Thursday, July 12, 2012

Irumbanadu Sundararaja Perumal Temple

Chola Period Temple is rich in inscriptions
In centuries gone by, the Lord here was referred to as the ‘Handsome Vinnagara Lord of Thiru Mizhalai Nadu’

Located 10kms West of Avudayar Koil in the Pudukottai District is an ancient over 900years old chola period Sundararaja Perumal temple in Irumbanadu. This is one of the three ancient Sundararaja Perumal temples in this region, the others being the ones at Theeyathur and Ponbethi.

Amidst  lush green fields all along the 10km drive from Avudayar Koil and away from the noise of a town life, this unspoilt and simple temple has a tall and handsome Sundararaja Perumal with a conch and chakra with his consorts Sri and Bhoo Devi by his side providing darshan in an East Facing Standing posture. The Moolavar idol is a Varnakala moorthy and hence there is no Thirumanjana for the Moolavar.

Chola Period Temple

Rich in inscriptions dating back to the Chola period, the temple with its granite construction still retains its solidity and strength of construction. The temple is under the administration of ASI. The temple has 20acres of land take care of by the ASI.

Going by the inscriptions, the idol of the Moolavar as well as the architecture, the Sundararaja Perumal temple here in Irumbanadu is believed to have been built in the later Chola period, possibly in the 12th Century AD.

The Name

As per the inscriptions, this place was referred to as Thiru Mizhalai Nadu and the perumal at this temple was known by the name of ‘The Handsome Vinnagara Lord of Thiru Mizhalai Nadu’.

On the Northern side of the Prakara are inscriptions dating back to early 13th CenturyAD and to the rule of Kulothunga Chola while on the Southern side are inscriptions dating back to the 2nd half of the 13th Century to the rule of Sadayavarma Veera Pandyan. 

There are also several exquisite sculptures on the pillars in the Maha Mandapa inside the temple. 

Similar to Azhagar Koil

An interesting feature at this temple is the presence of 18steps Karuppana Swamy Sannidhi, bringing to the devotees memories of the Azhagar Koil Divya Desam which is renowned for the 18step Karuppanaswamy as the Security guard at the Eastern Entrance.

Dedicated Bhattar
Despite not having a big devotee crowd to serve every day, the well read Padmanabha Bhattar, who has been here at the temple for many decades now and whose family has been taking care of the pooja at the temple for several generations, performs one time pooja every morning at the temple before 9am.

Padmanabha Bhattar has also taken the effort to provide inputs in Tamil on the inscriptions found at this temple in a book that also contains several religious poems in praise of Lord Vishnu.

Vaikunta Ekadesi- Opening of Swarga Vasal
Garuda Seva on the Vaikunta Ekadesi night is celebrated in a grand manner
Puratasi Saturdays are special at this temple and attracts devotees from the 10villages surrounding this temple

Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Sundararaja Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar           : Sundaravalli Thaayar
Temple Time   : 7am-10am (Bhattar Stays next to the temple. Hence please call  in advance)
Contact             : Padmanabha Bhattar@ 99760 50185

How to reach
The temple is about 60kms from Pudukottai off the Avudayar Koil –Embal route. Buses ply every 15mts between Pudukottai and Aranthangi (35kms). From Aranthangi, take a bus to Avudayar Koil (about 15kms).

From Avudayar Koil, bus every 1 to 1 1/2hours to Irumbanadu.There are no autos available at Avudayar Koil.
Taxi from Avudayar Koil to Irumbanadu and back will cost Rs. 250/- 

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