to be known as Venu Vanarn (Venu means bamboo and Vanam means forest) and the Lord came to be known as Venuvana nathar.
- Sage Agasthya worshipped Lord Shiva here and got the Kailaya marriage dharshan of Lord Shiva.
- Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahmma and Karuvur Siddhar worshipped Lord Shiva here
- The 32 kind of truth people should adopt in their life was shown to the world here
- In the south-eastern corner of the prakaram, a Siva Lingam, known as Anavarata Khan, has been enshrined. It is said that the queen of one of the Nawabs was suffering from some acute disease and consulted the Brahmins for a cure. They advised her to worship Nellaiappar and perform some religious ceremonies in the temple. The Muslim queen did the same and she not only recovered from the disease but also gave birth to a male child. The boy was named Anavarata Khan and she built a shrine with a sivalingam known as Anavarata Khan in a corner of the prakaram. An opening in the outer wall of the prakararn just opposite the shrine was provided so as to enable the Nawab’s family to worship the Lingam, standing outside the temple.
- This is one of the big temples in Pandiya Naadu measuring 756 feet by 850 feet, bigger than even Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple. This temple is a complex of two huge temples, one for Lord Nellaiappar and the other one for Kanthimathi Ammai, located side by side linked by the Mani mandapam.
- The Govinda Raja Perumal shirine was discovered by Kanchi Mahaswami in 1940s. He suspected that the temple must be like Chidambaram and asked to break a wall. The shrine of huge Govindaraja Perumal, affectionately called “Nellai Govindar”, in a reclining posture, then came to open. It is believed that the utsava idols of the local Karia Manikka temple is actually from this Perumal shrine only.
- This temple was a stone structure in 8th Century itself
- The beautiful statue of Lord Arumugar (Muruga) with His 2 consorts Valli and Deivaanai sitting on His mount Peacock in the western prakaram is beautifully carved from a single block of stone.
- The Nellaiappar temple has a smaller Shiva shirine close to the main one. Now the prahara is raised and most of the wall of this temple is not visible
- It is said that there is a tunnel behind the Ravana sculpture in the temple corridor that connects Thirunelveli and Madurai. This tunnel was supposed to have been used by the Pandya kings and their spies on secret missions.
- A gorgeous garden, established in 1756 CE by Thiruvengadakrishna Mudaliar, next to the chain mandapam, welcomes visitors with full of flowers in beautiful colours. A square vasantha mandapam with hundred pillars is located at the centre of the garden.
- The 1000 pillar mandapam inside the Amman temple is very famous and it is here the celestial wedding of Kanthimathi Ammai with Nellaiappar takes place every year during the festival in the Tamil month of Aippasi corresponding to October 15th to November 15th.
- Unseen jewels, the Golden Lily Tank, Musical Pillars, the hall of a 1000 Pillars are gift for our eyes.
The Nada Mani mandapam has two huge pillars carved out of a single stone. Each giant pillar has a cluster of as many as 48 small pillars which produce musical sounds when tapped gently. The fact that a single piece of rock can produce different musical keynotes stands as a testimony to the unique understanding of the “physics and mathematics of sound” by our forefathers. In all, there are 161 such small pillars that make music in the Nada Mani Mandapam. In the South Tamilnadu, though there are several temples boast of such pillars, like those at Azhavar Thirunagari, Tenkasi, Kalakaadu, Kuttralam, Shenbagarama Nallur, Suseendaram, Thiruvananthapuram and Madurai, the pillars of Thirunelveli stand out.
“This is an architectural rarity and a sublime beauty to be cherished and preserved”
Sthala Vruksham: Bamboo
Theetham: There are 32 theerthams and the most significant ones are: Inside the temple – Potramarai, Karumari, Vairava and Sarva; Outside the temple – Kambai, Theppakulam, Sindhupoondhurai, Durgai and Krukkuthurai.
Note: Thirunelveli is famous for its Alwa and the ‘Iruttu Kadai’ opposite to the Nellayappar temple is the hot spot for it.
Sri Thondargal Nainar Swami temple
Location: The temple is located just behind the Nellaiyappar Temple
Main deity: Lord Shiva as Swayambu lingam in the name of Thondargal Nainar with Gomathy amman
During the pilgrimage of saint Thirugnanasambandar here, his followers wanted to install a Shivalinga here. Though Sambandar agreed to their wish, he did not want to do it individually himself. He prayed to Sage Agasthya and sought his blessings to fulfil the desire of his followers. Sage Agasthya pointed out a place thick with Vilwa trees and indicated the presence of a Swayambu Shivalinga. Sambandar got the Shivalinga and worshipped Him with his followers (Thondargal). As Lord Shiva appeared here for the Thondars, He is named Thondargal Nainar.
Lord Vinayaka graces on an Avudayar (the seat or peeta on which Shivalingas are installed) in the prakara under a peepal tree (Arasa maram). Behind Him is another Vinayaka facing north. This is a strange form of Vinayaka facing opposite sides. There is a Shivalinga to the right of Vinayaka with two nagas (serpent deity) nearby each facing the opposite side. Those facing adverse effects of serpent planets pray here for relief. Lord Dakshinamurthy in the ghoshta wall has His left hand on a serpent.
Sri Narasimha Perumal Temple
The temple is located in Mela Mada Veeethi just behind Nellaiyappar Temple.
Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar generally appears with Mother Mahalakshmi on His left lap and embracing Her by the left hand. Here, Mother is seen on the left lap of the Lord with Her hands on the shoulders of the Lord holding a lotus looking at the Lord.
The other difference is that though the Lord is called Narasimha, He does not have the face of a Lion. Such form of Narasimha is known as Prahaladha Varada, Lord who protected Prahaladha from the cruelties of his demon father Hiranya. It is also the belief of devotees that Perumal in this form would consider their prayers with all sympathy.
Sri Sangili Boothathar Temple
The temple is located at the Boothathar corner at the left side corner of Nellaiyappar temple. In this tower like temple Sangili boothathar is present in three tiers. The card festival of Nellaiyar used to start after breaking coconut and getting permission from Boothathar only.
Sri Kariyamanikka Perumal Temple
The temple is located under 1/2 km South-West of Nellaiyappar temple
Thachanallur is located 3 kms North of the Nellaiyappar temple
Uchishta Ganapathy Temple at Manimoortheeswaram
Located near Mehalingapuram, this is one of the rare temples of Vinayagar with a 5 tier Rajagopuram. The temple is massive in size with huge compound walls. Uchishta Ganapathy is one of 32 forms of Vinayagar in a posture of embracing a woman with His Trunk on the naval of a woman. This is rare when Vinayagar is said to be a brahmachari. Devotees believe that worshipping Ganapthi in this form will reward them with a child of great characters.
Vannarapettai is just the adjacent area to the railway junction
2) Thiru Theepachi Amman Temple
Links: Location Weblink
Palayamkottai is adjacent to the Thirunelveli railway junction on the Eastern side
1) Sri Azhagiya Mannar Vedha Narayana Rajagopala Swamy Temple
2) Sri Thripuranthakeswarar Temple
A Thevara Vaipu Sthalam
3) Sri Nadukka Vudayar Sastha Temple
Sri Salai Muthukumara Swamy Temple
This Lord Muruga temple is a popular one and is located just below the Thiruvalluvar two tier road bridge in the railway junction area.
Sri Kailasanathar Temple
Located very near the City bus stand and Salai Muthukumara Swamy Temple
Sri Rajagopala Swamy Temple at C.N Village
The temple is located near the Kalyana Srinivasa Perumal temple at about 2 kms from the main city bus stand.
