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Old 6th January 2016, 10:28   #1
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Default 108 Divya Desams: Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue

Summary

We were blessed to have Perumal darshan at 71 Divya Desams in Tamilnadu & Kerala in a total of 11 days during the auspicious month of Margazi (according to Tamil Calendar), a distance of 2770 Km covered the entire trip by road from Bangalore and back.

Divya Desam refers to the 108 Lord Vishnu temples on which the Tamil Azwars sang the glory of Lord Vishnu.

Margazhi masam or the month of margazhi, is also considered the dawn period of devas, during the month the temples in TamilNadu were opened early in the morning between 4am – 5am and closes early by 11am and reopens in the evening.

What prompted us to undertake this travel?
Our many years of pilgrimage travel which is in abundance in our country, our experience during these travels has given us rich culture, tradition, history, discipline, thus resulting in a feeling of being cleansed. The minimum conveniences in remote pilgrimage sites, trek to temples, austerity, discipline in food habits has always had a long lasting impact on our holistic wellbeing. Inspite of hectic schedules, it amazes us how our energy levels has sustained from early mornings to late nights, definitely the source of energy has come from the sanctum darshan, holy charanamruth and Prasad.

There are many famous pilgrimage sites commonly visited by most. However there are so many lesser known temples in remote locations, less frequented. In our quest on these lines we have travelled along the length and breadth of India from J&K (Amarnath, Vaisho Devi) to Kanyakumari and Gujarat (Dwarka) to West Bengal (Ganga sagar). Listening to discourses of Sri UV Velukkudi Krishnan brought light on the Divya Desams, Vaishnava tradition and the story behind each. This aroused in us a devotion to visit the temples.

Some of the pilgrimages we have undertaken are given below:
  • Char Dham of India (Badrinath, Dwarka, Puri and Rameshwaram)
  • Ashtavinayak - The eight Ganesha temples in Maharashtra are Mayureshwar, Siddhivinayak, Ballaleshwar, Varadavinayak, Chintamani, Girijatmaj, Vighneshwar, Mahaganapati
  • Aaru padai veedu (6 abodes of Murugan - Thiruthani, Swamimalai, Palani, Pazhamudircholai, Thirupparankunram and Thiruchendur)
  • Dwadasa Jyotirlingas (Baidyanath, Bhimashankar, Grushneshwar, Kashi Vishwanath, Kedarnath, Mahakaleshwar, Mallikarjun, Nagnath, Omkareshwar, Rameswaram, Somnath, Triambakeshwar)
  • Navagraha Sthalams in Tamil Nadu (Sooriyanar Kovil, Thingaloor, Vaitheeswaran Kovil, Thiruvenkadu, Alangudi, Kanjanur, Thirunallar, Thirunageswaram, Keezhperumpallam)
  • Panchabhuta Sthalams - Srikalahasti, Thillai Nataraja Temple Chidambaram, Annamalaiyar Temple Tiruvannamalai, Ekambareswarar Temple Kanchi, Jambukeswarar Temple Thiruvanaikaval
  • Nava Narasimhan - Ahobila Narasimha, Yogananda Narasimha, Jwala Narasimha, Bhargava Narasimha, Chatravata Narasimha, Varaha Narasimha, Malola Narasimha, Paavana Narasimha, Karanja Narasimha
  • Gomukh to Ganga sagar. The Bhagirathi rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh and the tributary eventually meets the ocean at Ganga Sagar in West Bengal. Ganga begins at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers at Devprayag in Uttarakhand.
  • Char Dham of Uttarkhand (Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Badrinath)
  • Panch Prayag (Vishnuprayag, Nandaprayag, Karnaprayag, Rudraprayag, Devprayag)


The pilgrimage trip covering 71 Divya Desams are categorized in the following belts:
  1. Chozha Naattu – 40 Divya Desams covering Sirkazhi, Mayiladuthurai, Kumbakonam, Srirangam, Trichy, Tanjavur
  2. Pandia Naathu – 18 Divya Desams covering Madurai, Karaikudi, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli
  3. Malai Naathu – 13 Divya Desams covering Trivandrum, Nagercoil, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Shornur

The other 9 Divya Desams already covered by us earlier are
  • Vada Naattu – 9 out of 11 Divya Desams covered are Tirupati, Ahobilam, Ayodhya, Naimisaranyam, Badrinath, Dev prayag, Joshimath, Dwarka, Govardhan.

108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0170.jpg
Most of the temples are situated in the remote villages amidst pristine beauty of the paddy fields, water streams and village homes, some of them on the river bed.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0326.jpg
Our sarathy - XUV 5OO, being blessed by the elephant


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8794.jpg
Monkey eating an ice cream at Azhagar Kovil, Madurai district – below Pazhamudircholai.


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Colourful gopurams of the temple and Chola and Pandya architecture was overwhelming.

Some of the temples were massive and had many concentric praharams leading to the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum). Some of the temples in remote villages were smaller as compared to those in cities. Most of the Divya Desams we visited during this trip are in remote villages, which was a unique experience for us, too beautiful, quiet and peaceful wherein we found no crowd and had good darshan of Perumal. The different postures of Perumal found in these Divya Desams are Standing, Sitting and Sleeping posture.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0690.jpg
The sign board welcoming us as we entered into Kerala at 7:00 in the morning.


So what next – to complete the darshan of remaining Divya Desams
Thondai Naattu – 22 Divya Desams covering Chennai, Kanchipuram, Mahabalipuram and Sholingur
Nadu Naattu – 2 Divya Desams covering Cuddalore & Thirukkovalur
Vada Naattu – remaining 2 of 9 Divya Desams covering Salagramam and Gokulam
The other 2 out of 108 Divya Desams, namely Thiruparkkadal and Vaikundam are beyond Bhoolokam

And to have a similar plan to visit 275 Shiva Sthalams, Panch Kedar, & others ….

Resources used for the travel – LIFCO’s 108 SriVaishnava Divya Desams book in English by C.S. Krishnan, google maps with precise location of Divya Desam, few online travelogues, my travel plan indicating route, distance, travel time.

Google maps for marg darshan have been extremely useful to travel through these remote places, villages & also to locate the temple without seeking for guidance from the locals. However, a word of caution is that we can’t be 100% dependent on the maps. One interesting incident that happened with us was while coming from Patambi to Palghat, the map rerouted us to travel through village road. We would have traveled in that road for about 500 mts and just to be doubly sure we asked a local on a bike. He was surprised and asked us, who directed you to take this route (apparently not a chosen route) to Palghat. To which my wife casually mentioned it was google map which routed us and we then had a hearty laugh. We retraced back for a Km and took the correct road leading to the highway for Palghat.
Note: it’s best to have the google name of the Divya Desam Temple which makes it easy to have an exact location on the map.


