Saturday, 5 January, 2008

AzagarKovil Pazamudhircholai

Alagar Koyil (Alagar temple), also known as Azhagarkovil, is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu situated 21 km from the city of Madurai, which lies in the Tamil Nadu state of India.According to Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu visits Madurai taking the human form of Alagar to give away his sister Meenakshi in marriage to Sundareswarar. But He then storms out of the city at the perceived insult by the city, which did not throw a formal welcome in his honor.
Ever since, Meenakshi Kalayalam (Meenakshi's Marriage) is re-enacted every year as part of the Chithirai festival in the famous Madurai Meenakshi temple. The Kallalagar (Alagar comes in a disguise of a bandit through the forest) procession also takes place to re-enact Alagar crossing Vaigai river to attend his sister's marriage. The Mahabharata says that this temple was visited by both Yudhisthira and Arjuna.
Alagar Koyil (Temple of Alagar) is situated on hill, and hence, the place is also known as Alagar Hill. The statues of Lord Kallalagar can be found in seated, standing and reclining postures in this temple. Alagar is popularly known as Soundara Rajan, meaning 'very beautiful king'. This temple is also famous for its shrine of Karuppa Swamy, the guardian deity. There is also a temple for Lord Muruga at the top of the nearby hill.

Monkeys at Azagar Kovil - Looks at their rock climbing skills

Pazamudir Cholai

This is one of the six of the holiest of Murugan shrines refered to as the Aarupadai Veedugal.
Unlike the other five temples, there is no grand edifice surrounding the central shrine of worship. However, this is a holy shrine venerated by the Skanda puranam and by Nakkeerar’s Thirumurugatrupadai of the Sangam period. Arunagirinathar's Thirupugazh also reveres this shrine.
This shrine is located on a hill adjacent to the Kallazhagar Temple in the outskirts of Madurai, a fortified temple complex, revered as one of the 108 abodes of Vishnu glorified by the hymns of the Alwars. Also near Madurai is another of the Aarupadai Veedu shrines, Tirupparamkunram.

Legends - Puranas and Mythology There is a famous legend associated with the temple - it is said that Avvaiyar, a famous tamil poet and a Muruga Bakthai(Muruga Devotee), came here when her knowledge was put to test by Lord Muruga, taking the form of a small boy. It is firmly believed that this episode took place at a tree near the temple and the tree is worshipped even today. [see the image below and the Vidoe]

Nakeerar, in his Tamil writings compilation called Thirumurugatruppadai, more than 2000 years ago, and saint Poet Arunagirinaathar, who has composed several verses on Murugan, have both sung in great praise of Lord of Pazhamudircholai. Location and Temple Precincts It is a Hill temple, located on the top of Azhagar malai hills, on the South west of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, India. There is an ancient temple of Lord Vishnu at the foot of the hills, popularly known as Azhagar Koil, and is one of the 108 sacred temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The Pazhamudir Solai temple is accessible by Road - Regular buses are available from Madurai.

The temple construction that stands today - is of a much recent origin and presents without elaborate facades and walls. Atop the hill, there is another temple called Rakkayi Amman temple - which is dedicated to Goddess Parvathi. A small spring - kinown as Noopura Ganga runs near this temple. The waters of this mountain spring are considered to be sacred and devotees to the Subramanya temple of Pazhamudir solai do not fail to take a bath in this holy spring. Lord Muruga presents himself as Sri Subrahmanya, along with his celestial consorts - Valli and Deivayani (also known as Devasena, the daughter of Indran) in the main sanctum sanctorum. Here, Valli is considered to be ICHCHA SAKTHI (Power of will), Deivayani to be KRIYA SAKTHI (Power of doing) and Lord Muruga himself is considered to be GNANA SAKTHI (Power of Knowledge). It is believed that the Lord was worshipped in the form of a Vel in ancient times. The stala vriksham for Pazhamudircholai temple is the Naval Maram (reverred by Avvaiyar).

History of the Temple There are conflicting opinion among the scholars as to the location of the actual Pazhamudircholai temple - though the one near madurai is now considered to be authentic by many. No elaborate history is available for this temple as the temple itself is of recent origin - though Muruga worship here is several hundered years old.

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