108 Divya-deshams: Thirucheravaramangai

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BY: SUN STAFF - 23.4 2024

Thirucheeravaramangai Deities

A tour of the 108 Divya-desams, the divine abodes of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi.

The Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Thirucheeravaramangai, also known as Arulmigu Sree Vanamamalai Totatri Perumal Temple, is a Divya Desham located in Vanamamalai or Totadrikshetram (Nanguneri), Tamil Nadu, on the banks of Thamiraparani river. This temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu as Vanamalai Perumal with His consort Varamanagi (Lakshmi).

Glorified in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham, this temple is one of the eight Svayambu Kshetrams, or eight Visnu temples where the presiding Deity self-manifested. Vanamamalai Perumal, is seen seated on Adisesha, with Sridevi and Bhoodevi on either side. The seven other temples in the line are Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, Bhu Varaha Swamy temple, and Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in South India and Saligrama, Naimisaranya, Pushkar and Badrinath Temple in North India.

Vanamamalai Perumal Temple, Thirucheeravaramangai

 

Vanamamalai also appeared to Adishesha and Garuda, and is also known as Devapiran. Details about the presiding deity are found in the Brahmananda Purana, Skanda Purana and Narasimha Purana. Sage Narada received narration about the features of Thodatri and Sargunamangai from Shiva.

Lakshmi was once born at this place as Srivaramangai (meaning 'lady'), hence the place came to be known as Varangunamangai. Adishesha also performed penance at this place to seek the grace of Vishnu, who was pleased by his devotion and rested upon the serpent. Garuda also performed penance here and was granted his wish to guard the Lord's abode in Vaikuntha.

Temple images

According to temple legend, a childless king named Kaaarya worshiped Vishnu at this place. Vishnu directed him to Nanguneri under the earth. The king dug up the earth to see blood oozing from the place. To stop the blood, the king was asked to perform ablution for the presiding deity with oil every day. Blessed with children, the king later constructed a temple.

Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the present temple is believed to have been built by the Pandyas, with later contributions from Vijayanagara kings and Madurai Nayaks.

Temple images

The temple covers an area of 5 acres and has a five-tiered gopuram. There are many inscriptions, the earliest being from 1236 CE, from the period of Sundara Pandya I. Another inscription from 1275 from Kulasekara I indicates the details of tax collection in the region. Under the Vijayanagara rulers, the temple came under the administration of the kings of Travancore. A sanyasi named Pushpanjali was entrusted with the donations from the kings.

Temple images

The large temple compound has two prakarams (closed precincts). There are various pillared halls in the temple. The shrine of the presiding deity is located axial to the gateway tower and is approached through Ardhamandapam and Mahamandapam, pillared halls. There are three precincts in the temple, with the shrine of Thayar located in the second precinct. There is a festival hall in the second precinct in the temple, facing south, with sculpted pillars indicating various legends of the Puranas. The most notable of them is the Mahabharata legend where Bhima attacks a lion-legged person with his club. The second precinct has pillared halls with smaller sculpted representation indicating various avatars of Vishnu.

Temple images