Thirumangai Azhvaar calls Nandipura Vinnagaram ( Nathan Koil) as the best city among Divya Desams
'மண்ணில் இது போல நகர் இல்லை' - Thirumangai Azhvaar Periya Thirumozhi
It is now on the outskirts of Kumbakonam with limited public transport access. Mini buses are few and infrequent. It is managed by the centuries old Vanamamalai Mutt but not much attention is paid to the temple by the renowned Mutt.One would have to make many enquiries to find this location from the heart of Kumbakonam. But it wasn't always so for Thirumangai Azhvaar in his Periya Thirumozhi hails Nandipura Vinnagaram ( Nathan Koil) as the best city among Divya Desams.
It is the only Divya Desam to be named after Lord Shiva’s Vahana (Nandi).
It is also the only set of verses in the Nalayira Divya Prabhandham where an Azhvaar has dedicated exclusively to Nandi naming him in every single verse and referring to this temple as one where the Lord resides in the place of ‘Nandi’ taking one back to the story of the liberation here of Nandi’s curse and his request for this place to be named after him.
Huge Mango Groves at Nathan Koil
மைய வரி வண்டு மது உண்டு
கிளையோடு மலர் கிண்டி
அதன்மேல் நைவளம் நவிற்று
வம்பு மலர்கின்ற பொழில் பைம் பொன்
வரு தும்பி மணி கங்குல் வயல் சூழ்
Thirumangai Azhvaar refers to Nandipura Vinnagaram as a temple that is surrounded by groves full of bees where one is able to smell the fragrance of flowers all the time. He says that the mango groves here were so huge and growing that one got the feeling that it would one day touch the clouds in the sky.
Amidst these mango groves, he says that peacocks and cuckoos played around, singing and dancing all the time.
கொம்பு குதி கொண்டு குயில் கூவ
மயில் ஆலும் எழில் ஆர் புறவ
He describes these groves as being bright and beautiful that brought positive energy to the devotees who visited Lord Jagannathan here at this temple.
சிறை கொள் மயில் குயில் பயில
மலர்கள் உக அலி முரல
அடிகொல் நெடு மா நறைசெய் பொழில்
Pallava King's Vists to Nathan Koil
He also makes a mention of the great Pallava King Nandivarma visiting this temple and offering his sincere prayers seeking victory in his battles.
In those times, fresh flowers were offered to the Lord every morning from the huge garden around the temple.
மந்த முழவு ஓசை மழை ஆகா எழு கார்
மயில்கள் ஆடு பொழில் சூழ்
Festivals at Nandipura Vinnagaram were celebrated in a grand manner a 1000 years ago. Thirumangai Azhvaar says that the drum beats were so loud and celebratory that it sounded like thick thunderous monsoon clouds coming together.
During such festive times, peacocks happily danced around to the beating of the drums creating happiness among the devotees who thronged in big numbers to seek the blessings of the Lord .
Best City among Divya Desams
Thirumangai Azhvaar is so pleased with the Lord of Nandipura Vinnagaram that he says that one cannot find a better city to worship the Lord than the one here.
He concludes with a positive message for devotees. He says that when floods strike this place and create a deluge, the sincere devotees who had carried the Lord’s wishes and worked for the well being of everyone will be protected and well taken care of during such emergencies.