Andal temple, Srivilliputhur - ''Vaikuntha Ekadasi'' festival 2022 began with ''Pagal pathu'' event

Andal temple, Srivilliputhur, TN,

At the the famous Sri Andal temple (built:765-815 CE)  of Srivilliputhur  in Virudunagar District, Tamil Nadu, the Vaikuntha Ekadasi festival began on 3 January 2022 with  God Rangamannar (Sri Vishnu) and consort  Andal visiting the house of Vedapiran Bhattar ( Priazhwar) in the evening  5 pm to accept the gifts from his father-in law. It is the place where Perazhwar's  adopted daughter Sri Andal or Kothai Nachiyar was raised (her Thai Veedu).  The lord received different kinds of vegetables  (''pachai parappu'') as part of gifts and limited number of devotees attended the traditional event. The belief is the devotees will be blessed with prosperity if they have a  darshan of gifted  vegetables spread on the thinnai (pial) in front of the house. The celestial couple were offered special feast including Thirattipal ( sort of Gova), jaggery-mixed garbanzo beans (mani parupppu)

Pachai paruppu at Andal's birth

Above image: Vaikuntha Ekadasi festival, Sri Andal temple, Srivilliputhur. Pachai Parappu - vegetable gifts offered to Perumal (Vadapatrasayi) at Andal's birth house.

Andal & Rangamannar idols, Srivilliputhur.

After the ritual idols of Rangamannar (Vatapatra Sayana Perumal)   were  taken  back to Pagal pathu mandapam where the ''ariyar seva,  10 - day Pagal pathu  event began with religious fervor.  Besides recitation of  pasurams,  Ariyars will normally  tell the story of goddess Andal in chaste Tamil  with  bhavam and  dance. Thir seva done with steadfast devotion will enthrall the  audience. This year the audience will be very much limited owing to govt. restrictions.

prakaram Andal-Rengamaar Shrine, Srivilliputhur.

From 7th till 14th of this month   Thirumukkulam ennaikappu and Margazhi Neeradu vizha ( special herbal (ennai / thaila kappu) oil will be applied on the  moolavar idols. On 13th ''Soorgavasal thirappu vizha''- ''paramapada vasal'' (heaven's gate) will be opened and the deities will traverse the gate in the morning around 7 am. Limited devotees will be allowed to cross the gate.   On the same nigh 13th  10 day  Raa pathu  event will be held till 23rd of January and Ariyars will do the seva before the processional moothis  for 10 nights.

Srivilliputhur Tamil Nadu.

This year limited devotees are allowed inside the temple as the third wave of COVID 19 has already begun to spread  across  Tamil Nadu. All religious places  have to follow strict government Covid protocol restrictions. Devotees are strongly advised to maintain social distance through  out the event. Wearing mask is a must and they must carry a copy of  certificate  that they already took vaccination I & II. 

Vadapatrasayi in sayana posture, Andal temple, 

Goddess Andal of  Srivilliputhur, TN.

The popular  Srivilliputtur Andal temple is closely associated with poetess Andal (incarnation of Lakshmi)  and her adopted father Periazhwar and she sang the popular Thirupavai devotional hymns on Sri Vishnu. During the month of Margazhi (December-January), there is no Vaishnava temple in Tamil Nadu or  in part of adjacent states like Andhra and Karnataka that does not play or chant  her soul-stirring devotional  hymns in the early morning.  Andal's Thirupavai and  ‘Tirupallandu’ of Periazhwar - the hymns on Lord Vishnu in chaste Tamil were composed here, hence this temple is highly sanctified and revered by  devotees of Vishnu.  There is a separate shrine for Vishnu Vadapatra Sayi in  Bhujanga sayanam posture. Vaikuntha ekadasi festival is normally conducted  in the mantaps there. 

Normally, Vaikuntha Ekadasi  in all Vaishnava temples of Tamil Nadu will be celebrated at the same time every year in Margazhi.   But in this year it  was already celebrated  before the traditional  date at Srirangam  Ranganathar  temple and a few temples for some Astronomical reasons?   As for Andal temple, the 21day festivities  began only  on the 3rd of  January  2022  and the ''Sorgavasal Thirrappu''  event - the most auspicious one   will be on the 13th of this month in the midst of popular Pongal festival (Sankaranathi/ harvest festival) at many Vishnu temples.  On that  day at 7 am  in the early morning   processional deity of  Periya Perumal  will   emerge  followed by Goddess Andal and God Rangamannar.   Azhwars will offer Eathir sevai  (formal  traditional reception) to the deities. Later, the deities will be taken to the Rapathu Mandapam at Sri Vadapathirasayi Sannathi.  The ''Thiru  Adyayana utsavam'' includes Pagal patthu and Ra Patthu.  That ra pathu event will continue in the Tamil month of  Thai  is a surprise to countless old timers.    All the 12 Tamil  Vaishnava saints - Azhwars did Mangala  Sasanam to the perumal here. So, Sri Andal temple is an important one among the 108 Divadesam shrines. 

In the month of Thai (Feb - March)  Mangala sasanam for  Manavala Mamunigal  will takes place here.