Sarangapani Temple Kumbakonam (108 Divya Desam Temples)

Latest Update(02-07-2009)
Car festival of Sri Sarangapani Temple was held here on Wednesday. Thousands of devotees pulled the car along the four streets around the temple.The tastefully decorated big car (next to Tiruvarur and Srivilliputhur temple cars) weighing 300 tonnes started from its stand at 11.30 a.m. and went its way via the four streets and came to the stand in the evening.
Earlier in the morning Sarangapani Perumal along with Upayanachiar was taken to the car from the temple in a procession.After arthis and pujas were performed, devotees started pulling the car. Sarangapani Temple occupies the third place in the 108 Vaishnavite Thirupathis. Seven Alwars have done Mangalasasanam of the Perumal.

Jeers of Sri Ahobila Mutt participated in the festival. The temple has two car festivals one falling in the Tamil month of ‘Chithirai’ and another in ‘Thai.’ The car festival was not held for many years in between.
Ko.Si. Mani, Co-operation Minister, who represents Kumbakonam constituency in the Assembly, took efforts to run the car. The huge car was renovated and the festival re-commenced in 2007. But encroachments on roads hindered and delayed the movement of the car then. Now roads have been re-laid and widened to ensure that the car festival passed off smoothly on Wednesday.

Lord Aaraavamudhan is credited with helping the compilation of Naalaayira Divya Prabandham
Pancha Ranga Kshetram
Sarangapani Koil has maximum number of Azhvaars singing praise of Lord Vishnu after Srirangam and Tirupathi
The 2000 year old Sarangapani Aaraavamudhan temple is housed between two rivers, Cauvery and Arasalaaru, in the heart of Kumbakonam, once the capital of the Chola Kingdom. 3rd Tallest Temple Tower. This temple has the third tallest temple tower among the Divya Desams at 150ft after Srirangam(236ft) and Srivilliputhur(192 ft).

one among the three major shrines dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The largest 11 storey gopuram is 44 meter tall and has the dancing poses of Shiva, a rather unusual feature in a vaishnavite shrine. There are two entrances, uttara vassal – opens when the sun reaches the tropic of Capricorn, in the north and dakshina vassal – opens when the sun reaches the tropic of Cancer, in the south.

Some parts of the temple is believed to have been built in the 7th Century AD by the famous Pallava King Mahendra Varma but the real construction of the temple is said to have been done by the Cholas and later renovated by the famous Vijayanagara King Krishnadeva Raaya.

In an effort to test the patience of the Tri-Murthies and in order to find out as to who is most patient, Sage Brigu once kicked Lord Vishnu on the chest. An embarrassed Goddess Lakshmi left the Lord, who in search of her came to Tirupathi. At Tirupathi, the Lord got married to Goddess Padmavathi. To save himself from an angry Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu is said to have hid inside a small cave here. To this day, one can see a small Sannidhi below the earth inside this temple, near the sanctum sanctorum.

Undertaking penance to repent his arrogant action, Brigu was reborn as Hema Rishi and Goddess Lakshmi was born as his daughter. It is said that Brigu gave his daughter in marriage to Lord Sarangapani.

Compilation of Naalaayira Divya Prabhandham
After listening to the Tamil hymn ‘Aaraavamudhe’(3418-27) composed by NammAzhvaar and totally swarmed by its content ” Aayirathil Ippathe”( 10 verses in 1000), Vaishnavite savant Natha Muni wanted to listen to the 1000 verses of Divya Prabandham. Not knowing where to go to collect the entire Prabandham, Natha Muni is said to have prayed here and Lord Aaraavamudhan asked him to go to Azhvaar Tirunagari, near Tirunelveli, to meet NammAzhvaar and to compile the works of the Divya Prabandham. Having searched for the 1000 verses, Natha Muni actually got to compile all the Nalaayira Divya Prabandham. Being responsible for the compilation of the famed 4000 verses by showing Natha Muni the right direction, the Lord here is also called ‘Aaraavamudha Azhvaar’.

He is also called ‘Tamizh Vedham Thantha Vallal’.

“Aaraavamudhe Adiyen Udalam, Ninbaal Anbaaye
Neeraal Alainthu Karaiya Urukinra Nedumaale
Seeraar Sennel Cauvery Veesum, SezhuNeerth ThiruKudanthai
EraarKolam Thigazhak Kidanthaai, Kanden Emmaane”
(Lord, I see you in resplendent reclining form in ThiruKudanthai, amidst Fertile waters and Paddy fields…………….)

