The Srivilliputhur Andal Temple is a significant Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu, located in Srivilliputhur town of Tamil Nadu, India. It is one of the 108 Divya Desams dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is glorified in the Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Alvar saints. The temple is associated with the life of Andal, who is believed to have been found under a tulasi plant in the temple’s garden by Periyalvar. Andal is considered a saint and a Goddess and is worshipped as the consort of Lord Vishnu. The temple is known for its Dravidian-style architecture and is surrounded by a granite wall enclosing all its shrines, the garden where Andal is believed to have been born and two of its three bodies of water. The temple has two divisions, one for Andal and the other for Vatapatrasayi. The temple follows Thenkalai tradition of worship and 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.
Once upon a time, in a dense forest named Champaka, there lived two sages named Bhrgu and Markandeya. However, their peaceful existence was disturbed by a demon named Kalanerai who was causing trouble for them. In their distress, the sages prayed to Lord Vishnu to save them from the demon. Moved by their devotion, Lord Vishnu appeared in the forest and defeated the demon. He then took up residence in the forest, reclining on his serpent bed, Adisesha, on the leaf of a banyan tree. Over time, the forest came to be known as Vadaveshwarapuram.
Meanwhile, a devotee of Vishnu named Periyalvar, who was childless, prayed to Vishnu to bless him with a child. One day, he found a baby girl under a tulasi plant in a garden inside the temple. He and his wife named the child Kothai, who grew up to be a devotee of Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Kothai used to string garlands for Lord Vishnu every day and wear them before dedicating them to the presiding deity of the temple. However, when Periyalvar found out, he was upset and scolded her.
One night, Lord Vishnu appeared in Periyalvar’s dream and instructed him to only dedicate the garland worn by Kothai, now known as Andal, to him. Andal was referred to as “Chudikodutha Sudarkodi”, which means “lady who gave her garland to Vishnu”. This tradition is still followed to this day, with Andal’s garland being sent to Azhagar Koyil and Tirumala Venkateswara Temple during certain festivals.
It is also said that Andal married Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple and later merged with his idol. Andal was taken in a palanquin from Srivilliputhur to Srirangam before the marriage. As Lord Ranganatha was a king (Raja), the presiding deity of the temple is called Rangamannar.
Srivilliputhur is a town in Tamil Nadu, India, that is steeped in history and spirituality. The town is renowned for the Srivilliputhur Andal Temple, which is dedicated to Andal, a divine child who was believed to have been found in a garden by Periyalvar, an ardent devotee of Vishnu. According to some accounts, the original temple structure was built in the 8th century, but the earliest available inscriptions date back to the 10th century. The temple has been patronized by kings from the Chola, Pandya, and Vijayanagar Nayakkar dynasties, with the most notable contributions being made by Tribuvana Chakravarthy Konerinmai Kondan Kulasekaran and Barathi Rayar of Vijayanagar.
During the reigns of Thirumalai Nayak and Rani Mangammal in the 17th century, Srivilliputhur gained popularity and underwent extensive renovations. Thirumalai Nayak made significant contributions to the temple, including the installation of choultries, temple tanks, paintings, and golden towers inside the temple. He also commissioned the sculptures in the hall leading to the shrine of Andal.
In the 18th century, Srivilliputhur was ruled by Nerkattumseval palayakkarar and Mohammed Yousoof Khan. From 1751 to 1850, the Sri Andal temple was under the care of the king of Trivancore. During the British colonial period, the temple’s gateway tower, which stands at a height of 192 ft, became the official symbol of the Government of Tamil Nadu, though some dispute this claim.
In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu, ensuring that the temple and its rich history remain accessible to pilgrims and visitors alike.
The Vadapathrasayee temple is a Hindu temple located in the city of Srivilliputhur in the Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is believed to have been built during the 8th century by the Pandya king, Vallabhadeva. The temple has two divisions, one dedicated to the Goddess Andal and the other to Lord Vishnu, with separate entrances for each.
The temple is surrounded by a granite wall and has a towering gateway tower, or rajagopuram, which is 192 feet (59 meters) tall. The rajagopuram is believed to have been built by Periyalvar with the prize money he obtained from religious debates in the court of Vallaba Pandya in Madurai.
