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The Neelamegha Perumal Temple, also known as the Sowriraja Perumal Temple, is a Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu in Thirukannapuram, a village on the outskirts of Nagapattinam in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The temple, built in the Dravidian style, is mentioned in the Divya Prabandha, an early mediaeval Tamil canon of the Alvar saints from the 6th to the 9th centuries CE.

It is one of the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Vishnu as Neelamegha Perumal (also known as Neela Meghar) and his spouse Lakshmi as Thirukannapura Nayagi. According to Hindu folklore, the reigning deity is said to have come with a wig (called sowri locally) to save a devotee, giving rise to the name Sowriraja Perumal (also known as Sowriraja). The Padma Purana mentions this temple. During the churning of the ocean, Lakshmi emerged and was immediately drawn to the glorious presence of Vishnu.

Story/Legend of the Neelamegha Perumal temple

According to legends, Rangabhatta, an ardent devotee and temple priest, offered a garland to the presiding deity every day, which was offered by a courtesan. Before making an offering to the priest, the courtesan would wear the garland. When the ruling king discovered a hair in the garland, he inquired of the priest. The priest said that the hair belonged to the deity himself. The monarch suspected the priest of lying and intended to punish him. Vishnu himself emerged with a sowri (wig) while he was inspecting the deity. In the temple, Vishnu is known as Sowriraja Perumal because he appeared with Sowri.

Neelamegha Perumal temple

According to the Padma Purana, a monarch named Vasu (also known as Uparisravas) possessed the capacity to fly. He was slaying the demons who were causing problems for the people. He confused several sages for demons while flying above this area and attacked them. Vishnu entered the fray as a 16-year-old lad and defeated Vasu. It took some time for Vasu to comprehend that the visitor was Vishnu in disguise. He requested that Vishnu marry his daughter Padmini. Vishnu agreed to marry Padmini because he was moved by her devotion. This temple is considered one of the 108 Divya Desams.

What is Divya Desams– A Divya Desam or Vaishnava Divya Desam is one of the 108 Vishnu and Lakshmi temples recorded by the Alvars, the poet-saints of the Sri Vaishnava faith. 105 of the 108 temples are in India, one is in Nepal, and the final two are thought to be in space, in Tirupparkatal and Vaikuntham. They are distributed over the Indian states of Tamil Nadu (84), Kerala (11), Andhra Pradesh (2), Gujarat (1), Uttar Pradesh (4), and Uttarakhand (3). Muktinath, Saligramam is Nepal’s sole Divya Desam. The 12 Alvars respect the Divya Desams in the Naalayira Divya Prabandham, a collection of 4,000 Tamil hymns.

History of Neelamegha Perumal temple

The temple is surrounded by a granite wall, which protects all of its shrines and three of its seven bodies of water. A seven-tiered rajagopuram, the temple’s entryway tower, and a massive temple tank stand in front of the temple. The Cholas are thought to have built the temple, with later expansions from the Thanjavur Nayaks.

Neelamegha Perumal temple

The architecture of Neelamegha Perumal temple

The temple includes a seven-tiered rajagopuram that stands around 100 feet (30 metres) tall and a large temple complex that covers 1.5 acres (0.61 hectares). The complex is 316 feet (96 metres) long from east to west and 210 feet (64 metres) long from north to south. The second gateway tower, which is accessed from the main gateway, is 60 feet (18 metres) tall. The sanctum, which is reached via the gates and the Mahamandapa, houses the image of the presiding deity, Neela Meghar.

Neelamegha Perumal temple

On either side of Neela Meghar, Dandaka Maharishi, and Garuda is a picture of Sridevi and Bhudevi. The sanctum also houses the metal figure of the festival deity, Sowriraja Perumal, together with four consorts, Sridevi, Bhudevi, Padmini, and Andal. The hall preceding the sanctuary is known as Mahamandapa, and the northern section is known as Thirumanjana Mandapam, where sacred baths are conducted on the festive pictures during festivals. During festivals, the Palliarai is the sacred chamber where the festive pictures of Vishnu and his spouse are housed.