Apart from it being a pilgrimage trip, we had a bountiful experience of rich culture, tradition, adventure, camping, authentic traditional cuisine, and interesting change in dialect, accent across the same state. Our great India, we love to explore you more and more.

Our travelogue update will contain details of itinerary, day plan and temples visited alongwith its route map which will help others to plan an independent trip.

Be tuned to this page to get more updates on our Travelogue.
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Old 7th January 2016, 00:40   #2
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Default re: Travelogue: 71 Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu & Kerala

Day 1: 24-Dec-2015 (Thursday)

Summary of the day
  • Distance travelled during the day – 432 Km (Bangalore to Sirkazhi)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 5 Divya desams in the evening
  • Route Taken – Bangalore, Dharmapuri, Salem, Attur, Chidambaram, Sirkazhi
  • Places visited – Sirkazhi
  • Hotel Stay at – Sirkazhi


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-1a-bangalore-sirkazhi.jpg
The route we took from Bangalore to Sirkazhi

We left our home at Bangalore by 5:40 am. As we reached Athibele, there was a long queue at the toll plaza maybe due to Christmas weekend and lots of travelers going for their vacation. We were stuck in the jam at Athibele and it took us almost 30 min to cross the toll plaza. In the 2nd toll also we found long queues.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0129.jpg

Our usual stop at A2B to have our breakfast.


At A2B restaurant, we had to wait in a long queue to get token & food and there were hardly any table space to eat food, not seen such situation before. We had Idli (was real soft) and crispy Vada for breakfast.

108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0133.jpg
Large number of cars at A2B which is evident the rush at A2B. Not to miss the COCO pump!

After that we drove and crossed Salem. The traffic was quite a bit at Salem Asai Dosai junction. After we left Salem, we found less traffic on the highways roads leading to Chidambaram and Sirkazhi.

My wife drove for more than an hour upto Salem to give me a morning break during which I had a good nap as we got up early at 4:00am at Bangalore.

As per our initial plan, we were to have darshan at few Divya Desams located around Sirkazhi and then check into the hotel but as we reached Sirkazhi in the afternoon from Bangalore with sufficient time to rest, we checked into the hotel. We then rescheduled the sequence of visit to temples around Sirkazhi based on proximity to the hotel.

After entering into Sirkazhi, we clicked beautiful pictures of the village near the bridge and canal near Kolladam and we also saw lots of mat weaving process happening. We found a small place near thiruvikrama temple where we had meals served in banana leaf. Although it was not a complete sattvic food, it was vegetarian, we selectively ate what we wanted. We could not get a room in Chola Inn so we decided to stay at Balaji Lodge which was fairly reasonably parking space for our car and neat and tidy. We had a power nap and left for Thirunagari around 5pm from hotel.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0147.jpg
The road full of shops with a large variety of mats being sold


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A typical village in Tamilnadu – huts, drawing water nearby and being taken home, goats on the road


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Paddy fields in remote villages of Tamilnadu so breathtaking and a great feeling of abundance.


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The baby goats roaming freely in the villages


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On the way we also found cotton being dried on the road


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Village deity Ayyanar in Tamilnadu


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A true representation of “Live to Drive” stickers of Team-bhp – travelling to various remote places and enjoying the drive!


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Map of Divya Desams visited in the afternoon of Day 1

  1. Thirunagari (Divya Desam no. 18b) - The distance from the hotel where we stayed to Thirunagari is around 11km. Here the Ranganathar is in Kalyana thirukolam and after marriage savei sadikara. We also had the darshan of thirumangai Alwar who is with the vel. In the temple my wife sang the songs Sreeman Narayana and kurai indrum illai.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8708.jpg
    A sign board on the road indicating direction to the temple Thirunagari


  2. Thiruvaali (Divya Desam no. 18a) - From Thirunagari we drove to Thiruvaali (distance 6km) - Sri Lakshmi Narashima Perumal Temple where Lakshmi is on the right side of Perumal and we were told that nowhere one can see the Lakshmi on the right side of the Perumal. Due to doing aalingam hence the name of Perumal is Thiruvaali. Here we met an old couple who lived in Lodhi Road, Delhi and also her native is Chennai but both mama and mami decided to come and stay at Thiruvaali. This is not a town but a pristine village where the temple complex is surrounded by complete paddy field. The route from Sirkazhi to Thiruvaali is completely pristine beauty and wonderful drive from Thirunagari to Thiruvaali and we reached here around 6:15pm. We say a girl who was studying at the praharam under the small CFL light which is fixed high up in the ceiling and is really something and we have to count our blessing every day and we take things for granted. We fell in love with this place and that mama & mami decided to come and stay here which is really Perumal kripai.

  3. Deiva Nayaka Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 33) - From Thiruvalli we headed towards Deiva Nayaka Perumal Temple (distance 1.2 Km). We waded through the village road again and the temple was slightly concealed away from the road. We thought we missed the direction and asked a villager for direction who showed us the temple. The temple is extremely beautiful. When we arrived here it was almost Sandhya kalam and the smell of sambrani the village house had sambrani in their house – a very age old tradition of the culture which we could feel. The air was lilting with sambrani and aura changed, which made us feel very lovely and spiritual inside the temple. Also the old Bhattar recited a paasuram while doing aarti for the Perumal.

  4. Thiruvellakkulam (Annan Kovil) - Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 39) – From Deiva nayaka Perumal we drove to Annan Kovil (distance 2.7 Km). Here the story narrated to us was about Swetha maharaja who got akala mrityu haranam just like markandiya and in this sthalam the shastiabtapoorthy, sadabishekam and aaishahomam are being performed.

  5. Thiruvikrama Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 24) – From Annan Kovil we drove to Thiruvikrama Perumal (distance 14 Km) which is near to our hotel stay. We entered the temple around 7:40 pm and they distributed chundal and puliyodari prasadam to all devotees. We were told that the utsava moorthi will be taken inside and subsequently we will be allowed to go inside to have darshan of Moolavar Perumal. We waited for 10 min and then they called us inside the temple sanctum. It’s a beautiful idol wherein the Perumal is lifting his left thruvadi. We were also told that all the 104 Divya Desams starting from Srirangam to Badrinath, one desires for Wealth, Arogyam, Pugal but as per the legend in Thiruvikrama aavataram, during the vaikuntha Ekadashi having the darshan of the right thiruvadi one can attain Moksham.



