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Srivilliputtur Divya Desam

Sivakasi is a town in Tamil Nadu that is well known for the factories that make fire crackers. But there is more to Sivakasi than just firecrackers. This town was established in the 15th century by the Pandya king Harikesari Parakkirama Pandian and was ruled by Pandya Kings for many years as part of Madurai. As the town was ruled by the Kings of several dynasties for many years, one can see temples and architecture of the bygone era. Even today, the temple festivals are the major attraction of the town.
Srivilliputtur Divya Desam is one such ancient temple near Sivakasi that is worth visiting when you are in Sivakasi. This temple is as old as 2,000 years old. It is considered as one of the 108 Divya Desams which is an important abode of Lord Vishnu. This place is also considered to be the birth place of Saint Periyazhvar and Saint Andal who are two important saints in the Vaishnavite tradition. The temple is in the town of Srivilliputtur which is 20 Km away from Sivakasi and the temple follows the Thenkalai tradition for worshipping the deities.

History of Srivilliputtur Divya Desam

Srivilliputtur Divya DesamThe history of the town Srivilliputtur revolves around Srivilliputhoor Temple. The temple is dedicated to 8th century or earlier, Andal,  who is the only female Alvar of the 12 Alvar saints in South India. She is popular for her Tamil works of Nachiar Tirumozhi and Thirupavai that are recited by devotees even today during the Tamil month of Margazhi which is the winter festivals season.
Andal is known for her unconditional devotion towards Lord Vishnu. The Alvar saint Periyalvar found her as a baby and adopted her. Andal devoted her life to Lord Vishnuby marrying him physically and spiritually by avoiding marriage and other earthly pleasures enjoyed by the women of Hindu culture. Andal is considered more as Goddess and most of the Vishnu temples in Tamil Nadu have a shrine for her.

Architecture of Srivilliputtur Divya Desam

The sanctum sanctorum of the temple has an image of Lord in the reclining posture. Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi who are his consorts are shown attending the Lord at his feet. The idol of Sage Bhrgu stands near the head of the Lord and the idol of Markandeya is seen at the feet. Behind the sage Bhrgu, one can see the leaf of banyan tree, also known as vatapatram on which the Lord slept as a baby.

The idols of Narada,  Thumburu, Sanatkumara, Kinnara Mithuna, Panchamurtis,the Sun and the Moon can be found around the Rangamannar and the representation of Villi and Puttan stand at the feet of the Lord. The Lord reclining in the sanctum sanctorum can be seen by the devotees through three doors that lead to the sanctum sanctorum. One can reach the sanctum sanctorum by climbing plight of stairs. Below the stairs is a huge hall that has detailed wooden carvings that tell the stories from puranas. The carvings are the part of the ceiling decoration.

Religious Importance of Srivilliputtur Divya Desam

The town of Srivilliputtur has been mentioned in the puranas like the Varaha puranam and the Brahmakaivatsapuranam. In Varaha puranam, Bhagavan visits Srivilliputtur in the Varaha Avataram. And in the Brahmakaivatsapuranam, it is mentioned that Vatapatrasayi Temple is located in Srivilliputtur.

The Srivilliputtur divya desam is unique and differs from other divya desams as it is the birthplace of two saints of the twelve saints. And the two saints one saint periyazhwar became the father-in-law of the Lord Ranganatha and saint Andal is belived to be the reincarnation of goddess Bhoodevi. It is said that she attained union with Lord in Srirangam. The rituals of the temple start at 6 AM in the morning and continue till 12 in the noon. The evening rituals start at 6 PM and continue until 10 PM.

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