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Thirunarayur Nambi Temple – Nachiyar Kovil

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Thirunarayur Nambi Temple also known as Nachiyar Kovil is a well-known Perumal temple in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India. Lord Vishnu, as Narayur Nambi or Srinivasa Perumal, and his spouse Lakshmi, as Vanchulavalli Thaayaar or Neela Devi Nachiyar, are the presiding deities here. The main temple contains both deities. This temple was built in the Dravidian architectural style.

The sanctum also holds images of Brahma, Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, and a group of gods shown as guests at the wedding. The shrine houses the festive idols of Srinivasa, Sridevi, Vanjulavalli, and Bhudevi. All of the temple’s shrines are surrounded by a stone wall. The Thirunarayur Nambi Temple also has a five-tiered rajagopuram.

Story/Legend of the Thirunarayur Nambi Temple

According to Hindu folklore, the sage Medhavi was performing penance at this location. He discovered an image of Chakratalvar intertwined with Yoga Narasimha while bathing in the river. A divine voice instructed him to place and worship the image in his hermitage. The goddess Niladevi, an aspect of Lakshmi and a spouse of Vishnu, chose to grow in the hermitage and appeared to the sage in the guise of a tiny girl, pleading with him to look after her. Vishnu rode Garuda, the demigod-eagle, in search of Niladevi (Vanjulavalli). Garuda discovered Niladevi’s presence in the hermitage.

Thirunarayur Nambi Temple - Nachiyar Kovil

Vishnu appeared to Medhavi, pleased with the latter’s devotion, and requested that his daughter marry him. The sage joyously wedded Vanjulavalli to Vishnu and asked him to live in his home, which Vishnu agreed to. Another local legend says that when King Kochengat Cholan was vanquished, he was advised to seek the blessings of Vishnu, which he did. 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 Thirunarayur Nambi Temple

The Thirunarayur Nambi Temple, built in the Dravidian style, is mentioned in the Divya Prabandham, an early mediaeval Tamil canon of Alvar saints from the 6th to 9th centuries CE. It is one of the 108 Divya Desams devoted to Vishnu, known as Srinivasa Perumal, and his spouse Lakshmi, known as Nachiyar. The temple is where the god Vishnu is said to have given Thirumangai Alvar Pancha Samskara (religious initiation). Tenkalai worship is practised in the temple.

Thirunarayur Nambi Temple - Nachiyar Kovil

The Thirunarayur Nambi Temple is thought to have been built in the late third century CE by Kochengat Cholan, with additional contributions from Mediaeval Cholas and Vijayanagara kings. The temple is surrounded by a granite wall that encloses all of its shrines, and it boasts a five-tiered rajagopuram, the temple’s entryway tower. The Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu maintains and administers the temple.

Thirunarayur Nambi Temple - Nachiyar Kovil

The architecture of Thirunarayur Nambi Temple

King Kochengat Cholan is thought to have erected the temple. He is said to have erected 70 temples dedicated to Shiva, with Thirunaraiyur being the only Vishnu temple he built. On the eastern side of the temple, a 5-tiered rajagopuram rises to a height of 75 feet (23 metres). The entrance through the eastern gateway leads to Neenila Mutram, a hall of 16 pillars. Dvajasthamba (the flag pole) and Balipeeda (the place of sacrifice) occupy the centre of the hall, one behind the other.

Thirunarayur Nambi Temple - Nachiyar Kovil

A modest temple to Garuda is located on the front section of the flag pole. The flag pole, sacrificial site, and Garuda’s shrine are all located axially from the entry to the main sanctum. Thirumangai Alvar’s shrine is located on the northern side. The Goratha Mandapam, the temple’s centre hall, houses Ramanuja, Koorathalvar, and the idols of eleven Alvars, with the exception of Andal.

The garden on the temple’s southern side has the Magila tree, also known as the Sthala Vriksha (temple tree). Next to it is the Vasantha Mandapa, or spring hall, which hosts the Vasanthothsavam, or spring festival, during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May-June). During the Tamil month of Aavani (September-October), the temple also features a 100-pillared hall where the wedding festival is celebrated.

