Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sivaganga Sundararaja Perumal Temple

The ancient over 600years old temple is home to the Lords of Two Divya Desams in the Pandya Region - Sundararaja Perumal of Azhagar Koil and Sowmya Narayana Perumal of Thiru Koshtiyur

Located in the heart of Sivaganga is the 14th Century AD Pandya Period over 600years old temple and a one of its kind Abhimana Sthalam that is dedicated to two Divya Desam Lords – Sundararaja Perumal of Azhagar Koil and Sowmya Narayana Perumal of Thiru Koshtiyur and to both the Pancharatna and Vaikanasa forms of worship.

Thanking Gesture to Azhagar
Azhagar of Thirumaliruncholai was the Kula Deivam for many of the Pandya kings. They donated liberally for many of the utsavams of Lord Azhagar. They also build mandapas and rest houses at various places during Azhagar’s long processions.

King Jatavarma Sundara Pandya went on a hunting expedition in handsome princely attire with a majestic crown, a bell on his hip and anklets around his legs. With thieves targeting him, he invoked the blessings of Azhagar. Pleased with his devotion, the Lord appeared in the form of a hunter and assisted him in defeating the opponents.

In a thanking gesture for Azhagar, the king built a temple here at Sivaganga for Sundararaja Perumal so the Lord could answer the prayers of other devotees like him.  

The Name
With the temple having been built by a king who had darshan of Lord Sundararaja Perumal as a hunter, the Lord at this temple is also referred to as Vettai Aadum Perumal.

Similar to the Thiru Maliruncholai temple, this temple complex too has a granite structure under the Somachandra Vimanam. Sethupathi kings later built the front mandapa. Pandya Kings also started festivals here at this temple by donating liberally in the form of gold and gifting of villages. Agraharams were also built. Two big bells were also donated.

Only after Sundararaja Perumal was presented with food in the morning and evening, did the Pandya kings have food such was  their devotion for the Lord of Sivaganga.

It was also the practice that after the big bell at Thiru Koshtiyur Sowmya Narayana Perumal, the temple bell rang here at Sundararaja Perumal temple in Sivaganga.

Sowmya Narayana Perumal at Sivaganga

At the end of each renovation of the temple complex, Sowmya Narayana Perumal of Thiru Koshtiyur came here on a Palanquin and in his presence, Samprokshanam was performed. After he went back to Thiru Koshtiyur and missing the presence of the beautiful Sowmya Narayana Perumal, a Sannidhi was erected for him in memory of his trips from Thiru Koshtiyur.   
The temple complex has a strong foundation with the walls being of old granite structure. Around the prakara, one finds exquisite sculptures on the North and South sides. There are also inscriptions inside the temple that are said to date back at least 500years.
There are four Sangams- Brahmin, Chettiyar, Nayudu and Yadava- who organise Utsavams here at the temple. 
Quick Facts
Moolavar: Sundararaja Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Moolavar: Sowmya Narayana Perumal East Facing Standing Posture
Time       : 6am-11am and 5pm-830pm
Contact   : Srinivasa Bhattar @ 98437 51030

How to reach
Direct trains every evening/night to Sivaganga from Madras. Sivaganga is about 40kms North East of Madurai. Buses every 10minutes from Mattuthavani bus stand in Madurai. The temple is about 1km North West of the Sivaganga old bus stand.

Taxi from Madurai and back will cost around Rs.500.

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