Sri Thrivikrama Swamy Temple Thirukkovilur

Sri Thrivikrama Swamy Temple Thirukkovilur
Thirukkovilur Ulagalandha Perumal Temple

Sri Thrivikrama Swamy temple is situated at Thirukkovilur in Tamilnadu. The temple is ascribed to Sri Vamana Avathar, the fifth incarnation of Sri Maha Vishnu. This temple is one of the one hundred and eight Divya Desam temples. The temple is popularly known as Ulagalantha Perumal Kovil.

Sri Thrivikrama Swamy temple is considered as one of the Nadu Naadu Divya Desam temples. It is situated on the banks of river Thenpennai.

Pancha Krishnaranya Kshetra

This temple is one of the Pancha Krishnaranya Kshetra temples which are dedicated to Bhagwan Sri Krishna. The other four temples are Thirukkannan Kudi, Thirukkannapuram, Thirukkanna Mangai and Thirukkanna Kavithalam.

It is believed that Brahma Puran describes the glory of this temple as Sri Krishna Kshetram.

Divya Prabandham

Sri Thrivikrama Swamy temple is also prominent for the fact that the Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the Tamil Vedic composition on Bhagwan Sri Vishnu was originally recited here first. Hence this temple is also known as Divya Prabandha Avathara Sthalam.

Legend

There are a few legends pertaining to the emergence of this temple.

Padma Puran

It is believed that the glory of this temple is mentioned in Kshetra Kanda of Padma Puran as conversation between the Sages Kushi and Saunaka. Thirukkovilur is also called as Sri Krishna Kshetram. The Kshetram near Krisha Bhadra river is believed to be built by Viswakarma, the celestial architect.

Sri Maha Vishnu had incarnated as Sri Vamana to protect the Devas from the activities of Mahabali Chakravarthy. Soon after diminishing Mahabali, Sri Vishnu had ceased His Vamana Avatar. Not many had seen the gigantic Sri Vishnu who had demanded three feet of Land from Mahabali.

Sage Mrugandu had heard about the Visvaroopa Avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu. He too wanted to have the darshan of Bhagwan in that form. He did penance on Sri Brahma to know the process to have such darshan.

Sri Brahma was pleased with the Sage’s penance. He appeared before him and gauged his requirement. He told the Sage to go to Sri Krishna Kshetram and do penance. He also told him to be kind and benevolent to the people who seek help from him.

Sage Mrugandu and his wife Mitravathi came to Sri Krishna Kshetram. They had an ashram there and doing severe penance on Bhagwan Vishnu. One day, a poor brahmin and his wife came to the ashram asking for food. At that time, there was no food in the ashram. However, Mitravathi had prayed to Sri Mahalakshmi to provide them with food to feed the poor couple.

Due to the power of prayers, the food was made available. The Saintly couple had fed the poor couple. They were happy. Then, the poor brahmin took the Vishwaroop Vamana form of Sri Maha Vishnu. Then only Sage Mrugandu had realized that it was Sri Vishnu and Sri Lakshmi who had come to them as guests.

The Sage and his wife had the excellent darshan of Sri Vamana Murthy with His leg stretched up. It may be noted that Sage Mrugandu was the father of Sage Markandeya.

The place where Sage Mrugandu had the special darshan of Sri Vamana Murthy is the main sanctum of this temple.

Mudhal Azhwargal

Sri Poigai Azhwar, Sri Bhuthathu Azhwar and Sri Peyazhwar are the three Azhwars who were known as Mudhal Azhwargal. The three of them were born in Kanchipuram, Mamalla Puram and Mylapore respectively.

All the three of them were independently touring various Divya Desams around the country. Bhagwan Sri Vishnu had decided to unite the three. They independently reached Thirukkovilur on the same day.

Sage Mrugandu was having an ashram at Thirukkovilur. Due to God’s grace, it was raining quite heavily on that day.

Sri Poigai Azhwar had reached the ashram first. He had requested the Sage for a place to stay. The Sage had shown him a space and told him that the space is enough for one to sleep. Then came Sri Bhuthathu Azhwar. He also requested for a staying place. The Sage showed the same space and told both the Azhwars that the space is enough for two people to sit. Then came Sri Peyazhwar. He too asked for the place to stay. The Sage showed him the same space and told the three Azhwars that the three can comfortably stand there.

