The oldest of the Vaishnavaite temples in South ( Older than Srirangam , the place where the famous verse ……Om Apavitrah Pavitro Vaa Sarva-Avasthaam Gato-Aa pi Vaa | Yah Smaret-Punddareekaakssham Sa Baahya-Abhyantarah Shucih” had its origin…. and the darshan of SUPREME LORD that qualifies one to get Moksham….

 

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This Divyadesam is located at about 20 km north of Trichirappalli, enroute to Thuraiyur  and situated in a  14 acre  site and resembles like an Old fort with strong compound walls  The temple  is older than Srirangam  and  built   ahead of LORD  Rama’s  avataram . Hence the name Aadhi Vellarai.   Tiruvellarai  in tamil means white rock and this  grand temple is situated on a white granite hill which is almost 90 to  100 feet high .

Lord   Pundareekaksha Perumal. ( LORD with Lotus Shaped eyes) graces the devotees with abundant mercy .   This temple is surrounded by a 36 feet high wall and resembles almost like a  fort . The second tower entrance  leads us inside the temple  which has  huge sculptures on the wall  painted . The Bali peetam here is a huge one  which has special significance . The third tower leads us into the inner sanctum  of the temple.

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There are two  entrances dwaras (doors) leading to this sanctum sanatorium  . One is called as Dakshinayana dwaram and the other is Uttarayana dwaram. The dakshinaya dwaram remains open from Aadi to Marghazi ( August to Jan Mid)  and the other door remains open from ( Mid January- July) Thai -Aani. This is in accordance with the movement of the Sun’s path. Apart from Utharayana and Dakshinayana Gates, the sanctum sanctorum has one more entrance called ‘Naazhi Ketta Vaayil’ where it is believed that the Lord was intercepted and questioned by  goddess , Mahalakshmi  upon his returning home later, after his sojourn.

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The main deity  LORD PUNDARIKAKSHA  has Sun and Moon on either side   offering their services . Garuda and Adisesha ( The serpent God in a human form, as the main deity is in a standing posture) are also near the main deity. Markendeya Maharshi and Boodevi are seated  near  LORD’S lotus  feet and is believed to have prayed here at this place.

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As per  Scriptures , this  temple was built by the Emperor Sibi .  This great Emperor Shibi, with his vast army  once came  to this place  to destroy the asuras  and protect the people. On their way to this place , a  huge white swine appeared  . The army with all its might  chased the animal . On chasing  the animal around the white  hill they saw the animal disappear near to an ant hill.  The King  saw sage Markandeya performing penance there.  The King reached his ashram and paid obeisances .
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The sage told the emperor that  Lord had  indicated   before them  through  Varaha  near the ant hill  to  bestow  darshan to all  The sage advised the emperor to perform abhishek to the ant-hill  nearby  with milk and submit with all devotion. .  To the delight of all the devotees , Lord Sriman  Narayana  appeared giving  darshan to all till now since then.
 
The Pallava Kings and Hoysala kings have contributed a lot in the reconstruction of the temple.
 

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The temple maintains beautiful garden outside the prakaram  and it is famous for its Swastika shaped tank on the Northern side of the temple.The  shape  seems is to give privacy for people, while having bath.  There are many inscriptions in the temple and it also mentions about this unique pond which was built by one feudal Lord under Pallava kings.  The temple precincts are kept neat and clean.Outside  the prakaram  we can have darshan of  Thayar Senkamala Valli , and Chakra Thazhwar .


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 During the festivals, after gracing the devotees  around the town , Perumal has to account for his time to his consort by informing the time he started, the places he visited etc., at this gate in order to gain entry into the temple. To seek LORDS darshan one has to climb 18 Steps at the entrance .

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At the very entrance of this temple  there  are  18 steps reminding us  of the 18 chapters of  Srimad Bhagvat Gita given to us by   LORD Pundareekakshan.

Proceeding further  we  come  across 4 steps that are  4 Vedas and later one reaches the Bali Peetam. It is believed that one’s wishes submitted to the Perumal at the Balipeetam with the turmeric kappu  are automatically taken care by Him. Abhishekam is done to the Bali Peetam only .   From here, we  enter  the Perumal sannidhi by ascending 5 steps  further  representing the PanchaBhoothams (Fire, Water, Space, Air and Earth) and  slowly crossing the Naazhi Kettaan Vasal. Now we see   2  entrances  Dakshinaayana Gate and Utharaayana Gate which are alternately opened for devotees  during the Dakshinayana/ Utharayana  six month periods. 

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As One climbs further 8 steps  we are reminded   of Ashtaakshara mantra   and  further   we move ahead  another  24 steps reminding  us  of Gayathri Mantram to arrive at the sanctum sanctorum,where  we have divya darishnam of our LORD  Senthaamarai Kannan (Pundareekaakshan)  along  with His consort Pankajacchelvi Naacchiyaar.

