Swami Nammazhvar the most celebrated amongst all the Azhwars quotes in one of his paasuram 6.9.5 ( 3435)
“vinmeediruppAi, malaimElnirppAi, kadal sErppAi
manmeeduyalvAi evattrul engum maraindhuraivAi
enmeedhiyandra puravandaththAi enadAvi
vunmeedhAdi vurukkAttAdhE olippAyO?”
The above pasuram reveals that LORD existence at paravatam .. vin meediruppAi .. (staying in the sky/heavens).. malaimEl nirppAi ….to archai (staying in divya desams like Tirumala , thirumAlirunchOlai , Sholinghur , Bhadri , Saalagramam … (Standing on hills/mountains) kadal sErppAi refers to vyuha moorthi, (Residing in sea) …..man meedhuyalvAi ….refers to vibhavams (HE …came down due to causeless mercy as Lord Rama and Krishna) (Walking on earth)…. evattrul engum maraindhu vuraivAi ……refers to antaryami who stays inside each one of us , being invisible to all , beyond comprehension and beyond one’s understanding and stay in the entire vast universe and protect us.
Merciful “Lord Sriman Narayana” appears in five different forms as para, vyuha, vibhava, archai and antaryAmi . Lord Sriman Narayanan appears in the above five forms.
LORD in response to the ardent prayers of revered saints and various advanced devotees appeared to them and conceded their request of continuing to grace with darshan in the same form for the benefit of the future generations . The deities were duly consecrated with various hymns and temples were constructed by various generous kings.
Archai Murthies are the Lordships who grace us inside the temples and the temples which have been glorified by revered Azhwars through their emotional out pours are called Divya Prabhanda pasurams.
Azhwars were the incarnations of of Lord Sriman Narayana’s divine weapons .(“Azhwar” in Tamil means ‘one who is immersed’. Since these advanced saints were always immersed in the Lord and His qualities, they were called Azhwars ) And the places which was glorified by Azhwars are earmarked as Divya desams . Out of the 12 azhwars, 4 Azhwars appeared towards the end of Dwapara yuga and
Eight Azhwars appeared during Kali yuga.
The Srivaishnava Divyadesams are a group of 108 SriVaishnava Temples. Among the 108 Divyadesams, 105 temples are located in India and one in Nepal. The remaining two temples are in the celestial world glorified as Sri Vaikuntam and ThiruParamapadham.
These temples are very old and have been renovated by pious kings and advanced devotees periodically .
These 106 temples are classified into six zones-
- Chola Nadu divya desam – 40 temples situated in Central Tamilnadu around Trichy,Kumbakonam,Mayavaram, Srikazhi,Nagapatinam
- Pandya Nadu divya desams– 18 temples situated in southern part of Tamilnadu around Madurai,Tirunelveli, Ramnathapuram, Sivakasi
- Nadu nadu divya desams – 2 temples in the northern part of Tamilnadu located near Virudhunagar and Cuddalore
- Thondai nadu divya desams -22 temples in the northern part of Tamilnadu located in and around Chennai(4),Kanchipuram (15), Arakonam(3)
- Malai nadu divya desams – 13 temples out of which 2 are in Southern tip of tamilnadu and the rest 11 temples are in Kerala scattered around Trivandrum,Chenganoor, Ernakulam, Thrissur
- Vada nadu divya desams – 11 temples out of which 2 are in Andhra Pradesh, 1 in Gujarat, 4 in Uttar Pradesh, 3 in Uttaranchal and 1 in Muktinath.
MALAI NADU DIVYA DESAMS
Malai nadu divya desams are classified due to its location mostly located in Kerala that are scattered from Central , North to South Kerala.
Devotees keen to have darshan can start from Thrissur which is in the North Kerala , come downwards to visit Chenganoor, Ernakulam and go further south to visit Thiruvananthapuram, Thiruvataaru,Thiruvanparisaram else start from South and complete the yatra in the reverse direction.
Kerala as we believe is God’s own country aptly deserves the name. The pristine nature with plenty of water resources with lush greenery and calm surroundings add beauty to the divya desams in this serene location .
Kerala experiences tropical climate and as nature is still preserved, it enjoys beautiful weather with frequent rains.
Hence, the houses and temples are constructed in such a way that the conical roofs do not retain the rain water. Another interesting feature of the temples are the beautiful murals made of teak wood .
A brief note about the nearest town /city from where these temples can be accessed is given below:-
North Kerala:– Thiruvithuvakodu near Pattambi and Thirunaavai near Kuttipuram can be accessed along with Guruvayur.
1) Thiruvithuvacode:– popularly known as “Anjhu murthy kovil” on Shoranur-Kallikatai rail route. Bus from Pattambi to Kootupatha ( app one hour bus drive) and from there to take an auto to go to temple.
