(Last Updated on : 19/11/2012)
The Koodal Azhagar Temple situated in the Madurai district
in Tamil Nadu
is one of the oldest temples in southern India. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu
. Madurai is also known by the name Koodal and in Tamil Azhaghar means 'the beautiful one.' Thus, the temple has been named as Koodal Azhagar. It is one of the 108 divyadesams i.e. the holy abodes of Lord Vishnu.
Legend of Koodal Azhagar Temple
It is believed that one a deluge rose to overpower the city. However, at the request of the Lord four clouds gathered at Madurai and formed themselves as tall buildings. They guarded the city and saved it from being overpowered.
Koodal Azhagar Temple finds its mention in mane literary works and popular poems. The famous saint Tirumangaialwar had mentioned about the temple in his work Kozhi (Uraiyur) and Koodal. Tirumazhisai Alwar has also stated about the temple in his verse. Perialwar is said to have sung Pallandu at Koodal.
Architecture of Koodal Azhagar Temple
Koodal Azhagar Temple is an ancient shrine spread over an area of almost 2.5 acres of land. It is a magnificent temple adorned with striking stone grills and artistic sculptures. The five tiered rajagopuram and the two prakarams are some of the prominent features of the temple. The Ashtanga Vimanam that houses the Pallikonda Perumal in one of the levels can be seen by climbing up. It also enshrines the Surya Narayanan in a standing posture. The architectural beauty of the temple attracts the attention of pilgrims. The vimanan of the temple and the stucco images portraying different scenes of epics are noteworthy. Koodal Azhagar Temple is enclosed by impressive stone walls that have been artistically designed. The decorative windows are among the other significant feature of the temple. These superbly engraved windows and the wooden panes enhance the look and beauty the temple.
The unique feature of Koodal Azhagar Temple is the three different postures of Lord Vishnu installed in different alters. The three images of Vishnu can be seen in standing, sitting and reclining postures. These are also known by different names. Among the three images the most venerated one is the sitting posture that is commonly known as Lord Koodal Alagar. It faces the eastern direction. The temple has been named after the name of the Lord. The standing posture of the Lord is known as Sri Surya Narayan Perumal while the reclining idol is popularly called Sri Ranganatha. This particular feature of the temple housing the three different postures of Vishnu resembles the Vaikuntha Perumaal temple at Kanchipuram
. Apart from the shrine of Lord Vishnu there are shrines of Ramar, Andal, Lakshminarasimhar and Krishnar. The Navagrahas are also installed in the temple. Devotees visiting the temple can also offer worship in the shrines of Aandaal, Lakshmi Narasimhar, Krishna, Rama and the Acharyas located here.
Festivals of Koodal Azhagar Temple
Koodal Azhagar Temple celebrates many festivals on a grand scale. The deity is worshipped here six times a day. In the month of Vaikasi the annual festival is celebrated with much pomp and gaiety. During the festival Dasavataram is enacted. Otyher than this there are many other festivals celebrated here like Aadi Pooram, Maasi Teppa Utsavam, Purattasi Garuda Sevai, Kartikai, Krishna Jayanti, Navaratri
and Vaikuntha Ekadasi
Koodal Azhagar Temple is well connected with all modes of transport. It is close to the main bus stop Madurai. Several lodging and boarding facilities are also available in the city.