Srinivasa Perumal Nachiyar Koil or Nachiyar Kovil, also known as Thirunarayur Nambi Temple, is a famous Hindu temple located in Thirunarayur, a village on the outskirts of Kumbakonam, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi, the temple is constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture and is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
According to Hindu mythology, the temple’s location was once a hermitage where the sage Medhavi resided. One day, while taking a bath in the nearby river, he found an image of Chakratalvar entwined with Yoga Narasimha. A divine voice instructed him to install the image in his hermitage and worship it.
Later, the Goddess Niladevi, a form of Lakshmi and a consort of Vishnu, appeared to the sage in the form of a small girl and requested him to take care of her. Impressed by the sage’s devotion, Vishnu appeared to Medhavi and asked his daughter to marry him. The sage happily agreed, and the goddess Niladevi, also known as Vanjulavalli, was married to Vishnu. Vishnu decided to stay in the hermitage, as requested by the sage.
Another local legend surrounding the temple’s establishment involves King Kochengat Cholan, who was defeated in battle and advised to seek the blessings of Vishnu. It is said that the king subsequently built the Nachiyar Kovil Temple as a gesture of gratitude to the deity for his victory.
The temple is believed to have been built by King Kochengat Cholan in the late 3rd century CE, with later contributions from Medieval Cholas and Vijayanagara kings.
The temple has a 5-tiered rajagopuram (gateway tower) on the eastern side that rises to a height of 75 ft (23 m). The entrance through the eastern gateway leads to a hall of 16 pillars called Neenila Mutram, which contains a flag pole (Dvajasthamba) and place of sacrifice (Balipeeda) in an axial position from the entrance to the main sanctum. The shrine of Thirumangai Alvar is located on the northern side, and the central hall of the temple, the Goratha Mandapam, houses images of Ramanuja, Koorathalvar, and eleven Alvars (except Andal).
The temple has a garden on the southern side where the Magila tree, the Sthala Vriksha (temple tree) is present. The temple also has a Vasantha Mandapa (spring hall) next to it, which hosts the Vasanthothsavam (spring festival) during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May–June). A 100-pillared hall is used for the wedding festival held during the Tamil month of Aavani (September–October). There are separate shrines for Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Hanuman, Chakrathazhwar, and Yoga Narasimha, believed to have been installed and worshipped by Sage Medhavi. The first precinct has separate shrines for Manavala Mamunigal and Vedanta Desika, as well as idols of the utsava deities (festive images) of the 108 Divya Desams.
The main sanctum houses the presiding deity of the temple, Vishnu in the form of Narayur Nambi, and his consort Niladevi as Vanchulavalli Thaayaar (also called Neela Devi Nachiyar), both of whom are given prominence in the temple. The sanctum also contains the images of Brahma, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Sankarshana, and Purushothaman (Vishnu), as well as a set of Gods depicted attending the wedding. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Worship and Festivals
Vishnu is worshipped as Srinivasa Perumal, and his consort Lakshmi as Nachiyar in the temple. The temple follows the Tenkalai mode of worship, and six daily rituals and four yearly festivals are held at the temple. The Brahmotsavam, celebrated during the Tamil month of Margali (December–January), is the most prominent festival. The Kal Garuda image in the temple is believed to increase in weight seeking 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and 128 people in succession when the procession comes out of various gates from the sanctum to the main entrance of the temple.
Srinivasa Perumal Temple Timings
The Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple is open for visitors from 7:00 AM to 12 Noon and from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
How to reach
The nearest airport is the Trichy International airport, which is approximately 90 kilometers away from the temple. From there, you can take a road transport such as a taxi, bus or private car to reach the temple.
Kumbakonam town is well connected by numerous trains, and the railway station is approximately 10 kilometers away from the temple. You can take a taxi, auto-rickshaw or bus from the railway station to reach the temple.
The temple is easily accessible by road, and there are frequent bus services, private taxis and autos available from Kumbakonam and other nearby places.