DIVYA DESAMS

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DIVYA DESAMs - 108 Maha Vishnu sthalams

As per the divine instruction of Lord Narayana to the last Azhwar (ThirumangaiAzhwar) to have darshan at all Divya Desams, let's now take this virtual divine journey. May the Lord's grace be on all of us to have HIS real darshan soon at all the Divya Desams.
Divya Desams are temples where Azhwars (Vaishnavite Saints) sung divine hymns (Mangalasasanam) on Sri Maha Vishnu, the presiding deity of those temples. These divine hymns are popularly known as Nalayira Divya Prabandham. The verses are the condensed form of Vedas, Upanishads and Vyasa's Brahmasutras.
There are 108 Divya Desams in total, amongst them two are not in this material world - they are Thiruppaarkadal and Parama padam. Other 105 temples are located in India and 1 Divya desam is in Nepal (Salagramam).
Among the twelve Azhwars, only 11 composed hymns on the 108 Divya Desams:
PoigaiAzhwar composed hymns on 6 Divya desams, BoothathAzhwar on 13, PeyAzhwar on 15, ThirumazhisaiAzhwar on 17, NammAzhwar on 37, KulasekarAzhwar on 9, PeriyAzhwar on 18, Sri Andaal on 11 and ThondaradipodiAzhwar on 1. Madhurakavi Azhwar glorified Nammazhwar in his hymns.
Lord Sriman Narayana is found in various Thirukkolam (Postures) in these Divya Desams :
Veetrirundha Thirukkolam (Sitting Posture) - 21 Divyadesams
Nindra Thirukkolam (Standing Posture) - 60 Divyadesams
Kidantha Thirukkolam (Sleeping Posture) - 27 Divyadesams
The Lord appears facing towards East direction at 79 temples, facing West at 19, facing North at 3 and facing South at 7 temples.
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DIVYA DESAMs 1 TO 10

DIVYA DESAMs - 1/108 - SriRangam

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple
Location : Sri Rangam, Tiruchirapalli
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Ranganathar, Periya Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Sri Ranganayaki, Periya Piraatti
*Thirukkolam (Posture) :*Sayanam (Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : South
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
PeriyAzhwar, Andaal, ThirumazhisaiAzhwar, ThondaradipodiAzhwar, ThiruppanAzhwar, ThirumangaiAzhwar, PoigaiAzhwar, BoodathAzhwar, PeyAzhwar, NammAzhwar, KulasekarAzhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
Srirangam temple is hailed as 'Bhooloka Vaikuntam' ( Heaven on Earth).
Lord Ranganathar is believed to have appeared from the Milky Ocean. Lord Brahma was worshipping Him for a long time and passed on to Sun god to continue the pujas as per vedic rules. Later Sri Rama, belonging to the Surya (Sun) dynasty was worshipping the Lord.
As a mark of His love and recognition of the services rendered to Him by Vibishana during His war against Ravana to rescue Ma Sita, Lord Rama gifted His Lord Ranganathar to Vibishana. While returning to Lanka after Sri Rama’s coronation in Ayodhya, Vibishana placed the idol on the ground for a break during the journey. But Vibishana was shocked that he could not even move the idol when he tried later.
He was consoled by the king of the region Dharma Chola Raja. Lord Perumal also expressed His desire to stay on the banks of Cauvery and promised Vibishana that He would be in His reclining posture facing Lanka in the south. King Dharma Chola built the temple later.
As per legend, this temple went into the sands in the years that followed, it was re-built by Killi Valavan of the Chola dynasty.
About the temple:
The Srirangam temple has 21 gopurams (towers). The main southern entrance 13- storey gopuram, called Raja-gopuram, is one of the largest in the world. It was finished in 1987 and is 72m (236 feet) high. The passage under this tower is about 30m (100 ft) long. The other gopurams were built between the 14th and 17th century.
Vaishnava Acharya Sri Ramanujar stayed here rendering his services to the Lord and also attained salvation here. His physical body in the Padmasana (yogic sitting posture), depicting the Gnyana-Mudra (symbol of knowledge) with his right palm, is preserved here for over 850 years in a separate Sannidhi dedicated to the Acharya. Yearly twice a mixture of Pachai Kalpuram (Edible camphor) and Kumkuma Poo (Saffron) are applied on the Acharya as a natural preservative.
Kamba Ramayana was first delivered by Poet Kambar in Srirangam temple at the court hall (Kambar Arangetra Mandapam) near Thaayar sannithi. Legend says that when contemporaries objected to Hiranyavadaipadalam ("Story of Hiranyakasipu", which occurs as Vibhishana telling Ravana while warning against his false sense of invincibility), Kambar read it in front of the Narasimhaswamy sannidhi inside Srirangam temple. The Swami applauded by laughing out aloud from his Sanctum Sanctora (Mettu Narasimhar Sannidhi), and this was taken as proof of approval. During his divine journey, the longest time spent in one place by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was at Sri Rangam.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 2/108 - Thirukkozhi

