This temple is dedicated to Sri Trivikrama – UlagalandaPerumal, the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is situated on the southern bank of Krishnabhadra in South Arcot district of Tamilnadu. This temple tower is one of the tallest, measuring 192 feet in height. The AlwarsPoigaialwar, Boodathalwar&Peiyalwar sang in praise of Lord Vishnu which formed the integral part of the NalayiraDivyaPrabandham.
One of the special features is that one idol contains the forms of two Gods – front side as Chakratalwar with sixteen hands and the back side as Narasimhar.
Bali, the powerful asura king who was the great grandson of Hiranyakasibu had conquered the three worlds, but in spite of being an asura, he ruled his land and people with justice. Even though Bali was just, Indralogam had to be returned to the Devas, who felt humiliated at the loss of their kingdom. Lord Vishnu could not fight so virtuous a king, and therefore he took the guise of a Brahmin boy. Bali was performing a yagna and for the success of the yagna he had to provide anything that a brahmin seeks. Lord Vishnu in his Vamanavataram begged for just three feet of land. This request was considered funny, for three steps of Vamana’s feet would measure upto a very small piece of land only. Bali humbly requested him to ask for something better which he would grant. But Vamana insisted on his three feet of land. To the astonishment of all present, Lord Vishnu as Vamana began to grow to a great height and with one step he covered the whole earth, with his second step he covered the entire sky and region above. With the entire universe covered, Bali had no more land to offer. He bowed down in front of the Lord & offered his head for the third step. Lord Vishnu had thus regained the power from the asura king. Being extremely pleased with the virtuosity of an asura king, he placed his foot on his head and sent him to rule over the lower regions. Vishnu is worshipped as Trivikramar or UlagalandaPerumal. There are shrines to this avataram of Vishnu at Tirukkoyilur and at Kanchi (UlagalandaPerumal).
Mrikanda Maharishi was engaged in severe penance & failed to get darshan of Lord Vishnu in his Viratrupam. He did sever penance & on Lord Brahma’s advice reached Krishnaranya& continued his severe penance. Lord Vishnu gave him darshan in his Viratrupam. This accounts for the Trivikrama image here raising the right leg above the ground. The presiding deity is seen worshipped by Brahma on the right side and on the left by Mrikanda Maharishi, Namachu, Garuda, Ananta, Vishaksvenaad a host of other celebrated saint poets. The Lord is holding the conch in his right hand, instead of the chakram, as if he were blowing on the conch after his victory over Mahabali.
From inscriptional evidence it is seen that the temple was constructed & maintained by the Pallava kings & later by the Vijayanagara rulers. From the sixteenth century onwards the temple administration has been in the hands of the Jeers. Emperumanar Jeer & his successors have launched several renovation programme, mainly concerning Towers.
The temple is surrounded by high rise compound wall. The tower opposite the Rajagopuram measures 192 feet in height with intricate sculptural wonders. The idol of Tirvikramar in the standing posture, with one raised leg, surrounded by worshipping idols. The idols are made of wood & it is indeed a wonder, that though centuries have passed, the idols still appear fresh & bright in a well preserved state. The Thayar is called Poongovil, enshrined in a huge mandapam of great structural beauty. Goddess Durga, usually seen in Saiva temples, is considered the custodian of the temple worshipped with great devotion.
Devout Hindus offer pindas and arrange samaradhanas on large scale at his place. There are several sacred thirthas around this temple. One of them is the Chakra Thirtha. It is believed that Brahma washed the feet of Trivikrama with water from his kamandalam. This water is said to have collected in a pool called Chakra Thirtha. According to tradition, Agasthya bathed in this thirtha before the commencement of his dirghatapas to get the darshan of Lord Trivikrama. Bathing in the waters of this thirtham is considered very sacred, especially in the Tamil month Ani.
Some of the other thirthas are Mrikandathirtham – bathing here blesses one with health, wealth, strength, money, fame, power and above all with offspring. Kalavathirtham – situated on the south-west of the main temple, the water is always pure, clear, sweet and sparkles like crystal, purging off sins instantly. VarahaThirtham – Parasuramar, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu is said to have bathed in these holy waters to atone his sins of having killed the kshatriyas. Pindasthanam&Runavimochanam – famous for offering pindas. Akasaganga – Brahma is said to have done penance here & got the darshan of Trivikramar.
Short Notes* :
Listed under 108 VaishnavaDivyaDesangal – Thirukkovalur in Nadu Naadu.
The temple is located in the Vizhupuram – Kaatpaadi rail route. The place can also be reached from Cuddalore.
The Moolavar is Trivikraman seen in standing posture with leg lifted upto the sky facing east. The Utsavar is Aayanaar, Gopaalan.
Thaayaar – Poongoval Naachiyaar.
Theertham – Pennaiyaru, Krishna Theertham, Chakra Theertham.
Thirumangaialwar – 1078, 1138-1147, 1569, 1641, 2057, 2058, 2068, 2673, 2674
Poigaialwar – 2158, 2167
Boodathalwar – 2251
Total of 21 Paasurams.