Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mannargudi RajaGopalaswamy Temple

Mannargudi Rajagopalaswamy- Dakshina(South) Dwaraka
Unparalleled beauty and most alluring Lord RajaGopalaswamy
One wonders why such a beautiful temple did not find
itself in the ‘good books’ of the Azhvaars

Housed on a huge 33acre area, the RajaGopalan temple at Mannargudi (till a few centuries ago, this was called MannarKoil), is all what a Vaishnavite temple should be. Except that the Azhvaars did not perform Mangalasaasanam here, something that one finds difficult to come to terms with. Hence this is not a Divya Desam and remains only an ‘Abhimaana’ Sthalam.

Its quite a mystery actually that the Azhvaars who visited and sang praise of the Lord(and performed Mangalasaasanam) at ThiruKannapuram (50kms North East), ThiruKannangudi(50kms East), Thirucherrai, Nachiyar Koil, Thiruvinnagar-Oppiliappan, Kumbakonam Sarangapani(around 35kms North) and Thanjai Maa Mani (35kms West) missed the towering presence of RajaGopalan.

Temple Tower – 154 ft high
The huge temple tower, at a height of 154 ft. is fourth tallest among vishnu temples and can be seen from 5-10 kms away as one drives into Mannargudi. This place is also called Dakshina Dwaraka (South Dwaraka).

As one enters the temple, a vast open garden in the outer most prakaram with greenery all around serves as a warm welcome for the devotees. With nice benches, this makes it a nice evening sit out for one to admire this remarkable temple.

And then one walks through a long path alongside huge pillars and mandapams to reach the RajaGopalan Sannidhi.

Temple History
The temple is believed to have been built by the Chola rulers, Kulathunga Chola I and II, during the period 1072 - 1150AD. And later developed and improved by the Nayak kings in the 16th and 17th century AD. This place is also known as Champakaaranya Kshetram.

It is said that the Lord here gave darshan to Brahmma in Kritha Yugam, to Brugu Rishi and Goddess Mahalakshmi in Tretha Yugam, to Agni, Gopila and Gopralaya Rishi(children of Rishi Vahnimugar) in Dwaapara Yugam and to King Rajasekhar in Kali Yugam.

Remarkable Temple
7 prakarams, 16 temple towers, 18 Vimaanams, 24 Sannidhis, temple housed in 33 acre area with an equal area(33 acres) for the temple tank, festivals throughout the year just like Srirangam, a most handsome and majestic looking Vasudevan and a beautiful and alluring RajaGopalaswamy, with dangling Kundalam in one ear and an earring(Gopiyar’s) in the other ear- a sight to behold make it a terrific Vaishnavite temple. With such a towering presence, one has to wonder as to how the Azhvaars did not fall in love with this Lord. What is it that they saw (or did not see) that made the Azhvaars stay away from this temple.

It is said that ThiruMangai Azhvaar did visit this place. He came up to the entrance of the temple, lifted the DwajasThambam(Flag Post) at the entrance of the temple that was lying on the floor and went away.

All poojas in traditional Vaishnavite way
The daily temple poojas are performed in a very systematic and traditional manner right from Vishroopam at 5am, with the temple elephant and the cow showing their devotion to the Lord. One is a witness to the temple elephant going down on its knees to pray before Lord RajaGopalan and then lifting its trunk to shower water on the Lord- a beautiful sight to watch so early in the morning. And this is possibly the only Vaishnavite temple in Tamil Nadu that opens at 5am and has the Vishroopa Darshan in a formal way like it once used to be in all the temples.

Significance of the place- Staying here for a Night
In the Mahabharata, Pulastya tells Bheeshma that anyone staying for a night at MannarKoil earns the merit of having gifted a 1000 cows, such is the significance of this place.

South Dwaraka
Gopila and Gopralaya Rishi (children of Rishi Vahnimugar) wanted Moksham and prayed to Lord Narayana, who asked them to go to Dwaraka to seek the blessings of Lord Krishna(Kannan). By the time they reached Dwaraka, Krishna Avataaram had ended. Narada asked these two rishis to go to ‘South Dwaraka’ and they came here to Mannarkoil.

Here they asked Lord Narayana to give them darshan as Krishna and to show them all the playful things that Krishna had done at Dwaraka. Answering their prayers, Lord Narayana appeared before them as Krishna and enacted, on the banks of Harithra river, all that Kannan had played on the banks of Yamuna river in Dwaraka.

The Lord and his beautiful posture
The Lord here is seen in a single vastram(garment) just like a cowboy, with his right hand yielding a golden rod with a whip that has 3 dents and his left hand slightly leaning on the cow just behind him. One can also see 2 beautiful calves (in silver) in front of him on either side. The Lord is also called RajaMannar and Gopalan.

The moolavar Para Vasudevan can be seen with a conch, maze and discus in a majestic standing posture facing the East with a complete set of silver ornaments all over his body.