Neelamegha Perumal temple

Senai Mudaliar (the general of Vishnu’s troops), Nardhana Krishna, the twelve Alvars, Rama, Consort of the main deity, and Thaylapura Nayagi each have their own shrine. The temple has four temple tanks, the largest of which is Nityapushkarani, which measures 450 feet (140 metres) by 415 feet (126 metres) and is located opposite the temple. The temple’s other three tanks are Ksheerapati Pushkarani, Bhootavadan, and Muthakaram.

Neelamegha Perumal temple

According to history, the original structure spanned seven complexes and 13 kilometres to the ocean. The Chola emperor was opposed to Vaishnavism and sought to destroy the temple. A fervent devotee begged Vishnu to emerge and annihilate the tyrant. Vishnu was unaffected, so the devotee threw a discus at the image, scarring it. It is said that the scar may still be visible in the photograph today. The presiding deity hurled the Chola forces with a discus. The presiding deity is pictured throwing a discus.

Facts about Neelamegha Perumal temple

  • Neelamegha Perumal temple is located in the Thirukannapuram village in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.
  • The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by Periyalvar, Andal, Kulasekara Alvar, Nammalvar and Thirumangai Alvar.
  • The processional deity, Krishna, led to the derivation of the names of these places. Sage Kanva is believed to have worshipped the presiding deity.
  • The temple is classified as a Divya Desam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples mentioned in the book.
  • Thirukannapuram is one of the eight holy seats of salvation in Vaishanavism, along with Tirupathi, Srirangam, Srimushnam, Naguneri, Saligram, Pushkar, and Padarikashram.
  • The processional deity Sowriraja Perumal can also be worshipped along with his four consorts Sridevi, Bhudevi, Andal, and Padmini
  • People come to this temple to pray for early marriage, progeny blessing, disease cure, work possibilities, advancement in career or business, and relief from the negative impacts of the planets.
  • People with thick and beautiful hair are also thought to be blessed by the Lord.

Famous Festivals In Neelamegha Perumal temple

  • Brahmmotsavam is the major festival celebrated in the temple.
  • Diwali – Diwali is one of the most admired and auspicious festivals in the town.
  • Krishna Janmashtami is widely honoured in this temple.
  • Chitra Poornima is also a significant occasion for celebration in the temple.
  • Vaikuntha Ekadashi – Vaikuntha Ekadashi celebrated during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) is the major festival celebrated in the temple.
  • Akshaya Tritiya is another major festival celebrated in the temple when the festival deity is taken in procession in a Garuda mount around the temple.

How to reach Neelamegha Perumal temple

Neelamegha Perumal Temple is located in the Thirukannapuram village in the Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.

By Air: The Trichy International Airport is about 150 kilometres from the temple, and people can travel by road from there to the temple.

By Railway: The nearest railway station is Nagapattinam, about 28 kilometres from the temple.

By Roadways: Buses and private vehicles like taxis and autos provide good road connectivity to the temple from nearby towns.

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Monday 7 AM - 8 PM
Saturday 7 AM - 8 PM
Sunday 7 AM - 8 PM
Tuesday 7 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday 7 AM - 8 PM
Thursday 7 AM - 8 PM
Friday 7 AM - 8 PM
Address: Divya Desam Sri Sowriraja Perumal Temple Thirukannapuram ஸ்ரீ செளரிராஜப்பெருமாள் கோயில் திருக்கண்ணபுரம், Thirukkannapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
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Open Now

Monday 7 AM - 8 PM
Saturday 7 AM - 8 PM
Sunday 7 AM - 8 PM
Tuesday 7 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday 7 AM - 8 PM
Thursday 7 AM - 8 PM
Friday 7 AM - 8 PM
Address: Divya Desam Sri Sowriraja Perumal Temple Thirukannapuram ஸ்ரீ செளரிராஜப்பெருமாள் கோயில் திருக்கண்ணபுரம், Thirukkannapuram, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: 04366270557Call Now