Thirunaangur, near Sirkazhi, TN - yearly 11 Garuda Sevai and Thirumangai Azhwar Mangala Sana Utsavam

Thirumangai Azhwar  and his consort Sri

Above image:  Thirunaangur near Sirkazhi, TN  11 Garuda sevai.  Thirumangai Azhwar is  seated on gold plated Hamsa (swan mount) vaahana, along with his consort  Kumudhavalli Thayar receiving blessing from the lord- Sri Vishnu. An interesting ritual is  the Utsavar (festival deity) of Thirumangai Azhwar  and his consort Sri Kumudavalli Naachiyar are taken in a palanquin to each of the 11 temples, through the paddy fields in the area..............., 

Thirunaangur, a small village near Sirkazhi, in TamilNadu, is home  to 11 Divya Desams and the Thirumangai Azhwar  Mangalasasana Utsavam  every year, is celebrated with bhakti. The eleven temples are part of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to god Vishnu.

location map Thirunaangur

Above image: Thirunaangur near Sirkazhi, TN -The Vishnu temples are a group of 11 temples near Nangur in Mayiladuthurai district where every year Thirumangai Azhwar  Mangalasasana Utsavam is quite popular......... 

The festival  falls  in the Tamil month of Thai (January–February) attended by a large number of devotees. It begins  on the second day after the New moon in the month of Thai (mahara), i.e, Jan 15th -Feb 15h. 

Thirunangur 11 garuda Sevai,

The main event is fascinating 11 Garuda Sevai in which 11 nearby Vishnu temples actively participate.The utsava murthis of the temples  mounted on the gold-plated big Garuda vahanas (mounts)  from eleven temples converge at the temple to give darshan to Thirumangai Azhwar, one among the most prolific Tamil Vaishnava saint, who composed lots of devotional hymns in honor of Vishnu in chaste Tamil. He is  seated on gold plated Hamsa (swan mount) vaahana, along with his wife Kumudhavalli Thayar receiving blessing from the lord, 

 Bejeweled idols on the  decorated vahanas and  Thirumangai Azhwar  get the attention of the devotees who come from far off places to get blessed by the deities.

On the final weekend of January, the quiet town of Thiru Nangur comes to life and  is reverberated with chants of  soul-stirring hymns of Divya Prabhandham, The grand 11 day festival event takes the devotees back in time to the days of Thirumangai Azhwar  when devotion to God and bhakti   were in full flow. Normally, some social events would take place toward the end of January near the temple and one of would make you recall the famous debate between Thiru Mangai Azhvaar and Thiru Gnana Sambanthar in Sirkazhi.   

Thiru Mangai Azhvaar is taken to  the banks of the Cauvery in Thiru Nangur for the ‘Manjal Kuli’ utsavam on the Amavasya day in Thai month. The tradition has it on this occasion, the priests conduct Choornabhishekam to Thiru Mangai Azhwar and honor him with a beautiful flower garland and a Parivattam  sent from Srirangam and Nachiyar Koil temples. In the latter place the saint  was initiated with the Pancha Samaskaram.

About Manjal Kuli’ utsavam (bathing in turmeric water), Srirangam perumal quite pleased with his devotional presentation of Thiru Nadu Thandagam, blessed  Thiru Mangai Azhwar with the anointment of the sacred Turmeric that was so special to the Lord. This was done to take care of the saint's throat for singing hymns for a long time.  God Ranganathar  suggested to Thiru Mangai Azhwar that he celebrate this Manjal Kuli Utsavam in his home town so the devotees too could get blessed and be free from throat problem. 

At  Srirangam  after completing the Adyayana Utsavam, Lord Ranganathar, in a special ritual  on the banks of the Cauvery, is anointed with a special Manjal Kuli.

The popular   Garuda sevai event has been around for more than 127 years, having been initiated in the later part of the 19th century similar to the grand festival recognizing Nam Azhvaar in Nava Tirupathi.