2) Thirunaavai :– Shoranur -Kuttipuram bus route. Bus from Guruvayoor to Kuttipuram and from there another bus to Thirunaavai (app. travel time 2.5 hours by bus)
The travel time from Thiruvithuvakodu to Thirunaavai is about one hour by car. Guruvayur is about 40 minutes drive from Thirunaavai and as the temple closes at 1 P.M., we can visit this temple a bit late
Central Kerala:– Thirumoozhikalam,Thirukatkarai near Ernakulam; Aranmula, Thiruvanvandoor, Thirukodithanam, Thirupuliyur, Thiruchenkundroor (popularly known as Pancha Pandava prathista temples) and Thiruvallavaazh can be accessed from Chenganoor.
These temples are located in different directions from Chenganoor and can be covered within 7 hours(to start very early)
3) Thirumoozhikalam:– In Alwaye-Ernakulam bus route- 7 kms from Kaladi road and 12 kms from Alwaye. Take bus from Ernakulam to Alwaye-Change bus to Edapally at Alwaye . From Edapally take an auto to go to the temple. Total travel time app. 1.5 hours
4) Thirukaatkarai:- Take bus from Alwaye-Thirukatkarai and from there auto to go to temple which is about 3 kms away.(travel time app 1 hour)
Ernakulam-Chenganoor travel time is app. 2.5 hours. Six divya desams can be accessed from Chenganoor
5) Thiruchitraaru(Dharman temple)- 2 kms from Chenganoor station
6) Thirupuliyur (Bhiman temple)- 6 kms west of Chenganoor/ 16 kms from Aaranmula
7) Thiruvaranvilai/Aaranmula(Arjunan temple)-10 kms from Chenganoor
8) Thiruvanvandoor (Nakulan temple) -4 kms north of Chenganoor
9) Thirukodithanam(Sahadevan temple) – 2 miles east of Chenganachery on Thiruvalla-Kottayam road
10) Thiruvallavaazh- one hour by bus from Chenganoor
South Kerala:- Thiruvananthapuram and the 2 malai nadu temples in Tamilandu namely, Thiruvataaru and Thiruvanparisaaram can be visited together.
11) Thiruvananthapuram:– 1 km from Trivandrum railway station
12) Thiruvaataru:- Trivandrum to Nagercoil bus , change at Thakalai / by car 40 kms short cut
13) Thiruvanparisaaram– 4 kms from Nagercoil/ 40 kms from Thirukurungudi
Most of the Kerala divyadesam temples have divine connection with the two great epics-
Srimad Ramayanam and Mahabharatam .
The divyadesams around Chenganoor are popularly known by the great heroes of Pandavas as they were responsible for constructing them.
For example ..
Imayavarappan temple at Thiruchenkundroor is known as “Dharmar/Yudhistira temple, Mayappiran temple at Kuttanadu Tirupuliyur is known as “Bhiman temple”,
Parthasarathy temple at Aaranmula as Arjunan temple,
Pambanaippan temple at Tiruvanvandoor as Nakulan temple,
Athputha Narayanan temple at Thirukodithanam as Sahadeva temple
Likewise, there are temples related to Ramayanam too.
(There may be a slight variation in the distances as mentioned in the write up which was shared by the locals .)
The four temples around Ernakulam popularly known as “Nalambalam” meaning Naalu(four) ambalam(temples) are known by the name of Srirama at Thriprayar,, Lakshmana at Thirumoozhikalam, Bharata at Iranjalkudi and Shatruguna at Payammal.
It is usual practice in kerala for devotees to recite entire Srimad Ramayanam during Karkataka maasam and do “Naalambalam”(circumbulation of four temples) – most prevalent practice in Kerala where parikrama around all the four temples dedicated to Lord Sriramar at Thriprayar, Bharatan at Iranjalakudi (Koodalmanikyam temple) Lakshmanar at Thirumoozhikalam (Sri sukitnathar), and Shatruguna at Payyammal in a single day starting from Thriprayar Lord Ramar temple is accessed .
The temple at Thiruvaataru is glorified as the place associated with Brahma Samhita. As told by a devotee inside the temple ,
the Acharyar of Gaudiya sampradaya His holiness Sri Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is believed to have accessed one part of this Brahma Samhita which forms the basis of Gaudiya Vaishnavism.
Utsavam ( Festivals) is performed in almost all the temples for about 10 days and during that time, Srimad Bhagavatam would be recited .
The inaugural day is known as “Kodi Etram” and the final day is known as “Aaratu”. Only during sevali (Sri veli) which is performed after bhog is offered to Lord, when the processional diety goes around the temple to supervise the food offerings to the guarding deities, musical instruments are played except in one divya desam .
In Thiruvananthapuram, Thirukatkarai excellent stay facilities are available. In Tirupuliyur, pilgrims amenities are provided taking into consideration the influx of pilgrims.
All the temples in Kerala open by 4 A.M. and close by 11 A.M. and in the evenings, the temples are opened for a shorter duration from about 4.30 p.m. to 7.30 p.m.
The timings are strictly followed without any deviation. Also, out of the 13 temples, in 11 temples Lord gives darshan as as Sri Vishnu murthy adorning Sankhu, Chakram, Gada,Padmam in standing posture. Only in Thiruvananthapuram and Thiruvaataru, Lord gives darshan in reclining posture. Another common feature is there is no separate sannidhi for Thayar in all these temples except Thirunaavai.
