Srivilliputhur is located near Tirunelveli and is just about
50 miles from Madurai, the most
important pilgrim center of the Tamil Nadu. Sri Andal
and Vatapatrasayee Temple is one of the 108 Temples and celestial abodes
of Lord Vishnu revered by the Tamil hymns of the Alwars of the 1st
millennium (Christian era). Srivilliputhur, the birthplace of Andal, is
considered to be among the holiest of the 108 Divya Desam shrines
dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is closely associated with the life of Andal,
who attained Vishnu's hand in marriage.
Andal is the author of Tiruppaavai, the celebrated collection of 30 poems The works of Andal are very well known to the Tamil world. The Tiruppaavai hymns are chanted in congregations throughout Tamil Nadu during the cold month of Margazhi, in the cool pre-dawn hours, in temples as well as in the streets that surround temples.
The Legend Connected With The Temple
The name "Villiputhur" originated from a legend, which believes that two hunters Villi and Puttan built the town. There is also another legend according to which it is believed Periyalwar, a devotee of "Vatapatrasaayee", served the temple, by fashioning garlands out of fresh flowers from the garden, which he maintained. He had a daughter called "Andal", who had the habit of wearing the garland prior to submitting them to the deity. An aghast Periyalwar, tried to stop Andal's deed, and was directed by the deity, that he indeed preferred garlands, which had been worn by Andal, and hence Andal's name 'Soodittanda Sudarkkodi'. It is believed that Andal left her mortal body and merged with Ranganathar (also spelt as Rangantha).
About The Temple And Deities
Inscriptions dating back to 8th century are seen in this temple, which underwent extensive renovations during the Madurai Nayak period. The Madavar Vilagam Vaidyanathar temple enshrining a six feet high monolithic image of Nataraja considered being a masterpiece. The Madurai Nayak kings also patronized this temple.
The 12-tiered Rajagopuram rises to a height of 192 feet and is among the tallest towers in Tamil Nadu. Exquisite carvings adorn the temple. The Gopuram of this temple is the emblem of the Tamil Nadu state government. There is a famous mirror palace here.
Everyday the first garland the Lord wears, is the garland from Andals neck of the previous night. This is due to the pastime of her garlanding him when she was young. Near the altar of Andal there is a well, which is known as the "Mirror Well". This name comes after Andal would look into it to check if the garland would suit the Lord.
The main deity here is Vatapatrasayee in a reclining posture facing east and his consort is Andaal. There are shrines to Andal (where she was discovered in a garden) and Perialwar here.
Services And Festivities
Six worship services are carried out each day. Annual festivals are celebrated in the months of 'Aadi' (July-August) and 'Margazhi' (December-January).
Air: The nearest airport is at
Rail: Srivilliputhur is on Virudunagar - Tenkasi chord line of the Southern Railway.
Road: Regular bus service connects this town with Madurai, Tenkasi, Tiruneveli and Sattur.
Srivilliputhur has a fine rest house and few choultries to accommodate visitors.