Location of Azhagar Koil, Madurai
Azhagar Koil is situated on the foot of Azhagar Hills, in Madurai district. It is nearly about 20 km from Madurai city. One can arrive here by bus/car from Madurai. The nearest railway station is Madurai Junction. The nearest airport is at Madurai. Temples in Madurai are very famous not only in India but also have international importnace.
History of Azhagar Koil Temple and Deities enshrined there
In this temple, Lord Mahavishnu is worshiped in the form of Azhagar, also known as Kallazhagar and Sundararajar. As per Puranams, this temple was built by God Dharmadevan. Later it was renovated by the Pandian King named Malayathdwajan. It is also said that Malayathdwajan prayed Shri Azhagar in this temple and got Goddess Meenakshi as her daughter.
Other names for Azhagar Koil are
• Uthiyana sailam
Main deities of this temple
God Paramaswamy alongwith Sridevi and Bhoodevi is in the standing posture and has five weapons (Panchayuthas).
• Holy Wheel (Sudarsanam)
• Holy Conch (Panjachanya)
• Holy Mace (Gowmodhaki)
• Holy Sword (Nandaki)
• Holy bow (Sarangam)
In the topmost right hand, He has Prayoka Chakram, which is special one (see in the picture here). Goddess Sundaravalli Thayar is in a separate shrine. Unmarried girls pray here to get married. The processional deity of Perumal (Utsavar) is known as Sundararajar(the king of beauty) and Kallazhagar. There are also utsavars of Kalyana Sundaravalli Thayar, Andal, Sridevi and Bhoodevi. Vimanam (roof of the sanctum sanctorum) is called as Somachanda Vimanam and is fully gold plated.
Other deities in this temple are
• Sri Andal,
• Sri Sudarsanar,
• Sri Yoga Narasimhar (there was a opening to the sky in the roof above the idol, as Narasimhar is very powerful here),
• Thumbikai azhwar (Vinayaga with Thirumankappu on his forehead),
Lord Karupanaswamy is worshipped at the main entrance door (with 18 steps) which is closed. The devotees offer sandal paste to this Lord. Since no one dare to lie in front of the Lord Karupanaswamy, many people plead here to get justice.
Noopura Gangai Waterfalls
When Lord Vishnu took Vishvaroopam in his Vamana avathar and raised His foot over, Lord Brahma performed Padapooja with the Ganga water in the Heaven. Some of the water drops splashed over the anklet of Lord Vishnu, fell on the earth at Azhagar Hills and is still flowing as waterfalls. This is named as Noopura Gangai(Noopuram means anklet) and also as Silambaru. The devotees take bath in the Noopura Gangai Theertham to wash away their sins. This water tastes sweet and has medicinal values. There is a shrine for Rakayee amman here.
Specialities of Azhagar Koil
• It is one of the 108 divya desams (108 thirupathis).
• It is praised by six Azhwars in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham.
• Sri Andal prayed to offer Akkara adisil (sweet milk rice) to Sri Azhagar in this temple, if her desire to marry Shri Mahavishnu would be fulfilled. Though she attained her desire, she could not performed her offerings. Later, Bhagavath Ramanujar came to this temple and performed her offerings. Every year, this is remembered by performing that offerings on the 27th day of the Tamil month Margazhi.
• The garland that adorned Sri Andal will come from Srivilliputtur every year during Chitirai festival. Only by wearing that garland, Sri Azhagar enter into the Vaigai river in Kuthirai Vahanm.
• Sri Koorathazhwar, a chief disciple of Bhagavath Ramanujar got back his eyesight in Azhagar Koil, by composing Sundararajastvam in praise of Sri Azhagar.
•Shri Sundararajar comes to Madurai for Chitirai festival and to Poigaikaraipatti for Theppam festival.
•Thirukalyanam (celestial wedding) of Sri Sundararajar with four Thayars namely Sundaravalli, Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Andal takes place on Panguni Uthiram day.
• Azhagar Koil Dosai prasadam is very famous.
Festivals of Azhagar Koil
Among all the festivals of this temple, Chitirai festival is the most famous one. During this festival, Sri Kallazhagar comes to Madurai. As per the legend, Suthapas Maharishi was called as Mandooga Maharishi, when he was turned into a frog (mandoogam) due to a curse. He was doing penance in the Vaigai river, to get relief from his curse. Shri Azhagar relieved him from that curse. This is being celebrated during Chitirai festival every year. To save him from that curse, Shri Azhagar comes from Azhagar Koil to Madurai. When He enters into Madurai in the form of Kallar, people of Madurai invite him. This is called as Ethirsevai. Then He enters into the Vaigai river in Thanga Kuthirai Vahanam, which is famously called as Azhagar Aatril Iranguthal. He relieves Mandooga maharishi from the curse by giving darshan in Garuda Vahanam. He also gives darshan in Sesha vahanam, Ekandha Sevai, Dasavatharam, Muthangi sevai etc. during these days in Madurai. At last, He returns to Azhagar Koil in Kallazhagar thirukolam in Pushpa Pallakku.
Other festivals are
• Adi Brahmothsavam (Jul/Aug)
• Vaikuntha Ekadsi (Dec/Jan)
• Panguni Uthiram
Tamilspider articles on other temples
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• Temples in Thanjavur
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