This Vaishnava Divya desam temple is believed to have been built during the 7th century by the Pandyas . A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines. The temple has a five-tiered gopuram and the gateway tower is located behind a fort .
Thirumeyyam is one of the eighteen Pandya nadu divya desams located near Tiruchirapally . It is about 13 miles from Pudukkottai on Pudukkottai-Karaikudi route and takes about two hours car drive from srirangam to reach this place.
As the temple opens late around 7.30- 8.00 a.m., one can plan to have Viswaroopa darshan in Srirangam in the early hours and reach this place. The temple is administered by Pudukottai Endowment Department whereas the fort is under the control of Archeological Department.
This cave temple is slightly older and dated to closing decades of seventh century. The temple has a main gateway on the east in the lowermost wall with shrines for guardian deities like Ganesa, Hanuman and Bhairava. There is a moat around the lower wall. On the top of the rock is bastion with cannon of british origin. The other side of the Fort has three rock-cut temples, two of them dedicated to ParamaSivan and the third to Sri Maha Vishnu
Lord ( Perumal) in this big temple is glorified as Meiyappar/Sathyamurthy and Goddess ( Thayar) as Ujjevana Thayar
Lord MahaVishnu who protected Satya devathai from asuras’ atrocities- the Lord who answered Adiseshan’s prayers in removing his tamasic qualities- the Lord who blessed Chandran and consented to prevail over Chandra mandalam,- the Lord of Lords who granted Garudan’s wish to remain as the divine vehicle for the Lord, the Lord with whose cool benevolent grace Dakshagan was redeemed from curse, the Lord who bestowed moksha to Satyavratha rishi and King Pururuvas- the Lord who appeared to King Indradyumna ordering him to construct a temple for HIM resides at this holy place
Divya desam Perumal gives darshan in two forms as Meiyappar also known as Adi Ranganathar in Sayana Thirukolam (sleeping posture) and as Satyamurthy in Nindra thirukolam(standing posture) under Satyagiri vimanam on the banks of Satya theertham /Kadamba pushkarini) a satyavanam (venu vanam).
As the Lord is the personification of truth, HE is glorified as Meiyappar/SAtyamurthy and the place came to be known as Thirumeyyam.
The temple consists of an ardha-mandapa in front of the rectangular sanctum Along with the LORD , other deities like Garuda, Chitragupta, Markandeya, Brahma, the Devas, the Vasus, and the Kinnaras give darshan . There are two demons near the lotus feet of the Lord .
Legend reveal that Lord Ksheerabhidhinathar in sayana thirukolam ( sleeping posture ) at this temple. Thirumeyyam is considered to be the largest and older than Sri Ranganathar at Srirangam. Hence the Lord is also known as Adi Rangan.
While Lord was in Yoga Nidarai(yogic sleep), two demons named Madhu, Kaitapa were creating trouble .Goddess Sridevi took asylum in Perumal’s chest while Bhudevi resorted to Perumal’s thiruvadi ( lotus feet ) . Adiseshan who did not want Perumal’s slumber to be disturbed, chased away the rakshasas by emitting poisonous fumes which is beautifully depicted on the wall behind the deity .The ( demons ) rakshasas are seen fleeing away near Perumal’s feet.
Adiseshan apologized to Lord ( Perumal) as he felt guilty for having done this act without Lord’s permission. The compassionate Lord placed HIS right hand on Adiseshan as a mark of gesture and love . A lotus stalk emerging from the navel of Perumal and on the lotus ,chatur mukha Brahma seated on along with 33 crore devatas worshiping the Lord is beautifully depicted on the walls.
Apart from the above , Chitraguptan, Markandeyar, Brahma, Madhu, Kaitapar along with devatas can be seen inside while having darshan of Lordships . There are deities of Sudarshanazhwar , Andal, Narthana Krishna on the left side and Sri Lakshmi Narasimhan on the right side in the Moolasthanam.
- UTSAVA MURTHY-SATHYAMURTHY WITH SRIDEVI,BHUDEVI, ANDAL
The utsava murthi-Lord Meiyappar along with ubhaya nachiyars give darshan in the Moolasthanam. The Moolasthanam is on a pedastal and one has to climb about 4 steps to have a closer view of the ever compassionate gigantic Perumal. For devotees Lord ‘s thirumukham(face) and Thiruvadi(feet) can be viewed from outside through two small window openings.
Lord Satyamurthy’s sanctum is to the right side of Lord Meiyappar sannidhi. The utsava murthi gives darshan along with Sridevi,Bhudevi and Andal.
