Thirumalpadi is the small hillock town situated near Vandavasi in Tamil Nadu. The town comprises of ancient temples ascribed to Sri Vishnu Murthy and Bhagwan Sri Shiva.
Sri Ranganathar Temple
This temple is dedicated to Sri Ranganathar, the reclining manifestation of Bhagwan Sri Vishnu. This temple has references with respect to Puranic period.
As per the legend, Suka Brahma Maharishi, the Son of Vyasa Maharishi was doing penance at this place on Bhagwan Sri Vishnu for attaining Moksha / Salvation. The place was then known as Virajapuri.[Sri Vishnu had told him that he would get His darshan as Sri Ram Seetha Lakshmana during Ramavathar at the place named Nedumala. Suka Brahma did have the darshan of Sri Ram Seetha Lakshmana after the end of Lanka war. The place where Suka got such darshan is known as Sri Nedungunam Ramar Kovil.]
To commemorate the penance of Suka Brahma Maharishi at the hillock, the King Vikrama Chola, the son of King Paranthaka Chola is said to have built this temple during 1136 A.D. The descendants of Krishna Deva Raya have also contributed for the temple. There are stone inscriptions in the premises depicting the ancient history of this temple.
To reach the temple, we have to mount 108 steps. It is believed that these 108 steps denote 108 Divya Desams. The Rajagopuram is three tiered and it has seven Kalash.
Under the Rajagopuram, there are two granite structures for the devotees to sit after mounting the stairs.
On entering the temple, we can sight the vasantha mandapam on the west side. We have to reach the Maha Mandapam. There we see the Sanctum of Sri Anjaneya. He is facing east and is called as Sri Veera Anjaneya.
In the left side of the Maha Mandapam, we have the darshan of Sri Ranga Nayaki Thayar, the consort of Sri Ranganathar. The sanctum of Sri Narasimha Swamy is adjacent to that.
We now come to the main sanctum. Sri Ranganathar is seen reclining on the Adi Sesha who has five heads and of 15 feet length. Sri Devi Thayar is near the head of Sri Perumal. Sri Bhu Devi Thayar is near the feet of Sri Perumal.
Sri Perumal is in such a position that He actually appears to looking at the devotees. There is a measuring unit (marakkal) under His head. He has folded two fingers and showing three fingers as mudra.
After having darshan, we take the parikrama route for perambulation. Afterhaving darshan of Sri Garudalwar and Sri Andal, we can see the small entrance in the north side.
From the entrance, we can see the water spring which is called as Sri Narada Theertha. This is the Sthala Theertha of the temple.
The temple is tranquil and the surrounding scenery is picturesque.
Thoon Andavar Temple
Thoon Andavar temple is situated at Seeyamangalam which is just five minutes’ drive from Sri Ranganathar Temple.
As per the board displayed in the temple premises, references about this temple are said to be made in the Pallava Grandha Inscriptions by the Pallava King Mahendra Varma II. The temple has been referred as Avaniyajana Pallaveshwaram. The temple is in existence since 7th Century A.D.
There is also another reference whereby the temple is called as the ornamental box containing the good deeds of the world. (உலகின் நற்செயல்களைக் கொண்ட ஆபரணப் பெட்டி). The temple is also referred as Thennathur Naatu Seeya Mangalam.
The temple premises is said to be extended by Chola, Pandiya, Vijaya Nagara and Naickar Kings.
Thoon Andavar Temple is dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva and it is a very ancient temple. The temple is called as Kudaivarai temple as it is carved out of rock. The main Deity is called as Thoon Andavar which means Lord of the pillars.
The Shrine got its name as there are two pillars in front of the main sanctum. The Deity is also called as Sri Sthambeshwar. The Main Deity is facing west.
There are some special attributes connected with the temple. The first Shilpa of Sri Nataraja is made in this temple. The specialty is that the depiction of muyalakan at the foot of Sri Nataraja is absent.
Other unique aspects are the Shilpa of Sri Vrishi Bandhika and the presence of Dwara Palakas with Trishul (Trident) in their hands.
The temple is situated in the vast expanse. From the Rajagopuram, there is a path leading to the Maha Mandapam.
The main sanctum is in the Maha Mandapam. The Shrine of Sri Nandikeshwara is in front of the main sanctum. The sanctum for Sri Ganapthi is in the side of the Maha Mandapam before entering the main sanctum.
There are a few shrines for the Deities in the premises along with another mandapam which could not be accessed.
After coming out of Maha Mandapam, we can sight a small tiny hillock housing the temple for Bhagwan Sri Muruga. The temple appears like a round rock. Though there are steps, it is tough to negotiate the steps.
The temple is centuries old and in now under maintenance. The premises is calm and quiet. The place is ideal for meditation and peaceful prayer.
Thirumalpadi can be reached from Vandavasi. Taxis can be booked from Chennai. Accessibility through bus services could not be ascertained.