Divyadesam is located at a distance of 27 km from Tiruchirappalli, enroute to Turaiyur. It
also goes by the name Swetagiri. Both the tamil and the sanskrit names refer to the
hillock of white rock here. It is believed that in terms of antiquity, this temple
pre-dates the Srirangam temple and hence the name Aadi Vellarai.
Pundareekakshar, in a standing posture faces East. Shenpakavalli, and Pankayachelvi are
the names of his consort. There is a separate shrine for Taayaar here. Pankajavalli is the
name of her processional image.
The Temple: This is a vast temple, with imposing walls. The main
shrine has two entrances, referred to as the Uttarayana Vaayil and the Dakshinayana Vaayil
as in the Sarangapani temple at Kumbhakonam. As
implied by their names, the Uttarayana Vaayil is open from the Tamil month of Thai
(Capricorn) onwards, until the month of Aadi (Cancer) from when on, the Dakshinayana
Vaayil is used.
In addition, the temple has another entrance referred to as the 'Naazhi Kettaan Vaayil'
where it is believed that Vishnu was intercepted and questioned by his consort, upon his
returning home later, after his sojourn.
Images of Sree Devi, Bhu Devi, Surya, Chandra and Aadiseshan (in human form) are seen
in the east facing sanctum. There are also shrines to Krishna, Nammalwar, Nadamuni,
Kulasekharalwar, Tondaradippodiyalwar, Aandaal, Manavaala maamunigal and Ramanuja.
The northern entrance of the temple is adorned with an unfinished rajagopuram in the
There are as many as 7 theerthams within the temple complex. Ramanujacharyar is said to
have lived here, and Manavalamaamuni and Desikacharyar have also sung of this shrine.
Uyyakkondaan a disciple of Nadamunigal is also associated with this shrine.
Legends: Legend has it that Garudan, Markandeya, Lakshmi and Sibi Chakravarti offered
worship here. Legend has it that Vishnu blessed Markandeya, Bhudevi and Sibi
Chakravarti 4 caturyugas ago (17.3 million years)