ThiruMazhisai Azhvaar and ‘Slightly Raised Reclining Posture’ of the Lord-Uthaana Sayanam
Seeing the sleeping posture of the Lord, a curious ThiruMazhisai Azhvaar questioned if his tiredness was the reason for him to be lying down in his sleeping posture. After hearing this, it is believed that the Lord slightly raised his posture to greet the Azhvaar. Feeling the guilt of having caused strain on the Lord, ThiruMazhisai Azhvaar asked him to remain as is. And the Lord remained so ever after. To this day, one can see the Lord in a slightly ‘raised reclining’ posture(Uthaana Saayee).

‘Nadantha Kaalgal Nonthatho Nadungu Nyaala Menamaaya
Kidantha Mei Kulungavo Vilangu Maal Varaichuram
Kadantha Kaal Parappik Cauverik Karaik Kudanthaiyul
Kidantha Vaare Ezhunthirunthu Pesu Vazhi Kesavane’

Azhvaars praising the Lord
Also, after Srirangam (11) and Tirupathi (10), the Sarangapani temple has the maximum number of Azhvaars (7 of them) singing praise of the Lord.

Sarangapani temple boasts of one of the biggest temple chariots and is said to have been given to the Lord by ThirumangaiAzhvaar himself.

Thiru Pallaandu and Sarangapani
PeriyaAzhvaar in his ThiruPallaandu refers to the Kudanthi Lord “Saarngam Ennum Villaandaan Thannai…” ( the Lord with a ‘Sarangam’ bow in hand….)

Sanctum housed on a Chariot

Lord Vishnu is said to have come down from Vaikuntam in his chariot to marry Goddess Lakshmi here at Kudanthai. The main sanctum has been conceived like a chariot with wheels drawn by horses and elephants and is truly a splendid sight to watch. There are two entrances to the sanctum sanctorum, the southern entrance and the northern entrance (each is open for 6 months in a year). There is no straight entrance to the sanctum. The Utsav moorthy here is regarded with the same importance as the Moolavar.

As seen in the previous story( Srirangam) Lord Ranganatha had settled down with the Prana Vaakruthi Vimaanam on the banks of Cauvery in Srirangam. The Lord also told Vibheeshana that he would settle down with the Vaidheega Vimaanaam at Kudanthai. Hence, this temple is 2nd only to Srirangam among the Divya Desams.

The Name ThiruKudanthai
Foreseeing some difficult times, Brahmma placed the Vedhic content, nectar and the seeds of creation inside a pot (Kudam in Tamil), which then slipped all the way and down to this place.

Shiva pierced the pot and the nectar flowed in two parts – one into the Mahaamagam Tank and the other into the Lotus Flower Tank. As the nectar flowed into the tank through a pot (Kudam), this place came to be called Thiru ‘Kudanthai’

A visit to this temple, it is believed, will help get rid of one’s past sins, just as a trip to Kasi in the North, would. It is sacred to bathe in the lotus water bed in the temple tank.

Lord does Shraadham for a Brahmin
Lakshmi Narayana Swami was a brahmachari and was devoted to Lord Aaravamudhan. It was he who built the Raja Gopuram. He was worried about his final rites as he was a brahmachari. Pleased with his devotion, the Lord himself is said to have performed the final rites. Also, every year, in the Tamil month of Aipasi, the Lord is said to perform the Shradham for Lakshmi Narayana Swami.

PanchaRanga Kshetram
ThiruKudanthai is a Pancha Ranga Kshetram

“Anya Kshetra Kriya Paavam, Punya Kshetra Vinasyathi
PunyaKshetra Kritham Paavam, Vaaraanasya Vinasyathi
Vaaranasya Kritham Paavam, Kumbakonam Vinasyathi
Kumbakonam Kritham Paavam, Kumbakonam Vinasyathi”

There is no swarga Vaasal at the Saarangapani temple. About 50000 people are expected to attend the Vaikunta Ekadesi festival.There are festivals all through the year at this temple. Other Temples to visit: Raamaswamy ( Raama in a grand standing posture) and Chakrapani temple.

Quick Facts:

Deity : Aaraavamudhan – East Facing, Raised Reclining Posture
Goddess : Komalavalli Thaayar
Mangalasaasanam : 7 Azhvaars- PeriyaAzhvaar, PeyAzhvaar, BhoothathAzhvaar, NammAzhvaar, Thirumangai Azhvaar, Thirumazhisai, Andaal,
Paasurams : 52

Temple timing : 7am –12 30pm and 4pm-8pm

Contact : Soundara Raja Bhattar @ 94863 10896/ 0435 2427218