Friday, February 10, 2012

Jagannatha Perumal temple Thirumazhisai

Birth Place of Thirumazhisai Azhvaar

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar displays his Third Eye at this temple

Located 28kms from Madras on the Poonamallee - Thiruvallur-Thirupathi Highway is the Madhyama Jagannatha Perumal temple in Thirumazhisai, the birth place of Thirumazhisai Azhvaar, where Jagannatha Perumal is seen in a sitting posture along with Rukmini and Satyabhama. The temple is also referred to as the Thirumazhisai Azhvaar temple.

The temple that dates back to the Dwapara Yuga, finds reference in the Brahmanda Purana as ‘Mageesara Kshetram’. The temple’s prominence can be seen from the significant 1000year old inscriptions that one finds inside the temple.

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar
Born to Bhargava Rishi and Kanakangi in the Tamil Calendar month of Thai (Magam star), Thirumazhisai Azhvaar had a disfigured body at birth. Hence, his parents threw him into a Bamboo pit at Thirumazhisai (which is now a Mandapa to the west of the temple complex)

A childless couple - Thiruvaalan and Bangaya Selvi- picked him up and brought him up with love and care. The presence of Thirumazhisai Azhvaar brought back youth to the couple who then had a son by name Kanikannan.

Kanikannan became Thirumazhisai Azhvaar’s disciple and served under him. Thirumazhisai Azhvaar’s favourite lord was Sonna Vannam Seitha Perumal of Thiruvekka in Kanchipuram. For years, he stayed at Thiruvekka and undertook service there.

Thirumazhisai Azhvaaar and Thiruvekka Lord
Once, a Pallava King, of Kanchi, ordered Kanikannan out of the kingdom for failing to sing praise of him. When Thirumazhisai Azhvaar heard this, he too followed suit. Not just him, he asked Thiruvekka Lord to also accompany him. To the shock of everyone, the Lord joined Thirumazhisai Azhvaar and Kanikannan out of the kingdom plunging the whole place into darkness.

Realising his folly, the king apologised and requested them to return to Kanchi.

As a mark of having left his abode and having returned subsequently, the Thiruvekka Lord changed his posture and slept in the opposite direction. As the Lord acceded to the request of Thirumazhisai Azhvaar to accompany him out of the kingdom, the Lord of Thiruvekka Divya Desam came to be called ‘Sonna Vannam Seitha Perumal’.

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar also visited Thiru Kudanthai and sung praise of Lord Aaravamuthan. Seeing the sleeping posture of the Lord, a curious ThiruMazhisai Azhvaar questioned if the Lord’s tiredness was the reason for him to be lying down in his sleeping posture and if he would not raise and provide him darshan.

After hearing this, it is believed that the Lord slightly raised his posture to greet the Azhvaar. Feeling the guilt of having caused strain on the Lord, Thirumazhisai Azhvaar asked him to remain as is. And the Lord remained so ever after. To this day, one can see the Lord in a slightly ‘raised reclining’ posture (Uthaana Sayanam).

நடந்த கால்கள் நொந்ததோ நடுங்க ஞாலம் ஏனமாய்
கிடந்த வாறு  எழுந்திருந்து பேசு வாழி கேசனே

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar sung over 200verses of praise comprised in Naanmugan Thiruvanthaathi and Thiruchandha Viruththam.

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar spent his final years at Thiru Kudanthai and attained moksham there.

Thirumazhisai- The sacred town

Once when the entire Bhoologam was placed on one side of the weighing machine and Thirumazhisai on the other, they found that Thirumazhisai was heavier by one gram indicating the greatness of this sacred town.

At around the same time, Brigu Maharishi and Markandeya Rishi were invoking the blessings of Vishnu to provide them with a darshan of Madhyama Jagannathan. They were asked to go and undertake penance at Thirumazhisai, a place that is said to be equivalent to visiting two Divya Desams.

Pleased with their prayers, Madhyama Jagannatha Perumal provided the two rishis with darshan here at Thirumazhisai. To mark this event, one finds both the rishis inside the sanctum.

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar – Display of the Third Eye at this temple
To the left of the Jagannatha Perumal Sannidhi is the Thirumazhisai Azhvaar Sannidhi facing South. A special feature of the moolavar deity is that he is seen with a third eye.

The story goes that Thirumazhisai Azhvaar was undertaking yogic penance at this place. Shiva and Parvathi, who were flying over this place were pleased with his penance and landed here at Thirumazhisai. When asked for a boon, Thirumazhisai Azhvaar asked for Mukthi only to be rejected as only Vishnu had the power to provide Moksham.

He then asked for small thread that could keep rolling into the needle that he was using to stitch his torn clothes. Fuming with anger at this request, Shiva opened his third eye. Thirumazhisai Azhvaar invoked the blessings of Lord Narayana and immediately a third eye emerged for Thirumazhisai as well from the toe of his right leg with water rolling out to cool the fire raging from Shiva’s third eye.

Pleased with the devotion of Thirumazhisai Azhvaar, Shiva presented him the title of ‘Bhakti Saaran’.


Inscriptions indicate there was extensive renovation at this temple between 12th and 15th Century AD during the rule of Kulothunga Chola and Kopperunsinga among other rulers.

This place was referred to as Thirumazhisai Chaturvedi Mangalam as per the 12th and 13th Century inscriptions, In the 13th Century AD, this place was referred to as Thirumazhisai Agaram

Temple Tank

There is a huge temple tank on the Eastern side of the temple that is currently brimming with water.

10day Brahmotsavam in Aani
10 day Thirumazhisai Azhvaar Avatara Utsavam in Thai
3day Pavitrotsavam in Avani
3day Theppotsavam in Maasi

Quick Facts

Moolavar : Madhyama Jagannatha Perumal East Facing Sitting posture
Goddess : Thirumangai Valli ( separate sannidhi)
Thirumazhisai Azhvaar’s compositions: Naanmugan Thiruvanthaathi and Thiruchandha Viruththam
Temple Time : 730am-12noon and 430pm-830pm
Contact : Thiruvikrama Bhattar @ 96001 81449

How to reach:
Thirumazhisai Jagannathan Perumal temple is located about 5kms from Poonamallee on the Thiruvallur-Tirupathi Highway. Buses ply every 30minutes from Parrys ( 253,54B) /Koyambedu (153) /TNagar ( 597) /Tambaram (596)


Conceptual Persistence said...

Excellent report of this temple. Got few details from you that I did not gather from my visit. Is the Azhwar sannidhi north facing ?

PRabhu S said...

Thank You.

Azhvaar Sannidhi is facing South.


Conceptual Persistence said...

Surely its not a coincidence that Chakrathazhawar idol also has a third eye ?
That confirms the fact that Thirumazhisai is the incarnation of Sudarshana chakra.

Conceptual Persistence said...

If Moolavar is east facing then you say Azhavaar is to his left then Azhavaar sannidhi has to be north facing right ?

PRabhu S said...

Moolavar Sannidhi is in the West, facing East.

Thirumazhisai Azhvaar Sannidhi is to Jagannatha Perumal's left i.e North and is seen facing South.