108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8713.jpg
A route map of nearby temples displayed at Thiru Devanaar Thogai - Sri Deiva Naayaga Perumal Temple

Last edited by vittal : 7th January 2016 at 09:32.
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Default re: Travelogue: 71 Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu & Kerala

Day 2: 25-Dec-2015 (Friday)


Summary of the day
Distance travelled during the day – 108 Km (Sirkazhi to Mayiladuthurai)
No. of temples visited during the day – 14 (10 Divya desams in the morning and 3 Divya desams in the evening)
Places visited – Sirkazhi and Mayiladuthurai
Hotel Stay at – Mayiladuthurai

108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-2a-zoomed-thirumanikkoodam-temple-nangur-vaikundanathar-temple.jpg
Day 2 Route map of Thirumanikkoodam Temple, Nangur to Vaikundanathar Temple

We could cover more number of temples today during the morning hours as 8 to 9 temples are nearby within 9 Km perimeter, with less travel time. We had to visit couple of temples twice as we found them to be closed when we reached there.

Thanks to the penetration of mobile phones in remote villages that we could contact the temple Bhattacharyas to request them to open the temple when we visited.

It is not easy to make such a plan and hence returning back without having the darshan is not an option that one would like to opt for in these remote village temples. Thankfully we could complete the visit to the temple as per our days plan.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8558.jpg
A unique feature of Tamilnadu villages where in the women make large kolams at dawn and the kolams stretched to about more than a meter in diameter, were so intricate with so much mathematical matrix. In some places we even found the kolams covering the whole village road. The above is a wonderful design of Kolam with a flower kept in the middle! This photo was clicked at 6:40 in the morning.


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8559.jpg
A Village house with a mud chulha with rangoli which is a practice in our villages to pray before cooking.


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A close-up of the village stove with rangoli!

  1. Thiru Kavalampaadi, Sri Gopala Krishna Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 38) – From our hotel at Sirkazhi to Thiru Kavalampadi is 12 Km. We started from the Hotel, Sirkazhi at 5:30 am and drove to Sri Gopala Krishna Perumal Temple to find it to be closed and then decided to proceed to the next temple as this was a remote village temple with no information of the temple opening timing. Since this temple was close to the other temples to be visited today in Nangur, we decided to come back to this temple later on. We had darshan of the Perumal later during the day after completing Nangur temples nearby.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0218.jpg
    A photo at the temple

  2. Thiru Manikkoodam - Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 37). From Thiru kavalampadi we then came to Thirumanikkoodam Temple, Nangur a distance of 3 Km, where in we found this temple was also not open. We waited for the temple whilst we ate bread, butter and jam in the car for breakfast. The first temple we visited in the morning for the day wherein we waited for the Bhattar to open the temple.
    Since it was the month of margazhi, the temple priests after doing early morning Pooja, head to their homes and revisit the temple a little later. Hence we found some of the temples to be closed when we visited at different timings. However the priests lived in close proximity to the temple in the village agraharam.
    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8739.jpg

  3. Van Purushotaman Temple (Divya Desam no. 34). From Thiru Manikkoodam we drove to Van Purushotaman (distance 4 Km). The sthala puram is about birth of Upamanyu. The legend is that Upamanyu as an infant was crying out of hunger and was fed with milk by Purushottama Nayaki as he was left in the care of Thayar. Thirumangai alwar pasuram recited here is believed to bestow devotees with great prosperity.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8715.jpg



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8716.jpg
    At Van Purushotaman Temple


  4. Thiru Arimeya Vinnagaram - Sri Kuda Maadu Koothan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 32). Here the temple care taker was there, so the temple was open, we had darshan without delay. These 6 temples in Nangur are all within 1km or even less in radius and hence we kept circuiting them until we had darshan of Perumal in all these temples, for some we waited for it to open.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8734.jpg
    At Sri Kuda Maadu Koothan Perumal Temple

  5. Thiru Thetri Aambalam - Sri Seganmaal Ranganatha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 36). Even though these temples are in remote villages, the parking of Rs30 was charged. It’s a source of income for people in the village in such infrequently visited temple.


  6. Thiru VaiKunda Vinnagaram - Sri Vaigundha Nathan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 39)
    Here we met another family with the local car driver, who had the contact numbers of the other temple bhattars and shared it with us and also told us which of the nearby temples they visited were open. He also told us to call the mobile of the bhattars before reaching in order to save time. We followed their lead to couple of temples nearby which were found to be open. Indeed a very useful information shared by them, which saved our time. This seems to be the protocol followed by the local cab drivers and Divya Desam tour operators.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8738.jpg
    At Sri Vaigundha Nathan Perumal Temple


  7. Thiru Manimaada Kovil - Sri Narayana Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 30) – The Bhattar to come at 9:00 am. This temple also we revisited at 9 am as it was closed earlier.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8727.jpg


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8732.jpg


  8. Thiru Sempon Sei Kovil - Sri Per Arulaalan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 35) – The Bhattar had almost closed the temple and was going through the main gate and we requested him to open the temple. He had to open almost 4 doors for the sake of us and we then had an excellent darshan on the Sempon Sei Perumal. As the legend is that those who have the darshan and pray the Moolavar and Utsavar, will get rid of all obstacles and specially one who had nothing came and prayed to the Perumal. He was blessed and was show “pon” or wealth.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0221.jpg
    At Thiru Sempon Sei Kovil


  9. Thiru Paarthanpalli - Sri Thamaraiyal Kelvan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 40) – From Thirumanikkoodam Temple we drove to this temple (distance 3.7 Km). The kumbabhishekam was done on this temple recently. The same Bhattar had done kumbabhishekam at Aandavan Kovil in Malleswaram, Bangalore. The Bhattar told us the story of Arjuna who was feeling thirsty and he asked Agasthayar for water and finally Krishna gave water to Arjuna. It is also believed that Perumal did Gyanopadasham here before Kurukshetra Gitopadesham. The temple has toilet facility outside the temple premises.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8736.jpg


  10. Thiru Thalaicchanga Naanmathiyam - Sri Naan Madhiya Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 13). From Thiru Paarthanpalli we headed towards the temple Thiru Thalaicchanga Naanmathiyam Perumal (distance 9 Km). This temple near Mayiladurai, chandran got rid of the curse at this place. The Perumal has the chandran on his head and hence the name.

    We then decided to drive towards Mayiladuthurai. We drove and checked into ADP Cottage hotel which was in the temple lane or sannithi street of Parimala Renganatha temple. It was a very comfortable cottage with the view of the temple pond.

    For the evening we decided to have darshan of farthest Divya Desam in our route plan around this location and then come back later on to have the darshan in the temple adjoining our hotel. We had lunch meals at Balaji bhavan, which was a walkable distance from cottage, and had rest for the afternoon. We bathed and left around 4.30 pm from our hotel for evening darshan of the nearby temples.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0236.jpg
    View of the temple pond next to our hotel stay


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0231.jpg
    View of the temple pond from our hotel room in the 1st floor



  11. Thiruvazhunthoor - Sri Devaadi Raja Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 10). After having rest & bathing we drove from our Hotel to Thiruvazhunthoor (distance 14 Km). The name Ther Azunthoor is because the perumal from his right toe, helped move the ther or rath of Uparisaravasu maharaja. Huge perumal vishwa roopa with Shankh and chakra is seen in this temple.

