Arulmigu Adikesava Perumal Temple




The Sri Adikesavaperumal Temple is a Hindu temple located in Thiruvattar, Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu, India and is one of the 108 Divya desams, the holy sites of Hindu Vaishnavism according to existing Tamil hymns from the seventh and eighth centuries C.E. The temple is a picturesque setting surrounded on three sides by rivers namely, (River Kothai, River Pahrali and River Thamirabarani) It was the Rajya Temple and Bharadevatha shrine of Erstwhile Travancore. After state reorganisation handed over to Tamilnadu H&RCE Dept. Prime deity: Lord Vishnu as Ananthapadmabhan/Adikeshavaperumal, believed to be older than Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. Since Lord Vishnu resides here in a reclining position and is surrounded by rivers, the temple is called as ‘The Srirangam of Chera Kingdom’.

As per section 32 (schedule III part III of the Tamilnadu (Transferred Territory incorporated and Unincorporated Devaswam Act (Tamilnadu Act No.30 of Act of 1959. Amunthuruthimadom Potty shall be the Representative of Highness Maharaja of Travancore for all purpose of Temple rituals including for conducting and supervising the Pallivetta and Thiruvarattu. Amunthuruthimadom potty shall be entitled to all the privileges of the King and known as Sree Karna Stani. The present sreeKarna Stani Amunthuruthimadom Jayakumar,S/O Amunthuruthimadom Theerdhapadar. Thantri Mathoor Madam Sankara Narayanaru
The temple architecture is Dravidian style architecture with wooden pillars, doors and roofs. The lord is lying on his snake couch and has to be viewed through three doors. We could see Lord Shiva near Lord Adikesava Perumal inside the sannidhi. Deepalakshmis are many but none resembles the other. The Otraikkal Mandapam (single stone hall) made of a single stone 3 feet thick, is a marvel. Oorthuva Thandavam, Venugopala, Rathi, Manmatha, Lakshmana and Indrajit are excellently carved. The temple is also renowned for its murals.

The composite columns of Virabhadra holding sword and horn are found be additions of the Vijayanayagara kings during the early 1500s. Similar columns of Virabhadra are found in Meenakshi Temple at Madurai, Nellaiappar Temple at Tirunelveli, Kasi Viswanathar temple at Tenkasi, Krishnapuram Venkatachalapathy temple, Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram, Soundararajaperumal temple at Thadikombu, Srivilliputhur Andal temple, Srivaikuntanathan Permual temple at Srivaikuntam, Avudayarkovil, Vaishnava Nambi and Thirukurungudivalli Nachiar temple at Thirukkurungudi.

Going by extant legends, the temple is closely associated with the famous Sree AnanthaPadmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram. Thiruvananthapuram Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple deity lies in the direction as to see the Thiruvattar Adi kesava deity. The main deity was originally covered with gold kavachams in which diamonds and other precious stones were embedded which the Kerala kings had presented to the temple. There is also a small shrine for Lord Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy near the river and opposite to the Adikesavaperumal Temple. Alvar saint Nammalvar had sung 11 pasurams in praise of AdiKesavaSwamy.
The entire present day Kanyakumari District formed part of erstwhile Thiruvithamkoor or Travancore Kingdom. Up to Marthanda Varma, all kings ruled the erstwhile Venad Kingdom (which was expanded by Marthanda Varma to form Thiruvithaamkoor) from Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari District. It was Dharma Raja, the nephew and successor of Marthanda Varma, who shifted the capital to Thiruvananthapuram. Padmanabhapuram Palace, the erstwhile royal abode of Travancore Kings, is still preserved in all its glory and is situated at Padmanabhapuram in Kalkulam Taluk of Kanyakumari District. Marthanda Varma was a staunch devotee of Lord Adikesava and used to worship at the temple before all the major war campaigns undertaken by him.
The Lord AdiKesavaSwamy means ‘Foremost Friend’. Legend says that Lord AdiKesavaSwamy defeated the demon Kesi. The demon’s wife prayed to the River Ganges and to River Thamirabarani and created a destruction. But it was in vain and she surrendered to the Lord. Thus, the formation of the rivers made in a circle came to be known as Thiruvattaru.
Vaikunta Ekadesi is celebrated with pomp and glory. Paal Payasam (Milk Kheer), Aval and Appam are delicious prasadams at this temple. The pujas are done in the same manner as that of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram.

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