Thirunarayur Nambi Temple - Nachiyar Kovil

There is a shrine in the north with images of Rama, Lakshmana, and Sita, and another in the south with an image of Hanuman. Sage Medhavi is said to have installed and worshipped a shrine for Chakrathazhwar and Yoga Narasimha. The first precinct contains temples for Manavala Mamunigal and Vedanta Desika, as well as idols of the 108 Divya Desams’ utsava deities (festive images).

Thirunarayur Nambi Temple - Nachiyar Kovil

The raised construction of the temple is reached via a flight of 21 steps. The temple’s presiding deities are Vishnu as Narayur Nambi and his consort Niladevi as Vanchulavalli Thaayaar (also known as Neela Devi Nachiyar), both of whom are placed in the main sanctum. Unlike other Vishnu temples where Vishnu is emphasised, Nachiyar (Thayar) is prominent in this temple.

The sanctum also holds images of Brahma, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Sankarshana, and Purushothaman (Vishnu), as well as a group of gods represented at the wedding. The shrine houses the festive idols of Srinivasa (Vishnu), Sridevi (Lakshmi), Vanjulavalli (Niladevi), and Bhudevi.

Facts about Thirunarayur Nambi Temple

  • Nachiyar Kovil or Thirunarayur Nambi Temple is a historic temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Thirunaraiyur village of Kumbakonam, 9 kilometres from Kumbakonam Railway Station.
  • Kochengat Cholan is thought to have erected the temple. He is said to have erected 70 Shiva temples and one Vishnu temple at Thirunaraiyur. Mediaeval Cholas and Vijayanagar monarchs added later contributions to the shrine.
  • It is one of the 108 Vishnu-dedicated Divyadesam. The temple is where the Lord Vishnu is said to have given Thirumangai Azhwar Pancha Samskara (religious initiation).
  • The temple was constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple has a 5-tiered rajagopuram on the eastern side, rising up to a height of 75 feet.
  • According to the legend, sage Medhavi wanted Goddess to be born as his daughter and undertook penance on the banks of the Manimuthar River.
  • The Presiding deity of this temple is Lord Vishnu known as Naraiyur Nambi and Goddess Lakshmi as Nachiyar Thayar (Vanjulavalli Thayar).
  • The temple’s most conspicuous feature is Kal Garuda. According to local mythology, the sculptor who created the Garuda idol became angry since the bird flew away every time a fresh image was constructed.
  • According to another legend, Garuda was the one to trace Lakshmi to this place and led Vishnu here. As a mark of gratitude, Lord Vishnu blessed Garudan to receive equal status at this temple.

Famous Festivals In Thirunarayur Nambi Temple

  • Brahmmotsavam is the major festival celebrated in the temple.
  • The chariot festival is the most prominent festival of the temple, celebrated during the Tamil month of Chittirai.
  • 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.
  • Vaikuntha Ekadashi – Vaikuntha Ekadashi celebrated during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December–January) is the major festival celebrated in the temple.

How To reach Thirunarayur Nambi Temple

Nachiyar Kovil or Thirunaraiyur Nambi Temple is a famous Perumal temple located at Thirunarayur in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India.

By Air: Tiruchirappalli International Airport in Trichy is the nearest airport, located 107 km from the temple.

By Railway: The nearest railway station is Kumbakonam railway station, which is 10 km from the temple.

By Roadways: Taxis, autos, and buses are available from the Kumbakonam bus stand, which is only 10 kilometres away.

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Sunday 6 AM - 9 PM
Saturday 6 AM - 9 PM
Monday 6 AM - 9 PM
Tuesday 6 AM - 9 PM
Wednesday 6 AM - 9 PM
Thursday 6 AM - 9 PM
Friday 6 AM - 9 PM
Address: Divya Desam 14 Sri Thirunaraiyur Nambi Temple Natchiyar Kovil,Thirunaraiyur(a)Nachiyarkovil, Natchiarkoil, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +919443597388Call Now
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Open Now

Sunday 6 AM - 9 PM
Saturday 6 AM - 9 PM
Monday 6 AM - 9 PM
Tuesday 6 AM - 9 PM
Wednesday 6 AM - 9 PM
Thursday 6 AM - 9 PM
Friday 6 AM - 9 PM
Address: Divya Desam 14 Sri Thirunaraiyur Nambi Temple Natchiyar Kovil,Thirunaraiyur(a)Nachiyarkovil, Natchiarkoil, Tamil Nadu, India
Phone: +919443597388Call Now