It was raining heavily and the place was quite dark. All the three Azhwars, each unaware of others’ identity, were seriously discussing the various attributes of Sri Maha Vishnu. Unknown to the three Azhwars, Sri Maha Vishnu was also present there and listening to them.

The trio were feeling the constraint in the standing place. They lit a lamp and were shocked and pleasantly surprised to see Sri Maha Vishnu Himself. Each of them was elated and they had instantly recited 100 pasurams each in praise of Sri Vishnu.

Sri Poigai Azhwar had recited the 100 slokams beginning with the following pasuram.

வையம் தகளியா வார்கடலே நெய்யாக
வெய்யக் கதிரோன் விளக்காக செய்ய
சுடராழியானடி சூட்டினேன் சொல்மாலை
இடராழி நீக்குகவே என்று.

I am humbly submitting a garland made of words to the Almighty whose spreads the light through the sun which is like the lamp lit on the land with ocean as the ghee and I sincerely pray to him to alleviate the troubles.

Sri Bhuthathu Azhwar had recited the 100 slokams beginning with the following pasuram.

அன்பே தகளியா ஆர்வமே நெய்யாக
இன்புருகு சிஇன்தையிடு திரியா நன்புருகி
ஞானச்சுடர் விளக்கேற்றினேன் நாரணர்க்கு
ஞானத்தமிழ் புரிந்த நான்

I humbly submit the lamp made of my love with my aspiration as the ghee and light it with my knowledge and wisdom which are granted by the great Bhagwan.

Sri Peyazhwar had recited the 100 slokams beginning with the following pasuram.

திருக்கண்டேன் பொன்மேனி கண்டேன் திகழும்
அருக்கன் அணிநிறமும் கண்டேன் செருக்கிளரும்
பொன்னாழி கண்டேன் புரிசங்கம் கைக்கண்டேன்
என்னாழி வண்ணன்பாள் இன்று

I am blessed to see the holy form of the Bhagwan which is glistening, has ornaments, shank and other implements.

Apart from the above three Alwars, Sri Thirumangai Alwar also had written holy hymns on the presiding Deity.

Sri Durga

It is believed that Maa Sri Durga had arrived to this place from Vindhya Mountains as the protector. She is hailed as “Karpudaiya Madakkani” which means “Virtuous Guard”. Acharyas hail Her as “Thambi Vilakkari”.

Beliefs

It is believed that Bhagwan Sri Parashu Ram and Sage Agasthya had done penance here. As per the legend, Arjun, one of the Pandava Kings had visited this temple and worshipped the Bhagwan.

History

The temple is said to be atleast 2000 years old. As per the stone inscriptions, the temple was patronized by Pallava Kings and Vijaya Nagara Kings.

Structure

The temple had three main towers. There are several Sannidhis and Mandapams inside the temple premises.

Opposite the entrance of the temple, there is a forty feet pillar named as Garuda Sthambam. It is believed that Sri Garuda worships Sri Thrivikrama Swamy from there.

The entrance is from the eastern side. Near the Rajagopuram, Sri Anjaneya Swamy has a Sannidhi. He is facing the main sanctum.

After worshipping Sri Hanuman, inside the Rajagopuram entrance, there is a Sannidhi for Sri Muniappan. It is believed that He is the guarding Deity. The devotees prepare Pongal in front of this Sannidhi.

Sri Venugopalan

On entering the main sanctum, on the right side lies the Sannidhi of Sri Venu Gopalan. As per the legend, only this Murthy was the Bhagwan at this temple. Sri Krishna is made of Salagrama and He has His consorts Sri Sathya Bhama and Sri Rukmini. Abhishekam is done to Sri Murthy on Rohini Star days.

Sri Madappali Nachiar

This is situated to the left of main sanctum. Sri Mahalakshmi appears as Madappali Nachair in this shrine. It is believed that She oversees the preparation of Neivedyam at the holy kitchen of the temple.

Azhwars sanctum

This is on the way to Sri Thayar Sannidhi. The Vigrahas of Sri Nammazhwar, Sri Thirumangai Azhwar, Sri Kumudavalli Nachiar, Sri Thondaradi Podi Azhwar, Sri Kulasekara Azhwar, Sri Thiruppaanazhwar, Sri Periyazhwar, Sri Madura Kavi Azhwar and Sri Thirumazhisai Azhwar are consecrated here.

Pavithra Urchava Mandapam is in front of this Sannidhi.

