Monday, July 22, 2024

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Sri Andal Temple Srivilliputhur




Virudhunagar district, Tamil Nadu



One of the 108 Divya Desams

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The temple town of Srivilliputhur alias Thiruvilliputtur is located in Virudhunagar District around 74 kilometers from Madurai. The place is celebrated for its Thiruvilliputhur Andal Kovil or Srivilliputtur Vatapatrasayi Temple or Thiruvilliputhur Divya Desam.

Believed to be built by Nayak kings, Sri Andal Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams, the most important abodes of Lord Vishnu. It is about 2000 year old. The temple is the birth place of Periyazhvar and Andal the most important Alwars (saints) in the Vaishnavite tradition. There are shrines to Andal (where she was discovered in a garden) and Periyazhvar here.

The gopura in front of the temple is 60 m high, making it one of the tallest in Tamil Nadu. The tower is very attractive and it serves as the official emblem of Government of Tamil Nadu.

Between the two, there is a garden where Andal, accoding to legend was found as a baby by Perialvar, who then brought her up. The Andal Shrine, according to tradition, was built by Perialvar on his return from Srirangam, with images of herself, Lord Rangamannar and Garuda.

The temple is entered from the east, through a lesser gopura which stands at the end of a long colonnade. The shrine of the Lord is on an upper floor, access to which is by a flight of steps. Infront of the main shrine, there is an exquisite small mandapa. It has portraits of Tirumala Nayak of Madurai, his queens and his brother. The Nayak portrait is a splendid work of art. It is covered with copper sheets, embossed with gold.

There are typically huge baroque sculptures on the pillars of some of the mandapas here. There are ten in the Dhwajasthambha Mandapa and eight in the Ekadashi Mandapa. There are paintings in the outer mandapa.

The rath of this temple is one of the biggest in South India. A gigantic strucutre, carrying carvings from the scriptures, it is said to have been made in 1849 at the cost of a lakh rupees, a large sum in those days .