Sri Murugan Temple at Kurukuthurai
This beautifully carved Lord Murugan temple is located right in the middle of the Thamirabarani river on a rock known as Thiruvuruvamalai at about 3 kms from the City bus stand. In 1653, the same rocks were used for carving the Lord Murugan temple at Thiruchendur.
Apart from the spirituality, this temple has to be visited for its beautiful location also.
Sri Thirunageswar Temple at Melanatham
The temple is located near the Kurukkuthurai Murugan temple but on the other bank of the Thamirabarani river.
Sri Sastha Temple at Chekkadi
(There are two versions about the location of the temple and I’m not sure whether both are same or different but the temple is very ancient)
Between Nellaiappar sannadhi and Ghandimathi amman sannadhi there is a small lane near saraswathi ambaal temple. If you go through that lane you will find Chekkadi saastha temple (Lord Ayyappan with poorana, pushkala). It is One of the ancient temple.
Located in Pettai Thirunelveli at around 3 kms East of Nellaiyappar temple, this Sastha temple has a great significance and antiquity same as that of Nellaiyappar temple. Once this temple was popular with all the three – Moorthy, Sthalam and Theertham but today just the temple complex alone remains.
Sastha gave dharshan to Sage Agasthiyar.
One of the biggest forms of Sastha in about 5.5 feet height.
As a unique feat, Sastha has His right leg raised and has the sendu in left hand. In a hurry to give dharshan to Sage Agasthiyar, it is said that He has interchanged His legs position. Agasthiyar is seen in front of Sastha.
Thirunelveli – Papanasam – Thenkasi
1) Sri Paripoorna Kirupaswarar Shiva Temple
2) Sri Govinda Mahalakshmi / Sri Lakshmi Narayana Temple
The temple is recently renovated and the people claim to have seen the Goddess walking through agragaram in the early morning, as if a bright light is passing through
Sri Shenbagavalli Ambal Sametha Sri Pranaveshwarar Temple at Mala Omanallur
An ancient and powerful temple
Sri Karaiyadi Madasamy and Veeriya Perumal Sastha Temple at Piranchery
1) Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple
2) Shiva Temple
This is located at around 15 kms South-West of Thirunelveli
3) Sri Venugopala Swamy Temple
4) Sri Viswanathar Temple
Pathamadai is 4 kms from Mela Cheval ands world famous for its silken mats woven from korai grass.
1) Shiva Temple
2) Sri Kariya Manikka Perumal Temple
3) Sri Venkatachalapathy Temple
4) Perumal Temple
5) Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple
6) Swami Sivananda Ashram – Pathamadai is the birthplace of one of India’s greatest sages Swami Sivananda (1887-1963)
7) Shiva Temple
Kari Soozhntha mangalam
Located at 2 kms North of Pathamadai, the village has the following temples:
1) Sri Karichoozhnda Nangai Amman Temple
This is the temple of the presiding deity of the village
2) Sri Kanaga Sabapathy Shiva Temple
This is one of the Pancha Natarajar Sthalams. The sthapathy who created the Chidamabaram Natarajar idol created five idols including this. The others are: Kattarimangalam, Mela Karuvelankulam and Sepparai.
Contact: Sundaresan Gurukkal @ 99435 55866
3) Sri Kalahastheeswarar Temple
Considered as Then Kalahasthi, this was once the ashram of Sage Durvasar.
4) Sri Chakrathazhwar Temple
Moolavar: Chakrathazhwar; Urchavar: Venkatachalapathy
This ancient temple of Narasimha, established by the Namboodharis of Kerala has an unique idol of the deity holding ‘Sudarshana Chakra’ in all the four hands (no sangu). An inscription about a Nawab’s renovation work 800 years before is a testimony that this temple is atleast 800 years old.
On Garuda sevai days, the temple opens from 6 AM to 6 PM without any break and there are 65 permanent Garuda sevas in an year.
Contact: Venkatesan @ 75985 78254; R.Sundaram @ 94880 62925 / 75981 88716 / 75981 78716
Timing: 6 to 9 AM and 4 to 5 PM
5) Nadhikarai Maha Ganapathy temple
This Vinayagar does not have trunk!
Location: 20 kms South-West of Thirunelveli
1) NK2 – Nava Kailasam
Location: Near Cheranmahadevi railway bridge
Deities: Sri Ammai Nathar as Swayambu lingam with Oppila Nayagi amman (the one with no comparison) / Sri Aavudai Nayahi
- One of the Navakailasams
- Navagraha Chandra Sthalam
- Special temple for Kadaga Rasi
- The temple has 5 tier 63 feet high Rajagopuram
- There was no Navagraha shrine in this temple since the NavaKailasam represents the 9 Navagrahas. However a Navagraha shrine has been constructed recently.
Contact: Sri Chandrasekaran @ 04634 265111 / 94422 26511
Timing: 6 AM to 9 AM and 4 PM to 6:30 PM
2) Sri Bakthavatchala Perumal Temple
The temple is being maintained by ASI and is near the Nava Kailasa temple
4) Sri Aadhi Narayana Perumal Temple
Main Deitires: Sri Aadhi Narayana Perumal with Sridevi and Bhoodevi in standing posture.
Legend: Brugu Muni and Markandeya had darshan of Lord Siva and were blessed by Him.
The temple has two praharams and a 3 tier Raja Gopuram. Other deities seen in the temple are Sri Lakshmi Narashimar, Krishnar, Sri Ramar, Anjaneyar, Manavala Mamunigal, and twelve Azwars.
Vimanam: Ashtanga Vimanam.
Timings: 7.30 AM to 11 AM and 5.30 PM to 7 PM
Sri Balasubramanya Swamy Temple at Kozhundhu malai
The temple is on a hill to the South of Cheranmahadevi in the Panagudi road.
Location: Around 6 kms West of Cheranmahadevi
1) Sri Bhoominatha Swamy Temple
Main deities: Bhoominatha Swamy is a Swayambu moorthy with Amman Maragatha valli
- When Yama (Lord of death) was kicked off by Lord Shiva to save Markandeyar, Yama became a creeper plant here. The weight of the bhoomi (earth) was increasing as there were no deaths at all. Bhoomi devi, unable to bear the weight, prayed to Lord Shiva here who then gave life to Yama and asked to do his job as before. Thus the Lord became Bhoominathar.
- Agasthiyar, Dharmar, Nakushan, Vishnu, Brahmma, Sage Viruhar, Sage Visu, Sage Kanagar, Sage Bargavar and Ganga worshipped Lord Shiva here.
Temple: The temple has two praharams.
Sthala Vruksham: Punnai
Theertham: Gnana Theertham
Sri Narumboonatha Swamy Temple at Thiruppudaimarudhur
Location: 1 km North of Athalanallur
Main deities: Narmboonathar / Pudargeneswarar as swayambu lingam with Gomathi Ambal
- This is the kadai (last) marudhur temple of the three Marudha temples – Sri Sailam, Thiruvidai Marudhur and this one where the Marudha tree is present as the sthala vruksham.
- Both Ambal and Swami are Swayambu
- Indhran did penance under the Marudha tree and got the dharshan of Lord Shva and so this place was called Marudhur
- Suyambumanu (son of Lord Brahmma), Agasthiyar, Parvathi, Lakshmi, Saraswathy and Boomidevi worshipped Lord Shiva here
- This massive temple with excellent stone sculptures is located on the bank of Thamirabarani River in a beautiful location. The temple has all the four styles of temple architectures namely Pandiya, Chera, Chola and Vijayanagara which add beauty for this glorious Temple.
- The temple has 5 praharams and 6 times worship services take place daily.
- It is considered best to worship this Shiva on the day of Pushya star.
