Nachiayar Kovil is on Kumbakonam Tiruvarur road about 10 kms from Kumbakonam. This temple built by Kochengat Cholan is one of the many Mada temples (built at an elevation to prevent elephants from entering them, read my post on Thiruvanaikaval to know more) that he built. As per the wishes of the Lord he built this temple after he had built 70 Sivan temples. The presiding deity Srinivasa is present with His Consort Vanjulavalli Thayaar. The Lord and His Consort are both present in the same sannadhi and are seen in Kalyana Kolam. Vanjulavalli Thayar or Nachiyar Thayar is given prominence in this temple. Even inside the sannadhi one can notice that Thayar is accorded importance. She is so placed that one can have Her darshan right from the entrance. This is one of the 108 Divya Desams. This is one of the Vaishnava Navagraha Parihara Sthalams and corresponds to Chevvai.
The legend goes that Sage Medhavi who lived in Nachiyar Kovil prayed to Lord Vishnu to have Mahalakshmi as his daughter. True to this prayer, the sage found a beautiful girl child under Vanjula tree and named her Vanjulavalli. The girl grew up and was of marriageable age. Lord Vishnu, one day manifested himself into five forms and arrived at the sage’s ashram as guests. They were accorded a warm welcome by the Sage’s disciples. Vanjulavalli also served them a delicious meal. After the meal as Vanjulavalli helped them by pouring water to wash their hands, Vasudeva suddenly held her hand and she cried for help. Sage Medhavi came there on hearing his daughter’s cries and saw that all the five forms of Vishnu became one and gave him the darshan as Mahavishnu. Mahavishnu asked the Sage for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Sage Medhavi agreed to this. He also sought the boon of eternal salvation from the Lord. All living beings at this place that gave the Lord his wife and food should also attain eternal salvation. Last but not the least, he asked for the boon that his daughter should always be given prominence. From then on, this temple has been known as Nachiyar Kovil and as per the wish of the Sage, the Goddess is given prominence over the Lord.
Vishnu’s Pancha Vyuha forms of Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Anirudha, Purushottama and Vasudeva are found in the sanctum sanctorum.
It is said that Garuda was the one to trace Mahalakshmi to this place and led Mahavishnu here. As a mark of gratitude, Lord Vishnu has blessed Garudan to receive equal status at this temple.
Kal Garudan is the vahanam of the Presiding Deity at this temple. The Garudan made of stone is seen just outside Perumal’s sannadhi. The Kal Garudan is very famous for a strange phenomenon. During the annual festivals in the Tamil months of Margazhi & Panguni, Kal Garudan is taken out in procession through the four mada streets. It is observed that as He is taken away from the temple, His weight increases exponentially with more number of people required to carry Him, increasing from 4 people to 8, 16, 32 and 64. As the procession approaches the temple again, the weight of Kal Garudan reduces and the number of people required to carry Him also reduces from 64 to 4. During these processions, the Lord is carried by Garudan and Thayar is on Her vehicle which is Swan. It is quite well known that Swan is a slow moving bird while Garudan or Eagle is a fast moving one. However, during these processions, Thayar on Annam or Swan moves faster than Lord on Kal Garudan. This is because people carrying the Kal Garudan are hampered by the weight and are not able to move fast. This seems to fulfill the Lord’s promise to Sage Medhavi that the Thayar will always be given prominence here.
It is said that as the sculptor was creating the Kal Garudan, the idol started flying just after he had sculpted the wings. The astonished sculptor is believed to have thrown a stone to bring the idol down again. Kal Garudan has since then made this His abode and bless all devotees.
Kal Garudan is the Vara Prasadhi at this temple and answers all the wishes of the devotees are fulfilled by praying to Him on nine consecutive Thursdays. He removes the naga doshams, blesses childless couples with progeny, removes obstacle in marriage etc.
Some interesting facts about this temple are
The Presiding Deity holds the Chakra and Conch in front of His face.
Idols of the Presiding Deities of all the 108 Divya Desams are presnt in this temple.
Brahma is believed to have worshipped Lord Vishnu here and can be seen in a standing posture inside the sanctum sanctorum
South facing Paramapada Vasal or Sorga Vasal
There is a tank by the side of the temple. It is called Mani Mutharu. There is an interesting story behind the name. Garuda was bringing a diamond ornament for the Lord from Thiruparkadal or the Celestial Ocean. A diamond or mani in tamil fell into the water of this tank causing a degradation in its value to that of a pearl or muthu. Hence the name Manimutharu.
Nachiyar Kovil is also famous for Brass Sculpting. Finely crafted Kuthivilakku or oil lamps are made here and in neighbouring villages. These artisans are heriditary sculptors who have been making utsava idols (idols taken out in procession during festivals) for many temples.
Temple timings: 6.30am –12.30pm and 4.30pm-8.30pm
Temple Location: This temple is 10 Kms from Kumbakonam on Kumbakonam Tiruvarur Road. All buses on this route stop at Nachiyar Kovil.
Other Temples Nearby:
Thirucherai Saranatha Perumal Temple
Karukkakkum Nayaki Temple, Karuvalarcheri
Prathyangara Devi Temple – Ayyavadi
The Executive Officer,
Arulmigu Srinivasa Perumal Kovil,
Nachiyar Kovil – 612602,
Telephone Number 0435-2467167