Ninra Narayana Perumal Temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Constructed in the. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu,who is worshipped as Ninra Narayana and his consort Lakshmi as Arunakamala Mahadevi.
Ninra Narayana Perumal temple is believed to have been built by Pandyas. There is a host of inscriptions in the temple indicating information related to the gifts offered to the temple. One of the inscriptions from 1032 CE indicates the temples as Paramaswamy who willingly chose the hillock as his abode. A lake by name of Vallabha Pereri existed by the side of the temple. During the reign of Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I , a shrine was erected for the image of Singhaperumal. The two sons of Tiruvenkatanatha, an official in the Pandyan Empire constructed the western precinct. During 1220 CE, they constructed a mutt and endowed for the recitation of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. During the reign of Maravarman Sundara Pandyan , special poojas were instituted. In 1227, Gurukulatharaiyan, the minister of Sundara Pandyan arranged for the construction of the sanctum, Mahamandapam and Ardhamandapam.
In later periods, a lady named Tirumangai Andal installed the metal images of Karmachanai Emperuman and the Devis. The festival idols were taken out in procession during new moon day. The inscription about this inscription was recopied as the rock contained the original epigraph was shattered. In modern times, two philanthropists, named Ramanujadasa and Narayanadasa arranged for the construction of Kalyana Mantapa, Garuda Mandapa and other Mandapas (halls). During 1979, the northern compound wall, 120 ft by 30 ft tall collapsed due to torrential rains, which was repaired with the help of local support. In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Ninra Narayana Perumal temple is located in Thiruthangal, a town 2 km from Sivakasi, on the Madurai road. The shrine of Ninra Narayana is built on a 100 ft tall hill. An image of the presiding deity, Ninra Narayana, is seen in a standing posture facing east on the third tier of the temple and sporting Abaya Mudra . He is believed to have appeared to Bhoomadevi and Sridevi, all of whose images are housed inside the sanctum. The tier also houses the Mahamandapam and the shrine of Garuda, the eagle mount of Vishnu. Garuda is seen in a unique posture with a pot of Amrita on his right hand and a serpent in his left hand. His other two hands are seen with the supplicating pose. The sanctum is guarded by imposing images of Dwarapalakas, which are believed to be constructed during the rule of Sattur Kolarapatti.
The sanctum houses eleven images of Ninra Narayana Perumal, Markendeya, Garuda, Aruna, Viswakarma, Bhudevi, Sridevi on the right and Neeladevi, Usha, Aniruddha and Bhrigu to the left. The festival metal image of Thiruthangal Appan is placed in front of the images. The images of the deities are made of stucco and hence ablution is not performed as in other temples. The vimana, the roof over the sanctum is called Somachandra Vimana, is similar to the ones in Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple and Alagarkovil. The images of Nardanakrishan, Andal, Durga and Vinayaka are seen on the precinct around the sanctum, while the image of Azhwars is housed in the hall leading to the sactum. The consort of Ninra Narayana, Aruna Mahadevi has a separate shrine in the second tier. The Utsavar of Arunakamala Mahadevi is called Shenbagavalli and is housed inside the same shrine.
Unlike other temples, the image of Thayar is seen in standing posture. All poojas are first performed to Thayar before being done for the presiding deity. The second tier houses the four-pillared hall, vehicle hall and mirror room. A cave temple on the lower tier, bearing the traces of Pandyan art, is located to the West of Kalyana Mandap. The image of Pallikonda Perumal is housed in the cave, with Sridevi and Bhudevi serving his feet and sages Markandeya and Bhrigu occupying prominent places on either side. The rectangular walls around the temple enclose all the shrines and water bodies associated with the temple. The rajagopuram, the main gateway tower, has a flat structure, compared to other South Indian temples that have a steep structure.
Ninra Narayana Perumal Temple Thiruthangal
As per Hindu legend, there was a competition among the consorts of Vishnu namely Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Neeladevi on the degree of their devotion to Vishnu. Sridevi descended down to earth and repaired a sequestrated spot surrounded by paddy fields. She sat in devotion and influenced by her power of worship, all sages started worshipping her at the place. Realising that living alone would be improper, she engendered a theertha and propitiated Vishnu. Pleased by her devotion, Vishnu appeared at the spot. Bhudevi and Neeladevi followed her footsteps and acceded that Sridevi was the most devoted among them.
Vishnu desired and stayed along with his consorts in the place. As per another legend, Ranganatha from Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple was enamoured by the devotion of Andal. He started a journey to Srivilliputhur Divya Desam to seek her hand for marriage. While reaching the place, it became dark and he decided to spend the night in the place. Since he stayed at this place, it came to be known as Thiruthangal and the hillock came to be known as Thalagiri. As per another legend, Krishna's grandson Anirudhha got married at this place.
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