The sixth Kailasam temple at Sri Vaikundam (ஸ்ரீ வைகுண்டம்) was built by Uromasa Maharishi, the grandson of Lord Brahma and the disciple of Sage Agasthiyar. This is the Sani Sthalam (சனி ஸ்தலம்) among the Nava Kailasam temples.
According to Hindu beliefs, the period of Ashtamathil Sani (அஷ்டமத்தில் சனி) and Ezharai Naatu Sani (ஏழரை நாட்டு சனி) are times of great trials and misery. This is the reason why people get extremely scared when their zodiac signs are aligned directly under the influence of Saturn God (சனி பகவான்). He rules over a person’s life for nineteen years and determines the extent of internal peace.
It is believed that Saturn exerts his influence either as a peaceful breeze or a destructive tornado. The dominant power of Saturn can turn a person into a prosperous millionaire or a penniless pauper. To escape from the negativity of Saturn God, one should worship the Lord at this sixth Nava Kailasam temple.
Religious Significance of Sri Vaikundam
- Sri Vaikundam is known as Boologa Kailasam (பூலோக கைலாசம்) or Kailasam of the Earth. Long back it was named “Kailasam”, which literally meant “the Abode of Lord Shiva”.
- As Lord Vishnu, appeared as Kallapiran and later emerged with his consort Thirumagal as a divine vision here, this place was given the name Boologa Vaikundam.
- The Nava Thirupathi temples along the banks of Thamirabarani are of great religious significance. Sri Vaikundam Kallapiran Temple is the first Thirupathi among these nine temples.
Thamirabarani’s Directional Shift
Around 2000 years ago, the River Thamirabarani flowed at the north of the temple. As Sri Vaikundam suffered frequent damages due to floods, it is said that Ponnappapillai changed the course of the river to the south. Now, Thamirabarani flows to the south, turns east and then runs as the southern border of this town.
Virtual Walk-Through of the Temple /Architectural Structure
As we enter the temple through the southern entrance, we reach the Garden Corridor (நந்தவன சுற்று). This corridor is lush with Sodom shrubs (வெள்ளேருக்கு), Bael trees (மஹா வில்வம்), Viboothy Illai (விபூதி இலை) and gooseberry trees (நெல்லி மரம்) which make this place a dense grove. On entering the inner corridor, from the garden courtyard, we are greeted by the idol of Lord Vinayagar at the entrance.
- At the southern walls are the idols of the sixty-three Nayanmars facing north. On the opposite side is Dakshinamoorthy, who aids in the influence of Guru, facing south.
- Kanni Vinayagar is in the south-west.
- At the west of the inner corridor is the idol of Panjalingam.
- Next to this, towards the north-west is the idol of Subramaniar.
- To the north is the idol of Lord Chandikeswarar, followed by the alcove (பள்ளியறை) of Ambal. It is believed that during midnight (அர்த்த சாமம்), seven celestial maidens worship the Goddess here.
- Slightly to the east of the alcove are the idols of Moon God, Sun God and Adhikara Nandi.
The Lord of this temple is Kailasanathar and has the attributes of Saturn and the Goddess is Sivagami Ammal.
Majestic Moothaswarar Temple
The sanctum for Kasi Viswanathar and Visalaatchi to the north is known as “Moothaswarar Temple” (மூதஸ்வரர் கோவில்) by devotees. Above the sanctum sanctorum are ornate Vimaanas (tower above the sanctum at a Hindu temple).
Distinct Features of the Temple
The Kailasanathar temple at Sri Vaikundam is distinctive and the Lord’s idol here emerged on its own with no interference by human hands (சுயம்பு லிங்கம்). Among the nine temples of Kailasam, Suyambu Lingams are found only at Papanasam and Sri Vaikundam.
Demigods as Gatekeepers/Guards
Long back, a unique ritual had been practised here. Two demigods Agni Puthirar and Veera Puthirar served as the guards for this temple. During ancient times, the priests used to lock the temple gates at night and hand over the keys to them. Similarly the next day, they collected the keys from the duo and opened the temple.
Glorifying the Lord’s Vehicle
The shrine of Bhoothanaathar is to the left of Moothaswarar temple. Traditionally, Bhoothanaathar is the vehicle for the Lord, but here he blesses his devotees from a separate sanctum. During the temple festival, special rituals are done first for this deity.
Bronze Memento from Bhagavathy Amman
A bronze plate brought from the Bhagavathy Amman Temple at Kanyakumari, is the foundation for the flag mast of this temple. There is also a sacrificial altar here.
- The Sandhana Sabapathy hall houses several intricate sculptures that radiate grace, form and beauty.
- Elephants and Yali (a mythical animal that is part man, part elephant and part horse) are carved here. The Yali holds a spherical stone in its mouth, which rolls around when we move it with our hands. This stands as a testimony to the ingenuity of the ancient sculptors.
- The image of Uromasa Maharishi is sculpted on a pillar at the hall in front of the temple grove.
Rare Classic Herbal Art
On the ceiling of the Thirukalyana stage, one can see spectacular paintings done with naturally extracted dyes from rare herbs. These sketches elaborate on the history of the Nava Kailasam temples.
Tasty Treat for the Lord
A unique ritual here is that during the Uchikaala Abhishegam, a specially prepared feast of rice, curry and vegetables is offered to the Lord as Nei Vayithiyam.
Offerings for Amman to Bestow Marital Bliss
It is believed that by performing special poojas for Saturn, one can overcome obstacles in marriage. Also if one offers puffed rice and milk to the Amman, delays in matrimony is removed.
Symbol of Secularism
The Amman at this temple is worshipped even by Muslims.
Kumarakurubarar’s Accolade to Sri Vaikundam
Sri Vaikundam is the birthplace of Kumarakurubarar, who remained dumb up till the age of five years. His parents then placed him near the flag mast at Tiruchendur temple and appealed Lord Muruga to grant him speech. Miraculously, due to divine blessings, he was gifted speech and sang “Kandan Kali Venba” in praise of the Lord. After that, he spent rest of his days at the sixth Kailasam temple at Sri Vaikundam. In his composition “Vaikunda Kalai also known as Kayilai Kalambagam”, he has mentioned this town as “Bhoologa Kailasam”. Even today, the house where he lived is present here and as a honour to him, some schools and colleges have been named after him.
Temple for Liberation from Misfortunes
It is highly beneficial for people of the sun signs Aquarius (கும்ப ராசி) and Capricorn (மகர ராசி). It is also said that this temple is as beneficial as worshipping at Thirunallaru (திருநள்ளாறு). By offering prayers here, one can be rid of the adverse effects of Saturn like loss of wealth, health, dignity and be blessed with a long prosperous life.
Special poojas are conducted on Pradosham, Thirukalyanam, Thiruvathirai, Navaratri, Sashti, Thirukarthigai, Thai Poosam, Varushabishegam and Brahmotsavam.
How to Reach Here
On the road to Tiruchendur from Tirunelveli Junction, you take the bridge over Thamirabarani at Sri Vaikundam – Pudukudi Road and travel north to reach this Shiva Temple.
All the buses that go to Sri Vaikundam from Tirunelveli New Bus-stand stop here. On the buses that ply between Nellai and Tiruchendur, you must get down at Pudukudi to reach here. Pudukudi also has a railway station to facilitate devotees who travel on rail.
Morning: 7.00 a.m. to 10.00 a.m.
Evening: 5.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m.