Tirunaraiyur (Naachiyaar Koyil)

One of the 108 Temples & Celestial Abodes of Vishnu revered by the Tamil hymns of the Alwars of the 1st millennium CE

Location: Nachiar Kovil near Kumbhakonam
Chola Naadu)
Vishnu: Srinivasar (Tirunaraiyur Nambi)
Taayaar: Vanchulavalli
Theertham:Manimukta Pushkarini
Paasuram :Tirumangaialwar
Vimaanam:Srinivasa (Hema) Vimanam
Travel Base:Kumbhakonam

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Description: This Divyadesam is located in Tirunaraiyur, close to the Naraiyur Sidheeswaram Paadal petra stalam. This shrine was sung by Tirumangai Alwar, who refers to Vishnu, Srinivasa at Naraiyur Ninra Nambi. Tirunaraiyur is also known as Sugandhavanam or Sugandhagiri or as Srinivasakshetram. Also located at Tirunaraiyur is  Nandipura Vinnagaram, or Naathan Koyil. It is believed that that the Chola King Ko Chenkannan who built 70 madakkoyils (temples at an elevation) to Shiva, worshipped Vishnu here before he started off on battles with the Cheras and the Pandyas. Naachiyaar or Taayaar gets the place of primary importance in this shrine, as implied by the name Naachiyaar Koyil.

Deities: The Moolavar here is Tirunaraiyur Nambi, also known as Sreenivasar or Vasudevar, depicted in the Kalyanakkolam with Vanchulavalli Taayaar (Nambikkai Naachiyaar) in the sanctum.

Legend has it, that Lakshmi was born as Vanchulavalli, (at the foot of a Vanchula tree) to Madhava munivar (also known as Medhavi Munivar). Vishnu came down to the earth and married her here. Bhrama is believed to have worshipped Vishnu here. Vishnu is believed to have manifested himself in the Pancha Vyuha forms and married Vanchulavalli; Sankarshana in the east, Pradyumna in the south, Anirudha in the west, Purushottama in the north and Vasudeva in the center. The sculptures of all these deities are found in the garbagriha..

The temple: This temple has five prakarams with mandapams with artistically carved pillars. The garbagriha here is known as the Sreenivasa Vimanam. There is no separate shrine for Vanchulavalli here. It is also believed that there was a shrine to Bhuvarahaperumaal even prior to this legend. There is a separate shrine to the Kal Garudan (see festivals). There are slso shrines to Yoga Narasimhar, Veera Hanuman, Ramar and Chkrapani. The earliest inscription found here is that of the 13th century, although this temple was in existence during the time of Tirumangai Alwar.

Festivals: The Margazhi Bhrammotsavam (Mukkoti Utsavam) is of great significance here, especially the KalGaruda Vaahana Sevai, where the festival image of Sreenivasar is taken out on a stone Garuda mount. The mount is said to grow exponentially in weight as it is carried out of its sanctum. During this festival, Naachiyar leads the procession on a Hamsa Vaahanam. The Tirukkalyanam is celebrated in the month of Aavani. The Pankuni Bhramotsavam, Vasantotsavam and Krishna Jayanthi are other festivals celebrated here.

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