Srivilliputhur Andal Temple




Srivilliputhur Andal temple in Srivilliputhur, a town in Virudhunagar district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. It is located 80 km from Madurai. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Vadapathrasayi and his consort Lakshmi as Andal. It is believed to be the birthplace of two of the Azhwars, namely Periazhwar and his foster daughter Andal.

The temple is associated with the life of Andal, who was found under a Tulsi plant in the garden inside the temple by Periazhwar. She is believed to have worn the garland before dedicating it to the presiding deity of the temple. Periazhwar, who later found it, was highly upset and stopped the practise. It is believed Vishnu appeared in his dream and asked him to dedicate the garland worn by Andal to him daily, which is a practise followed during the modern times. It is also believed that Ranganatha of Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple married Andal, who later merged with him.

The temple has two divisions – the one of Andal located on the Southwest and the second one of Vadapathrasayi on the Northeast direction. A granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines, the garden where Andal is believed to have been born and two of its three bodies of water. The Vijayanagar and Nayak kings commissioned paintings on the walls of the shrine of temple, some of which are still present.

Samprokshanam of the Andal temple was performed on 20 January 2016 by Tamil Nadu Government. Vadapathrasayi is believed to have appeared to Andal, Periazhwar and sages Markandeya and Bhrigu. The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship. Six daily rituals and three yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Aadipooram festival, the birthday of Andal, celebrated during the Tamil month of Adi (July – August), is the most prominent. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

The history of Srivilliputhur centres around the Srivilliputhur Andal Temple, dedicated to Andal. It is argued that the temple of Vadapathrasayee is present from the 8th century, but there are epigraphic records are available only from the 10th century. The view that the Andal temple was built during the 14th century is highly debated. The temple has inscriptions from Chola, Pandya and Nayak rulers, spanning across various centuries from the 10th to 16th centuries. As per some accounts, the original structure was constructed by Tribuvana Chakravarthy Konerinmai Kondan Kulasekaran and the Andal temple by Barathi Rayar.

During the reign of Thirumalai Nayak (1623–1659) and Rani Mangammal (1689–1706), this city became very popular. Thirumalai Nayak renovated all the temples of this city. He installed choultaries, temple tanks, paintings and golden towers inside the temple. The sculptures in the hall leading to the shrine of Andal were also built by him. From 1751 to 1756 A.D., Then it fell into the hands of Mohammed Yousoof Khan. Until 1850, Sri Andal temple was under the care of the king of Trivancore. The British ruled the country till India attained freedom in 1947. The temple’s gateway tower, 192 ft (59 m) tall and it is believe that this is the official symbol of the Government of Tamil Nadu (Sri Vadapathrasayi Temple Tower). But the artist who designed the emblem for the state of Tamil Nadu Thiru.Krishna Rao denied that it is not the temple of Srivilliputhur rather it is Madurai Meenatchi Temple’s West Gopuram. During the modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

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