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 Uyakkondar was foremost disciple to  ” Swami Nathamuni ” . Uyyakkondar  was  called as  Pundareekaakshar by his parents . Swamy Uyyakondar   appeared  in Tiru vellarai the famous Srivaishnava Divya desam  .  It is believed that  Swamy Pundarikakshar  parents had migrated from Madhyapradesh, and settled at Tiru vellarai, performing  devotional services  to Lord  Sri Pundareekaaksha Perumal at this divyadesam.  Swamy Uyakkondar had five prominent  disciples , of whom Manarkal nambi (also known as Rama mishra) was the most popular and important to our  Srivaishnava  school .  Swamy Uyyakondar taught the  disciples  Azhwars’  Naalayiram Divya Prabandam’ .This rock is called as ‘Uyyakkondaan Malai’ where Swamy taught his disciples .

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  After the  demise of  Swamy Uyakkondar’s wife,  the humble disciple swami Ramamishra took charge of the household chores at  his  Acharyars Uyakkondar’s house. He also took care of Uyakkondar’s young daughters like a dutiful mother . One day, when the children  were returing from daily bath at a nearby pond, the girls had to walk past a muddy stream and were hesitating to cross it. Rama mishra seeing their  confusion fell across the stream and asked the girls to use his back as a bridge. Seeing the foot marks on his disciples back, after their return, Uyakkondar  understood the humility of his disciple . Pleased , Swamy  Uyakkondar titled him Manarkal Nambi and renamed his birth place as Manarkal.

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Swamy Nathamuni, while  collecting  the Nalayiram  Divya Prabhantham from  our Nammalvar after the recitation of Kanninum siruthambu pasuram , was also presented with  a deity  of  Swamy Ramanujar                    ( Bhavishya Acharyar ) instructing him to handover the deity  to  the arriving Acharya who will be appearing shortly.

When Nathamuni was about to depart ,  he passed on the deity  to Uyakkondar  for worship and  then  Uyyakondar handed over the deity to  Swamy Manarkal nambi which finally was handed over to  Sri Yamanucharya and worshipped .

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Once as per the directions of his Acharyar Swamy  Natha Muni,  Pundarikakshar  escorted  his  mother (Acharyars wife ) to her parent’s home.  The womenfolk known as Vangipurathu Aachis made him sit in an corridor  and  fed him  with  stale remnants of food left over. Pundarikakshar partook the same with relish as it was food offered to him by the Parijanas ( those dear to) of his Acharya.  On his return, on  he felt greatly elated and  narrated the incident to his Acharya. The Acharya was overwhelmed and exclaimed ” Nammai Uyyak Kondeero?”-Oh  You came to redeem me?”. From then on, he came to be known as Uyyak Kondaar.

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It is  believed that  all  of us must visit this temple at least once in  our lifetime in order to be eligible  for  Moksham .

Hence, there is  a  tradition at the temple to call ‘Thiruvellarai Kandeero- Thiruvellarai Kanden Aiyya’ (the devotees informing the Lord that they have seen Thiruvellarai Perumal  and that they are now ready/eligible for Moksham), a voice that is said to echo to the Lord up there. 

Swamy Ramanujar spent a few months  in this divyadesam   after the unfortunate incident   at Srirangam , where some person wanted to poison him..

Another  most respected Acharyar  was Swamy   Vishnuchithar’s   who appeared in this divya desam  He  served Swamy Ramanuja at this place . A tank called Udayavar kulam  was dug for the use of  Jagathacharyar Swamy  Ramanuja during his stay .  Vishnuchithar’s was about  80 years younger than  Swami Ramanuja.  Swami Ramanuja  embarked upon the task of writing Sribhashya, a commentary on the Brahmasutras of Sage VedaVyasa. He engaged  Swami Kooratthazhwan to write down the commentary as he dictated. Unfortunately for him, Swami Koortthazhwan  services could not be extended by the divine will  Swamy was looking for a scholar who could help him finish the text. He decided Swami Vishnuchithar’s would be the apt person to write down sribashya .

He was very pleased with Vishnuchithar’s  deep knowledge and  compared  him with Swami Kooratthazhwan and embraced him calling him ‘Engal Azhwano!’ (Your knowledge equals that of our Azhwan (Kooratthazhwan)..

 Vishnuchithar  was henceforth  called  as Engalazhwan.

Swami Ramanuja made Swami Engalazhwan a disciple of Thirukkurukaippiran Pillan. Swami Engalazhwan was also called Ammal  Acharyar since he was the  Acharya of Nadathur Ammal .

Adiyen had the bhagyam of having darisanam of  the present His Holiness Engalazhwan at Thiruvellarai 

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Adiyen Ramanuja dasan.

