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Post No. 11,038

Date uploaded in London – –    21 JUNE 2022         

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After seeing beautiful sculptures of Tirukkurunkudi Temple on Facebook, I had been longing to go to Titukkurungudi. At last my dream was fulfilled on 5th of June,2022. We finished three temples on that day, the most famous temple of Tirunelveli- Nellaipaapar- Kanthimathi temple and Vishnu temples in Tirukkurunkudi and Nanguneri.

The god in T.K temple is called Azakiya Nambirayar .

Where is it?

About 40 kilometres from Tirunelveli is this little town. In addition to beautiful sculptures (see my pictures in the evening light), it has a long heritage. I will give them in bullet points:

1.One of the 108 Vaishnavite Holy shrines

2.Sanctified by the songs of Nammazvar, Periyalvar and Tirumangai Azvar. That takes the age of temple to seventh century or before.

3.The Vishnu deities dug out of this place are installed in nearby Nanguneri temple.

4.When the great Vaishnavite saint Ramanuja visited this shrine, the god himself came and received Pancha samskaram ( Initiation)

5. Nampaduvan, a disciple, met a Brahmin Ghost on his way to this temple. The Brahma Rakshasa (Brahmin sinners become ghosts) wanted to eat Nampaduvan. He told the ghost that he would become its prey only after worshipping the Vishnu in the temple. On his return he told the ghost to devour him, but it refused saying that it had enough for the day. Nampaduvan gave the ghost half of the Temple prasad/ fruit he ate, and the ghost returned to its original form as a Brahmin. That is, he was released from the curse.

6.Tirumangai Azvar reached the feet of God here.

7.A shrine for Shiva is inside the temple. Beautiful idols of Nataraja, Subrahmanya, Vinayaka, Sivakami and Somaskandar are in the temple

8.Though it is a small temple, it  maintains an elephant. I think the TVS company is helping the temple.

9.Varahapurana sings the glory of the temple

10.The word Kurunkudi in the name of the village signified the Vamana Avatara (a dwarf) of Lord Vishnu. The deity is also known by the names Nindra Nambi, Vaishnava nambi and Vaduga nambi (short)

11.Goddees is called Kurungudi Valli

12.Theertha/ Holy water is called Tiruppar Kadal.

13.Follows the Tenkalai tradition

14.In front of the temple is a Mandapa (stone Hall) with huge and beautiful sculptures of Rathi, Manmatha and others.

15. The temple’s granite walls have a lot of small sculptures. I am reminded of Thousand Pillar Hall of Madurai Meenakshi Temple. Probably the Mandapa in front of the temple was erected during Nayak Period.

16.The Dwajasthamba (Flag Post) of the temple doesn’t align with the main shrine. There is a story about it. When Nampaduvan came, the post was blocking the view of the main deity. When he prayed for a better view, the post moved away. It reminds one of Nandanar story where the stone Nandhi blocked his view and then moved at his request.



On our way back to Tirunelveli (Nellai), we went to Nanguneri Perumal/Vishnu temple.

At that time, temple was celebrating its annual festival. Though we could not see the Moolavar (main shrine), we had good dharsan of the of the Festival deity (Urchavar) in procession. The Jeeyar was leading the procession. There was a huge crowd waiting.

Some of the salient features of the temple

1.Vishnu in the temple is called Vaanamaamalai. Goddesses are Sri Devi, Bhu Devi and Sri Vara Mangai

2. Sung and sanctified by Nammalvar.

3.Out of the 108 holy shrines of Vishnu, eight are considered Svayambhu (not man made; sculptures came from nature)

4.Special feature of the temple is Oil Well. The oil used to anoint the deity is poured into a well and it is given as Prasad. It is believed that it ha medicinal properties.

5.The legend is that a king of Sindhu desa, who was cursed to become a dog was relieved of his curse after bathing in the lotus tank here.

6. It is about 25 Kilometres from Tirunelveli

7. It is famous for its sculptures on its pillars. Each pillar has got multiple sculptures.  Lord Rama hugging Hanuman, Purusha Mrga catching Bheema are few of them ( I did not have time to see them because the festival procession was happening outside the temple.)

My earlier Visit

I might have enjoyed it about 50 or 60 years ago. When I was a school boy , my parents took us to Nanguneri and other shrines. What I remember now is catching and holding big fruits hanging from the trees in TVS farm. Even when I went there in June 2022, I could see the big board displaying TVS Farm. They have best varieties of fruit trees. The place is called Ervadi (not the one in Ramnad district). We have even photos of those fruit trees taken 50 or 60 years ago.

The places I mentioned above are close to the forests of Western Ghats. Still, one could see the peace and serenity of nature.

Last but not the least, if one wants to enjoy the sculptures and nature, one should stay in the place for at least one or two days. My trip has always been a whirlwind tour. I covered 35 temples in 22 towns in addition to attending weddings and Shasti Apta Poorthi.

Who will miss wedding dinners?

In my Madurai there is a saying- Soththukkup pinnar thaan Sokkanathar (meaning God comes only after Food).


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