    The GPS actually pointed us to Govinda Raja Perumal temple where we heard the same story of uparichara maharaja narrated by the Bhattar but to realise it later that this temple is actually not a Divya Desam and then we drove to Devaadi Raja Perumal Temple, which was nearby in 300 mts.

    In the Devaadi Raja Perumal temple we could participate in the porappadu (procession of the utsavar deity idol around the temple) and was an awesome experience. The temple is also well maintained.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0240.jpg
    Porappadu - procession of the utsavar deity idol around the temple



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0268.jpg
    The idol of Ustavar murthy being taken during the procession



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0269.jpg
    The Bhattacharya tying on the head of Alwar murthis.



  12. Thiru Sirupuliyur - Sri Arulmaakadal Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 11). From Thiruvazhunthoor we drove to Thiru Sirupuliyur (distance 18 Km). During our visit in the earlier temple we were informed by the priest that Sirupuliyur will be open until 8 pm as the new decoration of dasavataram had drawn many devotees to the temple. So we headed a bit relaxed without anxiety of the closure of the temple.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0305.jpg
    Dasavatharam alankaram for Utsava murthy at Sirupuliyur



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0322.jpg
    Thiru Sirupuliyur. It was dark when we took the photo outside the temple in the evening.


  13. Thiru Indhaloor - Sri Parimala Ranganatha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 22). After completing all other temples in the vicinity, we went to parimala ranganatha temple which was in the same road of our Hotel Stay at Mayuram – ADP Cottage hotel. From Thiru Sirupuliyur to Thiru Indhaloor distance 18 Km. It was a huge temple, happening of porappadu of the utsavar murthi (procession of the utsavar deity idol around the temple). Being a temple in the town there was lots of crowd who witnessed the porappadu. The prasadam distributed to the devotees was dosai, kesari and ven Pongal. This is our first experience of having dosai as prasadam in the temple.


We then reviewed the plan for the next day and retired after having dinner at Aryas, a pure vegetarian restaurant.
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Default re: Travelogue: 71 Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu & Kerala

Day 3: 26-Dec-2015 (Saturday)


Summary of the day
  • Distance travelled during the day – 172 Km (Mayiladuthurai & Kumbakonam)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 8 (4 Divya desams in the morning and 4 in the evening)
  • Places visited – Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Kumbakonam
  • Hotel Stay at – Kumbakonam


We had an early start at 5:15 am. By now we were habituated to waking early in the morning by 4 am so that we can cover and visit the maximum possible temples during the morning hours.


During the morning travelling from our Hotel at Kumbakonam, enroute via Sirupuliyur, the temple that we covered the previous evening. We are of the opinion that its best to stay in a town or city and not look for accommodation near the temple based on the geographic route map as we realized most of these Divya Desams are in remote villages with no hotel facility. Hence one needs to plan the place of stay as well (not necessarily the hotel).


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-3a-thirukkannapuram-saranatha-perumal.jpg
Day 3 morning route taken from Thirukkannapuram to Kumbakonam



108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0326.jpg
Our XUV being blessed by the temple elephant in the morning, on the way to Thirukkannapuram.


  1. Thirukkannapuram - Sri Sowrirajan Neelamega Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 17) – Our hotel at Mayuram to Thirukkannapuram was an hour’s drive at a distance of 39 Km. Moolavar’s chakram is in the form of prayoga chakram as the Perumal is said to have slayed Vikatasuran. The hastam of Perumal is not abhaya hastam but kannika danam hastam as he married the daughter of the king whose name is Padmini. Since Perumal has a sowri (false hair plait), hence the name Sowrirajan. On the way to the temple in the morning hours, we saw elephants that blessed our XUV.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0334.jpg
    At Sri Sowrirajan Neelamega Perumal Temple


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0339.jpg
    The temple pond



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8760.jpg
    The Nagapattinam Gate, symbolizes people from various religion.



  2. Thiru Naagai - Sri Soundaryarajan Neelamega Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 19) - From Thirukkannapuram we drove to Thiru Naagai via nagapattanam which is at a distance of 26 Km. The sthala puram is that the Perumal gave darshan to Dhruva maharaja. It is believed that the people who come here for Darshan have already been pre decided eons ago by the will of Dhruva Maharaja to be blessed for Darshan. My wife felt blessed to be able to render the Dikshitar Kriti on Lord soundarya rajam in the raga Brindavana Saranga.


  3. Thirukkannankudi - Sri Loganatha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 26) - From Thiru Naagai we drove to Thirukkannankudi which is at a distance of 14 Km.

  4. Thirukkannamangai - Sri Bhaktavatsala Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 27) - From Thirukkannankudi we drove to Thirukkannamangai, a distance of 28 Km. The legend states that at this place the marriage of Lakshmi and Mahavishnu took place.


    We reached Kumbakonam in the afternoon, we felt temperatures soaring high and the heat cutting through, surprising weather in winter months.

    We checked into hotel on the circumference of the famous Mahamagam tank. The Mahamagam tank was being cleaned along with the 12 wells in the process of preparing for the forthcoming Mahamagam in the year 2016, similar to Mahakumbh of North. We later had lunch at Hotel Padmavathy walking distance from our stay, pure vegetarian restaurant. Back in the hotel we took a bath, refreshed during the afternoon.

    In the evening we left for our scheduled temples visit around Kumbakonam.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-3b-saranatha-perumal-kola-valvilli-ramar-perumal.jpg
    Day 3 evening route taken from Kumbakonam, Saranatha Perumal to Sarangapani Temple


  5. Thiruccherai - Sri Saranathan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 12. From Maha magma we drove to Thiruccheri which is at a distance of 14 Km. Here the temple legend glorifies river Kaveri and the place where Markandeya was given moksha. The deity idol here is with pancha ayudam or 5 divine weapons. The temple priest showered an abundance of heartfelt blessings to all the devotees.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0347.jpg
    Thiruccherai - Sri Saranathan Perumal Temple

  6. Thirunarayoor (Naachchiyaar koil) - Sri Thirunarayoor Nambi Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 20). From Saranath Perumal Temple we went to Kal Garudan, Srinivasa Perumal Nachiyar Koil which is at a distance of 4.6 Km. It was interesting to note that here the Thayar is given prime importance and all the devotees had a hearty laugh as they related it to their wives who is anyway the home ministry.

  7. Thirunandhipura Vinnagaram (Nathan Koil) - Sri Jaganatha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 21). From Kal Garudan, Srinivasa Perumal Nachiyar Koil to Nathan Kovil is around 10 Km.


