Thiruvattar Sri Adikesava Perumal Temple is one of the 108 Srivaishnava Divya desam is located 6 km north-east of Marthandam and 30 km north-west of Nagercoil (in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu). The temple is surrounded on three sides by rivers (Kothai,Parali and Thamirabarani).
Paraliyar river takes a turn in this place and it is called vattaru , and as the LORD resides here the place came to be known as Thiruvattaru.
This Temple is older than Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram. The temple structure is similar to that of Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple.
An interesting divinepastime of LORD is remembered by the locals here during Lords darshan. In the later half of 17th century ,kanyakumari and trivandrum( Venadu) was ruled by a queen . Due to some domestic disturbances ( kalippan kulam incident) all her five sons died due to some calamity .
The queen who was shattered left to Trivandrum and paid no attention to the kingdom. Looking at the capital without a ruler , the army chieftan under the Moghul emperor was keen to annexue the kingdom.
He reached Manakadu near to Trivandrum and camped along with his army .Realising the danger, the queen approached Raja Kerala Verma for assistance being her relative . The King out of his rajadharma commanded his army to proceed to drive away the invaders . This made them approach Thiruvattar which was on a higher platform that had many hills and shrubs .The enemy camp were hiding there and killing many of the locals .A fierce battle took place amongst them . The enemy camp were very aggressive . The King was about to loose the battle .
Disappointed with his valour , looking at the huge temple above him , he went walking up towards the temple and surrendered to Lord Adhi Kesava Perumal with tears and prayed LORD to take control of the situation .
Out of his deep love he sang a self composed song known as Pada Sankirthana /Adhikesavasthavam .
Suddenly from the temple sanatorium a swarm of wasps started coming continuously and went straight to the battle field . They started stinging all the enemy soldiers and the chieftan. Looking at the huge number of wasps , the army was taken back . The frightened horses ran helter shelter throwing the chief and the soldiers from their backs killing them on the rocks .
The rudderless army lost the battle .Many were imprisoned .All the 300 horses were captured and a cavalary unit was made .
The kings glorification “Adhikesvasthavam” is recited even today during Deepa aradhanai.
The style and the architechture of this temple is taken as the sample to construct the Sri Padmanabha Swamy Temple. The deities of Lord Adikesava Perumal and Lord Padmanabha are consecrated in such a way that they face each other. Lord is lying on his snake couch and one has to have darshan through three doors.
There is another Thiru Allah mandapam within the temple and is linked with another wonderful episode. It is told that a Muslim chieftans wife was suffering from a unknown disease . The Chieftan prayed Lord to save her from the chronic disease . As she was recovered miraculously , he decided to honour the Lord with a 21 day feast . The unique tradition is still followed .
A 21-day Thiru Allah puja takes place even today. It is believed Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited this place and found the ancient scripture of Brahma-Samhita here.
The lord relaxes on his snake couch and has to be viewed through three doors. Parama Shivan also gives darshan near the Lord Adikesava Perumal inside the sannidhi.
The moolavar or Main deity God here is Lord Adi kesava perumal and goddess is Sri Maragathavalli.The theertham is vattaru river . The thirumeni or body of the Lord is so huge that He gives darshan through three doors in the sannidhi. The thirumeni of the Lord is said to be made up of almost 16008 salagraama silas . Due to this, there is no abhishekam (ritual bathing) for the Lord at this Temple. The main deity here has a very serene expression on his divine face, which gets accentuated in the light of the ghee lamps. The right hand of the Lord is held is a yoga mudra, while the left hangs down freely.
There is a huge stone platform (18 feet by 18 feet by 3 feet) in front of the sanctum sanctorum. There are no electric lights inside the sanctum, and it is an out-of-the-world experience to behold the Lord in the light of ghee and oil lamps. There is a Siva Linga at the feet of the Lord. Sri devi and bhu devi thayars are seated in the centre in front of Perumal
A sage by the name of kataleya maharishi is seen near to Perumal. The sanctum is constructed in such a manner that, on few auspicious days, the sun rays fall directly on the lotus feet (thirumeni) of the Lord.
The darashanam differences in both the temples are as follows
Perumal ( Lord ) in Bhujanga sayanam Facing east
Parama Shiva Seen near Perumal’s Thirumugam ( face)
Lord Brahma Emerging from Lord’s Thirunaabhi
Dwajasthambams Golden in front of Padmanabha swamy silver in front of Krishna’s sannidhi
Ootakal mandapam measurement of stone in front of garbagriham wherepiligrims stand for darshan 20 X 20-31/2 “ thick sculptures Garuda Hanuman Dwarapalakas
Aaratu festival accompanied by Maharaja of Travancore on Thiruvonam day
AT THIRUVATTARU DARASHINAM :
Perumal in Bhujanga sayanam Facing west
ParamaShiva Seen Near Perumal’s Thiruvadi ( lotus feet )
Lord Brahma Not seen
Dwajasthambams Only one in front of Kesava Perumal
Ootakal mandapam measurement of stone in front of garbagriham wherepiligrims stand for darshan 18 X 25- 3 feetthick
sculptures Lakshmana Indrajit Pathanjalietc
Aaratu festival accompanied by King’s representatives carrying royal insignia the sword Thiruvonam day Carpenter makes a bow leaves it in front of the sannidhi without looking back and next day it is presented to the king.