Thirunarayur Nambi Temple is also Known as Nachiyar Koil, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu and his wife Lakshmi.It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Srinivasa Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Nachiyar.The temple is the place where god Vishnu is believed to have initiated Pancha Samskara to Thirumangai Azhwar.
The temple is believed to have been built by King Kochengat Cholan. He is believed to have built 70 temples dedicated to Shiva and Thirunaraiyur is the only Vishnu temple constructed by him. The temple has a 5-tiered rajagopuram on the eastern side, raising up to a height of 75 ft . The entrance through the eastern gateway leads to a hall of 16 pillars, called Neenila Mutram. The centre of the hall is occupied by Dwajasthamba and Balipeeda (the place of sacrifice), one behind the other. The front portion of the flag pole has a small shrine for Garuda. The flag pole, place of sacrifice and Garuda's shrine are in the axial position from the entrance to the main sanctum. The shrine of Thirumangai Azhwar is located on the northern side.
The central hall of the temple, the Goratha Mandapam, houses the images of Ramanuja, Koorathazhwar and idols of eleven azhwars, leaving that of Andal. The southern side of the temple has a garden where the Bilva tree, the Sthala Vriksha is present. The Vasantha Mandapa or the spring hall is located next to it, which hosts the Vasanthothsavam or spring festival during the Tamil month of Vaikasi . The temple also has a 100-pillared hall where the wedding festival is held during the Tamil month of Aavani.
There is a separate shrine in the north that houses images of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita and another shrine in the south that houses the image of Hanuman. There is a shrine for Chakrathazhwar and Yoga Narasimha, believed to have been installed and worshipped by Sage Medhavi. The first precinct has separate shrines for Manavala Mamunigal and Vedanta Desika and idols of the utsava deities of the 108 divyadesams. The temple has an elevated structure approached through a flight of 21 steps. The presiding deity of the temple is Vishnu in the form of Narayur Nambi and his consort Lakshmi as Vanchulavalli Thaayaar , both of whom are housed in the main sanctum. Unlike other Vishnu temples where Vishnu is given importance, in this temple Nachiyar is prominent.
The sanctum also houses the images of Brahma, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Sankarshana and Purushothaman and a set of gods, who are depicted attending the wedding. The festive idols of Srinivasa , Sridevi , Vanjulavalli and Bhudevi are housed in the same shrine. The temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.
Thirunarayur Nambi Temple Kumbakonam
As per Hindu legend, the sage Medhavi was doing penance at this place. While taking a bath in the river, he found an image of Chakrathazhwar entwined with Yoga Narasimha. A divine voice asked him to install the image in his hermitage and worship it. The goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu chose to grow in the hermitage and appeared to the sage in the form of a small girl and requested him to take care of her. Vishnu travelled in search of Lakshmi on his vehicle Garuda, the eagle. Garuda found the presence of Lakshmi in the hermitage.
Vishnu appeared to Medhavi, pleased by the latter's devotion and asked his daughter to be married to him. The sage happily married Lakshmi to Vishnu and requested him to stay in his place, which Vishnu accepted. There is another local legend that king Kochengat Cholan was once defeated and he was advocated to seek the blessings of Vishnu, which he obliged.
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