  8. Thirukkudanthai - Sri Saarangapani Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 14). This temple is very much inside the city of kumbakonam, and the streets were so crowded, but yet we dared to go till the temple gopuram where we also got parking for our XUV. We met a young boy taking care of the parking and was a student doing diploma in Hosur and was doing this part-time during his holidays. Here is where we learnt about the ra-patthu (10 nights), during which the perumal pooja happens from 10 pm until midnight and all devotees gather to witness this beautiful celebration.


After this temple visit we had idli tiffin in the same padmavathy Hotel and retired to sleep.



108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8602.jpg
A click from the hotel room in Kumbakonam


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Close-up of parrot on the tree branch, a click from our hotel room in Kumbakonam



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A beautiful panoramic view enroute



Few photos taken enroute of water lilies
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Old 9th January 2016, 11:10   #5
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 9th January 2016, 17:03   #6
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When I just clicked on your thread link, I was expecting just a brief summary of Divya Deshams. Instead, I have discovered a beautifully made out virtual tour of many of them. A great thread. Keep it coming and do post photos of links from any earlier trips as well.
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Old 9th January 2016, 17:56   #7
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+1 to DrVjy. What a thread indeed! People find it impossible to visit even famous ones around this region! And here he is looking at all the unknown ones. Forget the ones opened. He even calls the folks to open the closed ones, so that he can have a darshan! Great going indeed!

Looking forward to many more.

A couple of years back, I went around this region, but only visited the known ones (I mean the ones I know! ).

That included: Alangudi, Thittai, Thingaloor, Periya Kovil, Thirunallar Thiruvengadu, Keezhaperumpallam, Chavvai, Suryanaar, Kanjanoor, Gopalapuram, Thirunageshwaram, Uppiliappan, Swami Malai, Samayapuram, Thirupattur, Srirangam, Rock Fort and Thiruvanai Kaval.

(Basically we did the Navagraha circuit and saw some more which came on the way).

Some pending ones include: Chidambaram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Darsuram, Peralam, Thiuvarur and some temples in Kumbakonam.

Last edited by ampere : 10th January 2016 at 19:09.
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Old 9th January 2016, 19:00   #8
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Originally Posted by vittal View Post
Day 2: 25-Dec-2015 (Friday)


Summary of the day
Distance travelled during the day – 108 Km (Sirkazhi to Mayiladuthurai)
No. of temples visited during the day – 14 (10 Divya desams in the morning and 3 Divya desams in the evening)
Places visited – Sirkazhi and Mayiladuthurai
Hotel Stay at – Mayiladuthurai
Hello Sir, Greetings to you. What a wonderful travelogue. Even I am a fan of visiting divya desams and I have covered 33 out of the possible 106 so far. Each and every divya desam has it's own significance.
In addition to these temples, there are also other not so well known/famous temples in TN but they can be made popular if people start visiting them in large numbers thereby boosting tourism as well.
I will be compiling the list of such temples shortly.
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Old 9th January 2016, 20:33   #9
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Day 4: 27-Dec-2015 (Sunday)


Summary of the day
  • Distance travelled during the day – 187 Km (Kumbakonam to Trichi)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 7 Divya desams in the morning and 4 in the evening.
  • Places visited – Kumbakonam, Tanjore, Trichi
  • Hotel Stay at – Trichi mama’s house
  • Start time – 5:15 am


108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-4a-thiruvelliyankudi-perumal-temple-neelamega-perumal.jpg
Day 4 morning our route map from Thiruccherai to Neelamega Perumal


Today we left for Trichi driving from Mahamagam tank road in Kumbakonam. When we proceeding to one of the roads, found it to be closed in 300 mts as the Mahamagam tank was being cleaned and were redirected back to take another road.

  1. Thiruvelliyankudi - Sri Kola Valvilli Ramar Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 29). On the way we called the Bhattachari on his mobile who said he will be in temple by 6 am. Instead of taking the village route we took the proper highway road and reached the temple around 6:00am. We waited for the Bhattachari who came shortly. We had an excellent darshan of the Perumal and subsequently the devotees were offered Pongal prasadam. They were giving more quantity as it seems there are not many devotees who comes to these village temples in the early morning hours.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-20151227_062022.jpg
    Thiruvelliyankudi - Sri Kola Valvilli Ramar Perumal Temple

    Note: The correct name of the Divya Desam in google map is Thiruvelliyankudi Perumal Temple and the location that was given in the map was incorrect. Please make a note of this correct name of the Perumal temple.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0358.jpg
    Early morning after having darshan at Thiruvelliyangudi – Sri Kola vilvill ramar perumal temple


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0351.jpg
    A glimpse of village Roads and Greenery everywhere


  2. Thiru Aadhanoor - Sri Aandu Alakkum Ayan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 9).


  3. Thiruppullam Boothankudi - Sri Valvil Ramar Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 7). The local went and called the Bhattachari whose house was on the same road. The Bhattachari came on his bicycle and went back after allowing us darshnan. This temple was also a remote village temple.



  4. Thirukkavithalam (Kabisthalam) - Sri Gajendra Varadha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 28)



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0361.jpg
    Kabisthalam where Gajendra attained moksham


  5. Thiru Vinnagar - Sri Oppiliappa Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 18). During our visit to Srirangam, we have visited Oppiliappan Perumal temple earlier.


  6. Thirukkoodaloor - Sri Aaduthurai Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 25). The Bhattachari’s son opened the sanctum and showed the aarti. The priest’s son seemed to be a special child who could not speak but was able to show the Aarti and give teertham. We had a good darshan of the Perumal and then proceeded to the next temple.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0386.jpg
    Post harvest – banana plantation


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0365.jpg
    Cauvery beckoning us enroute Tanjore

  7. Thirukkandiyur - Sri Hara Saabha Vimocchana Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 15). The sthala puranam told to us was that of one of the 5 heads of Brahma was slayed by shiva and the head that fell here, Perumal gave vimochanan and hence Hara Saabha Vimocchana Perumal.

    After having darshan we saw the sign board 2km to thiruvaiyyaru, we suddenly decided to visit as my wife’s many year’s dream to visit the Thyagaraja Samadhi. Felt blessed after reaching there, sang the songs composed by Saint thyagaraja “bantureethi “ in ragam Hamsanadam and “Manasuloni “ in ragam hindolam. The feeling that the saint whose jeevasamadhi was at this site was indeed a blessing.



    Thiruvayaru Tyagaraja Samadhi

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8769.jpg
    The entrance gate to Saint Tyagaraja Samadhi shrine



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0376.jpg
    Vidya feeling blessed after singing Tyagaraja Kritis at Saint Tyagaraja Samadhi at Thiruvaiyaru



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0380.jpg
    Tyagaraja Samadhi at Thiruvaiyaru



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8774.jpg
    The board depicting the Tyagaraja Shrine and Ashram are the offerings by Smt. Vidyasundari Bangalore Nagaratnam. The kumbabishekam held on 7-Jan-1925.



