Arulmigu Nellaiyappar Arultharum Gandhimathi Amman Temple Tirunelveli Town
|God||Arulmigu Swami Nellaiyappar|
|Goddess||Arultharum Gandhimathi Amman|
|Theertham||Potraamarai Theertham (Swarna Pushkarani),Kari Uru Maari Theertham,Velitheppakulam (Chandrapushkarani)Sinthupoonthurai includes 32 Theerthas|
Various names for this holy shrine
Venuvanam, Nellore, Saaliveli, Saalivaadi, Saali Nagar, Tharugavanam, Keelvembu Naatu Kulasekara Chaturavedhi Mangalam.
Tirunelveli Nellaiappar Temple deserves special mention. The Goddess Gandhimathi to protect the world, performed penance towards Lord Shiva to gain His Blessings.The Goddess Umadevi departed from the abode of Kabilai Hill, got two measurement of paddy reached Venuvanam and nurtured the growth of charity. She sat on the bank of river kamba, and meditated towards the Lord, got the vision of Lord Shiva and got married. The Lord and the Ambaal together taught us the pleasures of worldly life and protected all the lives. To inculcate the practice of penance to the people, the Goddess came in the name of Goddess Kamatchi and performed penance. In this shrine God had played divine game (Thiruvilaiyadal) the truth that God is omnipresent in all living beings and all the soul will reach God ultimately.To offer naivedya to the Lord Shiva, Vedha Sharma, a Brahmin begged paddy grains and spread it on the floor to dry. Unfortunately rain lashed the city, Vedha Sharma prayed to God. The Lord Shiva paid heed to his prayers, and fenced the paddy grains from the rain. Hence he was called Nelvelinathar. And the place was called Thirunelveli from then onwards.
The four vedhas requested the Lord to grant boon to be a tree in Venuvanam. (bamboo groove). Hence the four vedhas represented the bamboo trees and the Lord Shiva incarnated himself in the form of Lingam. Ramakone, a milkman, who crossed the Venuvanam carrying milk was made to stumble down by the Lord Shiva. As a result milk spilled, and the Lord Shiva with a deep scar on his forehead revealed His real self as Venuvananathar.The vainglorious sages were brought under control by the Gangalanathar in the name of Pitchadhana Moorthy is also well known. Indra Thuiman got relieved from the curse of sage Thuruvasar with the help of “Kari Uru Maari Theertham” of this temple. The temple construction is based on saiva cults and therefore it is beautiful.The King Swetha Kethu ruled over Nellayampathi, and worshipped Nellaiappar daily. He was childless, and when he was counting his last days he went and performed shiva pooja in the temple. When the God of death Yama came to capture his soul by throwing a rope, the rope fell on the Lord Shiva. The Lord kicked the Yama. The Lord shiva pleaded the king not to die. But the king wished to attain moksha. This incident had been made note in Periyapuranam in these words, Kurtruthaitha Nelveli.The stone carvings of Kaala Samharamoorthy is found on the first circle of the temple near Subramaniar sannathi. This thiruvilaiyadal is celebrated every year on the month of vaikasi, especially when the zodiacal signs fall on pooram, uthiram & hastham. In all there days, it is celebrated as a function. Sivalinga poojai is performed, and the Panja Moorthy is taken out in a chariot.
The Kalaari Moorthy’s story revered by Appar and Sambanthar insists the universal truth that those who surrender themselves to God will not have fear of death. The divine game which the Lord Shiva performed on Thirukadayur is he kicked the God of death Yama to save the young man who knows of his death, even in his birth itself. And the God redeemed an old man from the fear of death and granted salvation. So Nellaiappar temple is far better than Thirukadaiyur because the Goddess Gandhimathi nurtured charity and married the Lord Nellaiappar and the sage Agasthiar got the divine glimpse of the wedding ceremony of the Lord Nellaiappar with the Goddess Gandhimathi. This holy shrine is renowned for the celebration of wedding, shasti poorti, bheema ratha shanthi, sathabhishekam and mrithunjaya yaaham.
Features of the inscriptions
This shrine has more than fifty inscription and most of them are from the ancient time. They’re carved in many languages such as krantham. Tamil, Kannad and Telugu. This temple is praised by Thirugnana Sambandhar. One of the oldest inscriptions of this temple is about the King Cholan Thalai Konda Veera Pandian (BC:946-966). It narrates the story of a courtesan who daily gave ghee for lighting lamp. Through this inscription we came to know that God was named as Bhrammapuri Thevar.We can see some inscriptions in the pillars of the temple which belong to the period of Rajendran I (BC: 1012-1044) and Kulothugna chola I (1070-1120 BC).In an inscription about Sadayavarman kulothungapandiya to, The Lord Shiva of this temple is being called as ‘Tirunelveli Udaya Nayanar’ and also the temple has many inscriptions about many famous Kings such as Sundara Pandian (BC 1216-1244), Vikrama Pandian (BC 1250-1276), Veerasomeshwaran (BC 1238-1258), Maravarman Sundara Pandian II, Sadaya Varma Veerapandiya II, Maravaraman Kulasekaran I (BC 1258-1308 – constructed the wall), Munthi Kottu Veeram Alagiya Pandia Thevan (constructed the Pollapillayar sannithi), Parakrama Pandiyan, Veera Sangili Marthanda Varman (constructed the musical pillar mandapam) etc.