Kutti Hanumar

This sanctum is enroute Sri Thayar Sannidhi. As the tiny sanctum is fixed on a pillar, it is called as Kutti Hanumar Sannidhi.

Sri Thayar Sannidhi

Sri Thayar Sannidhi consists of the sanctum, artha mandapam, maha mandapam, shobana mandapam and thiru kalyana mandapam. The moolavar is hailed as Sri Poongoval Nachiar. Urchava Murthy is called as Sri Pushpavalli Thayar.

Muthal Azhwars and Sri Thirumangai Azhwar had sung hymns in praise of the Deity.

Sri Sudharshan Sannidhi

This Sannidhi is to the right side of Sri Thayar Sannidhi. Sri Chakkarath Azhwar is in standing posture and He has sixteen hands. He stands in the midst of Yoga yanthras. He has glowing fire on three sides.

At the backside, Sri Yoga Narasimhar is sitting on lotus. He has four hands and has chakra in each of them.

It is considered auspicious to conduct special puja at this sannidhi on Saturdays. Reciting Sudharshana Sathakam is considered auspicious.

Sri Nandavana Anjaneyar

This sanctum is situated at the flower garden to the right of Sri Thayar Sannidhi. Here Sri Anjaneya faces the sanctum of Sri Thayar worshipping Her.

Sri Ram

The sanctum is in the north-west corner of the temple. The Deity is hailed as Sri Kattu Ramar. Moolavar is magnificent with Sri Seetha, Sri Lakshman and Sri Hanuman. Urchava murthy is also depicted similarly.

Sri Varada Rajar

This sanctum is in front of Sri Ram Sannidhi. Here Sri Vishnu is tall, holds Shank and Chakra and faces east. The Deity is also called as Sri Srinivasa.  The sanctum has a separate Thiruma Mani Mandapam.

The mandapam opposite to this sanctum is called Ekadashi mandapam.

Sri Pillai Lokachariar

This sanctum lies in the left side on the way to main sanctum. Sri Pillai Lokachariar is the saint born in Srirangam. He has composed Thani Pranavam and Vasana Bushanam. Vasana Bhushanam is the hymn containing the details of eighteen Vaishanvite rituals. The composition is also called as Ashta Dasha rahasyam.

Sri Lakshmi Narayana

This is in the second precinct of main sanctum. Here Sri Swamy faces east in sitting position. Sri Lakshmi is sitting on His lap. He hugs Sri Lakshmi with one hand and shows abhaya hastha with the other hand.

Sri Veera Anjaneya

This is to the left of Sri Lakshmi Narayana sanctum. Sri Anjaneya is huge. He has risen His right hand in blessing and has the left hand on His hips.

It is considered auspicious to do special Puja to this Sri Anjaneya on Thursdays.

Sri Lakshmi Varaha

This is to the right of Sri Veera Anjaneya sanctum. Sri Varaha Swamy holds Sri Lakshmi on His lap and is facing north.

Sri Lakshmi Narasimha

This is to the south of Sri Varaha sanctum. Apart from being in the form of Sri Narasimha, Sri Vishnu also appears in the form of Sri Matsya and Sri Kurma. There are also small idols of Sri Ram, Sri Seetha and Sri Lakshman in this sanctum.

Sri Andal

This is to the left of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Sanctum. This sanctum is separate with a small mandapam. Special prayers are done to Sri Andal during Margazhi month. Sri Andal is taken in procession on Kanu day after Pongal.

Sri Ramanujar

This is to the right side of Sri Andal Sanctum. Sri Ramanujar is also called as Sri Udaivayar, Sri Ethi Rajar, Sri Ilaya Alwar and Sri Emperumanar. idols of Sri Kurathalwar and Sri Thirukkachi Nambi are also here.  For the Raapathu festival during Vaikunta Ekadashi, Sri Perumal Urchavar comes to this Sanctum prior to visiting Vaikunta Ekadashi Mandapam.

Sri Senai Mudhaligal

Sri Senai Mudhaligal is the army head of Sri Perumal warriors. His Sanctum is to the opposite of Sri Ramanujar.

Sri Manavala Maamunigal

There is a separate sanctum for Sri Manavala Maamunigal. During Moola Star of Ashwin month, ten day festival is observed in his honor. He is the author of Thathvathrayam, Sri Vachana Bhushanam, Acharya Hrudhayam, Gnana Saaram, Prameya Saaram, Periyalwar Thirumozhi and Sri Ramanujar Nootranthaathi.