  8. Thiru Thanjaimaamani Koil - Sri Neelamega Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 3). We waited for long for Bhattachari to come. But had a good darshan. We again came back via thiruvayar. Had we known, we could have kept thiruvayar at the end after visiting this temple.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-day-4b-neelamega-perumal-uraiure-kamalavalli-nachiyar.jpg
    Day 4 afternoon route map from Neelamega Perumal to Uraiure Kamalavalli Nachiyar



    We had meals at Hotel Padma Thiruvaiyyaru and had a nap in the car parked along the banks of river cauvery. We had sufficient time to relax in the afternoon and had more temples to visit around Tirchi. We left from here around 3:00 pm and drove for about 30 Km to reach Thirupper Nagar.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0395.jpg
    My wife in full mood while driving the XUV and singing Carnatic songs



  9. Thiruvarangam – Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple (Divya Desam no. 1). We have visited Thiruvarangam few times before and have had good darshan of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam. A beautiful temple of Ranganatha swamy and Ranganayaki thayar.



  10. Thirupper Nagar – Sri Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 8). Appam was his favourite food and hence the name of Perumal. Its near Koviladi. The temple is under renovation and we met the Sthapathis who actually was plastering the dwara palakas. They explained to us how many mooligai tatvam is mixed in the clay which is moulded into the perumal idol. Once the clay is dried, the idol is bathed in thailam (oil) that is specially prepared with aromatic herbs etc. Until they explained the contents in the clay, we were under the impression perumal idols were made of black stone. It is the thailam that gives the black colour. The idol is then energized again during kumbabhishekam to allow darshan of devotees.

    When the Bhattachari came we had a good darshan of the utsavar and he also explained the sthala puranam. We left this place at 5pm.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0397.jpg
    Photo taken at Thirupper Nagar – Sri Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0401.jpg
    Sthapathis (Perisami) at work at the Sri Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple presently under renovation

  11. Thiru Anbil - Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 4). We had a quick darshan of this big temple.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-20151227_174004.jpg
    Coconut sapling in the temple praharam


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-20151227_174128.jpg
    Thiru Anbil - Sri Vadivazhagiya Nambi Perumal Temple




    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0392.jpg
    Our drive alongside river Kaveri



  12. Thirukkarambanoor - Sri Purushothaman Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 5). It is Uttamar kovil in Trichi district where the 3 sannidhi are there for all the 3 lords – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. We had a very good darshan here.


  13. Thiruvellarai - Sri Pundarikashan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 6). It’s a huge chola temple which has 18 steps signifying about the Gita’s 18 chapters. After climbing the steps, once can see Krishan in dancing pose which signifies the arrival of Krishna avatharam. One can’t expect such a temple in a remote village.

    We saw the kolam (rangoli) was put in the whole of the temple by a group which was accompanied by teachers and student. All the students both girls and boys, put in such an excellent effort to put the kolam almost decorating every available space in the huge temple complex giving the whole temple a festive look.


    As it was evening 8:30 pm and dark by the time we reached inside Trichi city, we decided that we will visit Thirukkozhi - Sri Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Temple the next day early morning.


    We had a warm welcome when we reached Trichi mama’s house. They had prepared sumptuous dinner for us. It was a welcome change for us having home food after eating outside food from the time we left Bangalore. We also discussed about the route taken, the places visited and our plans for the next few days. Mama has widely travelled and have also visited lots of Divya Desam temples and Shiva Sthalams. He also showed the books and the photocopy of the plan & places he visited – a like-minded discussion on the day. They are very loving and taking care of every small need. We felt at home at trichi mama’s house with such a great hospitality. As usual we retired for the day after reviewing the route plan for the next day.
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Old 9th January 2016, 22:14   #10
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Day 5: 28-Dec-2015 (Monday)



Summary of the day
  • Distance travelled during the day – 264 Km (Trichi to Srivilliputtur)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 6 Divya desams
  • Places visited – Trichi, Karaikudi, Madurai and Srivilliputtur
  • Hotel Stay at – Srivilliputtur


We got up at 5am instead of the usual 4am in other places and mama ji accompanied us to the Thirukkozhi - Sri Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Temple. It was so nice of Mami ji to prepare upma in such morning hours and pack it for our breakfast. Though it was nearby, we reached the temple quickly with the shortcuts taken. It was so nice of mamji to get ready early in the morning to accompany us to the temple. We bid good bye to the family members seeking their blessings and proceeded for our pilgrimage trip.



108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0412.jpg
A selfie early in the morning with mama ji’s family.

  1. Thirukkozhi - Sri Azhagiya Manavala Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 2). The drive from mama ji’s house to Tirukkozhi temple was at a distance of 2 Km.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0416.jpg

    The Thirukkozhi temple in Trichi.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0420.jpg


  2. Thirumeyyam - Sri Sathyagiri Natha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 90). The drive from Thirukkozhi to Thirumeyyam was 71 Km. We had a good darshan of Perumal.

    We had upma breakfast (that was packed by mami for us) on the way with tea at around 7:30 am which was refreshing and ready to travel further for the day. We then reached the fort temple in the Pandiya naadu by pallavas, near Karaikudi.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0462.jpg
    Thirumeyyam - Sri Sathyagiri Natha Perumal Temple



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0443.jpg
    The beautiful architecture of the temple



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0429.jpg
    The array of pillars in the temple

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0434.jpg


  3. Thirukkotiyoor - Sri Uraga Mellanayaan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 89). We drove from Thirumeyyam to reach Thirukkotiyoor a distance of 34 Km. A detailed story as narrated by Muttu in this temple that it has 4 Perumal each of which symbolizes and has story behind them. Bhulokam has nartana Krishna dancing with Bhama & Rukmini, the next floor Pallikonda Perumal is Sokkanarayanan and utsavar is Soumyanarayana who is in sleeping posture, the next floor inderlok Upendra Narayanan in standing posture, 4th floor Vaikunthanathar or Paramapada Narayanan in sitting posture. The Bhattachari Varadan also mentioned the sthala puranam while we were having the darshan of the Perumal in the 1st floor. So the perumal dancing in bhulokam, then sleeping in pallikonda and then standing in inderlok and finally sitting in Vaikuntham.

    My wife sang couple of songs in front of Soumiyanarayana.

    Its only puja offerings to the lord and there is no Abhishekam. The tailam is offered to the Perumal in Tai masam or month. There is a picture or fresco painting which is approx. 1500 years old and hence no lights are installed near it.

