Celebrating the Azhwars and the Divya Desams of Lord Sriman Narayana!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

ThiruvallavAzh divya dEsam (ThiruvallA)

This beautiful malai nAdu divya dEsam is located in TiruvallA town.

Location and Access:

TiruvallA town is located near Kottayam in kEraLa. The town is on the rail route from Kollam to Ernakulam. The temple is about 5 km from the train station. The divya dEsam is also accessible by bus. There is a chowltry (a resting place; nowadays the word usually refers to a wedding hall) very close to the ThiruvallavAzh temple where pilgrims can stay for a nominal charge. It is also possible to cook in the chowltry.

ThiruvallA is a very good travel base to cover six Divya dEsams located not too far from one another. These six divya dEsams are: ThiruvallavAzh, ThirukkadithAnam, ThiruvAranviLai, ThirupuliyUr, ThiruchenkunrUr and ThiruvaNvandUr. All these six Divya dEsams can be covered in 1-2 days. Details of these Divya dEsams will be posted one by one on this blog.

The Temple:

The temple is not very big and can be easily covered in about 45 minutes. The temple is built in the typical kEraLA divya-dEsam structure, with a conical roof over the main sanctum and a stone platform in front of the sanctum. There is a spacious, open prakAram around the main sanctum. The thAyAr here is Sri Selva thirukkozhundhu nAchiyAr, also known as vAtsalya dEvi. There is a temple tank nearby. The Lord here is in a standing position and goes by the names of kOlappirAn, thiruvAzhmArban and SrI vallabhan.A unique feature of this temple is that there is a sannidhi for Sri ChakrathAzhwAr behind the sannidhi of Sri PerumAL.  It is not common to see a sannidhi for Sri ChakrathAzhwAr in the malai nAdu divya dEsams. 

Legends and History:

Legend has it that, a female devotee by the name of Shankara Mangalathammai used to religiously observe a fast every EkAdEsi day and then serve food to a brahmachAri on the next day. A demon called tOlakAsuran started harassing her and began creating hurdles in her religious practice. Sri perumAL appeared as a brahmachAri and slew the demon. In compliance with the wish of His devotee, SrI perumAL stayed at this place with Sri mahAlakshmi visible on His chest to bless all those who come to worship at this shrine. Hence the name Sri vallabhan for the Lord.

Another legend associated with this kShEthram is that of a person named GhantAkarNA. He was instructed by ShivA to worship Lord Sri Vishnu through the eight-syllabled ashtAkshara manthrA. To avoid hearing any extraneous noises, GhantAkarnA tied a bell to each of his ears and worshipped Lord Sri Vishnu and secured His Grace. The theertham in this Divya dEsam is called GhantAkarNa theertham.

It is also believed that the idol of the Lord here was installed by the sage Sri durvAsa, and that the sage visits  the temple every night to worship his Lord.

I had the opportunity to visit tiruvallA as part of a tour group. We stayed overnight in the chowltry near the temple. In the early hours of the morning, we were woken up by the sound of music and dance from the temple. I walked over to the temple and saw a group performing kathakali dance in front of the temple. There were no other people around except the performers. Later I asked one of the locals why there was a dance performance for no audience. The reply was that the performers were dancing for the entertainment of the Lord and not any human. I was amazed at this intensity of devotion.

AzhwAr mangaLasAsanams:

Thirumangai AzhwAr: 1808-17, 2674(118)
SrI nammAzhwAr: 3205-15

[Note: The numbering convention for the pAsurams seems to differ in various Divya Prabandham books. In some Divya Prabandham books, the same pAsurams by srI nammAzhwAr are listed as verse numbers 2612-22]

A sample pAsuram:

நாமங்கள் ஆயிரம் உடைய நம்பெருமான் அடிமேல்
சேமம் கொள் குருகூர்ச் சடகோபன் தெரிந்து உரைத்த
நாமங்கள் ஆயிரத்துள் இவை பத்தும் திருவல்லவாழ்
சேமம் கொள் தென் நகர்மேல் செப்புவார் சிறந்தார் பிறந்தே  

Sri nammAzhwAr has glorified the Feet of the Lord of a thousand Names at ThiruvallavAzh through a set of ten pAsurams. In this pAsuram Sri nammAzhwAr says that those who chant this set of ten pAsurams on the Lord of thiruvallavAzh will attain a celebrated birth.

Sri vAtsalya dEvi samEtha Sri vallabhan thiruvadigaLae saraNam

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