108 Divya-deshams: Thirumanikoodam


BY: SUN STAFF - 30.4 2024

A tour of the 108 Divya-desams, the divine abodes of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi.

Thirumanikoodam, or Varadaraja Perumal Temple, is located in Thirunangur, a village on the outskirts of Sirkaḻi in Tamil Nadu. This Divya Desham is dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu as Varadharaja Perumal with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi.

Thirumanikoodam is one of the eleven Divya Desams of Thirunangur Tirupatis, and is closely associated with Thirumangai Alvar. It is also the only temple in the Nangur Divya Desams to have been revered by a poet-saint other than Thirumangai Alvar.

Temple legend describes this site as one of the eleven temples of Thirunangur associated with Lord Shiva`s furious dance, furiously started after the death of his consort Uma as a result of Dakshas yajna. Each time a lock of his hair touched the ground, there were eleven other forms of Shiva who appeared. The devas worried that if Shiva`s dance continued it would result in the decimation of entire creations. They prayed to Vishnu for relief, and upon Shiva`s request that the Lord also appear in eleven forms, He manifested in one form at Tirunangur.

Vimana and pillared hall as seen from outside the temple

The eleven Rudras, or Ekadas Rudras and Lord Indra, king of the devas, worshipped Vishnu at this temple.

During the Mahabharata period, Takshaka, the mighty naga who killed king Parikshit, ruled the place called Nagapuri, which eventually became Nangur (Thirunangur). The sages Madangar, Domyar, Vyaghrapada and Udangar also set up hermitages at this place.

The temple complex has a single prakaram and a single shrine. The presiding deity, Varadharajaperumal is housed in the sanctum in standing posture, facing east. The images of his consorts, Sridevi (also called Thirumaamangal Nachiyar) and Bhudevi are housed in the same shrine. The images of the festival deities are housed in the respective sanctums, while the figurative images of the vehicles carrying the Deities are housed in the hall leading to the sanctum.

The temple tank was dug by Arjuna, and Sri Krishna is regarded to have appeared as Parthasarathy to Arjuna here, initiating his education.