- Kanni Vinayagar, Subramanyar, Suryan, 63 Nayanmars, Agasthiyar, Saneeswarar, Saraswathy, Sahasralingam and Natarajar shrines are present
SthalaVruksham: Marudha tree
Theertham: Thamirabarani river
Timings: 5:30 AM to 11 AM and 4:30 PM to 8 PM
Contact: Sri Kannan Bhattar @ 98596 77070
Note: The temple as such, the bathing ghat and the surrounding locations are beautiful and popular film shooting spots. The temple nadavanam adjacent to the temple itself is a declared bird sanctuary, though tiny.
Location: Around 5.5 kms West of Veeravanallur
1) Sri Bhoomi Neela Devi Sametha Sri Gajendhra Varadhar / Aadhimoola Perumal Temple
Timing: 7 AM to 10:30 AM and 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Last Saturday of the month: 5:30 AM to 1:30 PM and 3:30 to 8 PM
On Purattasi Saturdays: 4 AM to midnight without any break
Contact: Raman / Rangan @ 04634 – 287295
Kallidaikurichi is on the Southern bank of the river Thamirabarani at about 12 kms West of Cheranmahadevi and 32 kms from Thirunelveli. ‘Kal (rock) + idai (midst) + kurichi (village)’ means, a village in the midst of hills and it is almost synonymous with delicious appalam (pappad)..
1) Shiva Temple
Main deity: Swayambu Lingam known as Sri Maannendhiappar with Vadivambikai Amman.
Sage Kanvar got the dharshan of Lord Shiva here.
The temple has two praharams and 6 worship services take place daily
Theertham: Kanva teertham and Thamirabarani.
2) Sri Aadhi Varaha Perumal Temple
Per legend, this ancient temple was built on the advise of Guberan, the Lord of wealth. Lord Aadhivaraha Perumal is seen in sitting posture with Thayaar. The upper tier of the temple’s vimanam also has a shrine of Perumal in reclining posture and it is opened only on the day of Vaikunta ekadesi.
3) Karanthayar palayam Kambangudi Sastha temple
Sastha preethi festival here is one of the most ancient and vibrant one to be witnessed by the Ayyappa devotees atleast once in lifetime.
4) Murugan Temple
The stone Nataraja vigraha is special one comparing to the metal ones normally found in most other temples. Though the temple is called ‘Murugal Koil’ the main deity here is Lord Ganesha, because we can find near the Kodimaram the vahana of Ganesha ‘Mouse’ and not that of Lord Muruga, which is Peacock. The elder brother gracefully given importance of the temple to his younger brother, whose sannidhi is found separately in the prahara.
Sri Sadai Udayar Sastha Temple at South Pappankulam
The temple of Sri Porsadayachi and Sri Sadaiyudaiyar Sastha is situated right in the middle of paddy fields. It is not a temple built according to the Agama sastras. There is no flag mast or prakarams. No utsavam is performed or festival celebrated but has a moving tale behind its origin. When a brahmin was taking his daughter home for delivery, she gave birth to a child here helped by Sastha Himself playing the role of a harijan midwife.
Ambasamudram, the second biggest town of Thirunelveli District lies 36 kms West of Thirunelveli and 4 kms West of Kallidaikurichi. As Mother of Kasinatha Swamy is all merciful like an ocean, the place is named as Amba (Mother) Samudram (ocean).
1) Sri Kasinatha Swamy Shiva temple
The temple is located on the Northern bank of the Thamirabarani river.
Main deities: Kasibeswarar / Eritthatkondaar as Swayambu lingam and Maragathavalli ammai.
- Sage Kasibar got the dharshan of Lord Shiva here and so He is called Kasibeswarar
- A king of Kerala fell ill which could not be cured by the best physicians of that day. A voice advised the king to make a doll of black dhil (Ellu), transfer the disease to the doll and donate it to a Brahmin. King followed the advice. A poor Karnataka Brahmin youth accepted the doll donation. The king also gifted to him valuable gems and diamonds. The doll became alive and told the youth that it would leave him if he parted with it half the benefit of the Gayathi mantra chanting he had done so far. The youth agreed and freed himself from the disease he acquired from the king through the doll.
The youth wanted to spend the material gifts he got for a public cause. He proceeded to Pothigai hills to seek the advice of Sage Agasthya. Before leaving, he left his valuables with the Archaka of the temple to get it back after his return. The Archaka gave the youth a dal bag when he returned saying it was the bag he was given originally. The youth took the case to the king. When asked to depose before the Lord, the priest unhesitatingly spoke lie in the temple. Angry Lord burnt the priest. The youth begged the Lord to restore the priest to life again and the merciful Lord responded to youth’s prayer. Based on this event, Lord Shiva is named Erithatkondar and Erichudayar. Erithal in Tamil means burning. The first puja is dedicated to Erithatkondar in the temple.
The youth spent the wealth he got from the king by digging a canal known as Kannadian (native of Karnataka) canal which passes through between Kallidaikurichi and Ambasamudram. Even after burning the priest for his fraud, Lord did not become normal in temperament and continued to be furious. Mother Parvathi requested Lord Vishnu to cool Him down and restore Him to mercy as before. Perumal brought Shiva to normalcy. Perumal graces in the temple from a shrine opposite Shiva shrine.
- Agasthiar worshipped Shiva here
- In the Saivapuranam, the 9 chapters from 23 to 31 explain the glory of this temple only.
- An Eagle, a brahmachari, 4 doves, a King called Vasumanan got salvation here
- The temple is located on the banks of Tamarabharani river with rocky filed convenient places for bathing.
- The temple measures 440×260 feet with two praharams
- Those seeking child boon offer bangles in the shrine and hang cradles.
- There are shrines for Anugnai Vinayaka, Kasi Viswanathar, Annamalayar, Arumuganayinar (Muruga), Lord Meenakshi Chokkar, Juradeva, 63 Nayanmars, Sani Bhagwan (Saturn) and Sastha with Pooranai and Pushkalai.
- Lord Nataraja in the temple is praised as Punugu Sabapathi
Theerthams: 7 theerthams named Devi, Shala, Deepa, Kasiba, Kirumikara, Gokila, Purushothama and it is believed that Thambirabarani is a confluence of all these seven Theerthas.
Lord visits the river on Thaipoosam, Thai new moon day and Chithirai first day. The wedding festival takes place on Uthiram star day in Aipasi-October-November. Lord comes in procession draped in Red on the 7th day of Panguni festival. On the 8th day Lord comes in white. Then He grants darshan to Sage Agasthya in Green. This is a very famous festival in the temple.
Sthala Vruksham: Amla (Gooseberry)
Timing: 6.AM to 10.30 AM and 5.30 PM to 7 PM
Contact: Main priest @ 93658 41179; Office: 4634 – 253 921 / 98423 31372
4) Sri Ammaiyappar Temple
Goddess is SugunthaKunthalambal; Arasaradi Vinayagar, Kanni Vinayagar and Sundara Vinayagar are present
8) Sri Thirumoolanatha Swamy Temple
Main deitiy Thirumoolanathar is Swayambu lingam with Ulagammai. Agasthiar worshipped Lord Shiva here. The temple is called Thiruchalaithurai in the scripts.
9) Sri Thirukoshtiyappar Temple, a big temple
10) Hanumar temple on the bank of Thamirabarani river is located close to the Kasinathar Temple
11) Sri Sankaralingaswami temple at Kottarakulam / Chinna Sankaran koil
Kottarakulam is around 3 kms South-West of Ambasamudhram. The temple is for Raghu/ Kethu worship and considered highly sacred.
