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SriVaishnavam - The Philosophy !
108 Dhivya Desam - Thiruvaali-Thirunagari

Location: Thiruvaali near Sirkazhi
Perumaal: LakshmiNarasimhar, Vedarajan
Thaayaar: Amritaghatavalli, Amritavalli
Theertham:Ilaakshani Pushkarini
Paasuram :ThirumangaiAzhwar, KulasekharaAzhwar
Vimaanam:Ashtakshara Vimanam
Travel Base:Chidambaram

Description: Thiruvaali and Thirunagari are located near Sirkazhi. Thirunagari is the birthplace of ThirumangaiAzhwar who is closely associated with the 11 Dhivya Desam shrines of Thirunangur. Tiiruvaali is where Thirumangai Azhwar's wife Kumudavalli was raised. Thiruvaali is located at a 10 km East of Sirkazhi, enroute to Thiruvenkadu. Thirunagari is at a distance of of 5 km from Thiruvaali, again enroute to Poompuhaar. Thirumangai Azhwar refers to Perumaal as Vayalaali Manavalan at Thiruvaali; however Vayalaali Manavaalan is enshrined at Thirunagari. Hence traditionally, Thiruvaali and Thirunagari are considered to be a Dhivya Desam. ThirumangaiAzhwar has referred to Thiruvaali-Thirunagari in a total of 41 verses. Also, KulasekharaAzhwar in his decad of verses dedicated to Rama (Sowrirajan at Kannapuram)    refers to 'Aali Nagarkku Atipati' in a lone verse.

 

Thiruvaali: The Moolavar here is Lakshmi Narasimhar, Vayalaali Manavaalan in a seated posture facing west, while the Utsavar is Thiruvaali Nagaraalan. Thaayaar here is Amrita Ghatavalli. Thiruvaali is also known as Bilvaranyam.

 

Thirunagari: The Moolavar here is Vedarajan in a seated posture facing west, while the utsavar is Kalyana Ranganathan. Thaayaar here is Amritavalli. Two of the Narasimha images worshipped by ThirumangaiAzhwar are located at Thirunagari. There is a shrine to Thirumangai Azhwar where he is depicted as a hunter, that he originally was; adjacent to him is a small image of Perumaal (Sindanaikkiniyaan, which he had held in worship during his lifetime).

 

Legend has it that at a distance of about a km from here, ThirumangaiAzhwar attacked Perumaal and Thaayaar (in Kalyanakkolam as a newly wed couple hence Kalyanaranganathar), in order to steal their jewels; the touch of Perumaal who initiated him into a religious way of life completely transformed Kaliyan or Thirumangaimannan, who went on to become ThirumangaiAzhwar, to sing verses in chaste Tamil, that constitue a sizeable portion of the sacred Naalayira Dhivya Prabandam.    This legend of ThirumangaiAzhwar's transformation is enacted here in the dramatic Vedupari Utsavam, as also in the grand Srirangam temple during the Pankuni Bhramotsavam.

 

Legend has it that the ugram or the intensity of Perumaal in his Narasimhavataram was ameliorated by his consort Lakshmi. This embrace - aalinganam is behind the name Thiru Aali. Legend also has it that Perumaal discovered Lakshmi in a flower in the Thirunagari temple pushkarini and hence the name - Sreepuri or Thirunagari or Aalinganapuri. Legends related to these temples are referenced in the Garuda puranam.

 

The Temple: While the Thiruvaali temple has a single prakaram, the Thirunagari temple is a vast one, and is a Maadakkoyil built at an elevation. A seventiered rajagopuram adorns the entrance to this temple with four prakarams. Thirunagari is known as the Pancha Narasinga Kshetram, as there are images to Narasimhar at Thiruvaali (Lakshmi Narasimhar), Kuraiyalur - Ugra Narasimhar  (the spot where Thirumangai Azhwar intercepted Perumaal) and Mangaimadam (where ThirumangaiAzhwar fed devotees of Perumaal) -Veera Narasimhar ; there are two images of Narasimhar , one behind the main shrine and one in one of the prakarams at Thirunagari - Yoga Narasimhar and Hiranya Narasimhar. Manavala muni has visited this shrine several times. One day prior to the grand Thirunangur, Garuda Sevai festival, the image of ThirumangaiAzhwar is taken in procession to Kuraiyalur, Mangaimadam and Nangur.

 

Festivals: Bhramotsavam here is celebrated in the month of Pankuni where the incident of Thirumangai Azhwar's transformation is enacted.. The ThirumangaiAzhwar Mangalasasana utsavam in the month of Thai (after the new moon night) witnesses Garudasevai - a spectacular event in which festival images of Perumaal from the 11 (Thirunaangur) Dhivya Desam shrines in the area are brought on  Garuda mounts to Thirunangur. An image of Thirumangai Azhwar is brought to Thirunaangur on a Hamsa Vahanam (from Thirunagari) and the his paasurams (verses)  dedicated to each of these 11 Dhivya Desams are recited. The image of ThirumangaiAzhwar circumambulates each of these deities, and at the conclusion of the festival, the images are returned to their temples. Prior to this, the image of ThirumangaiAzhwar and his consort are taken in a palanquin to each of the 11 Thirunangur Dhivya Desams, (trampling)  through the paddy fields in the area, and the paasurams dedicated to each of the 11 Dhivya Desams are chanted in the respective shrines. The Ekadasi Garuda Sevai is the most important festivals in this area, and it draws thousands of visitors.