Video credits : Thiruvellarai Swamy , Sri Soundhararajan Padmanabhan

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About Kazhiyur Varadan

Am seeker of true knowledge , aspiring to serve and share the divine pastimes of Lord and HIS devotees . Interested in meeting devotees and love traveling to all holy places . Major interest is to interact with devotees and be of some use to the world in spreading Lord's divine play . This blog is an attempt of knotting a garland of priceless pearls from Sri vaishnava Divya desam . .....Divya leelai .. .......and .Divyaanubhuthee shared by zillions of hari bhaktaas . Though Adiyen is neither competent or qualified in sharing this elixir of spiritual world , out of abundant mercy from asmath Acharyar His Holiness Sri Sri MudaliAnddan swamigal ,adiyen is attempting to reproduce the same which is done purely by the grace of AchAryar and the Lordships by hearing from various advanced devotees . Am like a bee collecting the nectar from sacred flowers and posting the same in this honey comb blog .. There can be few photographs which would have been uploaded from google images to practically have the feel of the holy place and be of some service to the devotees . In case the owner of the pictures /images, videos has any objections for this adiyen shall remove the same . If any of the images presented here violates copyright issues or infringes anyone copyright or are not under "Fair use" the same shall be removed ASAP . Anything erroneous in adiyens post is completely my fault/ignorance and anything noteworthy goes to the spiritual masters . Any faults are solely due to my poor understanding and seek pardon for my poor expression . All the divine pastimes shared are from the lectures and the ones shared by several advance devotees .All the compliments and praise belong to the great Spiritual masters for their mercy on adiyen ( your servant ) to share and re share in this blog to remain that bliss always ...... Seeking your blessings in this small service of sharing the divine posts .. Adiyen Ramanuja dasan Jai Sriman Narayana IMPORTANT 1) Spiritual Material posted in this blog are just for information purpose and for spreading awareness. Few divine pastimes which was shared in discourses and the holy place is being re shared which are subject to mistakes or discrepancies with time . So, kindly , don't be offensive and don't post any aggressive or illegitimate comments on the blogs due to the differences in opinions. 2) This blog may contain links to other sites through advertisement, user comments, articles. While Adiyen tries to link only to sites that are safe and secure, Adiyen am not responsible for the content or the privacy practices employed by other sites., since the linked site is not under the control of me, am not responsible for the contents of any linked site or contents of the links mentioned in the links site. Adiyen am providing this link just for informational and academic purposes only. 3) This blog may contain inaccurate, incorrect and clerical errors. Adiyen do not warrant nor assure the accuracy/correctness/completeness of the materials/articles or the reliability of any advice, opinion, comment or other information displayed or distributed through this blog . 4) We are in the service of spreading the divine pastimes of LORD and HIS devotees .Please correct adiyen in any shortcomings .
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18 Responses to The oldest of the Vaishnavaite temples in South ( Older than Srirangam , the place where the famous verse ……Om Apavitrah Pavitro Vaa Sarva-Avasthaam Gato-Aa pi Vaa | Yah Smaret-Punddareekaakssham Sa Baahya-Abhyantarah Shucih” had its origin…. and the darshan of SUPREME LORD that qualifies one to get Moksham….

  1. santhanam says:

    Very Informative. Thanks for the detail. Would plan a trip to this temple & seek His blessings! Adiyen Santhanam

    Liked by 1 person

  2. felt like having visited this DIVYADESAM TEMPLE once more! a nice account narration!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kannan says:

    Almost a visit to the temple for dharisanam.Om namo Narayanaya.Om namo Govindhaya🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Vasudevan Raghavachary says:

    Engal Alwan Swamy – how to contact him please? Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

    Like

  5. Thanks for sharing it. T-day we went to Trichy and we visited Sri Renganathar Temple and got very good Dharshan. But we are not aware of this temple.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. vijaya v says:

    Thank you very much for the information. kinldy let us know the route from bangalore to visit

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lakshmi says:

      Take Bangalore to trichy bus or train. Buses or taxis available from central bus station. From Srirangam you can go to Thiruvellarai by bus, which takes 30 minutes travel.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Srinivasan says:

    Adiyen.The narration is not only informative but also blissful.Thanks.I have visited once.But did not know so much information.Thanks once again.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. S R BALASUBRAMANIAN says:

    IT IS A BLESS TO KNOW ABOUT THE SPIRITUAL IMPORTANCE OF A DIVYADESAM WHICH IS VERY NEAR AND ACCESSIBLE EASILY TOO

    THANKS A LOT FOR THE PRESENTATION

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ParanjiNarayanan says:

    Great knowledge about the Dhivyadesam shared through this foroum

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sarojana Ponnambalam says:

    I have visited the temple a few times .thanks for the information and pictures.🙏🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Saurabh Kulkarni says:

    In IYS yatra we visited Srirangam and near divyadesam , the atmosphere is so spiritual we were really unhappy to leave the place.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. mapsram says:

    Reblogged this on mapsram and commented:
    DIVYADESAM …DIVYACHARITHAM..DIVYA ANUBHUTEE

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Shyamsundar sridharan says:

    Om Namoh Narayananaya

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Col A Sunder Rajan says:

    Many thanks Swamyji..God willing, will come and visit this oldest Vaishnava temple soon..OM NAMOH NARAYANA

    Liked by 1 person

  15. ANAND says:

    Jai HO!! __^0______Hare Krsna

    Like

  16. NALLAPPA GOPAL says:

    NICELY NARRATED SWAMY

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Wonderful narration. Adiyen

    Liked by 1 person

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