Name of the Divya Desam : Azhagiya Manavalan Perumal Temple (Sri Kamalavalli Nachiar temple)
Location : Uraiyur, Tiruchirapalli Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Azhagiya Manavalan Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Sri Kamalavalli Nachiar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : North
Mangalasasanam(Hymns sung by) : ThirumangaiAzhwar, KulasekarAzhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per the legend, Lord Vishnu was pleased by the worship of the childless Chola King Nanda Chola and blessed him that Mahalakshmi, his consort, would be born to the king and at an appropriate age, the Lord would marry her.
The king found the child in a lotus tank while hunting in a forest. Since the child was born out of lotus, she was named Kamalavalli by the king. Time came when Kamalavalli fell in love with Lord Vishnu in the form of Sri Ranganathar, the presiding deity of Srirangam temple. The Chola king readily got her married to Sri Ranganathar.
About the temple:
King Nanda Chola built this temple to commemorate the divine marriage. During Panguni Uthiram (March-April), Lord Ranganathar comes here and gives Kalyana thirukolam darshan (As married couple) with Kamalavalli Nachiar, to all devotees. The event is celebrated as Serthi Sevai festival every year. There is no separate Utsavamurthy (procession deity) here since the Utsavamurthy (Lord Ranganathar) of Srirangam temple is considered as the Utsavamurthy for this temple also.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 3/108 - Thirukarambanur

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Purushothama Perumal Temple
Location : Uthamar Koil, (Bhikshandar Koil), Trichy Dist.
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Purushothamar
Thayaar (Consort) : Poorvadevi, Pooranavalli
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Sayanam (Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) : ThirumangaiAzhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
Lord Brahma too had five heads as Lord Shiva. Once Mother Parvathi mistook Brahma to Shiva and offered Him services. Lord Shiva plucked off one head of Brahma to avoid the confusion between the two. This resulted in Shiva incurring a Brahmmahathi dosha.
The skull of Brahma stuck to the hands of Shiva which He could not separate despite all efforts. All the food offered to Him was consumed by the skull and it never was filled. Holding the skull, Lord Shiva came down to earth as Bhikshadanar (a mendicant) with His skull bowl.
When Shiva came to this place, Lord Vishnu asked Mother Mahalakshmi to offer food in the bowl. When Mahalakshmi did so, the bowl began to over flow and quenched the hunger of Lord Shiva, hence, She became to be praised as Pooranavalli – one who fulfills the requirements of the needy.
About the temple:
A special feature of this temple is that the Trimurthis (Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva) grace here with their respective consorts.
Lord Brahma and Goddess Saraswathi are facing South.
Lord Vishnu as Purushothama perumal in sayana pose and Goddess Pooranavalli Thayar are facing east.
Lord Shiva as Bhikshadanar is facing west and Goddess Soundarya Parvathi, Vadivudai Nayaki facing south.
Lord Vishnu emerged as a Kadambha tree at this place, giving the name "Kathambanur", which later became "Karambanur". The name Karambanur is mentioned by Thirumangai Azhwar in Nalayira Divya Prabandam, in which he refers the presiding deity as "Karambanur Uthaman". The temple is commonly called "Uthamar Kovil" after the name of the presiding deity. The temple is also called Bhikshandar Kovil as Lord Shiva is present in the form of Bhikshadanar.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 4/108 - Thiruvellarai

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Pundarikaksha Perumal temple
Location : Thiruvellarai, Tiruchi Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Pundarikaksha Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Sri Shenbagavalli thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) : Periyazhwar, ThirumangaiAzhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend, when Sibi Chakravarthi stayed in this place with his warriors, a white boar crossed his path. He chased it and the boar hid inside a hole. Sage Markandeya was doing penance there, the king narrated the incident to him. The sage asked the king to fill the hole with milk. While doing so, Lord Vishnu appeared before them and blessed.
The sage asked the king to bring 3700 Vaishnavites from the north and build a temple on this site for Lord Vishnu. The king took 3700 Vaishnavites and started building the temple. While doing so, one Vaishnavite was killed in transit and the king was worried about the accident. Vishnu appeared incognito as Pundarikakshan, a Vaishnavite, and requested to be counted among the 3700.
About the temple:
The temple is on a white rock hill of 50ft high. The Tamil word 'Vellarai' is actually 'Vellai Parai' which means 'white rock', hence the name for this place. The temple is considered the oldest of the Vaishnavaite temples of South. It is older than Srirangam which was built during Sri Rama’s period, whereas this temple was built by Sibi Chakravarthi, forefather of Sri Rama.
Bhooma Devi, Lakshmi Devi, Suriyan, Chandran and Aadisheshan in human form are seen in the Sanctum sanctorum along with Sri Pundarikaksha Perumal.
Thayar gets the first rights over Perumal. Only in two other Divya Desams this happens – Nachiyar temple in Thiru Naraiyur, Andal in Srivilliputhur. As per the wish of the Lord, Shenbagavalli thayar comes first in palanquin followed by the Lord's palanquin during festival and other occasions.
The special feature of this temple is that the sanctum sanctorum has two entrances namely Utharayana Gate and the Dhakshinayana Gate. Utharayana Gate is open from Jan 15 to June 15 approximately and from then on, the Dhakshinayana Gate is open. In the human life, there are two separate entrances, one for entering into the life and the other for exiting out of it.
The Utharayana Gate is the entrance through which all the Jeevathmas enter into the world as a human-being or as a non human-being and is the place of “Lord Guberan”, the God of wealth. The Lord is known as ‘Suriya Narayanan’ during Utharayanam.
The Dhakshinayana Gate is the entrance to the death and it is the place of Lord Yama, the Lord of Death. The Lord is known as ‘Govindan’ during Dhakshinayanam.
Apart from the above two gates there is a third entrance to the sanctum sanctorum which is called as ‘Naazhi Kettaan Vaayil’. It is believed that Sri Pundarikakshan was stopped and queried by the goddess, after returning from his visit. Till this day, during the temple events and festivals, after finishing the outdoor visit (veedhi ula), Lord Vishnu has to explain the goddess about his trip at this Naazhi Kettaan Vaayil gate so that he can get inside!!
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DIVYA DESAMs - 5/108 - Thiru Anbil

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Sundararaja Perumal temple
Location : Anbil, Tiruchi Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Sundararaja Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Sri Sundaravalli thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Sayanam(Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) : ThirumazhisaiAzhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend, Sage Durvasa once came to meet Manduka Rishi but had to wait long as the latter was in deep meditation, under water. Durvasa, who is known for his instant anger, cursed Manduka Rishi turning him into a frog.
Wanting to get back his human form, Manduka Rishi underwent penance in the pond here and his prayers were finally answered, with Lord Vishnu appearing before the Rishi and liberating him from Durvasa’s curse. Hence, this pond is called Manduka Theertham (pond).
As per another legend, the god of creation Brahma believed that he was the most handsome individual in the world as he created all the human beings. Vishnu learned this and cursed Brahma to be born as an earthly being.
Brahma worshipped Vishnu for relieving him from the curse. Vishnu appeared as a handsome young man in front of him. Awed by Lord Vishnu's personality, Brahma inquired about him. Vishnu revealed his true form and conveyed to Brahma that physical appearance is temporary and one has to be good at heart.
About the temple:
A Tamil quote sung here "Anbae Kadavul, Anbae Azhaghu, Anbae Ulagam, Anbae Gnyanam, Anbae Padaippu" means "Love is God, Love is beauty, Love is the world, Love is Knowledge and Love is the creation". "Sundara" means beautiful "Raja" means king, Sri Sundararaja Perumal is the king of beauty and goodness filled with Love ("Anbu" in Tamil).
Andal is seen in a sitting posture here. This is considered as a prarthana sthalam for unmarried women. It is believed that prayers to Andal at this temple will result in them finding the right bridegroom.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 6/108 - Thirupernagar

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Appakudathan swamy temple
Location : Koviladi, Thanjavur Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Appakudathan Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Sri Indradevi thayar/Sri Kamalavalli thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Sayanam(Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : West
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) : Periyazhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar, Thirumazhisai Azhwar, Nammazhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
King Upamanyu lost his powers due to the curse of Sage Durvasa. When begged for pardon and relief, the sage said that the king should feed one lakh people here to get relieved from the curse. The king built a palace nearby and commenced the feeding. Once Sriman Narayanan came here as an aged Brahmin and was served food. To test the determination of the king, Lord consumed the entire quantity of food prepared for the day. King politely asked the Brahmin if He wanted anything more. The Brahmin replied He wanted one pot of Appam (Sweet dumpling), when served the Lord revealed his real form and blessed the king. Hence the Lord here is called "Appakudathan" - one with a pot of Appam.
It is believed that Saint Nammazhwar recited his last pAsuram on this Divya desam and attained salvation, reaching paramapadham (Lord's abode).
About the temple:
The place is called "Koviladi" because it is located downstream of the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, which is referred as "Kovil" in Vaishnava tradition.
Koviladi-Appakudathan temple is one among the Pancha Ranga sthalams (temples dedicated to Sri Ranganatha swamy on the banks of Kaveri river). The following are the list of Pancha Ranga sthalams
Sri Ranganatha swamy temple, Sriranga Pattinam, Mysore,
Sri Ranganatha swamy temple, Sri Rangam,
Sri Appakudathan swamy temple, Koviladi,
Sri Sarangapani temple, Kumbakonam and Sri Parimala Ranganatha Perumal temple, ThiruIndalur-Mayiladuthurai.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 7/108 - Thirukandiyoor

Name of the Divya Desam :
Sri Harasaapavimochana Perumal temple
Location : Thirukandiyoor, Thanjavur Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Harasaapavimochana Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Kamalavalli Thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
Lord Shiva plucked one head of Lord Brahma and got the Brahmahathi saapam (curse) which made him beg as Bhikshandavar (mendicant) by holding Brahma's skull which was stuck to his hand. The food served vanished in the skull and could not be consumed by Lord Shiva.
At Uthamar temple Goddess Mahalakshmi served in the bowl which began to over flow and quenched the hunger of Lord Shiva. Yet the skull did not come out of Lord Shiva's hand. It is here at Thirukandiyoor Lord Vishnu relieved Lord Shiva from the curse by which the skull came off from His hand.
"Hara" is the name of Lord Shiva, "Saapa" means curse, "Vimochana" means relieved. Since Lord Vishu relieved Lord Shiva's curse here, He is called Harasaapavimochana Perumal.
About the temple:
A special feature of this temple is that this is one of the few temples where the Trimurthis (Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva) grace with their respective consorts.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 8/108 - Thirukoodaloor
Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Aduthurai (Jagatrakshaka) Perumal temple
Location : Ullikadai, Thanjavur Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Jagatrakshaka Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Padmasini Thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) : Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
According to the legends, King Ambarisha who immersed himself in the worship of Lord Vishnu, failed to strengthen his army and lost his kingdom to his enemies. One day while worshipping the Lord, Ambarisha did not observe the sage Durvasa who went along his way. The sage got irritated by King's behaviour and cursed the king.
The king went to Lord Vishnu to seek help. Vishnu sent his discus to chase the sage. The sage surrendered to Lord Vishnu and begged pardon. The king Ambarisha is believed to have built the temple and hence the presiding deity is also called "Ambarisha Varadhar" here.
According to another legend, all rivers come to river Kaveri for cleansing themselves. Kaveri wanted to cleanse herself and approached Lord Brahma who told her to worship Lord Vishnu. She is believed to have worshipped Lord Vishnu and got relieved of her sins.
About the temple:
In this sthala, all the Devas along with Nandhaga rishi were given the prathyaksham (darshan) of Sriman Narayana. Since all of them gathered (koodi) together, this sthala is called as "Thirukoodaloor".
Demon Hiranyaksha fought with Mother Earth and hid her in Padala Loka. Lord Vishnu took the form of Varaha Avatara and rescued her. Referring to this event, Saint Thirumangai Azhwar praises this place as Pugunthan Oor (Place where Lord entered into earth). As Lord protected the world (Vaiyam) from the demon, He is also known here as "Vaiyam Katha Perumal".
A parrot living in this temple complex used to pick a black plum (Naval fruit) from a tree and place it at the feet of the Lord chanting "Hari Hari". One day, when it was bringing the fruit, a hunter shot it down, the bird fell chanting "Hari Hari". Hearing the parrot chanting the name of Lord, the hunter got scared and ran away from the place.
Lord Vishnu gave darshan to the parrot and reminded of its past birth as a scholar but a pedant and that he was cursed to be born as a bird and that it remembered his name, chanting it forever. Lord relieved the parrot of its curse.
In the past this Divya desam was completely washed out by flood and the Lord came in the dream of * Rani Mangammal, * Queen of Madurai and told her that the temple had disappeared under the earth. Rani Mangammal unearthed and re-build the temple in its current form.
A natural CONCH symbol is found on the Jack fruit tree – the sacred tree of the temple.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 9/108 - Kapisthalam

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Gajendra Varada Perumal temple
Location : Kapisthalam, Thanjavur Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Gajendra Varada Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Ramamanivalli thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Sayanam(Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumazhisai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per the legend King Indradyumnan was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. Once, the Great Sage Agastya and his disciples came to visit the King. The King was in his prayers and hence could not attend to his guests immediately. Agastya felt insulted and was very angry. He cursed the King to become an elephant. After Indrayumnan apologized, Sage Agastya also pronounced that he will be absolved of his sins by the Divine Grace of Mahavishnu. Accordingly, the King was born as an elephant.
Around the same time, Huhu, a Gandharva, playfully pulled the leg of Sage Devala while he was bathing. The angry Sage cursed him to be born as a crocodile. The Gandharva apologized and as in the case with Indrayumna, the Sage said that he would attain Moksha by Lord Vishnu’s discus.
Gajendra as in his previous birth, continued to be a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu. He used to go to a pond daily to pluck lotus and offer to the Lord. On the eventful day, Gajendra as usual went into the pond to fetch the flowers to offer to Mahavishnu. In a short while Gajendra felt his leg being dragged from under the water. To his horror he found that a huge crocodile had caught hold of his leg and was pulling him under water.
However much he tried, Gajendra could not free himself from the mouth of the crocodile. He prayed to Lord Vishnu, calling him "Adimoolame"and surrendered totally. Lord Vishnu used His discus to cut off the head of the crocodile. Immediately, both the crocodile and Gajendra attained Moksham (salvation). Since he came to the rescue of His elephant devotee He is known as "Gajendra Varada Perumal".
About the temple:
The festival commemorating Gajendra Moksham is celebrated here during the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April).
Mahavishnu is believed to have given darshan to Gajendra as Kannan. Hence He is also known as Aatrankarai Kidakkum Kannan (Sri Kannan reclining on the banks of the river). Kapisthalam is one of the Pancha Krishna Kshethrams. The other four are, Thirukkannamangai, Thirukannapuram, Thirukovilur and Thirukannangudi.
Hanumanji is also believed to have worshipped Lord Vishnu here and was given darshan by the Lord in the form of Sri Rama. Kapi means monkey and hence the name Kapisthalam. This is one of the nine Vaishnava Navagraha sthalam around Kumbakonam and is the Parihara Sthalam for Rahu.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 10/108 - Thiru Pullaboothangudi

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Valvil Ramar temple
Location : Pullaboothangudi, Kumbakonam Circle, Thanjavur Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Valvil Ramar
Thayaar (Consort) : Hemambujavalli thayar/
Potraamaraiyaal
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Sayanam(Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend, when Ravana abducted Mother Seetha and was taking her to Lanka, the king of the birds Jataayu vigorously fought with him. Ravana cut Jataayu's wings with his sword and the bird lay half-dead moaning ‘Rama, Rama’. Hearing this feeble moaning, Sri Rama and Lakshmana who were crossing that place rushed near the dying bird. Jataayu breathed his last after informing them about Ravana’s abduction of Seetha.
The sorrow-stricken Sri Rama wanted to perform the funeral rites for Jataayu as he could not do the last rites for his father (King Dasaratha). While performing the last rites, Rama felt the absence of Seetha. It is believed that Goddess Bhoodevi came out of the Golden Lotus temple tank to stand by his side while he performed the last rites for the bird. Hence, Thayar at this temple is called Potraamaraiyaal (one who is from Golden Lotus). Jataayu belongs to "Pulla" family of birds, "Bootha Udal" in tamil means "physical body", since the last rites of Jataayu was done here, this place is called "Thiru Pullaboothangudi".
About the temple:
The special feature of this temple is nowhere in the world one will find Sri Rama in reclining posture. Sri Rama is seen here with "Sangu" (Conch), "Chakra" (Discus) and weapons in a rare reclining posture.
It is believed that those who failed to perform last rites for their parents will get liberation from their ‘parental curse’ (Pithru Saabham) once they visit this temple.
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