Ancient Temple City

Tirukoilur Divya Desam

This divya desam is one among the Nadu Nattu Divya desams. Closeby is Srimushnam which is a famous puranic place. This sthalam is on the Villupuram-Katpadi railway line. All buses from Villupram to Tiruvannamalai go via this divya desam. This sthalam is one among the Pancha Krishnaranya kshetrams, the other four being Tirukkannankudi, kapisthalam, Tirukkannapuram and Tirukkannamangai. This is one of the few temples whose administration is not under the State government, it is under the control of Tirukoilur Sri Emperumaanaar Swamy.

The Vishnu temple here is very big. A major portion of the temple was built during the Nayak rule. There is an idol of Durga inside the temple, which is rather unusual. It is believed that Durga came here, all the way from the Vindya mountains, to protect and safeguard Perumal Tirumangai azhwar refers to this incident in one of his paasurams.

Moolavar: Tiruvikrama, seen facing east, in a standing posture with the right leg lifted high.
Utsavar: Ayanar, Gopala.
Thaayaar: Poongovai Nachiyar.
Theertham: Pennai river, Krishna theertham, Chakra theertham.
Vimaanam: Srikara vimanam.
Prathyaksham: Balichakravarti, Mirukandu rishi, Brahma, Sounaka rishi, Kashyapa rishi, kavala rishi, Kusadwaja king, Pey azhwar, Bhuthath azhwar and Poigai azhwar.
Sannithis: Perumal Sannithi.

This divya desam is held sacred by all Vaishnavites as it is here that the Divya prabandham was composed. The first three azhwars met here and sang the glories of Lord Vishnu here. On one stormy night, Poigai azhwar sought shelter at a dehali (known as Rezhi in tamil). Soon, another passer by, Bhuthath azhwar sought shelter at the same dehali. The shelter was very small and both could sit. Some time later, a third passer by, Pey azhwar requested shelter at the same place. They all decided that they could stand in the small area. suddenly they felt another presence in their midst. Since it was dark and there was no light, both Poigai azhwar and Bhuthath azhwar sang a song praising Vishnu and when the song was over, the third visitor Pey azhwar had the vision of the Lord. He described what he saw and all three azhwars enjoyed the vision. The three then started to sing the glory of Lord in 100 verses each. They form the part of Iyarpa, a portion of the Divya Prabandham. Thus the Divya Prabandham was born at Tirukkoilur on a stormy night.

There are number of theerthams around this place. When God in his Tiruvikrama form covered the entire earth with one foot and the other foot covered the Brahma loka, Brahma washed the divine feet. The water with which he washed the feet latercollected in this place. This is known as Chakra theertham. It is believed that when Indra was cursed by Durvasa and he lost his kingdom and his wealth, he came to this Chakra theertham and worshipped Tiruvikrama and regained his kingdom through the blessings of Perumal.

Yet another theertham here is known as Sanku theertham. Guhan prayed here and had darshan of Vasudeva. Near this theertham are, Pindasthana and runamosana theerthams and both are special for prayers to the pitrus i.e. forefathers.

Yet another theertham is known as Karga theertham. It is believed that Brahma did his penance and realised Tiruvikrama on the banks of Akasa Ganga theertham. There is another theertham here called, Varsha theertham where Parasurama did deep penance, got rid of the his sin resulting from the kshatriya vadha done by him earlier. Closeby is Agasthiya theertham where sage Agasthiya muni did penance and had the darshan of the Lord. There are two more theerthams here known as Kavala theertham and Mirukandu theertham. The Krishnabadra river which is now known as Pennai river, emanates from Sahya Parvatham and is said to be the Ganga theertham with which Brahma washed the feet of Ulagalanda Perumal.

The temple has a large number of inscriptions. The most important is the record if the 6th year of Rajendaradeva II. One of his governers for this area, Narasimhavarman, pulled down the old bricks which were cracking and rebuilt the central shrine entirely of fine black granite. He alos built the enclosing verandah and the front mandapa. He also presented the central deity a canopy of pearls. After the construction, he engraved the walls with true copies of records found on the walls of the earlier structure.

There are plenty of other inscriptions that record many gifts from various kings such as Kulottunga I, Vikrama Pandya, Kulottunga III, Rajendra Chola I, Saluva Deva Narasinga Maharaja, Chakravartin Rajarajadeva, Rajaraja Chediyarayan, Immadi Narasa Nayak, to name a few.

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