Contact: Sri Maragatha Subramanya Bhattar @ 04634-221821 / 93602 19237 / 94891 19594
Interesting places to see around:
1) The road leading to the Kasinatha Swamy temple is locally referred as Aathu Salai (River Road) because it is used to access River Tamirabarani as well. The road is very appealing with a canopy of tall trees and paddy field on both sides. It is a popular shooting spot for Kollywood and the number of Tamil movies that were shot here is countless – Mudhalvan, Gentleman, Pudhu nellu pudhu naathu – just to name a few..
2) The tall Ambasamudram Railway bridge to the West of Kasinatha Swamy temple is also an interesting place that is seen in many movies
3) The road bridge across Thamirabarani to the East of Kasinatha Swamy temple is another lovely place to be seen
Sri Kailasanathar Temple at Brahmmadesam
Brahmmadesam is about 3 kms North of AmbaSamudhram located on the southern bank of River Karunai.
This is a Thevara Vaipu Sthalam and the sixth Thirumurai of Thirunavukkarasar refers this temple as Ayneeswaram.
This is also the birth place of Sri Sarvagna Atmendra Saraswathi Swamigal, the second Acharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakodi Peetam.
The temple is an architectural marvel. Nandikeswara, Nataraja (Punuku Sabhapathi), Athma Vyakya Dhakshinamoorthy with chin mudra facing His own self in a rare self preaching posture and Jwarahara Deva are a few examples of the sculptural treasures of this temple. The Arudra Mandapam and Somawara Mandapam are examples of Architectural excellence. The magnificent Dharma Nandhi is skillfully carved in a single stone .
The temple and the village were gifted to the Brahmins by the Raja Raja Chola for the chanting of all the 4 vedas. It is easily one of the largest temples in that region. The reigning Lord is a Swayambu lingam called Kailasanathar and His consort is Brahmanayaki. Apart from this there are five Shiva lingas in the temple, including Badari Vaneswarar, Kasi Viswanathar, Arunachaleswarar and Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar, each having their own individual sanctum.
The original deity in this temple Badhari Vaneswara was worshipped by Romasa Maharishi, the grand son of Lord Brahma, and so the village was named Brahmadesam.
Everything about the temple is massive. The temple even has five wells within its compound. Towering pillars support the numerous halls in the temple, with each adorned with wonderful sculptures. There are ten gopuras in the temple and there is one specific point within the temple compound from where all the ten gopuras of the temple can be witnessed.
The huge wooden doors with intricate carvings at the main entrance and the wood sculptures inside the temple indicate the active participation of artisans from Kerala in the construction of this temple. Pradosha Sabhai with Pradosha Moorthy, Ashta Dik Balakas with their respective Vahanas, Siva Boothaganas and Apsaras women are very rare specimens of iconography. Chandikeswari goddess Saraswathi and Uchchishta Ganapathy are seen in the Prakaara of the goddess Brahannayaki’s shrine.
The Gangalanathar shrine is very special with the human form of Lord Shiva in a standing posture who goes out seeking alms. The entire deva loka come all out to watch this glorious form of the Lord. This sight is so vividly and beautifully captured by sculptures embedded on all the four walls of the room.
Contact: Rajkumar @ 94428 94094; B.N.Kulathu Bhattar @ 04634-254247
Timing: 7:30 to 9:30 AM and 5:30 to 7:30 PM
Sri Thiruvaleeswarar Temple at Thiruvaleeswararm (Kakkanalllur)
The temple is being maintained by ASI.
In the Ghatana Nadhi Mahatmiam it is mentioned that the Swayambu Lingams of Sivasailam, Thiruvaleeswaram and Brahmmadesam emerged at the same time and those who take bath in the River Ghatana and worship the above lingams get freed from the sins.
Sri Rajagopala Swamy Temple at Mannarkoil
Mannar koil is the adjacent village to Brahmmadesam on the Western side. The place is called Vedhanarayanpuram in ancient scripts
Moolavar Sridevi, Bhoodevi sametha Sri Vedha Narayana Swamy in sitting posture is made of Sudai with herbs. Perumal is seen in all the 3 postures – sitting, standing and reclining in various shrines.
Urchavar Sri Andal sametha Rajagopla Swamy along with Garudazhwar
This is the Mukthi sthalam of Sri Kulasekara Azhwar who was born in a King’s family but became an Azhwar. There is a separate shrine for him.
Timing: 7 to 10 AM and 5 to 7 PM
Contact: Sri Narasimha Gopalan @ 04634 2528
Note: There is also Somasundareswarar Temple closeby
Sivanthiappar Temple at Vikramasingapuram (Sivanthipuram)
A big temple and Goddess is Vazhi Adimai Konda Nayagi
Papanasam is located at 42 kms from Thirunelveli and 8 kms West of Ambasamudhram. It is the place where the Thamirabarani reaches the land level from the higher level. The place is also called Vikramasingapuram in memory of Vikramasinga Pandian.
1) NK1 – Papanasam
Main deities: Sri Papavinasar / Kailasanathar as Swayambu lingam facing East with Sri Ulagammai Ambal
- One of the Navakailsams
- Navagraha Surya Sthalam
- Special temple for Simha Rasi
- Thevara Vaipu Sthalam
- Reverred by Arunagirinathar’s Thiruppugazh
- The Rajagopuram is 80 feet high with a 7 tier Rajagopuram. There are two praharams.
- There are shrines for Natarajar, Agasthiyar, Karadevar, 63 Nayanmars, Kalyana Sundarar, Ulagammai, Mukkalalingar, Vinayagar, Arumugar, Saneeswaran, Navagrahas, Punuhu Sabapathy and Ayyanar.
- There are beautiful and intrinsic sculptures of many Rishis, Kali, Urthuva thandavam, Bitchadanar, Nirtha Ganapathy, Thiripura Samharam, Perumal, Ekapathamoorthy, Brahmma, Subramanyar, Devi in between Sangamalai.
- The prasadham here is a special and unique combination of rice.
Sthala Vruksham: Kala
Theertham: Kalayana theertham, Thamirabarani river
Worship benefits: For Eye and skin related problems
Timing: 6 AM to 1 PM and 4:30 PM to 8 PM
Note: Just at the backside of the Shiva temple the Thalai Anai (Thalai Dam) is located
Agasthiyar and Murugan Temple
Located at about 4 kms from Papanasam on the hilly terrain near Agasthiyar falls
This is a holy pool located at an elevation of 125 feet further up from the Agasthiyar falls and Agasthiyar falls gets its water flow from this pool only. There are some sacred places around this place and it is said that Siddhars come here in the form of light after midnight daily.
A lady saint, by name Krishnaveni Ammal, popularly known as “VanaDevathai” lived here. It is said that she had been staying in solitude since coming up to this spot following a siddhar when she was barely 13 years of age and never went back. She lived here for more than 60 years in solitude in a cave of a Tiger Sanctuary! She would say that she is the daughter of Siddhars and so was protected by Siddhars.
Incidentally she passed away recently on an auspicious Chitha Pournami day on 17th April 2011.
Tourist places around Papanasam / Kalakkad:
1) Agasthiyar falls
2) Bana theertham falls and Karayar Dam – This gorgeous outing spot is just 7 Km from Papanasam town. This is the place where “Chinna Chinna Aasai” song of “Roja” movie was shot.
3) Servalaru dam in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve
4) Manimutharu dam
5) Manjolai Estate
6) Kuthiraivetti View point
7) Zamin Singampatti palace
8) Tharivittan Parai and Vana Pechi Amman Temple on the way to Servalar Dam
Manjolai Estate Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/59865572@N00/sets/72157627351253129/with/6061382077/
Sri Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple at Kaaraiyar
This is not the temple of Ayyanar, the village God as it looks like from the name but that of Ayyan (Ayyappan), the Sastha. There are three main deities Lord Shiva as Mahalinga Swamy, Sastha and Bootha nathar along with a large numbe of sub-deities. Lord Shiva is the prime deity of the temple and the temple is being managed by Singampatty Zamin.
