Travelling south and east from the beautific presence of the Lord at Thiruvatturu, we are soon in a country of dancing green fields, ponds filled with loutses and lillies, painted stroks the living symbol of patience, allowing the small fish to escape while waiting in the waters for that big fat fish, a landscape dotted with small hills whose singular adornments are the gouprams that raise their heights towards the sky.
It is this land that inspired our Maran to write:
…சேற்றில் செந்நெல் கமலம் ஓங்கு திருக்குரு கூரதனுள்,
ஆற்ற வல்லவன் மாயம் கண்டீரது அறிந் தறிந் தோடுமினே
Thiruvaymoli 4.10 (6)
Behold the glorious illusions of Him who is in Thirukurugoor adorned by red lotuses that grow from the slush? we are in the sacred precincts Of the temple at Thirukurugoor, birrthplace of Svamin Nammalvar, he who is fourth in line of the Sri Vaishnava achayas, and the first among men, the Lord himself and his consort being the first two, and Senai Mud a l i a r (Vishvaksena) the third. The Lord here is Adinatha, or Adipiran or in beautiful Tamil, ‘polindu ninra piran’ – பொலிந்து நின்ற பிரான் as Svami Nammalvar addresses him in his ten pasurarns on the temple. This is a svayamvyakta kshetram, even the Lord’s feet being under the earth.
The Lord’s Consorts are Adinathavalli and Kurugoorvalli, each with her own shrine. In keeping with Srivaishanava tradition, the acharya takes precedence over the god he worships, the temple itself gaining prominence because of Svami Nammalvar. The aura is distinctly his. we live in an age of scepticism, discounting the possibility of miracles. But, can we totally discount that another age could not have had its wonders, its phenomena? Records tell us the story of this child that neither moved nor cried, nor even opened its eyes, but crawled into the hollow of a tamarind tree in the temple, remaining there for 16 years imbibing neither food nor water, before setting forth before the world, that most splendid composition, so profound that it is known as the Tamil Veda(hence, Svami Nammalwar came to be called as ‘vedham tamil seytha maran’).
The proof is there for all to see and hear. Can we remain unmoved when the opening verse of Thiruvaymozhi breaks in upon us for the first time, can we doubt the divinity of this child that could ask in ringing tones,
உயர்வு அற உயர் நலம் உடையவன் எவன்? அவன்
மயர்வு அற மதி நலம் அருளினன் எவன்? (1-1-1)
Who is that nonpareil of wisdom, who is the one who has given spotless wisdom? The sacred tamarind tree exists still and at the shrine to its sometime resident, we are enveloped by his grace and his unshakable faith in his god,
…குன்றம் போல்மணி மாடம் நீடு திருக்குரு கூரதனுள்,
நின்ற ஆதிப்பி ரான்நிற்க மற்றைத் தெய்வம் நாடுதிரே.
Thiruvaymoli 4.10 ( I )
Why do you seek other gods when there stands Adipiran in Kurugoor, surrounded by tall minars? “When the Lord of Thirukkurugoor stands here (to bestow grace), why do you seek other gods?”
The temple at Thirukkurugoor has several special features. The temple was under the direct administration of Manavala Mamunigal. As in Srirangam, araiyar sevai is a tradition here. So is the celebration of the tbirunaksbatrams of all the Alvars every month.
Thirukkurugoor is 33 km from Tirunelveli on the road to Thiruchendur. The nine temples that together are known as the Nava Tirupathi, namely SriVaikuntham, Thiruvaragunamangai, Thirupulingudi, Thirutholaivilimangalam, Thirukulandai, Thirukkolur, Thirupperai, Thiruvattaru and Thirukkurugoor, are within a few kilometres of each other. Tirunelveli town is the nea;est railhead and offers all facilities for the traveller.
It is significant that in a group of temples, jointly called the Nava Tirupathi, there is no separate shrine (sannidhi) for Svami Nammalvar except at Alvar Tirunagari. Further, it is noteworthy that during the Jayanthi celebrations of Svami Nammalvar, the Lords of the other eight ‘Tirupathis’, come to the shrine of this Alvar at Alvar Thirunagari and are honoured by his ‘mangalasasanam’.
seva kalam :
The Temple is open from morning 7.30 to 12.00 noon and from 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm.
How to reach there ?
Alwar Thirunagari is 34 kms. from Tirunelveli after Sri Vaikuntam. Lodges are available in Tirunelveli and Tiruchendur. Buses are available from Tiruchendur and Tirunelveli.
Nearest railway stations are Tiruchendur and Tirunelveli.
Nearest airports are Trivandrum and Madurai.