The story of two different ear rings
Once, Krishna and Gopiyars had an argument/bet as to who would bathe the quickest. In his eagerness to win, Krishna ran back and in a hurry, wore his kundalam in one ear and Gopiyar’s ear ring in the other.

To this day, we can see this rather unusual display of RajaGopalan at this temple- that of two different ear rings- one ear with his Kundalam and the other where he adorns Gopiyar’s ear ring.

32 Photographs around the Main Sannidhi
It is believed that the Lord gave darshan in 32 different forms to the 2 Rishis here. The first of that was ParaVasudevan(Moolavar here) and the last was RajaGopalan(Utsavar). These 32 forms are displayed in a colourful form around the main Sannidhi at this temple.

Temple Elephant and the 10km walk every morning
The temple elephant Shengamalam takes a 10km walk every day to keep herself fit. With 32 villages around this temple, the elephant walks to one village every day. Interestingly, Shenbagammal does not eat plantains like other temple elephants. She has a special liking for biscuits.

Near the Utsava Moorthy, one also finds SanthaanaGopalan. It is believed that those who pray to the SanthaanaGopalan will be blessed with a child, a case in point is a SriLankan couple who prayed to the Lord here and were blessed with a child immediately.

Deaf and Dumb Priests
There are a couple of deaf and dumb men(from birth) at this temple. Thanks to the initiative of the temple authorities, these men have been given rights to perform pooja at a couple of sannidhis, thus boosting their confidence. These priests are enthusiastic, perform their duty with sincerity and take extra efforts in serving the devotees- quite a moving experience.

Pooja Details

Vishwaroopam 6am, Thiruvananthal 7am, Kaalai Santhi Poojai-9am, Uchi Kalam-12noon
Thirumalai Purapadu- 6pm, SayaRakshai-7pm, Irandam Kalam Poojai-8pm, Artha Jamam-830pm

Thaligai details

Milk/Fruits/Pongal for Vishwaroopam
Dudhyonam(Curd Rice)- 7am pooja
Tamarind rice - 9am pooja
Thenkuzhal - 11am pooja

Curd Rice- 7pm
Samba Rice-8pm pooja
Chakkarai Pongal, Mothagam- 9pm pooja

Archanai on Special occasions

Poosam -Thirumanjanam for Shengamala Thaayar
Sravanam- Thirumanjanam for Perumal Utsavar
Every Friday-Thirumanjanam for Utsavar Thaayar
Every month- Pancha Parvatham- Perumal Utsavar and Shengamala Thaayar Purapadu

Thiruvadi Thirumanjanam for Perumal Utsavar is done on special request.

For bookings, call : 94423 99820 or 04367 225738

Quick Facts:
Deity : ParaVasudevan (Moolavar)– East Facing, Standing Posture
Utsavar : Rajagopalan
Goddess : Shengamala Thaayar

Temple timing : 5am –12.30pm and 430pm-9pm
Priest : Jayakumar Deekshigar 04367 225738

Also contact : Mahalingam, Manager on 94423 99820 /04367 222276

Festivals-Right through the year

18 day Panguni Brahmmotsavam - 10 day Float Festival in Aani - 20 day Adyaana Festival in Margazhi- The Garuda Seva at Mannargudi is specially famous

Location : 27Kms South West of Thiruvarur, 30kms SouthEast of Thanjavur and about 30kms South of Kumbakonam

Bus : Well connected from Thiruvarur, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur and Pattukottai

Place to Stay : Poorna Lodge (1/2 km from the temple)- Rs. 300 for Non AC double room and Rs. 600 for an AC room -Tel No. 04367 251695


Shruti said...

Simply superb !! Very Captivating . presented in an extremely organized way !! keep it up !!!

PRabhu S said...


Thanks much for the comments.

This was one I wrote with extra bit of interest and passion


Madhavan Srinivasagopalan said...

Dear Mr Prabhu,

Thanks for a good description about Mannai temple.
I just like to point out 2 things.

1) 7th to 10th Century was the Azhwars period. This temple might have come(built) just later. Otherwise atleast Thirumanghai Azhwaar might have had dharshan here, as he is the most wandered of all azhwars.

2) Regd. Dumb & deaf priests as noted in ur article.. indeed they are dedicated to temple religious functionaries.. They can/do not perform poojas, but, play significant role on, like bringing pooja items etc.

3) You might also include the following sites of related interest..
a) http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=-FQlvZIuW1o
b) http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ5NEgf-oqQ&feature=related

K.Seshadri said...

I cant thank you enough for giving the temple tel no. I called up to find when the festival starts in Panguni this year.
Thanks for thoughtful inputs.
(of Serangulam)
at Mumbai/Chembur

Prabhu.S said...

Good to know that you found this useful.

You may also touch base with 87 year old Shri. Raghava Bhattar @ 04367 225738.


praveen said...

Hi Prabhu,

A very good and a complete information about the rajagopala swamy temple.

If you dont mind pls try and include details like the daily pooja's and archanai'a happening in the temple and how to participate and the options of prebooking before travelling to mannargudi

Prabhu.S said...

