Lord Vishnu takes three different forms to kill three Asuras
On the banks of Vennar, about 5kms North of Thanjavur on the Thanjavur-Thiruvayaru/Kumbakonam Road, are three Vishnu temples next to each other that together make up one Divya Desam referred to as Thanjai Maa Mani Koil - Veera Singa Perumal on the Eastern side, Manikundram Perumal 100 yards to the West and Neelamegha Perumal further to the West.
NammAzhvaar, BhoothAzhvaar and Thirumangai Azhvaar have sung praise of the Thanjai Maa Mani Lord referring to the Lord as ‘Thanjai Yaali and .
Thirumangai in his praise of this Lord says ( in verse 1576)
“En Seiken Adiyen, Uraiyeer Itharku Enrum
En Manathey Irukum Pugazhth Thanjai Yaaliyai
Pon Peya Ron Nenjam, Anru Idanthavanai Thazhale Purai
Min Seivaan Arakan Nagar Pazhpada
Soozh Kadal Sirai Vaithu Imaiyor Thozhum
Pon Sei Maal Varaiyai Mani Kundrinai
Anri En Manm Potri Ennaathey’
Three Asuras- Thanjakan, Dhandakan and Ghajamughan – lived in this place and were creating havoc along with their army. Troubled by their constant harassment, Parasura Rishi offered his prayers to Lord Vishnu seeking his help in keeping the Asuras away.
Vishnu is said to have first sent Garuda, who killed army of asuras leaving back only the 3 main asuras. Garuda, who appeared here all alone to destroy the entire army of the Asuras, is said to be continuing to reside and protecting the people of Thanjavur. Given the presence of Garuda, the age old belief is that there are no snakes around this place.
Following this, Lord Vishnu himself came down and killed Thanjakan, who realising his folly requested the Lord to name this place after him. Hence, this place came to be referred to as Thanjakanur and in course of time became Thanjavur.
Mela Singha Perumal (Narasimha Perumal)
Lord Vishnu then took the form of Narasimha to kill Asura Ghajamughan. As the Lord came in the form of ‘Yaali’(Narasimha), this place came to be called ‘Thanjai Yaali Nagar’.
Maa Mani Koil
Inscriptions found here has reference to Sarobhoji king making significant contributions to this temple.
Mani Kundram Perumal- Narayanan
The last asura, Dhandakan, angered at the death of the two others, went into the nether world. Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaaha, followed him and killed Dhandakasuran.
Lord Vishnu then appeared on his own as Bhoo Varaahar at Sri Mushnum (to be seen in a separate story shortly) about 50kms North of this Divya Desam. As this was the place where Lord Vishnu brought an end to this mighty asura, this came to be called the Dhandakaranya Kshetram.
Inscriptions found in Manikundram Perumal Koil point to significant contributions made to this temple by Maratha rulers in the 19th Century
Thirumangai refers to Thanjai Maa Mani in his praise of this divya desam and calls this Vambulaan Cholai…
‘Embiraanenthai Ennudaya Sutrum,
Enakkara Sennudaya Vaanal
Ambinal Arakkarai Verukkola,
Nerukki Avar Uyir Senuntham
Mannil Vambulaan Cholai,
Maa Mathil Thanjai Maa Mani Evanangi
Nambikkal Uyyanan Kanda Konden,
Naarayan Ennum Naamam’-953
Singa Perumal Koil- 10 day Chitrai Brahmotsavam
Manikundram Perumal – 10 day Panguni Uthiram
Neelamegha Perumal- 10 day Vaikasi Visakam Festival
Unjal Utsavam in all the three temples on Aadi and Thai Fridays
Garuda Vaahanam-Street Procession in Vaikasi
On the Vaikasi Thiruvonam day, 22 Lords from temples in and around Thanjavur including the the Thanjai Maa Mani Koil assemble at the Raja Street in Thanjavur and go on a street procession on the Garuda Vaahanam across the 4 Raja Streets.
Also, on the Aadi Ekadesi day, there is a Thailakaapu Utsavam for all the three Lords of Thanjai Maa Mani koil.
On the Thiruvonam day in Puratasi, there is a Desigar Utsavam at the Neelamegha Perumal Koil.
Administration of the Temple
The Thanjai Maa Mani koil is managed by the Thanjavur Palace, whose current prince is Shri. Babaji Rajah Bhonsle.
Neelamegha Perumal Koil Tower
Thanjai Maa Mani:Neelamegha Perumal East Facing Sitting posture
Goddess :Shenkamala Valli
Manikundram : Manikundram Narayana Perumal East Facing Sitting Posture
Goddess : Ambuja Valli
Thanjai Yaali : Narasimha East Facing Sitting Posture
Goddess : Thanjai Nayaki
Azhvaar : Thirumangai, NammAzhvaar and BhoothathAzhvaar- 5 Paasurams
(953, 1090, 1576, 2251, 3130)
Temple Time : 730am-12noon and 5pm -830pm
Priest : Narasimha Bhattar@93441 47850
How to reach the Thanjai Maa Mani Koil
Local buses every 10-15mts on the Thanjavur-Thiruvayaru route.
Auto will charge about Rs. 75-100 from the Old Bus Stand
One can also take the Thanjavur-kumbakonam bus to get down in front of the Thanjai Maa Mani Temple