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108 Dhivya Desam - Thiruvilliputtur

Location :  Srivillipuththur near Thirunelveli
Perumaal :  Vatapatrasayee (Rangamannar)
Thaayaar :  Andal (Godha Naachiyaar)
Theertham : Thirumukkulam
Paasuram :  PeriyAzhwar, Andal
Vimaanam : Samsana Vimanam
Travel Base : Thirunelveli

Description: Srivilliputtur the birthplace of Andal, is considered to be among the holiest of the 108 Dhivya Desam shrines dedicated to Perumaal. This is the birthplace of Andal and PeriyAzhwar and is closely associated with the life of Andal, who attained Perumaal's hand in marriage. As in Srirangam and Azhwar Thirunagari   Araiyar Sevai where the Azhwar Paasurams are recited with expression, music and rhythm - is performed here. Also in Srivilliputtur is the Madavar Vilagam Vaidyanathar temple enshrining a six feet high monolithic image of Natarajar considered to be a masterpiece. This temple was also patronized by the Madurai Nayak kings.

Deities: The Moolavar here is Vatapatrasayee in a reclining posture facing East, while Thaayaar here is Andaal. There are shrines to Andal (where she was discovered in a garden) and PeriAzhwar here. Vatapatrasayee is flanked by Sridevi and Bhudevi and images of Garuda, Surya, Narada, Sanatkumara, Bhrahma, Sanaka, Bhrigu and Markandeya.

 

Legend: The name Villiputtur stems from the legend that this town was built by two hunters Villi and Puttan. Legend has it that PeriyAzhwar a devotee of Vatapatrasaayee, served the temple, by fashioning garlands out of fresh flowers from the garden which he maintained. Andal his daughter (discovered in the temple garden) was in the habit of wearing the garland prior to submitting them to the deity. An aghast PeriyAzhwar, tried to stop Andal's deed, and was directed by the deity, that he indeed preferred garlands which had been worn by Andal, and hence Andal's name 'Soodittanda Sudarkkodi'. It is believed that Andal left her mortal body and merged with Ranganathar.

 

Andal is the author of Thiruppaavai, the celebrated colleciton of 30 poems sung especially in the month of Margazhi, the month considered special for the observance of Paavai Nonbu.

 

The Temple: 8th century inscriptions are seen in this temple which underwent  extensive renovations during  the Madurai Nayak period.. This temple has among the tallest towers in Tamilnadu. The 12 tiered Rajagopuram rises to a height of 192 feet. Exquisite carvings adorn the temple. The temple has two major areas; the North Eastern segment is the Vatapatrasayee temple while the South Western segment is Aandaal's temple. The flower gardens in between these two areas are said to have been maintained by PeriyAzhwar. There are shrines to each of the ten avatarams of Perumaal. Andal's shrine is crowned with the gold plated Pranavakriti vimaanam with stucco work depicting themes from each of the 30 Thiruppaavai hymns.

 

Festivals: Six worship services are carried out each day. Annual festivals are celebrated in the months of Aadi and Margazhi and Purattaasi.