This is one of the five important temples of Sastha along with Sabarimala, Achankoil, Aryankavu and Kulathupuzha. Sastha, as Aiyappan in the palace of Pandala king as his adopted Son, came to this place first as a young lad to learn martial arts, hence this is the first temple dedicated to His worship. Based on events in His life subsequently, other Aiyappan temples at Kulathupuzha, Aryankavu and Achankoil came into being. Sabarimala temple is the last when the Lord stayed there for His penance.
Sastha is present here with all the 21 Parivara moorthis in individual shrines.
When Agasthiyar was penancing here, he got an unexpected bright light dharshan and it took some time for Agasthiyar to even realise what was happening. There Sastha gave dharshan with Poorna Pushkala and all His parivars. There was a Swarna abhishegam on Sastha by all the devars. So the Sastha was called “Pon Soriyum Muthaiyan” (the God who induced the Swarna rain). To support this, even today golden nuggets are being found in this region.
Bootha natha Swamy:
Bootha natha Swamy, being called as Sangili Boothathar by locals is another main deity of the temple and he is the head of the Sastha’s parivar. Once, when the bridge connecting the temple to the main land was broken, the temple became isolated and inacceible for people. Boothanar took control over the wife of a popular industrialist of Coimbatore and arranged to rebuild the bridge. Now, a beautiful bridge is in place.
There is a tree here called “Bell eating tree”. When bakthas hang bells over this tree as prayers, these bells disappear in course of time and it is believed that these bells are slowly engulfed by the tree!! To substantiate this, we can see some bells half outside and half inside the tree.
There is a separate shrine for Pattavarayan, one of the Parivara moorthies of Sastha, in a separate mandapam in the midst of rocks. People who have knee and other leg related problems hang a new chapel in front of the shrine. The new chappels become like old and used ones as days pass on and the disease of the person also reduce gradually.
Sastha Poosam Perumal Temple
The temple is situated at the confluence point of Kadana and Ramar rivers. On Panguni Uthiram day Puja is performed in grand scale fore 3 days.
Azhwarkurichi is around 9 kms North of Papanasam en route Tehnkasi.
2) Sri Azhwar Koil
3) Sri Avudaiamman Temple
4) Sri Venkateswara Temple
5) Agni Theertha karai koil (Thavapaleeswarar Jeeva Samadhi)
6) Sri Kakkum Perumal Sastha Temple
7) Sudalai Madaswamy Temple
8) Sri Sastha Temple
9) Sri Paramakalyani Ambal Sametha Sri Sivanthiappar Temple
Here the Brahmostavam for Sri Sivasilapathy Paramakalyani is conducted at the end of Panguni (ie from 1st week of April) every year. The 7th and 8th days are dedicated to Lord Nataraja and 11th day is Rathotsavam. 12th day is Chitrai vizhu morning Devi Paramakalyani will be lying on the lap of Lord Sivasailapathi. This is the unique Dharshan for us.
Sri Paramakalyani Temple at Sivasailam
Sivasailam is around 6 kms West of Azhwarkurichi.
The main deity is Sri Sivasailanathar as Swayambu lingam with Ambal Sri Paramakalyani. The lingam has jadamudi like formation at the back.
Sages Brihu and Athiri worshipped Lord Shiva here
The temple has 5 tier Rajagopuram facing West. The temple is famous for the beautiful Nandhi and there is a grand festival for him during the last Friday of Aadi month.
The place is surrounded by three mountains – Vellimalai, Western ghats, and Mullimalai.
Timing: 7 AM to 12:30 PM and 5 to 8 PM
Contact: Narambunatha Bhattar @ 04634 283128 / 94867 78640
Sti Athri Temple at Athri Hill
The temple is at a height of 1500 ft height in the Sivasaila hill. A highly sacred as well as a trekking place.
Kadayam is around 5.5 kms North-West of Azhwarkurichi
1) Sri Vilvaraneyeswarar Temple
Significance: Thevara Vaipu sthalam
Main deity Vilvaraneyswarar as swayambu lingam with Ambal Nithyakalyani
The temple has 7 stage Rajagopuram with 3 praharams
Sthala vruksham: Vilvam
Theertham: Chakra theertham
2) Ramar Temple
Sri Murugan Temple at Thoranamalai
Thoranamalai is around 8 kms North-West of Kadayam
This is a highly popular temple on a hilltop in a beautiful location. The temple’s speciality being that there are 60 natural water springs (sunai) around the Hill.
Note: Ramanadhi dam nearby is a beautiful location for outing
Thirunelveli – Mukkudal – Pottalpudur
The road is a parallel one to Thirunelveli – Papanasam road but on the opposite bank of Thamirabarani river
NK4 – Kunnathur (Sangani)
Location: 9 kms South-West of Thirunelveli and 100 meters from Keezha Thiruvenkatanathauram temple on the northern bank of Thamirabarani river at the Kunnathoor hillside.
- One of the Navakailasams
- Navagraha Raghu Sthalam
- Special temple for Viruchigam and Mesha Rasis
Main deities: Sri Kothai Parameswar / Kailasanathar with Sivakami Ambal
Contact: Sri Chandru @ 0462-2340955 / 94420 18567 / 94420 18077
Timing: 7 AM to 11 AM and 5 PM to 6:30 PM
Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple at Keezha Thiruvenkada natha puram (Sangani)
This ancient temple is located at about 800 meters East of Mela Thiruvenkata natha puram temple on the bank of the river Thamirabharani. Due to the abundant presence of Red Soil around the temple, this place got the name “Sengani”, where “Sen” meaning “Red” and “Kani” meaning “Land” in Tamil.
Since the Lord has all the positives in his “Dhana regai”, this sthala is called as Sukra Sthala.
- The Lord was installed here by Saint Brughu
- A king who ruled Nellai in the 14th century came to this temple to get blessings from the Lord, but the priest was unavailable due to illness. At that time the Lord, disguised Himself as the priest, performed the pooja, saving the priest from the King’s punishment. So the Lord is often called “Vaazha Veikum Perumal” (The one who saves).
- The temple was built by the king “Veerapandian” in the 12th century. To the northern side of this temple lies “Gubera vassal” through which devotees enter.
- Shri Varadaraja Perumal is present with four hands along with the consorts Sridevi thayar and Bhoomadevi Thayar. He has Chakra and Dhanaregai (money yielding line) in his right hands and Sangu and Gadayutham in his lefts hands. It is a belief that by getting the money blessed by keeping it in His Dhanaregai, one would never be in trouble due to lack of money,
- The Lord here is called “Thenn (South) Kanchi” in synonymous to Kanchipuram Varadharaja Perumal.
Poojas: Thenn kalai vaikanasa agamam
Sthala virusha: Bamboo tree
Monday to Friday: 7 AM to 11 AM and 5 PM to 7:30 PM
Saturday: 6 AM to 1PM and 5 PM to 8:30 PM
Sunday: 7AM to 12 noon and 5 PM to 8 PM
Sri Venkatachalapathy temple at Mela Thiruvenkada natha puram
Located at around 9 kms South-West of Thirunelveli on the northern bank of River Thamirabarani, atop the Swetha Varaha hill is the Venkatachalapathy temple in Mela ThiruVenkatanathapuram, an Abhimana Sthalam. The temple is also called Thirunankovil.