    After having darshan of the deities of the 4 floors as mentioned above (each floor connected through narrow steep staircase), the final stair case leads to the temple roof top to have darshan of the Ashtanga divya vimanam. The sculptures on the raja gopuram spoke different stories and one of them was the story of Hiranyakashyapu and Prahalad. It’s the place where the trimurthis or Shiva, Brahma and Vishu and the Rishi’s had a kosthi or discussion on how to slay the demon Hiranyakashyapu due to the various boons he was granted. Hence the place is known as Koshthiyoor. The place symolises the plan to resolve the result to the boons and the Narasimha avatharam of Vishnu or his reincarnation, which took place at Ahobilam.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0503.jpg
    Thirukoshtiyur is also the place that symbolizes the upadesam “Om Namo Narayana” by Thirukoshti Nambi to Ramanujar, who in turn immediately spread the mantra (from the temple top) to all people irrespective of their origin.


    It was also mentioned that the kumbabhishekam of this temple will be performed during 2017, which will coincide with the 1000th birth anniversary of Ramanujar, as he was born in 1017.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0472.jpg
    The person explaining the sthala puram on the top floor of the temple.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0489.jpg

    An excellent aerial view of the place from the temple top.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0493.jpg


  4. Thirumaalirunsolai (Alagar Kovil) - Sri Kallazhagar Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 88). From Thirukkotiyoor we drove down to Alagar Kovil distance 50 and when reached we realized that we have already visited this temple during our Aaru padai trip to pazhamudircholai. Nevertheless we waited there for the opening of the temple by 4pm and until then I had few icecreams from the vendor nearby. We also looking at the monkey menace happening there.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0506.jpg
    The entrance gate of Alagar Kovil




    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0516.jpg
    The Alagar Kovil



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8794.jpg
    Yes, it’s a monkey enjoying the stick ice cream outside Alagar kovil!



    The temple opened at 3:30 where-in we bought a ticket and waited in the queue. There was one guide who brought prasadam and gave us while we were in the queue. We were wondering why and distributed the prasadam to all devotees standing nearby. This person then followed us throughout the temple explaining about it. He even opened the mirror stand kept in the 4 corners, stating that during the procession of the deity, perumal will look into the mirror. We also saw yoga Narasimhar with a hole for the heat to dissipate.



  5. Thiru Moghur - Sri Kaalamegha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 93). From Alagar Kovil we drove to Thiru Moghur which was at a distance of 17 Km.



  6. Thirukkoodal - Sri Koodal Azhagar Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 94). From Thiru Moghur we drove down to Thirukkoodal for a distance of 14 Km. We had a doubt as this was also Azhagar Perumal as both are in Madurai district and then realized this was Koodal Azhagar in the center of the Madurai city. As it goes with the name of the temple, a very beautiful perumal.

It was about 7pm and then we decided to drive down to Srivalliputtur, which was 76 Km from Thirukkoodal. We called Ahobilam mutt who were busy with the Andal utsavam and did not pick our calls. In this temple the Andal utsavam event continues for the 10 days during the margazhi month. Anyway they had given us the name of the place to stay, manavala muni asharam.

There was a small passage leading to manavala which we could not identify. An iyengar mami guided us to this place, it was right in front of Andal kovil street. We were thankful that we got a place to stay without advance booking as we reached Srivalliputtur around 9 pm. Couple of shops were open wherein my wife managed to pick-up some souvenir.

We retired to sleep past 11pm and decided to leave early next day as we were to drive to Ramanathapuram which far off from Srivilliputtur.
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Old 9th January 2016, 23:57   #11
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[b]
Day 5: 28-Dec-2015 (Monday)

It was about 7pm and then we decided to drive down to Srivalliputtur, which was 76 Km from Thirukkoodal.

We retired to sleep past 11pm and decided to leave early next day as we were to drive to Ramanathapuram which far off from Srivilliputtur.
I am struck by your perseverance and energy, sir. At 7pm, I would have began to call it a day, but you have begun another leg of 76 km from KalAzhagar to Srivilliputtur!

Would be great if you could also share info on road conditions, veg hotels, petrol bunks, etc. Thanks.
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Old 10th January 2016, 00:14   #12
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Kudos to you for making this trip.Having visited some of these temples, i know how difficult it is to make out the itinerary.In these times, when most people do not find time to visit these religious places, the effort taken by you and your wife is commendable.May god bless you both with health and prosperity.Looking forward for the rest of the thread.
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Old 10th January 2016, 00:18   #13
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Mind boggling travelogue. It is also mine and wifey's dream to do all your pilgrimage trips. Have no further words to say. Can you pm me your number? Will need to speak to you to know your travel itineraries for your pilgrimage trips.

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Old 10th January 2016, 17:46   #14
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Day 6: 29-Dec-2015 (Tuesday)


Summary of the day
  • Distance traveled during the day – 370 Km (Srivilliputtur to Sri Vaikuntam)
  • No. of temples visited during the day – 12 (3 Divya desams in the morning and 9 in the evening)
  • Places visited – Madurai, Sivakasi, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelvelli, Nava Tirupati
  • Hotel Stay at – Sri Vaikuntam

  1. Thiruvilliputtur (Sri Villiputhoor) - Sri Vadabhatra Saayi Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 95). As we stayed back the last night at Sri Villiputhoor, we were in the temple at 5:00 am. In Aandal kovil, the cow was brought in and the fresh milk was churned out in the vessel and was offered to Perumal and Aandal who are in kalyanam thirukolam. Very good full darshan we did as the utsavar idol was kept outside, thereby giving full view or visibility to the moolavar idol from a distance. After that my wife sang Andal pasuram in ragam Sindhu bhairavi offering of the new learning of the paasuram. The utsavar was kept away from Moolavar and they were shifting from Moolavar to Utsavar for doing the darshan and aarthi.

    Then we went to have darshan of vadabhadra saayi Perumal. We also went to nanda vanam where Aandal was incarnated. The Perumal was coloured in sleeping pose like Ranganatha Swamy. The garland and the hair jadai that is put to Aandal is being brought to Vadabhatra Saayi the next day morning and every day this ritual is still followed, that Aandal did before. They put a garland to me and in turn asked me to garland my wife and blessed us that we will have a good life till our sadhabhikesam. On the whole it was a very satisfying trip and we were fortunate to visit this place after listening to so many legends.



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    Feeling blessed after having darshan at Sri Villiputhur and Andal darshan in the month of marghazhi was a great experience.


  2. Thiruthankaal (Sivakasi) - Sri Nindra Narayana Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 92). From Sri Villiputhur we drove to Thiruthankaal, a distance of 22 Km. Here Radhakrishnan bhattachari narrated the sthala puranam. This is the only Perumal who goes to Sri Villiputhur to get the garland of Aandal and by the time he reaches the village, the Rangamannar is married. Whereas the garland of Aandal is sent to Perumal in other Divya Desams. The devotees were also offered pongal prasadam. This is a coloured Perumal that we are seeing this for the day is a sequence during this trip.



