Thiruvellarai Pundarikakshan Perumal Temple

Shravanmaas (Tamil: Purattasi) is a festival season for devotees of Lord Vishnu. It is said that, Lord Vishnu will shower his grace and benevolence to devotees offering obeisance during Shravanmaas. It is a customary practice among devotees to take up SpiRitual Journeys to various Teertha Kshetras and temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

Pureprayer is presenting some of the interesting Vishnu temples as travel destinations for Shravanmaas.

Where is Thiruvellarai Pundarikakshan Temple?

Thiruvellarai Pundarikakshan Perumal temple is located about 27 km from Thiruchirappalli and about 100 km from Temple-Town of Kumbhakonam in Tamil Nadu. This is one of the 108 Divyadesam temples. Vellarai means white rock. This region is also popular as Vuyyakondanr Malai as the saint was born in the region. Goddess Lakshmi here is popular as Pankajavalli. Lord Srinivasa is fondly called Pundarikakshan Perumal meaning the big one with eyes like lotus.

What is the legend behind Pundarikakshan Temple?

A legend takes us back to the times of king Shibi. A king from Chandravamsha much before Lord Sri Rama and known for his generosity. He chanced upon a white wild boar when he was hunting in this region. He chased the boar and the boar disappeared in a hole. He saw Sage Markandeya who was doing penance and narrated the whole incident. The great sage advised king to do Ksheerabhishekam (anointing with milk) to the hole, where the boar disappeared. When Shibi performed the anointment, Lord Srinivasa gave darshan and showered benevolences to Shibi.

King Shibi decided to install an image of the lord and build a temple.

What are the developments the temple witnessed?

Pallavas developed the ancient temple. Cholas, Pandyas and Vijayanagar Empire developed the temple-complex further. Even Hoysalas are said to have contributed to the temple by initiating the construction of Raja Gopuram in 13th Century CE.

What is special about the Kalyani in Pundarikakshan Temple?

A Swastik shaped Kalyani built in 8th CE by Kamban during the reign of King Dantivarman is an architectural marvel worth visiting. This was known as Mamiyar-Marumagal Kulam (Meaning: Mother-In-Law; Daughter-In-Law Pond). It has been built in such a way that an absolute privacy exists when taking a holy dip in the pond. There are four different entrances. One needs to tread at least fifty steps before reaching the waters. Walls along the path are said to have been adorned with many Suktis (Verses in Tamil).

Temple Architecture:

Sri Pundarikakshan temple in Thiruvellarai is a large temple complex spread over several acres of land. The temple-complex protected by high granite walls, has seven water bodies and many Prakarams (Corridors around the sanctum). The temple is said to have been built and renovated around 8th Century CE by Pallavas. There are at-least three inscriptions here that can throw light on the developments that took place. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi (Pankajavalli) have been installed in two separate cells in the sanctum. Gopuram above the sanctum sanctorum is known as Vimalakriti Vimanam. The shrine has two entrances known as Uttarayana Dwara (Tamil: Vassal) and Dakshinayana Dwara. Many richly carved sculptures related to Varaha Avatar and Narasimha Avatar (forms of Lord Vishnu) can be seen around the temple complex.

The temple-complex is being renovated with Prakarams and the Raja Gopuram being repaired. Fourth Prakaram now has a garden called Periyalwar Nandavanam.

What is Bali Peetham Prarthanai in Pundarikakshan Temple?

Bali beedam Prarthanai or Bali Peetham Prarthanai is a special Puja offered to Lord Pundarikakshan Perumal at the Bali beedam seeking financial wellness, prosperity and great improvements in life.

When are the Annual Events?

Brahmotsavam is performed on the star of Tiruvonam in Phalgunamaas (Tamil: Panguni) occurring in the month of March- April. Chaitra Paurnami occurring in the month of April-May is celebrated in great style.

What are the nearby places?

Srirangam Temple:

Sri Rangam is one of the oldest temple-towns of India, famous for Ranganatha Swamy temple and one of the eight self-manifest Sri Vishnu Kshetras situated along the Kaveri river in Thiruchirappally of Tamil Nadu state about 16 km from Thiruvellarai. This is the foremost of temples in 108 Divyadesam.

The temple with 81 shrines, 21 towers, 39 pavilions, and many water bodies integrated into the complex makes it a largest functioning Hindu temple.

Namagiri Narasimha Swamy Temple – Namakkal:

Namakkal is located about 75 km from Thiruvellarai Pundarikakshan temple. Sri Narasimha Swamy temple in Namakkal is a rock cut temple near the Namakkal fort, built in 8th Century CE by Pandyan kings. Sri Raghavendra Swamy visited this temple during his Digvijaya Yatra. The fort was built during 16th Century CE by Nayaks ruling Madurai. A large pond called Kamalalayam is here.