The temple is revered as “Then Thirupathi” and visiting this temple is considered equivalent to visiting Thirupathi. The temple resembles Thirupathi in many ways – Lord Srinivasa is on a hill of white stones like Thirupathi; Like Akasha Ganga falls in Thirupati, the River Thambiraparani falls here; Like Kalahasthi near Thirupathi, there is a Then Kalahasthi named Sangani Kailasanathar temple nearby. Srinivasa Gattam here has many sacred springs as Pushkarani with other such springs in Thirupathi.
- When Perumal took on a war to protect Mother Earth, He left His conch and discus with Garuda to protect the world which Garuda did till the return of the Lord. Hence, Garuda in this temple graces with conch and discus.
- Venkatappa Naicker, ruling this region then went on a pilgrimage to various sacred places seeking a child boon and finally came to this place. When he had a dip in Srinivasa Gattam, he had a voice that he would be blessed with a child if he fed 1000 children quenching their hunger. He followed the directions of the voice and was blessed with a male child. Immensely pleased, he built this temple, cured the land and made it fit for human habitation. He named the place as Thiruvengadanatha Puram after his name.
- 12 sage poets who eulogized Perumal in their hymns and celebrated as Azhwars wished to be at the feet of the Lord in this temple. The 12 steps leading to the sanctum sanctorum represent 12 Azhwars.
Belief is that Lord Venkatachalapathy will bless childless couples if they perform Pal payasa pooja on the Shravanam day.
This is a prarthana sthalam for a healthy life, prosperity, liberation from curse and a good marriage.
1) Sri Vanniswara Sastha Temple
2) Shiva Temple
3) Sri Azhagiya Mannar Perumal Temple
4) Sri Lalithambal Temple
Pazhavoor is 10 kms West of Thirunelveli.
1) Sri Poorna Pushkala sametha Thirmeni Azhagar (Sastha) Temple
A very ancient temple of Sastha where He is sitting in a wonderful style. When a British official wanted to demolish this temple to construct a dam, Sastha Himself arranged to shift the dam and not the temple.
The street leading to the Sastha temple must have been a very busy Agraharam but it looks pathetic now as a ghost agraharam!
Location: Around 3.5 kms from Pazhavoor 1km south of Kallur
1) NK3 – Nava Kailasam
- One of the Navakailsams
- Navagraha Sevvai Sthalam
- Special temple for Viruchigam and Mesha Rasis
Main deities: Sri Kailasanathar with Avudainayagi / Sivagami Ambal
Thirukkalyanam takes place for Nandhi daily
Contact: Sri G.Suresh @ 96597 28621 / 04534-261849
Timing: 6 AM to 12 PM and 4:30 PM to 7 PM
2) Sri Soundaryanayaki sametha Abhimuktheshwar Temple
The main deity Abhimuktheshwar faces West and Goddess Soundaryanayaki in the standing pasture facing South. The temple is located in a calm and serene atmosphere. The temple was patronised by Kodaganallur Sri Sundara Swamigal in the Appiah Dheekshidhar’s clan in the 18th century.
4) Sri Sringeri Sankara Mutt
This is the place from where the famous Sundara swamigal and Sivananda Saraswathi swamigal preached and practiced the religious activities and started the much wanted relegious path to the society.
5) A powerful Siddhi Vinayagar temple on the bank of the Thamirabarani river
Sri Muthumalai Amman Temple at Mukkoodal
The temple is located on the bank of Thamirabarani river
Sri Moondreeswarar Temple at Pappakudi
This is located at 7 kms from Azhwar kurichi
Sri Thirukkarutheeswarar Temple at Madavarvilagam
Main deity is Thirukkarutheeswarar as Swayambu lingam
Ramar worshipped Shiva here
The temple has two praharams and the poojas take place four times a day
Thirunelveli – Alangulam – Thenkasi
Ramar Hill Temple at Alangulam
Alangulam is around 32 kms North-West of Thirunelveli
Sri Gokula Navaneetha Krishnan Temple at Veera Keralamputhur
The village is in a beautiful environment on the confluence of two small tivers – Hanuma nadhi and Chittat with a Dam.
1) Sri Sokka Meenatchi Amman Temple
Deities: Sri Sokka Meenatchi Amman, Sri Bairavar, Sri Pechi Amman, Sri Mottai Ayyanar.
2) Sri Ayyanayanar Temple
Sri Aatheenamalagi Ayyanaar Sastha Temple at Edayarthavani
Keezhapavur is around 14 kms from Alangulam en route Thenkasi and around 9 kms before Thenkasi.
2) Shiva Temple
Sri Vennimalai Murugan Temple at Pavoorchatram
Beautiful temple located on a hillock overseeing this wonderful town
Thenkasi is 53 Km from Thirunelveli and 5 kms from Kutralam. The name of this place ThenKasi implies the town is ‘Kasi (Varanasi) of the south’ (Then means South).
1) Sri Kasi Viswanathar Temple
The temple is massive with a size of 554 feet x 318 feet. The 172 feet high temple tower was built by Parakirama Pandian in 1456. The temple tower got damaged in 1924 due to thunder and then was remodelled to a height of 163 feet by Sivanthi Adithan.
Allocate some time to sit and relax under the Rajagopuram to enjoy the blowing cool air and drizzling water droplets from the Kutralam water falls located at 5 kms away!
SundaraPandiapuram is around 10 kms East of Thenkasi.
This village is Cinema’s hotspot and the agraharam has come up in many movies. On either side of the Agraharam the Shiva temple and the Rajagopala Swamy Perumal Temple are present. Behind the Shiva temple is the massive 250 acre pond. The Thaipoosam festival in Rajagopala Swamy temple is popular and native people who migrated to foreign countries assemble.
Amar Seva Sangam at Ayikudi is a popular noble organisation working for the upliftment of the disabled ones by giving training and confidence to face their life. It’s worth visiting and you are sure to have tears rolling down while coming out.
Kutralam is around 5 kms South-West of Thenkasi
2) Sri Natarajar Temple at Kutralam
Chithrasaba – one of the five dance halls of Natarajar
Interesting places to see around:
Kutralam water falls – the highly popular water falls
Thenkasi – Shenkotta – Thenmalai (Punalur – Sabarimala)
Ilanji is around 3 kms West of Thenkasi en route Shenkotta and 3 kms North of Kutralam.
1) Sri Kumaran temple
- Arunagirinathar sang Thiruppugazh on this Murugan
- One of the popular Murugan temples located in Thirunelveli district.
The temple is located in the midst of green Paddy fields and coconut groves on the bank of Chithra River. This temple was renovated by Mara Varman Kulasekara Pandian in 1409 A.D. Lord Muruga blesses with His consorts Valli and Deivanai. The prime deity is called Varada Raja Kumarar.
Thanks to Mr.H.K.Krishnan (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Shencottah for the following information:
Shencottah, the border town between Kerala and Tamilnadu was formerly with Travancore Cochin State and now in Tamilnadu. This is the birth place of Veera Vanchinathan, Mathematics Genius S.S.Pillai, Old age great S.G.Kittappa and Veteran Tamil actor S.V.Subbiah. It has 7 agraharams. It is a clean and neat Municipal town with a very big park, near the bus stand,inaugurated by Sir.CP Ramaswami Iyer in 1945. Very near the agraharams on the Main Road and adjacent to the Post Office and Federal Bank branch you can visit the three Brahmin owned and One non brahmin owned restaurants;the morning break fast items of Rasa vadai and Thayir vadai are famous here.Like Kerala temples, in this place also men have to remove shirts for Dharshan in Sivan,Perumal and Navaneethakrishnaswami temples.