- LORD MEIYAPPAR ALONG WITH SRIDEVI,BHUDEVI INN STANDING POSTURE
Ujjevana Thayar has a separate shrine. As the name depicts, the goddess gives ujjeevanam to the devotees. The childless couple offer special prayers to this Goddess for progeny .
Opposite to Satyamurthy’s sanndihi is Garuda bhagavan’s sannidhi.
- GARUDAZHWAR SANNIDHI OPPOSITE TO MEIYAPPAR SANNIDHI, THIRUMEYYAM
On the right side , we can have darshan of Sita-Ramar along with Lakshmanan in a separate sannidhi opposite to which is Hanuman’s sannidhi. Andal gives darshan on the left side in a separate shrine.
Brahmotsavam is performed for 10 days during Vaigasi(*May-June) culminating on Visagam (10th day with Theerthavari on that day). Garuda utsavam on 4th day of Brahmotsavam attracts huge crowds. The Thiru-ther utsavam on 8th day is equally important. Perumal appeared to Satya maharishi on Vaikasi-Pushyam day.
Thiruaadipooram, Adhyayana utsavam during Margazhi(Dec-Jan), Sri Krishnashtami are few festivals which are performed grandly. The temple follows vaikhanasa agamam .
Sathyagireeswaran( ParamaSivan) and Satyamurthy(Vishnu) temples are carved out of a single rock within the fort.
Asuras defeated the devas and started ruling the world inflicting troubles on all living beings. There was no place for sathyam(truth) and dharmam(righteousness). Dharma devathai took the form of a bull and reached Azhagar koil for prayers while Satya devathai took the form of a deer and entered venu vanam(as this place was full of bamboo trees) and meditated on Lord Vishnu for help. Lord Maha Vishnu appeared before Satya devathai and promised to annihilate the asuras and restore satyam and dharmam. Satya devathai prayed to Perumal to stay at this place forever. Hence, we see the Lord here as Truth personified. HE is known as Satyanathan and the utsavar is known as Mei-appan(Mei in tamil means truth)……
Adisesha, the foremost servitor of the Lord assumes various forms and does kainkaryam to Perumal and Thayar eternally.
A verse in Prabhandam goes like ….
Sendral kudaiyam, Irundhal sinhAsanamam, nindral maravadiyam, neelkadalul endrum punaiyam(, manivillakkAm ,poompattAm, pulgum anaiyam thirumArvukku aravu).
Adisesha acts as Umbrella when the Lord walks, he becomes simhasanam for the Lord to sit, he becomes padhukas to hold the tender lotus feet of the Lord when HE walks, he is the cosy bed and pillow on which the Lord rests in Vyuha form in Thirupaarkadal , he acts as light to the Lord and as silk cloth for the Lord. As Lakshmana , the service what he rendered to Sri Rama is remarkable.
The thousand hooded Adisesha came down from Ksheerabdhi and traversing through the bowels of earth reached this place. Assuming the five hooded form , Adisesha contemplated on the Lord at this place .Lord appeared and granted his wish to give darshan in Sayana Thriukolam as HE is in Thirupaarkadal. Hence,we have darshan of the Lord as Ksheerabdhinathan.
Legends reveal that once , Sathyavatha Maharishi was doing penance sitting on Chithrasilai under a banyan tree named Pathiravadam near Pushpathirai river at the foot of the Himalayas.
He went into the woods for collecting sticks for daily homam ( havan ) . He unknowingly cut his finger in the process , which he was unaware as it did not cause any pain or blood oozed. By the time he returned to his hermitage, the finger grew . Gandharvas observed this strange incident to Indran. Indran and his brother,Upendra disguised as hunter and a boar came into the vicinity of the Rishi’s ashram .
Mahavishnu who had taken the form of boar appeared as if he was hit by the arrow reached the ashram and sought asylum. Tracing the foot prints of the boar, the hunter approached the rishi and requested him to tell him about the whereabouts of the boar so that he could save his family who were on the verge of death due to starvation.
The rishi was in a dilemma because if he told the hunter about the boar’s hiding place, the hunter would kill the boar and he would not be able to keep up his promise of protecting the boar. The rishi ,who was an embodiment of knowledge, philosophically explained the actual truth and advised the hunter to refrain from this crime.
Lord Vishnu and Indra appeared in their true forms before the rishi and praised him for his devotion. Lord Vishnu advised him to go to Sathya kshetram and continue his penance and assured him of salvation along with Pururavas Chakravarthi.