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Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

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The Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple or Thiruvellarai Temple is devoted to the Hindu god Vishnu and is located in Thiruvellarai, a village on the outskirts of Tiruchirappalli in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The temple, built in the Dravidian style, is mentioned in the Naalayira Divya Prabandham, 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, who is known as Pundarikakshan, and his spouse Lakshmi, who is known as Pankajavalli.

According to legends, the Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple was built 15 lakh years ago by Sibi Chakravarthy, King of Ayodhya during the Treta Yuga. This temple predates the Srirangam temple. The temple’s two rock-cut caves include three inscriptions, two from the reign of Nandivarman II (732-796 CE) and one from the reign of Dantivarman (796-847 CE). It also features Pallava sculptural representations of Narasimha and Varaha, two of Vishnu’s 10 avatars.

Story/Legend of the Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

Vellarai translates to “white rock.” Due to the presence of white rocks in the area, the area was previously known as Thiru Vellara. A white boar crossed Sibi Chakravarthi’s path while he was staying there with his warriors, according to Hindu folklore. He pursued it, and the hog fled into a hole. Markandeya, a guru, was doing penance there when the king told him about the tragedy.

Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

The sage requested that the monarch fill the hole with milk. While they were doing so, the Hindu god Vishnu came in front of them. The sage requested that the monarch summon 3700 Vaishnavas from the north and construct a temple for Vishnu in the place. As desired, the king gathered 3700 Vaishnavas and began construction on the temple.

Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

One of the Vaishnavas was slain in the process, and the king was concerned about the incident. Vishnu disguised himself as Pundarikakshan, a Vaishnava, and asked to be numbered among the 3700. Another tradition has it that when Lakshmi, Vishnu’s consort, underwent penance at the temple, Vishnu came before her as Sengamalakannan. The reigning god is now known as “Thamarai Kannan,” which means “the one with lotus-like eyes,” and his consort is known as “Pankajha-Valli.” 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 Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

The Pallavas are thought to have erected the Pundarikakshan Perumal temple, as evidenced by three inscriptions in its two rock-cut caves. Two of the inscriptions are from the reign of Nandivarman II (732-796 CE), while the other is from the reign of Dantivarman (796-847 CE). The Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple was most likely finished during Dantivarman’s reign. The influence of Alvars, the Vaishnava saints of the 7th and 9th centuries, aided in the growth of Vaishnavism among the general population and the governing Pallava kings, who became temple patrons.

Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

A Chola inscription shows King Parakesarivarman (907-955 CE) endowing the temples of Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) and his principal consort, Rukmini, inside the temple. Later additions to the temple were made by Chola, Pandya, Hoysala, and Vijayanagara kings. The temple was severely damaged during a flood and was reconstructed by a merchant between 1262 and 1263.

The architecture of Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

Pundarikakshan Perumal temple is located in Thiruvellarai, a village on the Thuraiyur road 27 kilometres (17 miles) from Tiruchirappalli. Pundarikakshan’s shrine is erected on a 50-foot (15-meter) artificial hill. The sanctum has two stepped entrances, Utharayana Vaasal and Dhakshanayana Vaasal, each open for six months. Utharayanya Vaasal is open from 15 January to 15 June, and Dhakshanaya Vaasal is open for the other six months. Pundarikakshan, the temple’s presiding deity, is known as “Maayavan” during Dakshinayanam and “Thai Maatha Naayagan” during Uttarayanam.

Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

The Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple’s two gates are thought to depict the never-ending cycle of entering and exiting life. Pundarikakshan, the presiding god, is depicted in a standing posture facing east. He is said to have appeared to Garuda, Sibi Chakravarthy, Bhoomadevi, the sage Markandeya, Brahma, and Shiva, whose images are enshrined within the sanctum. Shenbagavalli, Pundarikakshan’s consort (also known as “Peri Pirattiyaar Lakshmi Devi”), has her own shrine.

