Andal temple, Srivilliputhur, Tamil Nadu that assumes much religious significance in Margazhi month!!

Andal Renga mannar Temple: Rajagopuram Srivilliputhur. TripAdvisor

main mantapam Srivilliputhur Andal temple.

In the Tamil month of Margazhi (December-January), no other Vaishnava temples assume more importance and religious significance than the twin temples of Andal-Rangamannar and Lord Vatapatrasayee at Srivilliputhur in Virudhunagar District. Hence, Srivilliputhur is a major pilgrim center for the Hindus, in particular, Vaishnavites. Because this is the birth place of Sri Andal, the daughter of Periazhwar, who composed the famous ''Thirupavai'', soul-stirring Tamil devotion hymns on Lord Vishnu. In the holy month of Margazhi, Thirupavai is recited all through the month in all Perumal temples across Tamil Nadu, an unbroken  tradition  that has been around us for centuries. Thirupavai has spiritual and philosophical connotations. 

Location map.

When it comes to sculptural beauty and architectural excellence, this temple  surpasses  other historical temples. and stands apart.  No doubt, the tower, incidentally, is the logo of the Government of Tamil Nadu. as it is a majestic one.  Here, the twin temples, dedicated to the deities Vatapatrasayee and Andal-Rangamannar, have rich architectural heritage. 

Sri Vadabhatra Saayi Perumal Temple (Srivilliputtur)Divine Brahmanda

The Vatapatrasayee Temple, is  about 2000 years old and said to have existed long  before the great Tamil Vaishnava scholar  Periyazhwar's time. Unlike other temples, it a "Maadakkovil" and one has to climb a few steps to worship Lord Vatapatrasayee while the shrine of  Sri Lakshmi Narasimha is on the ground floor.

Sri Andal and the Lord (Vishnu), Srivilliputhur Wikimapia

The Lord's image is in "Sudhai" - made of brick and mortar, so  daily "Thirumanjanam"(sacred bath) to the lord is not done. The mantapam in front of the sanctum is called  "Gopala Vilasam" and it is here the Araiyar sevai is performed by hereditary Araiyars during Vaikunta Ekadasi day - "Pagal Pathu" utsavam. It is one among the three temples where the Araiyar sevai is done during ekadasi. The wooden roof or canopy is made of fine undamaged wood salvaged from the  partially damaged temple chariot in a fire nearly 200 years ago. Though the temple has vast properties, its income from them is negligible as many of the lease holders are not honest and god-fearing , coupled with poor temple management. The HR & CE, the govt. agency running the temple management, people complain, do not stick with the Agama Sastras and mismanage the temple properties and the revenue from daily Undiayal
collection, etc.

Divyadesam paintings, Andal temple, Srivilliputhur. tamilnadu-favtourism

Andal temple, sculptured pillars, Srivilliputhur.

Once you are inside the temple, you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of sculptures and highly ornate pillar with big images  that support the mantapam. The other attractions are the
ancient Ramayana frescoes and modern wall paintings depicting the Lords of 108 Divyadesams, majestic Rajagopuram and well -carved massive temple wooden chariot (ther) or car. No body can miss the Thirupavai mantapam, rectangular in shape with a fine wooden roof. There are stone inscriptions dating back to Pandya rulers. The flagstaff - Dwajasthamba mantapam is a unique one that is supported  by over  one dozen beautifully carved monolithic stone pillars with nice images. Among the images of God, Venugopala attracts our attention. No where you can see Sri Krishna playing the flute with his fore hand, while other hands holding the divine disc (Sudarsana) and the conch (Panchajanya). The other impressive image is that of Viswakarma or Mayan  with four arms  which is believed to be ''Vishnu Amsam'' and he carries, as usual, the hammer in his right hand and chisel in his left.

life-size stone sculptures. Andal temple, Srivilliputhur,TN.

On the north side of the flagstaff is the Ekadasi mantapam that has beautiful images of Manmanathan and Rathidevi, Veerabadra, Guha, Arjuna , Karna and others. The mantapam - hall at the entrance to Sri Andal shrine is called "Muthudai thamam niraithaazhntha panthal," by Andal Nachiyar in her Pasuram.  It becomes an important venue on the Panguni Uthiram day every year when Sri Andal's  wedding with the lord is celebrated passionately by her devotees. 

The important festivals in this popular temples are: Brahmotsavam July 31 to August 11 culminating in the car festival on the Thiruvaadipooram day (August 8),  five Garuda Sevai, the unique "Sayana Thirukkolam," Araiyar sevai and the Pushpa yagam arranged by the Andal Seva Trust in the "Sukravara Kuradu" inside the temple. All these festivals are well attended by devotees and held with utter dedication and Bhakti. The statues of Thirumalai Nayak and his consorts are quite interesting. The temple wooden car/rath was presented by the then Jeeyar Swami of the Nanguneri-Vaanamamalai Math over 150 years ago  in August 1849. Yet another feature is there are  over 60 inscriptions in "Vattezhuthu" in the tower, Dwajasthambam, walls of the central shrines and mandapams in both temples. 

In accordance with the  Madras High Court orders (November 2011), as Thenkalai tradition (southern tradition/sampradayam) is being followed here,  during the annual festival (Margazhi Ennaikappu) Sri Andal idol (urchavar) is not allowed to  be taken to a Vadakalai mantapam (the hall is painted with vadakalai (northern) namam here; all the idols and Azhwars are adorned with 
''Thenkalai Thruman'' (namam). It is close to Viruthunagar town which has train connectivity to northern states.