Arulmigu Soundararaja Perumal Temple




Soundararajaperumal Temple is a temple dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu, located in Thadikombu, a village near Dindigul in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Constructed in Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is believed to have been built by Achyuta Deva Raya during the 16th century AD. Vishnu is worshiped as Soundararaja Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Soundaravalli.

The temple is known for the Ranga Mandapam, which features rare life size sculptures. The temple has two inscriptions dating from the Nayak period. The temple has a five-tiered rajagopuram (gateway tower) and enshrined within a granite wall. The complex contains all the shrines and water bodies associated with it.

Soundararaja Perumal is believed to have appeared for sage Mandukya. The temple observes six daily rituals and three yearly festivals. The chariot festival, celebrated during the Tamil month of Chittirai (March–April), is the most prominent festival of the temple. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Mandukya means frog – once a sage was cursed to be in the form a frog in the place around the temple. He was troubled by a demon and the frog worshipped Vishnu for rescue. Vishnu was pleased by the devotion and saved the frog by killing the demon. Vishnu chose to stay at the place where he rescued the frog, which went on to become the temple.

During the 15th century, Dindigul was the scene of heavy warfare and people moved in large numbers to Thadikombu. The temple is believed to have been built during the rule of Achyuta Deva Raya (1529–1542 CE), the younger brother of Krishna Deva Raya, during the 16th century. The construction supposedly began during the rule of his predecessor, Aliya Rama Raya (1485 – 1565 CE). There are inscriptions from various ruling empires on the contributions made to the maintenance of the temple. The outer halls and the sculptures were included during the period of Thirumalai Nayak (1623–59) in 1629. A damaged inscription in the temple from the period of Rama Raya is found in the Garuda Mandapa. An inscription in the Sundara Pandya Madap indicates the conduct of marriage festival of Kallazhagar in Madurai. Other inscription mention that the people of Madurai consider Thadikombu as their northern settlement. It is also learnt that a chieftain by name Sundaresan appointed the priests of the temple. It is also believed that a hall being named Sundarapandya, the temple might have existed from the earlier Pandyan era and might have been expanded by the Vijayanar kings.

Festivals :

The temple follows the traditions of the Thenkalai sect of Vaishnavite tradition and follows vaikanasa aagama. The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. As at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavaite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:00 p.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m., and Ardha Jamam at 10:00 p.m. Each ritual has three steps: alangaram (decoration), neivethanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Soundararajan and Soundaravalli. During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple.

During the Tamil month of Chittirai, the festival deity is taken in procession around the Mada street of the temple. Similar processions are followed during the Tamil month of Aadi (July–August)

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