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Thiru Sirupuliyur is one of the 108 Vaishnava temples located at a distance of 25 kms from Kumbakonam. It is about 3 kms away from Kollumangudi-Komal route near Thiruvelliangudi.
The ancient shrine of Sirupuliyur is the abode of Mahavishnu known here as Arulma Kadal Amudan, the one as sweet as divine nectar. He is also known as Krpa Samudran - Ocean of Compassion. Infact, not just ordinary mortals, even devas like Brahma and Shiva are said to have realised His compassion. Sri Lakshmi is adored as Thirumamagal and as Dayanayaki here. The vimana, that stands above the sanctum is known as Vatla Vimana. While the pushkarni is known as Anantha pushkarni and Manasa pushkarni. The sthala vrksha here is the bilva tree.
In this shrine, Mahavishnu is seen in bhujanga shayana posture similar to His form in Tirupparkadal (the milky ocean). And just like Srirangam, this temple also faces south. This is the characteristic feature of this temple. It is said that all devotee's prayers are answered here. And thus, this kshetra is also known as Thapa Prasiddha Sthala.
|Vishnu here is referred to as||Arulmaakadal, Krpasamudra Perumal|
|Lakshmi here is referred to as||Tirumamagal Nachiar, Dayanayaki|
|Vimana is called||Nandavardhana|
|Pushkarni is called||Maanasa Pushkarni|
|Location||3 kms on Mayavaram-Kollumangudi route
3 kms from Thiru Velliangudi - Komal
Temple architecture of the south developed a distinct style of its own. Being free from major invasions, the monuments were not only protected from destruction and negligence but also had the opportunity to develop a style unique to themselves. The temple of Sirupuliyur was one that belonged to such an environment.
"Its most striking feature is its main tower built and embellished with stone structures. It is an excellent example of Dravidian art with elaborate design.", says Prof.S.Narayanan.
The front of the temple is decorated with ornamental figures and symmetrical designs. The temple has carved on it animals like elephants, horses, monkeys, so also peacocks, trees, warriors, flying figures, deities and celestial beings as well as some narratives from the puranas. The temple architecture is a bold synthesis of architectural forms and features of several dynasties that has resulted in a strong local traditional form. The temple is on an elevation and has two towers, one of five tiers and the other of three tiers with a magnificent Shikara perched over the east. Mahavishnu here is seen in Bala sayana and the temple has separate shrines for Manavala Mamuni, Andal, Srinivasa, Nammalvar, Ramanuja and Anjaneya.
Garuda purana and Brahmanda purana are said to bring out heroic deeds of the lord here. Rich both in history and legend, the sthalapurana states that eminent sages performed penance and worshipped Mahavishnu in all his forms and glory here. While the sage Pulikkal Munivar is known to have done penance in this temple during Puranic times, Bhrgu Maharishi was also at once blessed by the supreme Lord at this very shrine. Thirumangai Alwar, who has composed not less than ten pasurams on the beauty of Perumal in this kshetra was once a bandit. He took refuge at the feet of Mahavishnu here and hence the Lord here is also known as Saranagathi Rakshaka.
Another legend goes thus:
Several centuries ago, during the great wave of religious devotion, there lived a muni always singing Mahavishnu's name. Just as the rays of the sun fall on the daffodils, he felt the grace of the Lord overwhelm his heart. And as dawn meets day and as Ganga flows into the sea, he was also naturally drawn towards the need to realisation. Lord Shiva then bestowed him with the legs and eyes of a tiger so as to help him keep pace with time. And when the muni sought moksha, he was directed by Shiva to this kshetra where the muni worshipped Arulmakadal perumal in bhujanga sayana. This muni is none other than Pulikkal Munivar (Vyaghrapada). In the remembrance of this legend, the icon of Vyaghrapadamuni (Pulikaal munivar) is enshrined in the sanctum. The sanctum also has the icon of Kanvamuni
As the name Sirupuliyur suggests, Mahavishnu manifests here in a small tiny form of Bhujanga sayana. However, Thirumangai Alwar was disappointed with the small image of the Lord and hence, without losing time, Mahavishnu obliged him by taking abode also at Thirukannamangai where he has a larger than life image and a gigantic form.
- Prof. S. Narayanan (April 2004), 108 Temples of Azhvars, Volume 1, Maharashtra: Sri Ramanuja Mission.