Vaikuntha Ekadasi festival at Srivilliputhur Goddess Andal temple, TN - January,2020

Srivilliputhur Goddess Andal

Paramapada vasal (Gate of heaven, sri Villiputhur Andal tube

Srivilliputtur Andal temple in Srivilliputhur town, one of the 108 divya desams of Lord Sri Vishnu,  is interwoven  not only with   Lord Vishnu but also with the great Tamil saint Periazhwar  and  his adopted daughter Andal.  It was here ‘Tiruppavai’ of Andal and ‘Tirupallandu’ of Periazhwar - the hymns on Lord Vishnu in chaste Tamil were composed.   Being a highly sanctified place of worship, no doubt, the Tamil hymns – Tamil Vedam-Azhwar  pasurams - are part of temple worship here and being recited everyday at this temple. 

Srivilliputhur Mural art.

Goddess Andal temple tower 1300

The  192 feet tall Rajagopuram/tower  of this  temple is one among the tallest  temple towers in  south India and it is the  emblem of the  Government of Tamil Nadu. The presiding deity is  Goddess Andal,

consort of Vishnu and and the lord is referred to as Rangamanner. In the month of Thai (Feb- March)  Mangala sasanam for  Manavala Mamunigal  takes place. In the month of Aani, Periazhvar  utchavam - a 10 day event takes place with devotion. In the Tamil month of panguni Sri Andal Mannar Thirukalyanam will be a great 10- day festival and the wedding of Andal with Sri Vishnu commonly takes place on the 9th day of the festival. 

Like Srirangam  Sri Ranganathar temple  near Tiruchi, Vaikuntha Ekadasi is celebrated on a grand scale here  and the Thiru  Adyayana utsavam includes Pagal patthu and Rapatthu. Yet another interesting tradition here is Ariyar sevai during the 21- day long festival, the last day being Nammazhvar Moksham -  the poet reaching the abode of Sri Vishnu.

Srivilliputhur Goddess Andal and God Rangamannar (Vishnu)

Vaikunta ekadasi, Ariyar sevai, Srivilliputhur, TN

Today - 6th January, 2020, the paramapada vasal was opened  around 7 am  in the early morning through which  processional deity of Periya Perumal emerged followed by Goddess Andal and God Rangamannar.  Devotees chanted Gopala, Govinda when the idols were crossing the gate.  Today is the beginning of rapatthu so in the early morning around 3 am Thirumanjanam was  performed by the temple priests to the idols of Andal, Rangamannar and Periya Perumal followed by special  floral decorations and pujas.   After the idols had crossed the paramapada vasal,  Mangala sasanam seva was done and, for this purpose, the idols of   saints Periazhvar, Ramanujar Nammazhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar and Vedanta Desikar were brought before the swarga vasal.  This interesting age- old ritual was witnessed by a large gathering of devotees, including several VIPs.

Following this ritual, idols were taken to the rapatthu  mandapam  for the next half of the festival that will continue for 10 more days.  This complex has two main parts,  one dedicated to Goddess Andal and the other is Vetapatrasayee. Periazhwar shrine is part of this

Murals, Sri Villiputhur temple, TN

complex. In this temple that is about 80 km from Madurai city and close to Virudhunagar town, worship protocol is based on Thenkalai (the other subsect is Vadakalai) tradition or samprathayam and  six kaala puja  (six times a day) is being followed and importance is given to three  temple festivals, one being Vaikuntha Ekadasi. 


Sri Venkatachalapathy Temple, Sattur, Virudhunagar, TN.

In this district Virudhunagar,  close to Virudhunagar town lies a historical  Venkatachalapathy temple at Sattur made entirely of granite stones and it  is said to be 500 years old. Here, the lord's consort is Boomi Devi. As this place is part of Sastha temple, the deity is referred to as Satturappan.  

In this temple this year today  the swarga vasal -paramapada vasal was opened  around 7, 40 am  and the idols of both god and goddess were  reverentially  taken  round the Maada streets  in a procession in which lots of devotees participated.