U.V.Saminatha Iyer considers “Saliyur” as “Tirunelveli” from the lines of Madurai Kanji. “seer saandra nellin oorkonda uyar Kotravai”. Kanthiyammai Pillai Tamil also says “Saliyur” The name of the place is nothing but “Tirunelveli”.The hint about the place Tirunelveli can be seen in many literary works such as Thirugana Sambandhar’s 3rd Thirumarai, Sundara Moorthy Nayanar aruliya 7th and 12th Tirumarai, Azhagiya Sokkanathar Gandhiyammai Pillai Tamil, Pagazhikoothar’s Thirchendur Pillai tamil etc. Thirunelveli Shrine‘s history is written by Nellaiyappar Pillai, and the book has 120 parts and 6891 poetry.
Nellaiappar Temple is considered to be the prominent Temple than Madurai Temple. It is considered to be a big temple in the city with five Gopurams. It spreads over 850 feet long and 756 feet wide in the middle of the city. The sannathi of Sri Gandhimathi gives more aesthetic pleasure than the sannathi of Nellaiappar. The majestic beauty of the temple can be seen from Golden Lotus Tank. There is a belief that Lord Shiva, and Lord Brahma are disguised as water and lotus respectively.The sculptures during the reign of Nayanmar Veerabhadra, Arjuna and Pagadairaja are found in the composite columns of the Temple. Veerabhadra stands for courage, and a mother holding her child stands for feminine. In addition to this, the columns with cock fight, the elopement of Arjunan. The Chakras of 12 Zodiac signs in the roof, Rathi, Manmathan and the cosmic dance of Lord in the Lotus shaba gives visual pleasure to the visitors.The shrine of Arumuganainar is chiseled from a single stone which is above Lord Shiva’s sannathi. Devotees can see all the six faces of Lord Arumugaperuman. Pasuvanthanai Pichandi Annai constructed a musical chakra for the benefits of musicians. Devotees are pleased with the beauty of Ravana with Kailash Mountain and the music played with the harp in the sannathi of 63 Nayanmars. The western side of Northern wall is mounted with the embrace of the frightened Ambikai on seeing the courageous Ravana with mountain.
1000 Pillars Mandapam
Iypasi Thirukalyana Pillar festival is conducted in this 1000 pillar mandapam.This mandapam is 520 feet length 63 feet wide. During Panguni Uthram, the sceptre giving function conducted in this mandapam.The stature of uchchishta Ganapathy is an attractive one. The Thirukalyana mandapam is built in the way in which the turtleshoulders it. There is a belief, Lord Vishnu himself disguised as a turtle and shoulders this mandapam.
96 pillars in this mandapam represent 96 philosophies. After Thirukalyanam,God and Goddess are delighted in this oonjal and baby shower functions are also conducted every year. Yazhi sculptures are very special. This Mandapam was built in the year A.D.1635 by Cherakulam Pirariperumal Pillai .
It is situated in the northern side of temple.During Karthigai Somawar, special abishekam is done for Panchamoorthigal at this mandapam.Navarathri Poojas are also held here. It consists of 78 great pillars.
Since it links the Swami Sannithi and Ambal Sannathi,it is called as chain mandapam.In 1647,Vadamalayappa Pillai adorned this columns of temple with ferocious monkey,Vaali,Sukreevan,Purushamirugam,Beeman,Arjunan statues which attracts the devotees.
The Manimandapam got its name from a hanging bell in the middle of the mandapam.It was built by Nindra seer Nedumaran.Musical pillars were constructed around a single rock,which reproduces unique pitches when it is beaten.When we strike the pillars with antlers mounted on wooden plates, the exact sound is produced.It consist of 48 pillars in total.According to historians,this is ancient temple in Tamil Nadu with musical pillars.
Every year during summer season,vasantham festival is conducted in this 100 pillars mandapam.It is surrounded with trees which gives aesthetic feel. This garden is made by Thiruvengada Krishna Muthaliyar.
Nellaiappar Temple car is the third largest car in Tamilnadu. The first trail of the temple car was held in 1505.Ratha Street was divided by Ariyanayaka Mudaliyar.This large temple car weighs about 450 to Panja Moorthies also has temple car.Copper Temple car rounds on monthly festivals.It is only in this temple in Tamilnadu,the Amman temple car has thousands of marvellous wooden carvings.
