A Handsome Azhagiya Mannaar displays his standing beauty in Tier 1 of this ancient Pandya Period temple
Located on the Tamaraibarani banks in the Shenbagaranya Kshetram in Palayamkottai, 4kms East of Tirunelveli Junction is the East Facing Azhagiya Mannaar Rajagopalaswamy temple, one that dates back to the Pandya period. This Vaikanasa Agamam temple serves as a good example of following the processes laid down in the scriptures.
Mana Vallabha Pandyan is believed to have constructed the temple and big walls surrounding the 2.5acre temple.
This place was earlier called Thirumangai Nagar. The temple is referred to as a ‘Thuvi Sthalam’- with the two tier structure below the Ashtanga Vimanam (similar to Thiru Koshtiyur/Uthira Merur/Koodal Azhagar) - the Varna Kala (idol) Veda Narayanan seen in a Grand sitting posture with four hands flanked by Veda Valli and Kumudavalli Thaayar.
With one hand, Veda Narayanan seems to be inviting the devotees to come to him, with the other he is seen blessing those who come to offer their prayers. He is seen with a Conch and Chakra in his other two hands.
There is no abhishekam for this Varna Kala Moolavar.
Also, in the Sannidhi are Brigu and Markandeya Rishis, who undertook penance at this place and had darshan of Veda Narayanan. Urvashi and Thilothama idols are also seen inside the Sannidhi alongside Veda Narayanan.
Brahmma is believed to have undertaken penance invoking Lord Vishnu to help recover the Vedic Scriptures that had been taken away by the asuras. Hence the name Veda Narayanan.
The Rajagopalan Utsava Idol is said to have been one that was with Arjuna who performed his daily poojas at the end of the Mahabaratha war. This idol is believed to have been brought from the banks of the Ganges and installed by a Pandya King at this temple.
Azhagiya Mannaar turns girl child into a boy
A devotee offered prayers to this Lord for a boy child. When despite his sincere prayers a girl child was born, he threw the plate at the Lord who suffered an injury in the nose.
On his return home, he found to his pleasant surprise a boy. Azhagiya Mannaar had granted the devotee's wish and had turned the girl into a boy. Hence, this Lord is known as Pennai Aanaakiya Azhagiya Mannaar. The Lord is seen with a scratch in his nose.
Inside the Maha Mandapam on the walls, one finds exquisite mooligai paintings sketching the Ramayana story. Inside this mandapam, one sees fish shaped sculptures on most of the pillars, another indication of the construction of the temple during the Pandya rule.
50 feet high Kodi Maram (temple flag) along with the 5 tier Raja Gopuram that can be seen from the Tirunelveli Bye Pass road gives this temple a majestic look. The Raja Gopuram also has sculptures relating to Vishnu and Shiva Puranam.
Madapalli has a Gopuram
An interesting feature at this temple is that the madapalli has a gopuram.
There are no Andal and NamAzhvaar Sannidhis in this temple.
Vaikasi –Annual abhishekam
Puratasi Saturday- Garuda Sevai
Margazhi - Every day early morning Thirupalli Yezhuchi recital from 430am
The Samprokshanam took place in July last year, the first in several centuries.
Moolavar : Veda Narayanan Sitting Posture
Goddess : Veda Valli, Kumuda Valli
Utsavar : Rajagopalan with Rukmani and Satyabhama
Tier 1 : Azhagiya Mannaar Standing Posture with Bhoo and Sri Devi (with exquisite paintings on all the four walls)
Temple Time : 630am-1030am and 530pm-9pm
Contact : Neela Mani Raju Bhattar @ 0462 2572097
How to reach
An auto from Tirunelveli Junction will cost Rs.40/-.
One can get down at Market stop (Tirunelveli Town/Junction to Samathanapuram bus) and walk 5 minutes to reach the temple.