Monday, January 29, 2018

Mangai Madam Thiru Mangai Azhvaar Temple

A young Bhattar revives Thiru Mangai Azhvaar's historical location in Mangai Madam
The High Flying NextGen Bhattar is all set to take over the 'dynamic bhattar' tag in the Nangur region from Madhavan Bhattar of Annan Perumal Koil
Balaji Bhattar was just 20 years old when he took up Mangai Madam Veera Narasimha temple, one of the Pancha Narasimha temples of Thiru Nangur and a location where Thiru Mangai Azhvaar had performed the Thathiyeeraadhanai for 1008 Vaishnavites as per the condition laid by his beloved Kumuduvalli Nachiyar of Annan Perumal Koil.

This location was also home to the first step in the transformation of Mangai Mannan from a king to a Saint Poet. Historically, this has been a temple where Thirumangai Azhvaar makes an annual trip from Thirunagari on the No Moon Day in Thai ( This trip is now part of the 124 year old Thai 11 Garuda Sevai Utsavam and Thiru Mangai Azhvaar begins his trip from Thirunagari by visiting Thiru Kuraiyalur (2 kms from here) and Mangai Madam before making his way to Thiru Nangur.

At the time it had been in a completely dilapidated state with broken floors and falling roof.  The outer walls had been completely damaged. Nothing seemed right at this legendary location that had led Thiru Mangai Azhvaar to fulfilling his promise and to subsequently getting married to Kumudavalli. Decades of uncared existence had brought it to a stage of going into oblivion. And when the young Balaji Bhattar came back after completing his Vedic and Agama initiation from the renowned Lakshmana Dikshithar of Parthan Palli Divya Desam (, a few kms from here, he along with Thiru Koshtiyur Madhavan began the process of resurrecting the temple from ground up.

When Thiru Koshtiyur Madhavan visited the Divya Desams in Thiru Nangur in the 1990s, he was saddened to find the temple in tatters. He helped reconstruct almost the entire temple in 2000-01. In a flat period of 123 days the entire reconstruction work was completed by Madhavan and his team.
Balaji Bhattar of Mangai Madam, who had his schooling locally in Nangur had come to Mylapore, Madras as a young boy to learn the Vedas but his real initiation into the agamas came from Lakshmana Dikshithar. He then took over full charge of the temple and has in the last 17 years revived a number of the historical Utsavams including the Brahmotsavam. Indications are that there was once a big chariot and the chariot went through the four streets of Mangai Madam.

The real NextGen Bhattar in the Thiru Nangur region
He is one Bhattar in the Thiru Nangur region who is best qualified to take on the ‘dynamic bhattar’ mantle that has been held by Madhavan Bhattar of Annan Perumal Koil ( At a young age, he has grasped the model of capturing the devotee’s attention inside temple and getting them interested in temple activities.

Revival of Utsavams
Since the restoration of the temple in 2001, he has brought it back to life reviving the historical utsavams including the Brahmotsavam in Aadi. He has also revived the Pavitrotsavam and Narasimha Jayanthi Utsavams. Thirumangai Azhvaar's annual trip from Thirungari to Thiru Kuraiyalur and Mangai Madam are now grand trips.
Offers from Thiru Nangur
Balaji Bhattar is also in demand from the Thiru Nangur temples to support them in alankaram and related sacred activities at those Divya Desams especially during the big utsavams there. There hasve been feelers sent to him to check his interest on shifting into one of the Divya Desams in Thiru Nangur into a full fledged role. 

But Mangai Madam has always been something close to Balaji Bhattar's heart for he has been there from the time he was a young boy and had seen the process of dilapidation with his own eyes through the 1990s. And it had been his presence that has helped its survival and the transformation one is seeing currently in the activities at the temple. 

At the moment, his mind is all focused on Lord Veera Narasimha at Mangai Madam and to make this  temple an integral part of a devotee's Nangur Divya Desam trip.  Already there are devotees making their way to the temple from distant corners of the world.

In a matter of a decade and a half, Balaji Bhattar has showcased to the archaka community at large that with commitment and devotion to the Lord, one can succeed even from the remotest part of the state and that the future is not so bleak for the Bhattars if the starting point of their Kainkaryam is devotion to the Lord. 

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