Thamira Sabha (The Copper Hall of Dance)
The Copper hall of dance is the most indispensable one in the history of Gandhimathiamman with Nellaiappar temple.Among the different type of Halls,Lord Shiva who performed Aananda Thandavam in the Golden Hall (Porsabai) at Chidambaram,Urduva Thandavam in Ruby Hall(Rathna Sabai) at Thiruvalangadu, Sundara Thandavam in Silver Hall(Velli Sabai) at Madurai,Asaba Thandavam in Chitra Sabha,a hall made out of paintings at Courtallam, performed Brahma Thandavam known as Gnana Dance in Copper Hall (Thamirasabai) at Tirunelveli which was beautifully portrayed by the Venuvana Purana.Lord Ursava Moorthy is also called as Thamira Sabapathi and Sandana Sabapathi.The Sannithi of Agni Sabapathi also known as Azhagiya Urchava Natarajar is one of the beautiful sannithi to be seen.This was depicted in Appar’s song “kunindha puruvamum kovvai sevvayil kumin siripum”
- The Shrine Where Thirugnyanasambanthar sang.
- Dual Sanctum (Venuvananaadhar, Nellai Govindhar)
- The Poet Muthuswami Dikshitar sung “Sri Gandhimathim” in Hemavathi raga on the Goddess in this shrine.
- Yearly during thai Amavasai Pathiradepam (Ten Thousand lamps) and six year once Latchadeepam during Thai Amavasai is held.During the festival of Pathiradeepam and Latchadeepam in Manimandapam, golden Lamp, two silver Lamps surrounded by 8 deepams are kept for pooja. Those who failed to perform Pitru Karma,They can lit (deepam) lamp during the festival of pathiradeepam or latchadeepam an thai amavasai which will relieve them from sins.This was created in this temple by Kodaganallur Sundara Swamigal.
- Arumuga Nayinar Sannithi is suitable for doing shri vidhya homam Which is augmented with “vidya chakra” in order to be great in education.
- According to Hindu rituals,the priest prepares neivedhyas for God,this incident refers to Goddess offering food to God.It gives the belief that it increases the mutual understandings between the couple.Women believes that the life of their better half strengthens if they attend the Saayaratachai Pooja during panguni (Tamil Month) festivals.
- This temple is meant for the devotees of Punarpoosam star.
- The Sannithi of Thiru Moola Mahalingam.
- The Sannithi of Nellai Govindhar imprinted with the Lord Sivalinga on his bust.
- The Sannithi of Guberalinga is one among the 3 Sannithis in Tamilnadu. (The hymn sung by Thirugnana Sambanthar in this temple ends as “Tirunelveliyural Selvarthame”)
- Along with Sanagathi Sages, Agasthiyar, Kabilar are also seated, blessed with the Sannithi of Gnananatha Thakshina Moorthy.
- The Sannithi of Siddha Amavasai Paradesi who lived for 120 years.
- The sannithi of Gurumurugan who blesses Murugan Valli Deivanai with Yoga Chinmuthra like the Lord Guru of Thiruchendur.
- Lord Suradevar with 3 faces,3 legs,3 hands cures diseases like fever.There is a belief,that if we do warm water Abishekam and apply pepper paste on forehead of Suredeva. It will even cure severe fever.
- The Sannithi of Pollapillaiyar with Pillaithondu Paathai blesses off springs to childless women.
- People worshiped Mahishasura Marthini Amman and Manjana Amman on tuesdays and fridays during raghukalam to get rid of enemies and to get married at the right time.
- Goddess Saraswathi sannithi is located in the bank of Golden Lotus.
- The constituent temple of Sri Pittapurathi Amman has special features which cures infant problems through holy water and rope from the temple.
Every month has special festivals in this temple.
|Chithirai||Vasantha Brahmostavam (11 Days)|
|Vaikasi||Visagam (1 Day)|
|Aani||Brahmostavam (Aani Car Festival) (10 Days)|
|Aadi||Aadi Pooram (10 Days)|
|Aavani||Moola Utsavam (11 Days)|
|Puratasi||Navarathiri (15 Days)|
|Iypasi||Thiru Kalyanam (15 Days)|
|Karthigai||Karthigai deepam, Somawar festival (1 day)|
|Maargazhi||Thiruvvathirai Festival (10 Days)|
|Thai||Poosam Festival (10 Days)|
|Maasi||Maha Sivarathri (1 Day)|
|Panguni||Uthira Thiunaal (10 Days)|
|Pooja Schedule||Amman Sannithi||Swamy Sannithi|
|Thiruvananthal||6.00 am||6.30 am|
|Vilapooja||7.00 am||7.30 am|
|Sirukala Pooja||8.00 am||8.30 am|
|Kala Sannithi Pooja||9.00 am||9.30 am|
|Uchikaalam||12.30 pm||12.00 pm|
|Saayaratchai||5.30 pm||6.00 pm|
|Ardhajama||8.15 pm||8.30 pm|
|Palliyarai Pooja||9.00 pm||—|
Annathana Scheme is launched on 23.03.2002 by the Chief Minister of TamilNadu. Everyday 100 people get full meals from this scheme.
Address for Communication
Arulmigu Nellaiappar Arul Tharum
Gandhimathi Amman Thirukovil
Tirunelveli Nagaram, Tirunelveli – 627 006.
Telephone Number :- 0462 – 239910
Email ID: email@example.com