Sri Vishnu Durga

The sanctum for Sri Vishnu Durga is right inside the Artha Mandapam in which the main sanctum is situated. It is believed that this Sri Durga had come from the Vindhya mountains to provide protection to Sri Vishnu.

During Rahu Kaal of Tuesdays and Fridays, Sri Durga is offered special pujas. This temple is the only Divya Desam with a separate sanctum for Sri Vishnu Durga.

Sri Vamana

The sanctum for Sri Vamana is right inside the main sanctum of Sri Trivikrama Swamy. He appears with an umbrella. Special Pujas are done on the Thiruvonam Star-day of Avani month.

Main Sanctum

Sri Trivikrama Swamy faces east under the Sreekara Viman structure. The sanctum is approximately of 160 square feet area. The entrance  has Ananthan and Vasuki.

Sri Perumal is 21 feet tall. He wears the garland made of one hundred and eight Salagrama. He also adorns Sahasranama Haram, Thiruppavai Haram, Thirvanthathi Haram (three) and Dashavathara odyanam (waist ornament).

Ulagalandha Perumal Temple
Sri Trivikrama Swamy depiction in Sthala Puranam book

As He had measured the worlds, He is hailed as Sri Ulagalandha Perumal. He is also called as Ayanar and Idaikazhi Ayan.

He has lifted His right leg and is standing on the left leg. The lifted right foot is worshipped by Sri Brahma. His left foot is worshipped by Sri Lakshmi, Sri Prahlada, Sri Maha Bali and his son.

He holds Shank in His right hand. He is in the posture of bestowing wisdom and knowledge. He holds Sri Chakra in His left hand.

Urchava Murthy is called as Sri Dehaleesa Perumal. He is with His consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. Abhishekams are done only to this Murthy.

Sri Perumal is surrounded by Sukracharya, Mrugandu Maharishi and his wife, Poigai Azhwar, Peyazhwar, Boodhathu Azhwar and Sri Garudan.

Ulagalandha Perumal Temple
Garuda Sthambam

Theertham

The following are the theerthams (water bodies) belonging to the temple.

Chakra Theertham
Shanka Theertham
Runa mochana Theertham
Kartha Theertham
Akasha Ganga Theertham
Varaha Theertham
Agasthya Theertham
Kalava Theertham
Mrugandu Theertham
Krishna Badhra Nadhi Theertham
Pushkarini for Thepthsav.

Gopurams

There are three big towers and four small towers for this temple. They were built during the rules of Pandiya, Pallava and Vijayanagara Kings.

Ulagalandha Perumal Temple
Rajagopuram

East Gopuram

This is to the eastern side of the main sanctum. The tower had eleven tiers with beautiful sculptures. The tower is approximately of 190 feet. This is said to be the port side entrance of this temple. This is called as Periya Gopuram.

North Gopuram

Called as Kattai Gopuram, it is five tiered. It is to the east of the main sanctum. It is said to be the entrance to the main sanctum earlier.

Raja Gopurams

Th eastern Raja Gopuram has seven tiers and is approximately 120 feet in height. The western Raja Gopuram has seven tiers and is approximately 140 feet in height.

Thirumangai Mannan Gopuram

This is at the entrance of the main sanctum. As it was built by Sri Thirumangai Azhwar, it has got its name as such.

Swarga Vasal Gopuram

This is in the northern side of the inner precinct of the main sanctum. It is approximately of 50 feet in height with three tiers. The gates are opened during Vaikunda Ekadashi.

Kili Gopuram

This is at the entrance of Sri Thayar Sannidhi. It has five tiers. As parrots have sung various holy hymns sitting in this tower, it is called as Kili Gopuram.

Sthala Vruksham

Pinna tree is the Sthala Vruksham. It is at the left side of Sri Venugopalan Sannidhi and is opposite to Ekadashi Mandapam.

It is believed that even the darshan of the gopuram of the main sanctum would alleviate all sins. Doing any kind of service such as annadhan, providing flowers for puja, cleaning the temple etc., would result in immense benefits to the donor.

How to reach

Thirukkovilur is in the route from Villupuram and Thiruvannamalai. Buses are available from any town in Tamilnadu. Even cabs can be booked.

Note: The content for the article is referred from the Sthala Puranam book sold at the temple.   

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