Kerala is located on a hilly location and hence the travel time taken is more compared to the plains. Also, there are state run buses available which are quite cheap but the only drawback is the name boards will be in Malayalam and we may not be able to understand !!!!
In our first trip during 2001 we traveled from North to South and covered these divya desams in five days as we commuted through public transport.
A recap of the journey done is reproduced in the below url..
However, in our recent trip , our merciful Lord blessed with a very comfortable trip. We could cover temples starting from South towards north from
Thiruvanparisaaram-Thiruvaataru-Thiruvananthapuram-Chenganoor divya desams-Thirukodithanam-Thirukatkarai-Thirumoozhikalam-Thiruvithuvadoe-Thirunaavai-Guruvayoor…
By Acharyar’s blessings we decided to club Pandya nadu and Malai nadu divya desams darshan hiring a vehicle from Srirangam..
A distance of about 900 kms to and from Srirangam covering around 32 temples within a span of 4.5 days could be possible by sheer mercy of Acharyar and the Divyadesam Perumals ..
Prostrating at the lotus feet of asmath acharyar,H.G.Sri Sri Mudaliandan Swami and JagathaAcharyar Swamy Ramanujar, adiyen wishes to share the recent travel details of the 18 Pandya nadu divya desams, 13 Malai nadu divya desams,Guruvayur(abhimana sthalam) commemorating the Sahasrabhdhi celebrations of Swamy Ramanujar within a span of five days(4.5 days precisely) .
We commenced our yatra on the auspicious Kaisika Ekadasi with blessings of our Acharyar and Elders -10 th Dec 2016 with prayers to our Thirumaligai Perumal.
After obtaining Asmatha acharyar’s anugraham at Mylapore, we proceeded to srirangam by car . We reached midnight and were fortunate to have darshan of Lord Namperumal adorned with 365 silk clothes .( Kaisika Ekadashi special) Namperumal blessed us with theertha,prasadam . We carried our yatra deities (Sri Sita ,Lakshmana, Hanumath sametha Sri Ramachandran, Swamy Ramanujar )along with Lord Guruvayurappan-the aradhana deity of our advanced devotee friend to all the temples and puja was performed to them along with the divyadesam Perumals.
Our yatra commenced from Srirangam at 5 A.M on Dwadasi day immediately . . We were joined by a advance devotee couple Smt & Sri Thiruvengada ramanuja dasan who resides in Srirangam serving Acharyar, His holiness Sri Sri Rangaramanuja Jeeyar.
THE DIVINE JOURNEY BEGINS …..
The approximate distance from Srirangam to visit Pandya nadu and Malai nadu divya desams and drop at Srirangam is about 900 kms.
We opted to visit these divya desams by engaging a nice devotee cab driver sri .Ramu-(a devotee from Kumbakonam who is very familiar with the location of the temples).
He can be contacted on 94866 56052.
Our route details ……………
(1) Srirangam -Thirumeyyam ( 85 kms via Pudukkottai)
(2) Thirumeyyam-Thirugoshtiyur – (40 kms)
(3)Thirugoshtiyur-Thirupullani ( 130 kms via Manamadurai, Paramakudi,Ramnad);
(4) Thirupullani-Thirumoghur ( 165 kms via Ramnad, Madurai)
(5) Thirumoghur-azhagar kovil tirumaliruncholai(15 kms)
(6)Thirumaliruncholai- Thirukoodal (15 kms)
(7)Thirukoodal-Thiruthankaal(75 kms via Virudhunagar)
(8) Thiruthankaal-Srivilliputtur(25 kms via Sivakasi),
(9) Srivilliputtur-Varaguna-mangai (Alwar Tirunagari) (140 kms via Tirunelveli),
(10) nava tirupati divya desams in and around Azhwar Tirunagari(total 35 kms); (11)srivaikuntam(navatirupati)-Vaanamamalai(70 kms via Tirunelveli/Palayankotai);
(12) Vaanamamalai-Tirukurunkudi (18 kms)
(13) Tirukurunkudi-Thiruvanparisaaram(40 kms short route);
(14) Tiruvanparisaaram-Thiruvaataru(60 kms via Padmanabhapuram);
(15) Thiruvaataru-Thiruvananthapuram(40 kms via Maarthandam);
(16) Thiruvananthapuram-Chenganoor (150 kms via Athur/Kottarkadai)
(17) six divya desams in and around Chenganoor upto Chenganachery (60 kms);
(18) Chenganachery Thirukodithanam-Thirukaatkarai(70 kms);
(19) Thirukaatkarai-Thirumoozhikalam(25 kms)
(20)Thirumoozhikalam-Thiruvithuvacodu(150 kms via Angamaali/Thrissur)
(21) Thiruvithuvacodu-Thirunaavai(30 kms short route)
(23) Guruvayoor-Coimbatore domestic airport(150 kms)
|| Darshanam at ( number of temples )
|Thirukurungudi Malai nambi (afternoon)
| Yatra ends …..
Total 34 temples
Malai nadu 13
Pandya nadu 18
The complete details of all the 13 temples would be shared in the upcoming posts soon .
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan