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DIVYA DESAMs - 31/108 - Thirusembonseikoil

Name of the Divya Desam : Semponnarangar temple
Location : Thiru Nangoor, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Semponnarangar Perumal/ Sri Perarulalan
Thayaar (Consort) : Allimamalar Nachiyar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend while returning to Ayodhya after killing Ravana in the war, Lord Sri Rama stayed in the hermitage of Sage Dhrudanetra Muni. As suggested by the sage, to cleanse Himself of the Brahmmahati dosha for killing Ravana (an ardent Shiva Baktha), Lord Rama made a big golden cow, entered into it and performed penance for four days.
After completing the penance, Lord Rama donated the golden cow to a Brahmin. The Brahmin sold it and used the proceeds to build this temple. As the temple was built with sale proceeds of the golden cow, the place came to be known as Sem Pon Sei Koil – Sempon-pure gold, Sei-made, koil-temple.
As per another legend a Brahmin named Mukundan, living in Kancheepuram lost all his wealth and was at the lowest ebb of poverty. He came to this holy land, chanted the ‘Om Namo Narayanaya’ mantra 32 thousand times within three days surrendering at Lord’s feet. All Merciful Perumal blessed him with all the riches. As the Lord is forever pouring his grace to all His devotees, He is called Perarulalan-All Merciful.
About the temple:
Of the 108 Divya Desams, this is the only temple where the Lord Himself has raised funds to build it. Based on the above legend, the Vimaanam (tower above the sanctum) is known as Kanaka Vimanam.
Thiru Semponnarangar Perumal temple is one among the eleven Thirunangoor temples. The procession deity of this temple will assemble along with other ten temple's deities during grand * ‘Garudasevai Festival’ * which is celebrated in the month of January every year.
It is believed that those who worship Lord Semponnarangar here will get the equivalent benefit of worshipping the Lord at Kancheepuram, Tirumala and at Srirangam.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 32/108 - Thirumanimada Koil

Name of the Divya Desam : Narayana Perumal temple
Location : Thiru Nangoor, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Narayana Perumal/Sri Nandavilakku Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Pundareekavalli Thayar
*Thirukkolam (Posture) :*Veetrirundha(Sitting)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend Lord Shiva had to get rid of the Brahmahatti Dosham – the sin of having decapitated Lord Brahma. He conducted a yaga for this purpose. At the conclusion of the austerities, Lord Vishnu appeared before Lord Shiva along with the celestials. Lord Shiva then requested Lord Vishnu to show His 11 forms. Lord Vishnu obliged and revealed Himself in 11 different and beautiful forms. So, the 11 Divya Desams in Thirunangoor, it is believed, came to please Lord Shiva.
The presiding deity of Badrinath Temple, Badri Narayanar, is also believed to have visited this place on the request of Lord Shiva.
Lord Naryana Perumal of Thirumanimada Koil stands as a lamp which spreads Gnana to the world and Nara Narayana of Badrinath taught Gnana to himself, thus both are equivalent in terms of Gnana.
Nanda Vilakku is the lamp which gives light continuously. Here the Perumal stands as Nanda Vilakku giving the Pranava Gnana oli (Light of knowledge) to all His devotees.
About the temple:
Sri Ramanujar is believed to have learnt Tirumandiram from Thirukoshtiyur Nambi at this place.
During his lifetime, the Vaishnavite saint Thirumangai Azhwar accompanied by his wife Kumudavalli Thayar walked through the paddy fields to the 11 Divya Desams in and around Thirunangur and finally reached the temple of Narayana Perumal to celebrate the * Garudotsavam or Garudasevai festival. * The Azhwar sung verses in praise of all the gods and performed aradhanai for each of them. It is believed that as he walked on the paddy fields, the harvest would always be plentiful.
During the * ‘Garudasevai Festival’ * which is celebrated in a grand manner on the month of January, the festival deities of all the surrounding Ten Perumal temples of Thirunangoor are brought on Garuda Vahanam (vehicle of Lord Vishnu) to this temple and including this temple's festival deity Narayana Perumal, are all assembled in the Mandapam(Assembling area) here for the festival proceedings.
The people of the entire surrounding villages accommodate all the Vaishnava bhakthas as their family members, on these two festival days and ensure that all get blessed by the congregation of the Eleven Perumals. A festival never to be missed in anyone's lifetime.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 33/108 - Thiruvaikuntha Vinnagaram

Name of the Divya Desam : Vaikunthanatha Perumal temple
Location : Thiru Nangoor, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Vaikunthanathan/Sri Thamaraikannudaya piraan
Thayaar (Consort) : Ubhaya Nachiyar/ Vaikunthavalli Thayar
*Thirukkolam (Posture) :*Veetrirundha(Sitting)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend King Swetakethu of Ikshavagu dynasty loved every one and was a living example of honesty and integrity. He and his queen Damayanthi had a passion to visit Vaikundam to have the darshan of Lord Vishnu.
As a king, he completed all his political duties and started doing penance with his queen. After severe penance, they shed their mortal coil and reached Vaikundam but could not find their Lord Vaikuntha Vasan. They stood sad and by then Maharshi Narada came there. They fell at his feet and enquired him why they could not get the darshan of the Lord.
Narada replied that though they performed severe penance but failed to perform even small Homas and charities, that was the cause of this failure. The remedy was that they had to worship Lord Iravadeswarar on the banks of Cauvery on Earth and appeal to Him, who would help them to have Lord Vaikunda Vasan's darshan.
Swetaketu and Damayanthi, prayed to Lord Iravadeswarar and begged his help for Perumal darshan. Lord Iravadeswarar appeared before them and said that He too was waiting for Perumal darshan and suggested that they could join him in penance. Meantime, Sage Udanga Maharshi also joined them in the penance. Thus four performed penance together.
Lord Vishnu appeared before them with Mothers Sridevi and Bhoodevi, Lord Iravadeswarar prayed that the place where the darshan was granted should be honoured as Vaikuntha Vinnagaram and that He should bless the devotees ever as in Vaikuntham. Thus, Perumal here is known as Sri Vaikunthanatha Perumal and Mother is known as Vaikunthavalli Thayar.
About the temple:
Vaishnava Saint Thirumangai Azhwar says "vaikuntha viNNagaram vaNangu madanenjE" (Oh Mad mind, pray at Vaikuntha Vinnagaram), at the end of all pAsurams in Periya Thirumozhi, 3.9.1 - 10.
Here Lord Perumal sits as in Vaikuntham. One hand resting on knees, another on the floor. Since its like Vaikuntham, in this temple there is no Dwajasthambam, no separate GarudAzhwar, thAyAr and other sannidhi's. Only one sannithi that houses Sri Devi, Bhoo Devi, NeelA devi samEtha Sri Vaikuntha Natha perumal. Infront of the temple, only a small sannidhi along the walls that houses Surya Narayana Perumal is seen.
Thiru Vaikunthanatha Perumal temple is one among the eleven Thirunangoor temples. The procession deity of this temple will assemble along with other ten temple's deities during grand * ‘Garudasevai Festival’ * which is celebrated in the month of January every year.
This is a place where one can have the direct Vaikuntha darshan of Lord on Earth itself before reaching Him after life. This place is considered as His Paramapada on Earth.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 34/108 - Thiruvaali-Thirunagari

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal temple(Thiruvaali), Sri Vedaraja Perumal temple(Thirunagari)
Location : Thiruvaali / Thirunagari, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal (Thiruvaali), Sri Vedaraja Perumal (Thirunagari)
Thayaar (Consort) : Amrudakadavalli Thayar (Thiruvaali), Amruthavalli Thayar (Thirunagari)
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Veetrirundha(Sitting)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East (Thiruvaali), West (Thirunagari)
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar, Kulasekara Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
Thiruvaali
As per legend after killing demon king Hiranyakasipu, Lord Narasimha was still in a furious state. His fury could not be softened by anyone. Devas and Rishis were afraid that His fury would destroy the whole universe and begged the help of Mother Mahalakshmi. She obliged and sat on Lord’s right lap, the Lord embraced her and calmed down. As the Lord embraced (Aalinganam in Sanskrit) hence the place is also known as Aalingana Puram – Thiruvaali. Thiru in tamil refers to Mother Mahalakshmi.
Thirunagari
As per Hindu legend, Karthama Prajapathi (son of Lord Brahma) did penance worshipping Lord Vishnu to attain Moksha. MahaVishnu was not pleased and tested Karthama for some more time, MahaLakshmi was not convinced with Vishnu's testing. She left Vaikunta, came down to the earth and hid herself in the lotus tank at this place. Vishnu came down and after a long search found her here. Since Goddess Lakshmi stayed here, it's called Thirunagari ( Thiru in tamil refers to Mother Mahalakshmi, Nagari - place).
About the temple:
Thiruvaali & Thirunagari, both the temples are worshipped as One Divyadesam. Being the place where the “Thirumandhiram” was taught to Thirumangai Azhwar by the ALMIGHTY HIMSELF, the temple is being worshipped as equal as Badrinath.
Thiruvaali
An unique feature of this temple is that Mother Mahalakshmi is on the RIGHT lap of the Lord Narasimha, a rare Darshan.
Thirunagari
Every year on the Tamil Panguni month Uthiram night (March-April), the waylaying of the Lord by Thirumangai Azhwar and the Thirumandhira Upadhesam by the Lord are enacted in a grand festive manner. In the month of Thai (January), Azhwar upon returning from Thirunangoor, after the grand Garuda sevai festival visits this temple and does Mangalasasanam on the Lord.
Thirumangai Azhwar was born in Kuraiyalur, about 3 kms from Thirunagari; out of five Narasimhas * (Pancha Narasimha kshetras) * he worshipped, two are at Thirunagari, one is at Thiruvaali, one at Kuraiyalur and one at Mangaimadam-where Azhwar fed 1008 vaishnavites everyday.
There is a separate sannidhi for Thirumangai Azhwar where he stands with a spear along with Kumudhavalli Nachiyar. Unlike other temples there are two temple flag posts (Kodimaram) here, one facing the main deity and the other facing the sannadhi of Azhwar.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 35/108 - Thirudevanaarthogai Keezhachalai

Name of the Divya Desam : Sri Madhava Perumal temple
Location : Annan Koil post, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Deivanayagan
Thayaar (Consort) : Kadalmagal Nachiyar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend Lord Narayana married Goddess Lakshmi devi, who emerged out of Thirupparkadal (Milky ocean), at this place. Devas, Chandran, Suryan and Brahma had assembled here to grace the marriage of the Lord with Devi. As the Devas (celestial beings) came here in a big group (Thogai in tamil), this place is known as Thiru Devanaar Thogai.
Lord Deiva Nayagan with Mother Kadalmagal Nachiyar gave dharsan here to Maharishi Vashista as young married couple.
About the temple:
Lord Deiva Nayagan is in Kalyana Kolam (Marriage pose), hence the Vimaanam and Pushkarani (temple tank) are known as Shobana Vimaanam and Shobana Pushkarani respectively. It is beleived that, after having darshan of the Perumal here, unmarried persons get married and childless couple are blessed with children.
As this place was graced by the celestial beings, it is believed that the shadow of the Vimaanam (temple tower) falls within the range of the Vimaanam itself.
Sri Madhava Perumal temple is one among the eleven Thirunangoor temples. The procession deity of this temple will assemble along with other ten temple's deities during grand * ‘Garudasevai Festival’ * which is celebrated in the month of January every year.
The name 'Emperumaan' is common for both Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Hence to represent this unison, though the temple is a Vishnu temple, there is a burial ground-the favourite place of Lord Shiva, in the backyard of this temple.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 36/108 - Thiruthettriambalam

Name of the Divya Desam : Pallikonda Ranganatha Perumal temple
Location : Thiru Nangoor, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Senkanmal/ Sri Ranganathar
Thayaar (Consort) : Senkamalavalli
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Sayanam(Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend Demon Hiranyakshan took the earth and hid in the Padala Loka – the world below the earth. All the sages and Devas reached to Lord Vishnu for protection and restoration of the world at its original place, Lord obliged to take the Varaha avatar (wild boar).
On hearing this, Mother Mahalakshmi and Adiseshan asked the Lord what they would do if He leaves them. Perumal advised them to go to Palasavanam and meditate upon Him. He said that Lord Shiva will also join them and promised that He will be back after war.
After destroying the demon, Lord came to Palasavanam as promised and gave darshan to Mother Mahalakshmi, Adiseshan and Lord Shiva. He also relaxed after the war, on the serpent bed (Adiseshan) here, half closing His handsome red eyes. Hence, Perumal is known as Senkanmal Ranganathar – Lord with red eyes. 'Sen' means Red, 'Kan' means Eye and 'Mal' refers to Perumal.
About the temple:
Sri Pallikonda Ranganatha Perumal temple is one among the eleven Thirunangoor temples. The procession deity of this temple will assemble along with other ten temple's deities during grand * ‘Garudasevai Festival’ * which is celebrated in the month of January every year.
It is believed that Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Lord Parthasarathy and initiated knowledge to Arjuna to make him understand the glory of ‘Lord Krishna’. This legend is leading to the name of this temple as ‘Thiru Thetri Ambalam’ (Thetri refers to ‘Initiate’ and Ambalam refers to ‘Temple’).
This is the only temple in 108 Divya Desams which has * 'Ambalam' * as its name which normally is referred to Lord Shiva temple. It is also believed that the presiding deity of Srirangam arrived here on the request of Lord Shiva.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 37/108 -Thirumanikoodam

Name of the Divya Desam : Varadaraja Perumal temple
Location : Thiru Nangoor, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Varadaraja Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Thirumaamagal, Bhoodevi
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend Dakshaka had twenty seven daughters and wanted all of them to marry one person. Lord Chandran (Moon) agreed to marry all of them and treat all equally. Later after marriage, he was partial only to one of them, Rohini. The other daughters complained about this to their father. Dakshaka cursed Chandran to wax and wane.
Chandran prayed to Lord Vishnu and as per his advise did penance at Thiru Indhalur, Thiru Thalaichanga Naanmadhiyam and here. Pleased with the penance, the Lord relieved Chandran of his curse.
As Lord Perumal gave dharsan to Lord Moon here, it is believed that the rays of Lord Chandran is as soft as light rays emerging out of precious stones (pearls, crystals etc.). Hence this place is called "Thiru Mani Koodam" - Assembly of precious stones ('Manigal' in tamil means precious stones, 'Koodam' refers to assembly).
About the temple:
Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple is one among the eleven Thirunangoor temples. The procession deity of this temple will assemble along with other ten temple's deities during grand * ‘Garudasevai Festival’ * which is celebrated in the month of January every year.
Thirumangai Azhwar sang hymns on the Lord Perumal here as having Goddess Mahalakshmi in His chest, since there is no separate sannidhi for Thayar here. As Chandran got his curse relieved here, the Pushkarini (temple tank) is called Chandra Pushkarini.
As Lord Varadaraja Perumal is known for bestowing abundand wealth to all his devotees, the name of the Vimaanam (temple tower) is known as Kanaka Vimaanam (Golden tower).
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DIVYA DESAMs - 38/108 - Thiruvellakulam
Name of the Divya Desam : Annan Perumal temple
Location : Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Annan Perumal, Sri Srinivasan
Thayaar (Consort) : Alarmelmangai Thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) : Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend King Dhundhu Maaran, who belonged to the Surya dynasty, had a son Swethan who was destined to die at the tender age of nine. As directed by sage Vashishta, young Swethan came here, bathed in the white-lilies filled pond (kulam in Tamil) and did Nrisimha Mrithyunjaya japam. Lord Vishnu appeared before him as Srinivasa Perumal and blessed with long life. Swethan means white (vella in tamil), so the pond got the name vellakulam. It is believed that whoever sincerely prays here will be prevented from untimely death.
About the temple:
Lord Vishnu granted darshan to Acharya Sri Manavala Mamunigal in this temple. This place is the avathara sthalam (birth place) of Kumudhavalli Nachiyar (wife of Mangai Mannan later known as Thirumangai Azhwar). Mangai Mannan married Kumudavalli Nachiyar at this place and hence there is a *separate sannidhi * for her at this temple.
Thirumangai Azhwar came here, had darshan of the Lord and praised Him as Lord Srinivasa. His hymns also reflect the fact that the Lord is the 'Annan' (elder brother) of Tirupathi Srinivasa Perumal. It is believed that those who cannot go to Tirupathi can come here and fulfill their wishes. Hence He is known as Sri Annan Perumal.
Lord here is seen together with the Goddess (Alarmelmangai) unlike in Tirupathi where he is seen alone. This is the only Divya Desam where the Perumal and Thaayar have the same names as in Tirupathi. Azhwar also mentions this place as 'Bhooloka Vaikundam' means Vaikundam of the Earth.
Priest
Madhava Bhattar, the priest at this temple has been performing service here for over four decades having first performed pooja in the late 1970s. He is probably one of the very few Bhattars (poojaris) in Tamil Nadu to perform a 108 Divya Desam Archanai where he mentions the name of each and every Divya Desam Perumal and Thayar in his archanai (Pooja).
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DIVYA DESAMs - 39/108 - Thiruparthanpalli

Name of the Divya Desam : Parthasarathy Perumal temple
Location : Radhanagar post, Sirkazhi circle, Nagapattinam Dist.
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Thamarayaal Kelvan/Sri Parthasarathy Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Thamarainayaki Thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Nindra (Standing)
Thirumugam (Facing) : West
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend while on a pilgrimage, Arjuna reached this place. Thirsty after a long trip and not finding water anywhere, he stopped to quench his thirst at Sage Agastya’s ashram who was undertaking penance here but to his dismay he found that the Sage’s Kamandala too had gone dry.
Realising that this was Lord Krishna’s play, Sage Agastya directed Arjuna to pray and invoke blessings of the Lord. Answering Arjuna’s prayers, Lord Krishna appeared here as Lord Parthasarathy and presented Arjuna with a sword (Khatka). As instructed by Parthasarathy, Arjuna struck the ground with the sword and to his surprise water poured out of that place helping him quench his thirst. This location, south of the temple, became the sacred ‘Khatka’ Pushkarani (temple tank). To mark this event, * Arjuna is seen here with a sword. *
It was also here that Arjuna was initiated with ‘Self Knowledge’ by Lord Parthasarathy to make Arjuna understand who he really was and what his real powers were. Since Arjuna had this initiation here and played the role of a student, this temple came to be known after him as ‘Parthan Palli’ ('Parthan' is Arjuna, 'Palli' in tamil means school).
About the temple:
Sri Parthasarathy Perumal temple is one among the eleven Thirunangoor temples. The procession deity of this temple will assemble along with other ten temple's deities during grand * ‘Garudasevai Festival’ * which is celebrated in the month of January every year.
A unique feature here is the presence of two Utsava (procession) Deities- * Sri Parthasarathy and Sri Kolavilli Rama,* not seen elsewhere in the Thirunangoor Divya Desam.
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DIVYA DESAMs - 40/108 - Thiruchithirakoodam

Name of the Divya Desam : Govindaraja Perumal temple
Location : Chidambaram, Cuddalore Dist.
Moolavar (Presiding Deity) : Sri Devaadhi Devan Perumal/ Sri Govindaraja Perumal
Thayaar (Consort) : Pundareekavalli Thayar
Thirukkolam (Posture) : Sayanam (Reclining)
Thirumugam (Facing) : East
Mangalasasanam (Hymns sung by) :
Kulasekara Azhwar, Thirumangai Azhwar
Sthalapurana (Brief History) :
As per legend once in Kailash, Lord Shiva and mother Parvathi performed a grand dance. At the end, they liked to know the winner. Hence, both of them approached Lord Brahma who could not decide. Then both of them went to Lord Vishnu for his opinion. Lord Vishnu decided to have a contest and asked divine sculptor Vishwakarma to bulid a dance stage. As the contest started, Mother Parvathi did all types of Thandavas that Lord Shiva did.
Finally, Lord Shiva simply lifted his right leg and kept it above his head which Mother Parvathi could not do. Hence, Lord Vishnu declared Lord Shiva as a winner. In this temple, Lord Shiva stayed as Lord Nataraja and also requested Lord Vishnu to stay with him.
One of the rishis who was present during the contest, imparted this style of dancing to Rishi Bharatha who later on wrote the master piece of dance called natyashastra. The present day Indian dance forms have been created from natyashastra.
The King of Kalinga , Kaveran, had a daugther named Lopamudra , who was married to Sage Agasthya. Sage Agasthya changed her into the river Cauvery. Everyday Kaveran and his wife used to take bath and once they asked their daughter Lopamudra-Cauvery the means of attaining salvation. She suggested them to go to Thillai Nagar and perform penance for Lord
Vishnu to realize their wish and get the darshan of Lord. Moved by the penance of both, Lord Vishnu appeared before them with mothers Sridevi and Bhoodevi and granted salvation to the couple.
About the temple:
As per another legend a demoness named Dhilli prayed to Lord Govindaraja Perumal so she would become transformed into a forest full of trees and that Lord should grace the place with His presence. She became Thillai trees. Named after her, the place came to be known as Thillai Nagar.
The forest of Thillai is situated on the middle point of the earth, and constitutes its heart center, the Lotus Space. Through it passes the main energy nadi, or vein, of our mother planet.
Kulasekara Azhwar mentions this temple as Thillai Chithirakoodam and equates Chitrakuta of Ramayana with this shrine.
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