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    Thiruthankaal (Sivakasi)



    We also saw lots of fire crackers shops on the way while passing through Sivakasi as its been years we heard that most of the fire crackers are manufactured in Sivakasi.

  3. Thiruppullanni (Ramanathapuram) - Sri Kalyana Jagannatha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 91). From Thiruthankaal we went to Thiruppullanni, a distance of 147 Km. We thought it will take 3 hours but took us 2:30 hrs in the morning. As we got up early at 4am and with this long drive during the day, we took nap in turns – first my wife for an hour and then I took a nap for an hour while my wife was on the wheels.


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    Our Sarathy with blessings from Parthasarthy



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    Sri Jagannatha Perumal Thirupullani near Ramanathapuram




    It was 154 Km drive via Vembar east costal to reach Sri Vaikundam at around 3pm. We had a good lunch at Sri Haris Restaurant near Tootukodi after the toll booth where we got lemon rice and curd rice. We saw even salt bunds, making of salt, massive amount i.e. acres of lands devoted to making salt. We saw lorry carrying salt and we could not capture a picture as before realizing it was salt, we had passed the venue.


    We did Nava Tirupati temples in Tirunelveli district. It was an Aranyam like village with river flowing like silk. Pristine nature reminded of our earlier trip to Ahobilam.


    We reached Thiruvaragunamangai temple (at Sri Vaikundam) which is one of the Twin Tirupatis at 3pm and found the temple was open.


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    The board at the temple depicting the route map of Nava Triupati


    The perimeter covers Nava Tirupati or 9 Tirupatis in Trunelveli district, comprising of 8 Divya desams in which one of them is a Rattai tirupati or Twin Tirupatis. The bhattachari’s son directed us to other Nava Tirupati temples informing us that 3 of these temples closes by 6pm and the rest by 8pm. This is unlikely that the Vaishnava temples are open in the afternoon at 3pm as we found difficulty in having darshan in the afternoon in tamilnadu temples. So with this additional information and time with us, we rerouted our visits to cover all these Nava Tirupatis in the evening by 8pm.



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0592.jpg
    The board indicating the distance of Nava Tirupati



    Even while we entered Sri Vaikuntam, the place was beautiful where we clicked lots of photos of the banana plantation, Tambari river. Some of the photos are attached at the end of this page. Such a beautiful wide river, sumptuous amount of water for irrigation. Such lovely Tirunelveli dialect that was musical.


    After that we drove down to Nava Tirupati and covered the followed temples. In some of the temples the Perumal was ready for porapadu or procession around the temple.


  4. Thirukkoloor - Sri Vaitha Maanitha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 106)

  5. Thirupperai - Sri Magara NedungKuzhai Kaathar Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 101)

  6. Thiruvaragunamangai - Sri Vijayaasana Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 103)

  7. Thiruppulingudu - Sri Kaaichina Vendha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 100)

  8. Thirukkulanthai - Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 104)

  9. Thiruttholai Villimangalam (Twin Thirupathis) - Sri Aravindha Lochana Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 97)

  10. Thiruttholai Villimangalam (Twin Thirupathis) - Sri Aravindha Lochana Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 98)

  11. Thirukkurugur (Alwar Thirunagiri) - Sri Aadhinatha Swamy Temple (Divya Desam no. 96). Lovely construction of the mandapam. We bought few bananas from an old lady and offered it to elephant.

  12. Thiruvaikuntham (Sri Vaikundam) - Sri Vaikundanatha Perumal Temple (Divya Desam no. 102)



    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0595.jpg
    The mandap at Sri Vaikundam




    The drive to Twin Tirupatis was just beautiful, something like in the forest area with such a pristine beauty where the temples are and reminded us of our trip to Nava Narasimhan, Ahobilam.

    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_8843.jpg


    We also met the ex-CM of the Pondy who came with his wife in a car. We realized he was a bureaucrat from the car with a red light on the roof but didn’t know who he was. We later came to know about him after visiting few temples as we all were visiting the same temples alongwith another ayyapar group. We were talking to them like normal people, this is what we do when we don’t know the origin of the person as we remain ourselves. We were casually chatting with him as a normal yatri asking from where he was, showing the map route and the plan to cover the next temples in the vicinity. Because of that all the Perumal temples were ready to give them darshan as VIP was coming but as usual there was no crowd in these Nava Tirupati temples.


    Many of the people just do Nava Tirupati and the group follows into one temple to another. My wife sang few Tirupati songs in these temple. They were so happy listening to the songs live in the temples. The ayyapamars humbly talking to us and the CMs wife complemented my wife singing songs in these temples. It was a beautiful drive through the nature untouched my man...mainly forest region scenic beauty and quite remote. Probably for this reason that the rettai Tirupati close before sunset, to enable ease of driving for people through the roads that adjoin streams and wildlife.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0919.jpg


    The route map of Nava Tirupati given to us at the hotel.


    108 Divya Desams:  Vishnu Sthalams Travelogue-img_0920.jpg



    We got to know about Senthil Andavan hotel while visiting the first Nava Tirupati during the day. As we were moving from one temple to another for darshan, we decided to check into the hotel after completing for the day. This was a useful information shared with us.

    In Senthil Andavan Lodge near the Srivaikuntham temple, both AC and non-AC rooms are available. We would like to spread the information about this hotel near Sannidhi Street as I believe less people are aware about its location. When I checked few forums and travelogue, I did not find the information about this hotel. The boys were very humble in the hotel. They recommended us to go to Aruna Hotel to have vegetarian tiffin for dinner. It was good to know that there was a good facility with modern stay options at Sri Senthil andavan lodge. It is sad that there is no toilet facility near any of these temples. But thanks to the petrol pumps, we got clean toilets...but one had to come to the main road from these interior village to gain access to them. We also learnt that there is a nava Kailasam around this area...which is added to our next visit.

    As we covered few more temples (part of Nava Tirupati) of what was planned for the next day, we decided to give ourselves rest by getting up an hour late the next day i.e. by 5:00 am instead of the usual 4:00 am and leave for Tiruchandur by 6:00 am.
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Old 10th January 2016, 19:00   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVjy View Post
When I just clicked on your thread link, I was expecting just a brief summary of Divya Deshams. Instead, I have discovered a beautifully made out virtual tour of many of them. A great thread. Keep it coming and do post photos of links from any earlier trips as well.

Thank you Dr Vjy. Really happy that the very purpose for which we are writing this travelogue is served. Keep tuned for updates and information for other days to follow.
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