Friday, November 11, 2011

Mudhal Azhvaar Utsavam Thiru Kovilur

In celebration of the contribution of the first three Azhvaars to the creation of Divya Prabhandham verses at Thiru Kovilur, a five day Mudhal Azhvaar Utsavam took place here last week.

On the final morning of the Utsavam on the occasion of Pey Azhvaar’s birthday (Saturday November 5), the three Azhvaars were provided special - once in a year- honours by Ulagalandha Perumal. Each of them accepted the Lord’s garland and the Parivattam (sacred turban linen) of the Lord.

This was followed by the loud recital of the very first set of verses of the Divya Prabandham composed by the three Azhvaars.

After special Thirumanjana of the Mudhal Azhvaars at the Pandya Mandapa, a beautifully decorated Ulagalanda Perumal came out on a Sesha Vahana accompanied by the three Azhvaars to provide darshan to the devotees (With heavy rains in the evening, Ulagalanda Perumal and the three Azhvaars stayed within the temple complex and did not go around the four Mada Streets as was the plan).

Contribution of Mudhal Azhvaars

‘ThiruKanden Ponmeni Kanden’ is how an excited Pey Azhvaar described the moment of his happiness after darshan of Ulagalandha Perumal on one dark stormy night here in Aippasi at Mrugandu Rishi’s Ashram in Thiru Kovilur.

The story goes that the first three of the Azhvaars- Poigai Azhvaar, Bhoothath Azhvaar and Pey Azhvaar (referred to as Mudhal Azhvaars) - came to Thiru Kovilur on that rainy night. Poigai Azhvaar of Kanchipuram who reached first, sought refuge for the night at the ashram of Mrugandu Rishi who agreed to allow him in on the condition that there was place for just one person to sleep and that he was welcome to sleep there for the night.

Bhoothath Azhvaar, from Thiru Kadal Mallai (Mahabalipuram), followed shortly. He was welcomed with the message that there is place for one to sleep and two to sit and brought him inside.

PeyAzhvaar, from Thiru Mayilai (Mylapore), who was the last to reach the ashram, was told that there is place for one to sleep, two to sit and three to stand. The three of them stood there through the night sharing their experiences.

A little later, Mudhal Azhvaars felt the presence of a fourth person and with space only for three to stand, they felt uncomfortable. Through their special vision, they realised that this was Ulagalantha Perumal of Thiru Kovilur.

Delighted at seeing the Lord, Poigai Azhvaar sang 100verses (Mudhal Thiruvanthathi) beginning with ‘Vaiyan Thagaliya Vaarkadaley” referring to the Universe as the lamp and the Ocean as the oil, Bhoothath Azhvaar followed this with 100 verses beginning with ‘Anbey Thagaliye’ (Second Thiruvanthathi) while Pey Azhvaar showered another 100verses (Third Thiruvanthathi) of praise.

Thus, it was here at Thiru Kovilur that the first verses of Divya Prabhandham were composed and hence this place is credited as being the temple of origin of the sacred 4000verses.

The ashram where the three Azhvaars stayed that rainy night is where one today finds the sanctum.

For this special contribution, all the three Azhvaars find a place inside the sanctum next to the gigantic Lord Trivikrama who measures 24 ft in height and is seen in a grand standing posture with his right leg raised 90 degrees to his right.

Vamana Avatara displayed again
Pleased with the prayers of Mrugandu Rishi but wanting to test him more, Lord Vishnu visited his ashram disguised as an old hungry Brahmin. With no food at the ashram, the rishi’s wife sought help from the Lord. Happy with their commitment of not letting go a hungry Brahmin, the Lord filled the vessels with food, much to the surprise of the Rishi. When the happy couple came out to offer food to the Brahmin, they found Lord Vishnu standing there displaying his full form –with conch and chakra. Delighted at this sight, the Rishi requested the Lord to display his Vamana Avatara at this place and to stay put at Thiru Kovilur.

Pancha Krishnaranya Kshetram
Thiru Kovilur is one of the sacred Pancha Krishnaranya Kshetrams, the others being Thiru Kannangudi, Thiru Kannamangai, Thiru Kannapuram and Kapisthalam.

Quick Facts

Deity : Trivikrama (Ulagalandha Perumal) East facing standing posture
Goddess : Poongoval Nachiyar
Utsavar : Dehlisha (Idai Kazhi Aayanar) Perumal
Temple Time : 630am-12noon and 430pm-8pm
Contact : 98407 46422 / 90032 97798

How to reach Thiru Kovilur

Ulagalanda Perumal Divya Desam in Thiru Kovilur is located about 40kms West of Villipuram on the banks of Pennai River. Direct buses ply between Chennai Koyambedu bus terminus and Thiru Kovilur temple (will take 5hours). One can also take a train from Chennai Egmore to Villupuram, from where Thiru Kovilur is about 45minutes by bus.

While the broad gauge conversion from Villupuram to Thiru Vannamalai has been completed, the operation of the rail service has not resumed.

Once this happens, one will be able to go by train to Thiru Kovilur from Chennai

A Part of this story featured today in The Hindu


Anonymous said...

Dear sir,
thanks for thisarticle and the pictures.

Map enthusiast said...

Thanks for the coverage.

Just one additional bit of info. The Krishna sannidhi (facing west) as soon as we enter is the oldest sannidhi in the temple. He is a saligrama moorthy. The name Kovalur of the divya desam is derived from Gopalan written as Govalan in Tamil and hence is classified as Pancha Krishna Kshetram along with Thirukkannapuram, Kannamangai, Kannangudi and Kapisthalam.

Presence of Vana Durga just adjacent to Perumal sanndihi is another unique point. sung by thirumangai azhwar in pasuram 2058.

In Ramanuja Nootrandhadi the thayar is referred to as Kovalur Maamalaral thannado maayanai kandamai. This is a ref to Peiyazhwar's Moondram Thriuvandhadhi which starts with Thirukkanden Ponmeni Kanden.

PRabhu S said...

Thank You for the kind words.