Temples near Agraharam:
- Dharmasamvardhini Ambal samedha Kulasekaranathaswami temple
- Sri Azhagiya Manavala Sundararaja Perumal koil
- Nithyakalyani ambal (ellai deivam) koil
- Sri avaneethakrishnaswami koil
- Chekkadi Pillayar koil
Places to see:
- The famous song Rendakka Rendakka in the Tamil film Anniyan directed by Sankar and Vikram was shot in Amman Sannathi Street (Sivankoil Street) here;also the latest malayalam film Madurai bus has some scenes shot in the same street.
- Kundar (Gundaru) dam, a beautiful place, is around 6 kms away on the road after Shencottah Taluk Office;
Sri Thirumalai Murugan temple at Panpozhi
Location: 13 kms North-West of Thenkasi; 9 kms North of Shenkotta
Significances: One of the very popular murugan temples of Thirunelveli district
A special temple for people born in Visaka star,
The Thirumalai Murugan Temple is located on a hill at a height of 400 m with 623 steps. Lord Muruga gave darshan to sage Agasthiar at Thirumalai. It is believed that Sage Agasthiar worships Lord Muruga even today. He formed a spring named Poonchunai to perform Abisheka and dug three pits on the spring in the name of Sun, Moon and Fire. The water never dries up in this spring.
Temple timings: 6 AM to 1 PM and 5 PM to 8:30 PM
Contact: 04633 – 237131 / 237343
Yoga Dakshinamoorthy Temple at Puliyarai (Guru Temple)
Beautiful temple surrounded by thick green forest slopes on one side and fields and pond on the other side. Excellent place with drizzles during south west monsoons.Temple is a Guru sthalam.
The main deity is a Swayambu lingam Sri Sadhasiva moorthy with Ambal Sivagami ammai. There are 27 steps to reach the sanctum and they represent the 27 stars. As a rare posture, Lord Yoga Dakshinamoorthy is present between Lord Shiva and Nandhi devar. Near the feet of Dakshinamoorthy there are 9 Avartha peetas in the form of squares on a square stone which represent the Navagrahas.
There is also a beautiful small Krishna Temple here.
Aryankavu Kottavasal Karuppa Swamy Temple
An important temple to worship just before Aryankavu Ayyappan Temple, on the way to Sabarimala, located in the Tamilnadu-Kerala border. (There is one more Kottavasal Karuppannaswamy temple on the way to Achankoil and don’t get confused with this).
Proceeding to have dharshan of Lord Dharma Sastha, without first seeking the permission of Lord Karuppannaswamy, would ultimately end up in lots of troubles. Stories like vehicles getting stranded on the road due to breakdown or road block etc., are in abundance because of total disregard to Lord Karuppannaswamy.
Aryankavu Ayyappan Temple
Location: The temple is located right on the Shenkottah – Punalur – Kollam highway in Kerala state just after the state border while going from Shenkottah, at 73 km from Kollam, 33 km from Punalur and 13 km from Shencottah. Aryankavu has a railway station right in front of the temple in the Shenkottah – Punalur route.
One of the five most important ancient kshetrams of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala among Achankoil, Kulathupuzha, Erumeli and Sabarimala. Aryankavu is, In fact, is believed to have existed even before Sabarimala.
The temple is located about 35 ft below the road level and has some fine structure and mural paintings.
The rituals and pujas followed at Aryankavu Sastha Temple is that of Tamil tradition.
Just like in Sabarimala, women from the age 10 to 50 are not allowed after the entrance gate, however a clear dharshan of the deity is possible from that position itself.
A clear and beautiful water stream flows at the flag-mast (back) side of the temple
Just like the legend of Sri Andal merging with Lord Rangamannar at Srivilliputhur, this temple is associated with a legend of a young lady called “Pushkala” belonging to the Sowrashtra family of Madurai merging with the Lord of Aryankavu. (This Pushkala devi is not the same as one of the two devis, Purna and Pushkala, the two consorts, of Lord Dharma Saastha).
Karuppanna Swamy welcomes the devotees with his consort Karuppayi.
The Sastha moorthy here was brought by the Pandya King of Madurai and not the Pandalam Maharaja like that of Sabarimala. Lord Ayyappa is depicted as a teenager here. The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has idols of Pushkala Devi, Shiva and Sastha. A young Ayyappa is seen seated on the elephant vahana peedam in the middle with Devi standing on his left side and Shiva on the right side.
The two main festivals of this temple, Pandiyanmudippu and Thrikalyanam festivals, celebrated during the Mandala Kalam (November – December) draws thousands of pilgrims.During the marriage festival, the family of the Travancore Maharaja would represent the bridegroom side and Sowrashtra people would represent the bride side. The marriage rituals would be conducted according to the customs of Sowrashtra community.
Even now Sowrashtrans visit the temple in groups during the time of ‘Mandalapooja’.
Temple timing: 5 AM to 12 PM and 5 PM to 8 PM
Location: About 5 kms from Aryankavu temple. While going from Shengottah, after about 1 km from the Aryankavu temple, there is a diversion for Palaruvi for about 4 kms.
Falling from a height of 300 feet, Palaruvi water falls is a beautiful natural falls and popular picnic spot.
Places to trek nearby:
Raja thottam – 275 acres of clove plantations surrounded by towering hillocks and woods – Travelogue
Darppakkulam – A serene natural water hole deep into the woods – Travelogue.
Aryankavu Railway Bridge – Pathimoonnu Kannara Palam
The railway bridge is located just after Kazhuthayurutty at around 9 kms after Aryankavu temple and 3 kms before Thenmala while going from Shengottah.
Sandwiched by the Kollam – Senkottai National Highway on one side and the River Kazhuthurutti on the other, the bridge offers a visual fete at a length of 102.72 meters and 5.18 metres height. The bridge was built on 13 arches and so is called “Pathimoonnu Kannara palam” (Pathimoonnu means 13 in Tamil / Malayalam).
Thenmala Eco Tourism around Parappar Dam
Thenmala Parappar Dam, the main dam of Thenmala is built across Kallada river which is nourished with its main three river tributaries, Shentharuni, Kulathupuzha and Kalthuruthi puzha.
Thenmala eco Tourism is said to be India’s first planned eco tourism project and selected by World Tourism organisation as one of the World’s best Eco-tourism projects. Thenmala is famous for being the shooting location in many Malayalam and Tamil movies.
Tourist Attractions in Thenmala Dam area:
The attractions in this area are the Elevated Walkway, The Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, River Crossing, Nature Trails, Resting Spots, Lotus Pond, etc.
Elevated walkway, mediating and exploring the drastic height level changes flies through the canopy of large trees, providing an aerial view of various features here.
Butterfly Safari – A garden of host plants for the butterfly has been created enabling the large number of butterfly species of the region to thrive.
Deer Rehabilitation Center
This zone has a forest garden with a pathway through the river side to the sculpture garden
Sway suspension rope bridge
Musical Dancing Fountain
Ottakkal Weir dam
The weir dam is situated at a place called Ottakkal at about 5 kms after Thenmala while coming from Sengottah.
The weir dam is built 5 km downstream the main Thenmala Parappar dam and two canal systems branches off from the two sides of the weir dam.
There is a lookout tower by the road side from where we can have a beautiful view of the weir dam and its surroundings.
Ottakkal mount and Pandavanpara Shree Shivaparvathi Temple at Urukunnu Kurisumala
Location: The popular picnic spot, Ottakkal (one rock), is a huge single rock covering an area of 36 acres situated at a place called Urukunnu at 1 km after Ottakkal Weir dam and 6 kms after Thenmala while going from Shengottah.
The top of the rock is 2000 ft above the sea level. Along the trek, from various vantage points one can have splendid views of different sections of Thenmala like the adjoining hills, forests, the Kallada Dam with the river canal and the lake behind it, the railway line that passes by the mountain bases and over arched stone bridges.