Shenbagavalli, Pankajavalli’s Utsavar (festival picture), is located within the same shrine. The temple contains Pallava sculptural portrayals of Narasimha and Varaha, two of Vishnu’s 10 avatars. In one panel, Narasimha is clutching a demon, while in the other, he is tearing the creature apart.

Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

The rectangular walls that surround the temple include all eight shrines and six of the temple’s seven water bodies. The temple features shrines for Alvars, Garuda, Ramanujar, and Uyyakondar in addition to the main shrines for Pundarikakshan and Pangayavalli. Divya Tirtham, Kanda Kshree Tirtham, Tirtham, Chakkara Tirtham, Pushkala Tirtham, Padma Tirtham, and Varaaha Manikarnika Tirtham are the seven water bodies. Vimalaakkruthi Vimaanam is the name of the vimana (building over the sanctum).

Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

On the temple’s pillars, there are several sculptural images of Krishna, the most renowned of which is of him dancing on a pot. He can be seen dancing in Swastika posture with his hair in buns, ornaments, and anklets. He is depicted defeating the demon Bhagasura in another artwork.

Facts about Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

  • The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by Periyalvar in eleven hymns and Thirumangai Alvar in thirteen hymns.
  •  The Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple is classified as a Divya Desam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the book
  • A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines and six of its seven bodies of water.
  • The temple’s gateway tower, the rajagopuram, is unfinished. Outside the temple complex is a swastika-shaped temple tank built in 800 CE by Kamban Araiyan during the reign of Dantivarman.
  • The Vijayanagar and Nayak emperors commissioned murals on the walls of the Pudarikakshan shrine, some of which are still visible today.
  • Pundarikakshan is said to have appeared to Garuda (Vishnu’s vahana), Sibi Chakravarthy, the teacher Markandeya, and the Hindu gods Bhoomadevi, Brahma, and Shiva.
  • The sculptures on the pillars of the temple reveal the earliest practice of Krishna worship in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is also one of the most revered and devout Vaishnava Divyadesams, as it is older than the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam, and one visit to this temple is regarded equivalent to visiting all 108 Vaishnava Divyadesams.
  • As per Hindu legend, the eighteen steps in the temple represent the eighteen chapters of the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita and the last four steps represent the four Vedas, the sacred Hindu religious texts.
  • According to Hindu legend Ramanuja (1017–1137), the leading expounder of Vishishtadvaita philosophy visited the temple.

Famous Festivals In Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

  • The Chariot Festival – The Chariot Festival is the temple’s and the surrounding community’s most important festival. It is commemorated during the Tamil month of Chittirai (March-April) when devotees drag the chariot through Tirvellarai’s streets.
  • Diwali – Diwali is one of the most admired and auspicious festivals in the town.
  • Chitra Poornima is also a significant occasion for celebration in the temple.

How To reach Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

Pundarikakshan Perumal temple is located in Thiruvellarai, a village 27 km (17 mi) from Tiruchirappalli

By Air: The Pundarikakshan Perumal temple is 25 kilometres from Trichy Airport. Local transport is available from the airport to the temple.

By Railway: Trichy town is well connected by rail with other parts of the country, while there is also a railway station at Uthamarkovil, about 10 kilometres away.

By Roadways: Buses, taxis, and autos provide sound road connectivity to the temple from Trichy and other places.

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Sunday 7 AM - 8 PM
Saturday 7 AM - 8 PM
Monday 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: ஸ்ரீ புண்டரீகாட்ச பெருமாள் (செந்தாமரைக் கண்ணன்) கோயில்,திருவெள்ளறை திவ்யதேசம், Thillampatti, Thiruvellarai, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +919092762000Call Now
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Open Now

Sunday 7 AM - 8 PM
Saturday 7 AM - 8 PM
Monday 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: ஸ்ரீ புண்டரீகாட்ச பெருமாள் (செந்தாமரைக் கண்ணன்) கோயில்,திருவெள்ளறை திவ்யதேசம், Thillampatti, Thiruvellarai, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +919092762000Call Now