Koodal Azhagar (Vishnu) Perumal Temple, Madurai, TN

Koodal Azhagar Perumal temple, Madurai. 3.bp.blogspot.com
Considered as one of the 108 Divya Desham shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu and glorified  in the the Divya Prabhandam, the  early medieval Tamil canon of the Tamil Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries, Koodal Azhagar Perumal Temple is popular one  and  is located near  the  Periyar Bus stand and Madurai Railway station. It is just 500 meters away fom the famous Meenakshi temple. Here, the lord's main consort is Maduravalli thayar (lakshmi). Koodal is the ancient name of Madurai City as recorded in Sangam literature. and it  also  means joint or junction. it was the place where the  eminent Tamil scholars used to meet for literary discussion). Madurai is a later legendary name meaning sweet or beautiful. 

The 5 tiered gopuram (125 feet tall) forms the main entrance gate of this temple. The temple was built by Pandya rulers and  later by the Vijayanagara rulers. Madurai Nayaks made additional contribution to the  temple structure. The latter rulers built pillared hall (mantap) during the 16th century.  The Dwajasthambam (flag staff) mantap and the hall before the Hema Pushkarani were onstructed by the Madurai  Nayaks. 

When  the famous celestial wedding (Meenakshi Thirukalyanam) was fixed between Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswar  (Lord Shiva), it was Lord Kallazhagar  who gave his sister as kannika dhanam. Because of flood in the Vaigai river Vishnu was unable to attend the wedding and, however, the Kannika Dhanam took place at the auspicious hours with  the help of Koodal Azhagar Perumal. 

Koodal Azhagar Perumal temple, Madurai. 3.bp.blogspot.com
The granite idol of Koodal Azhagar Perumal in seating posture is a big one - 6 feet tall  and here his consorts are  Sridevi and Boodevi.  The unique feature of this temple is  the Ashtaanga Vimanam (tower above the Sanctum sanctorum in a Hindu temple) is a main feature of this temple.   At  Thirukostiyur, the sanctum sanctorums (srikovils) are seen one above the another.   Lord Surya Narayanan is in a standing posture in the first tier Garbagraha and in the second tier Garbagraha  Lord Ksheerabdir Perumal is in the reclining posture - Ananathasayanam. There are beautiful wall paintings inside the Ashtanga vimanam. A rare  feature of this temple is the installation of Navagrahas at the right hand corner of the temple

An interesting feature worthy of note is that here you can  see Vishnu in three postures - standing, sitting and reclining; all under the same vimanam. Here goddess Maduravalli thayar is in Padmasana (sitting) posture and she is believed to  be Padhi Thanda Pathni ( meaning one who does not leave the confines of the her abode - garbagraha).

The temple follows the traditions of the Thenkalai sect of Vaishnavites and that of  Vaikasana aagama. In modern times, the temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. The temple rituals are performed six times a day (Aarukala Puja).

It is said that Lord Azhagar gave darshan to the sounakas, Brighurishi and Periazhwar, a high priest in the Vatapatra Saayi temple at Srivilliputtur. His original name was `Vishnuchitta', a scholar in Vaishnavism  and took pleasure in doing Kainkarya to the lord. Sri Vallabha Deva was then  ruler in the Pandyan kingdom with  Madurai as his capital. He had a very devoted minister and priest called Selva Nambi. Once a satsangh was held at the request of  a Pandya ruler. Periyazwar won the battle of wits and got a bag of gold coins with which he built the Srivilliputur temple. When he got the honor from the Pandya ruler Lord Vishnu himself blessed Periazhawar. 
Saint Periazhwar at Koodal Azhagar perumal temple, Madurai  anudinam.org
The important temple festival is the fourteen day annual Brahmotsavam during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May - June). The Urchavar  images of the main  temple  deities are brought in a chariot round the streets of the temple in various mounts during all the fourteen days. The Ther Ootam or ratha festival attracts  people in thousands.

srimad-azhagiya singar-mangalasasanam-at-koodal-azhagar-temple anudinam.org
On July 16th, 2013, HH 46th Azhagiyasingar, Srimathe Srivan Sathakopa Sri Ranganatha Yatindra Mahadesikan, did mangalasasanam at Koodal Azhagar Temple in Madurai. Earlier on the 14th of July, Srimad Azhagiyasingar performed Sethu Samudra Snanam in the morning at Thiruppullani, followed by mangalasasanam in the evening