On top, the Pandavanpara Shree Shivaparvathi temple is located which is so ancient that it dates back to the Mahabharatha period. As the name suggests, the temple is believed to have been visited by Pandavas during their 12 years of exile (Vanavas) period and there are a few caves which are believed to have been used by them.
There is a holy spring to quench thirst of the pilgrims at the top of the mount which is believed to have healing powers.
The Sivarathri festival is celebrated in a grand scale every year.
Kulathupuzha Ayyappan Temple
Location: Thenmala, is about 12 kms from Aryankavu temple on the Shenkottah – Punalur – Kollam highway and the temple is about 12 kms deviation from Thenmala. The nearest railway station is Thenmala in the Shengottah – Punalur train route
Once during the regime of Kottaarakaara Maharaja, who ruled over this area, a Brahmin was returning after a pilgrimage through this area along with a cook, who belonged to a kurup family. They stayed there overnight and while arranging the stones for burning of wood for cooking purposes, the cook kurup noticed that one stone appeared to be somewhat taller than the rest of the stones. So he selected somewhat taller stones and rearranged them to form the hearth. Try as much as he can, it always resulted in one particular stone appearing to be somewhat taller than the rest. Vexed with this situation out of sheer frustration the cook Kurup hit hard on that stone with another stone. That particular stone now broke into 8 pieces and immediately blood too started to ooze out of that stone. Frightened at the sight of blood, the cook ran and brought his Brahmin master to that site.
The Brahmin realized the divine presence of Lord Saastha being there, tied together the broken pieces of the stone with the dharbhai grass and performed pooja to it. The kottarakkara king who came to know about this incidence visited this place and constructed a temple too for the Lord. Since the cook hit on the head of the original idol of the Lord, he is called by the name Thalai Adichchaan Kurup (The head hitter Kurup!). He had been given a permanent place in the temple as it was he who helped locating the place of the original temple.
Even today, Abishekam, Puja etc are all done only to the stone chips tied together with a silver band. For purpose of decoration etc one tall panchaloha metallic statue of the Lord Sastha has been erected recently.
Lord here is called ‘Veera Manikandan’ (warrior form) and stands majestically holding bow and arrow in his hands.
In the outer praharam, there are shrines of Lord Ganesh and Sarpakkavu (serpent Gods place). Doing worship of the serpent Gods here with Noorum Palum is considered a very powerful remedy for pacifying the serpent gods and overcome the ill effects of any curse or anger of the serpents for any injustice done to them by our forefathers or us. For not begetting a child, especially male child, due to Naga dosham this type of worship is a big boon.
By the side of the office room a new idol of mambhazhat- thurai Bhagawathy Devi had been erected in the open yard.
The shrine of YakshiKavu is also present in the outer praharam. Though She is ferocious, if one approaches her with bakthi one could see a beauty and look of benevolence even in that ferocious form.
River Kulaththupuzhai flows in front of the temple. All the fishes living therein are considered devadas (divine bodies). They are dwelling here to receive the blessings of the Lord Saastha and so feeding these fishes is considered as sacred and a very special act. Rice puffs and peanuts are sold in the nearby shops which can be fed to the fishes from the top of the bridge.
Once a British official who visited this temple caught a fish and killed ignoring the protests of people only to loose his eyesight. Realizing his mistake he prayed to the Lord of Kulaththupuzhai who restored his eyesight. As a thanksgiving measure he presented a golden fish to the Lord.
The Vishu Mahotsavam in April/May is the most important festival.
Contact: 94470 93644
Temple Timings: 5 AM to 12 noon and 5 PM to 8 PM
Panpozhi – Achankoil
Achankoil Kottavasal Karuppasamy Temple
On the way to Achankoil, the temple is located about 300 meters before the border checkpost, The temple is below the road level and we have to descend about 30 steps to the temple shrine. (there is one more Kottavasal Karuppannaswamy temple on the way to Aryankavu).
Proceeding to have dharshan of Lord Dharma Sastha, without first seeking the permission of Lord Karuppannaswamy, would ultimately end up in lots of troubles. Stories like vehicles getting stranded on the road due to breakdown or road block etc., are in abundance because of total disregard to Lord Karuppannaswamy.
Kumbaruti Falls (Aruvappulam)
A wonderful not so crowded falls on the way to Achankoil
Achankoil Dharmasastha (Ayyappan) Temple
Around 26 kms diversion at Kazhuthayurutty junction from the Sabarimala main route
Achankovil Dharmasastha Temple, is one of the five important Lord Ayyappa temples of Kerala among Aryankavu, Kulathupuzha, Erumeli and Sabarimala.
The shrine of Karuppanna Swamy is outside the main temple and make sure that you visit his shrine and get his permission first before you enter the main Sastha temple.
The Lord here is known as Manikanta Muththaiyyan and appears as a Grahastha (married person) with his two consorts Purna & Pushkala. The Lord appears in seated posture, while His two consorts are in standing posture on either side.
The main Vahan for the Lord is Horse.
Lord Parasurama established almost all the Saastha temples in Kerala. However with the passage of time and due to various reasons like floods, fire, disfiguring of the idols due to ageing or some such reasons, the main idols consecrated by Lord Parasurama Himself, have been got replaced in almost all the other Kshetras including Sabarimalai (in 1952). It is said that only at Achchankoil we still have the original Moola Murthy established by Lord Parasurama with his own hands.
It was here in Achchankoil that Lord Saastha kept Yakshi under control by binding her with a golden chain and later blessed her to become a part and parcel of his own self. She is considered very powerful and heeds to the sincere prayers of the devotees. Successful stories of the devotees visiting there can be heard every now and then.
A golden sword connected with the legend of a person from Pavoor Chathram is special here. The weight of the sword is a mystery and weighs differently at different places during annual verification process. So it has been recorded as “Weight cannot be determined”. This holy sword is available for public view at the temple during the flower abhishekam for the Lord on the Revathi star day of the Tamil month of Thai.
Punalur Sri Subrahmanya Ayyar:
Affectionately called as Punalur Thatha and Tollgate Swami, he began his life in this forest area only and successfully bid in most of the “Coop” auctions of the forest. The forest road to the Achankovil temple in use today was built by him in his individual capacity and by his personal efforts.
This temple is very famous for the treatment of poisonous bites from snakes and other animals like spiders, scorpions etc. The left hand of the moorthy of Ayyappa here always holds ‘Chandan’ (sandalwood paste) and Thirtha (holy water). The Chandan and Thirtha are considered to have medicinal properties to cure poisonous bites and the devotees feel that they are just enough to cure The temple gates are opened at any time of the day or night for such people.
Sri (kottaram) Viswanathan, hailing from Coimbatore converted the ordinary flag mast into a golden one.
The most important festival here is celebrated from the first to tenth day of Malayalam month Dhanu (December – January). The festivals and rituals held here have strong Tamil roots
Contact: 94470 56858
Temple timing: 5 AM to 12 noon and 5 PM to 8 PM
Thenkasi – Sankarankoil
Sri Abayahastha Anjaneyar Temple at Kadayanallur Krishnapuram
There is a reference to this place in the Kishkinda Kandam of Valmiki’s Ramayana.This place used to be known as Kishkinda Puram and has become Krishnapuram over the years.
Sugriva sent his force in all directions on mission of locating the whereabouts of Sri Sita Devi.The team which went down South was headed by Sri Angatha ably assisted by Sri Jambavan and Sri Anjaneya. They could not find Sri Sita Ma and were very tired and feeling thirsty and hungry. They located a cave which had adequate food and it is believed that a Yagna had been done here. The cave has two entrances and one leads to the anjaneya temple.