Dear Mr. Praveen Mohan,

Thanks for reading and your suggestions.

Will incorporate the details as suggested by you.

Thank You.


Prabhu.S said...

Dear Mr. Praveen Mohan,

Hi! Have incorporated the details.

Hope this is fine


நகைச்சுவை-அரசர் said...

நன்றி திரு.பிரபு..!

ஒரு கருத்துக்களத்தில் நம் ஊரைப்பற்றிய சிறப்பைச் சொல்லும்படி என்னை ஒருவர் கேட்டிருந்தார். அதற்கான தகவல் திரட்டும் முயற்சியில் தங்கள் வலைதளத்தைக் காணும் பேறு கிட்டியது.

தங்களை எவ்வளவு பாராட்டினாலும் தகும். நன்றி வணக்கம்.

Prabhu.S said...


Thank you for the comment.


Anonymous said...

ups sorry delete plz [url=http://duhum.com].[/url]

venkatesan said...

Dear Prabhu,
Knowing the known things about one's native place is always interesting. But everytime I visit your blog I learn some more new information!
I was fortunate to be there for this year festival -- last time I did so was in my childhood -- but just for 2 days - the vennai thazhi and the day before -.

Yes, you are right. Sengamalam is different but interesting too. I was witness to its drinking coffee at our relative's house, so lovingly provided by them and happily consumed by Sengamalam.

Reading this just took me to the happy memories. Thanks

PRabhu S said...


Good to know.


enRenRum-anbudan.BALA said...

Wonderful description of the great Rajagopala swamy with so many interesting details. Thanks! I visited the shrine recently and was overwhelmed by the experience!!!

I have a thamiz blog and have written few articles related to divyadesams, prabandham, acharyans ....

you could read my thiruppavai postings when you have the time.

--- anbudan


enRenRum-anbudan.BALA said...

The other names of Mannargudi as told by the Bhattar are senbaga shetram and Vasudevapuri...

enRenRum-anbudan.BALA said...

This comment is to receive follow-up comments in my mail box

PRabhu S said...

Thank You. Will do.




Anonymous said...

excellent.very proud to see our native place.thank you

PRabhu S said...

Many thanks for your kind words.


Anonymous said...

Very nice write-up. I visited MannarGudi recently and was very impressed with the temple and the deities. Your article has explained so much more about the temple. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

I had visited Mannargudi recently...I never knew there is such a beautiful temple...I was amazed to see such a nice architecture. Would like to visit once again during the festival season.

Anonymous said...

I went mannargudi in March,2013 to take dharshana of Lord sri Gopalan at annual brahmotsavam. I was so happy while I was there during the utsava time. But I would like to draw kind attention to the Temple administration over the DAVANDAI which is very very special instrument using at the time of Purappadu which sound could be heard only at Mannargudi temple in such a great! I very much disappointed this year because of the disappearance the Good sound come out from the Instrument. It was totally collapsed. There may be many people like me who are belonging to Mannargudi. Could I expect form the Authorities even The Endowment department of Tamil Nadu Government? Please...I am very eagerly expecting that good day sirs!

Unknown said...

we want to come and visit mannargudi perumal in June. we are coming from chennai. Could you please guide us where to stay in mannargudi , for prasadam ? Also we want to visit vaduvoor ramar and Sri oppliyappan in Kumbakonam. We are planning to board train in kumbakonam the same night. Is it possible to get a taxi in mannai for covering all the places and dropping us in kumbakonam station?

Could you please give any contact detail?

Thanks for a detailed info in your blog and we very much want to come to mannargudi.

Eagerly awaiting your reply,,

Thanks in advance,

Vidya Soundararajan

vidya said...

could you please let us know will there be taxis available
to go to vaduvoor and
kumbakonam from Mannai?

Any contact person detail can you provide?

Thanks and regards,

Vidya Soundar

PRabhu S said...


You can contact Shri. Mahalingam on the numbers given above and he will organise both the stay and the taxi.

In case you want me to talk to him and organise, I can do that closer to that date of your travel.


PRabhu S said...


You can contact Shri. Mahalingam on the numbers given above and he will organise both the stay and the taxi.

In case you want me to talk to him and organise, I can do that closer to that date of your travel.


Unknown said...

To do Credal Pooja in Rajagopalswamy Temple how long it will take ?

Is it enough if we come around 6:30 morning and leave 9:00 evening? Or we have to stay one day there

Unknown said...

I want to Mannargudi rajagopala temple march - april (panguni) festival details.. please share the details

PRabhu S said...

Flag Hoisting is at 10am on 26th March
Vennai Thaazhi Utsavam is on 10th April
Chariot Festival is on 11th April

Let know if you need any other specifics


Unknown said...

Excellent write up! I have experienced the same feeling when I went to Mannargudi... Add to this the broad Kadai Veedhi ...through which the Lord takes his purappaadu during festivals... Great place...