The Andal shrine houses the image of Andal and Rangamannar, with Garuda, who brought Ranganathar, the divine bridegroom, from Srirangam, also housed in the same shrine. The shrine’s walls have paintings depicting the life of Andal. The Kalyana Mandapa, located in the second hall from the entrance towards the sanctum, houses huge life-size sculptures of Mohini, Rama, Kamadeva, Rati, and many other deities.
The Vatapatrasayi division has two precincts. The sanctum in the second level approached through a flight of steps houses the image of Vatapatrasayi in a reclining posture and his consorts, Lakshmi (Sridevi) and Bhudevi, are shown attending to him at his feet. Sage Bhrigu stands near his head and sage Markandeya is near his feet. The banyan tree whose leaf is known as Vatapatram, on which Vishnu is said to rest in the form of a baby during deluge, is at his head, behind Bhrigu. Images of Panchamurtis – Tumburu, Narada, the Sanatkumaras, Kinnara Mithuna, the sun and the moon Gods are shown all around Rangamannar as well as representations of Villi and Puttan are seen at his feet.
The temple houses some rare Vijayanagara sculptures similar to the ones present in other temples like the Soundararajaperumal Temple, Thadikombu, Krishnapuram Venkatachalapathy temple, Alagar Koyil, and Jalakandeswarar Temple, Vellore. The composite columns of Virabhadra holding sword and horn are found to be additions of the Vijayanagara kings during the early 1500s.
The Andal Temple, following the Thenkalai tradition, has Vaishnava Brahmin priests who perform six daily rituals, including decoration, food offering, and waving of lamps for the presiding deities, Vatapatrasayi and Andal. The worship culminates in the playing of musical instruments, reciting of religious texts, and devotees prostrating before the temple mast. There are also weekly, monthly, and fortnightly rituals.
The “Aadi Pooram” festival celebrated in the temple draws thousands of devotees who witness the special pujas and the procession of Sri Rengamannar and Goddess Andal in decorated palanquins to the temple car. The festival commemorates Periyalvar’s adoption of Andal, whom he found near a tulasi plant in the garden of Vatapatrasayi Temple. The temple car, originally very heavy and tall, was suspended from drawing during the yearly festival until it was modified with hydraulic wheels thanks to the efforts of Vanamamalai Jeer. The temple underwent Kumbabishekam consecration in 2016, with golden filials installed for Andal temple. The temple is ideal to visit on Fridays and Saturdays.
Aani Alvar Uthsavam: This festival takes place during the Tamil month of Aani, which falls in June-July. It is celebrated in honor of the 12 Alvars, the poet-saints who were devoted to Lord Vishnu.
Purattasi Utsavam: This festival is celebrated during the Tamil month of Purattasi, which falls in October. It is a time when devotees of Lord Vishnu observe fasts and offer prayers to the deity.
Ennaikappu: Ennaikappu is a festival that takes place during the Tamil month of Margazhi, which falls in December-January. It is a time when devotees of Lord Vishnu offer prayers and seek blessings for the well-being of their families.
Panguni Thirukkalyana Utsavam: This festival is celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni, which falls in March-April. It is a time when devotees of Lord Vishnu celebrate the marriage of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi. The festival is marked by processions, music, dance, and other cultural activities.
The temple is open every day from 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM and from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
How To Reach
The Sri Andal Temple is located in the town of Srivilliputhur in the Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu, India.
By Air: The nearest airport is Madurai International Airport, which is about 74 km away from Srivilliputhur. From there, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
By Train: Srivilliputhur has its own railway station, which is well connected to major cities in Tamil Nadu. Trains from Chennai, Madurai, and other major cities pass through this station. Once you reach the station, you can take an auto-rickshaw or taxi to reach the temple.
By Bus: Srivilliputhur is well connected by road to all major cities in Tamil Nadu. Regular buses are available from Madurai, Chennai, and other cities. Once you reach the Srivilliputhur bus stand, the temple is just a short distance away and can be easily reached by auto-rickshaw or taxi.