About the Temple:
Located about 20 kms North of Trichy, on the way to Thuraiyur, Thiruvellari temple is housed on a 14 acre property. Inscriptions and the architecture at this temple point to the fact that Pallava, Hoysala and Vijayanagara kings have contributed significantly to this temple. Also has bus facility from Sri Rangam. No boarding and lodging facility.
On first looks, one could easily mistake this Divya Desam for an old fort. The front gopuram (temple tower) reflects a Hoysala style architecture that is so untypical of a Vaishnavite temple. The structure looks half finished and this is attributed to a war which is believed to have stopped half way during the construction.
Vellarai means white rock. Since, this sthalam is situated 100 feet high in the top of the small mountain, which is white in colour, this sthalam is called “Thiru Vellarai”.
Markandeya was destined to die at 16. When Yama came to take him, he clutched on to the Shiva Lingam at ThiruKadaiyur. Pleased with this, Lord Shiva blessed him that he will remain there forever as 16. After enjoying life to the full, Markandeya once again prayed to Lord Shiva asking for Moksham. He is guided by Shiva to go to ThiruVellarai to invoke the blessing of Vishnu.
Once when Sibi Chakravarthi has been tented here with his warriors here, a white boar crossed him. He chased it and the Boar finally went inside a hole. Saint Markandeya was under penance here and King Sibi narrated the incident that occured here and the saint asked the king to perform a Milk Abhiseka to the hole. While doing so Lord Vishnu appeared before them. So Saint Markandeya asked Sibi Chakravarthy to bring 3700 Vaishnavites from North and build a temple here for Lord Vishnu. As requested Sibi Chakravarthy brought the 3700 Vaishnavites from the North and built the temple. While do so one of the Vaishnavite died and King Sibi was very much worried about it. Lord Vishnu again appeared Himself as a Vaishnavite and told King Sibi to count Him and make the numbering as 3700. Saint Naradhar’s disciple Uyyakkondaar wrote “Sri Bhaashyam”, which was left unfinished by him and was finally completed by Vishnu Sithaar. So this rock is called as “Uyyakkondaan Malai”.
There are two entrances to the temple viz. Uttarayana Vasal (Entrance) and Dakshinayana Vasal used during respective periods – Thai to Aani (Jan – July) and Aavani to Margazhi (July to jan). There is one more entrance namely the Naazhi Kettan Vasal signifying the entrance used by the Lord when he came late and was questioned by Thayar. One could have darshan of Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Surya , Chandra, Aadisesha in Prakruta sharira serving the Lord.Avathara Sthala of the Acharyas – Uyyakondar and Engallazhwan.This place helped Sri Ramanuja in propagation of Srivaishnavism .
This temple has a big wall (Mathil sevar) Birth place of Bhakthar Uyyakondaar. Situated on top of a Mountain which is fall of white rocks and 100 feet high. (Vellarai means white rock. Since, this sthalam is situated at the top of a small white mountain, this sthalam is called “Thiru Vellarai”).
Birth Place: This is the birth place of Uyakondan and Engal Alwan.
Another belief is that no Vaishnavite can get Moksham without visiting Thiruvellarai. Hence, there is this tradition at the temple to call ‘Thiruvellarai Kandeero- Thiruvellarai Kanden Aiyya’ (the devotees informing the Lord that they have seen Thiruvellarai and that they are now ready/eligible for Moksham), a voice that is said to echo to the Lord up there.
Sriman Narayanan is giving dharshan to all living and non living things as Sooriya Narayanan. By extending his rays, he is giving security to the entire world. Sri vishnu who is also named as “Maayavan” at the end of Dhakshinayana kaalam (Margazhi 15th) is named as “Thai Maatha Naayagan”, at the start of Thai Month (Jan 15th).
There is a small explanation that has to be said for the two Vaasals (entrance). In the human life, there are two separate entrances, (i.e.) entering to the life and getting out of it is the other. In both these Vaasals when entering in to the life and when getting out of it, he could be able to feel the presence of Paramaathma. To make this understand, he resembles himself as “Suriya Narayanan” at the state of Utharayanam and as “Govindan” at the end of Dhakshinayanan at the end of Maargazhi.
The Dhakshinayana Vaasal is the Vaasal or entrance which leads us to the death and it is the place of the stay of Lord yeman, the king of Naragam.
The Uthirayana Vaasal, which is the Vaasal which way that all the Jeevathmas enter in to world as an human being (or) a non living being, is the place of “Lord Guberan”, who is the God of wealth.
Even if a person who is well enough in money and his good activity will only lead him towards the Emperumaan. And if a person is very poor and if he is a good hearted and do proper karmas, will lead him to attain the Swargam, the Heaven.
To explain this only, there are two vaasals in this Pundarikaksha Sthalam.
Sri Pundarikakshan, Bhoomi Piratti, Periya piratti, Suriya and Chandiran and Aadisheshan resembles as humans in this sthalam and it can be seen in the Moolavari Place.
Engalaazhvan has written the great “Nadaa thooram Aalukku oppatra pungai Maalai”. Nadaathoramaal means Bhakthan who is having full and entire soul of Bhakthi on the God.
The name which has been given Engalaazhvan as “Nadaathoramaal” has a very special story to be said. Every day he gives milk to Emperumaan. Thinking the milk may be hot, he makes it cold by blowing air through his mouth and gives to Emperumaan. On the action of Engalaazhvan as his mother and calls him as “Nadaathoorammaal”.
Udaiyavar, Sri Ramanujar, stayed in this sthalam and explained about Vaishnavam and made it grow. Vedantha Desikar in his Hamsa Sandesam has done Mangalaasasanam.
In front of big pillar in his temple, when we make any sound, it replicates and echo around the temple. Because of this, some of paasurams in Divyapprabhandhams are said for 2 or 3 times.
The big festival takes place on the third day of Panguni (March-April) every year when the Lord and Goddess are taken on a procession to the Coloroon river.One can see the Srirangam temple from here, though it is 15 kms away.
Periyalwar and Thirumangai Alwar have each composed 10 paasurams in praise of the Lord here.
The Moolavar of this Sthalam is Pundarikashan.Moolavar in standing position facing east direction.Prathyaksham : Garudan, called as “Periya Thiruvadi”, Sibi chakravarthy, Bhoomi Piratti, Maarkandeya Maharishi, Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva.
Shenbagavalli. Also called as “Peri Piraattiyaar Lakshmi Devi”. Seperate sannadhi for Thaayar. Utsavar thaayar is named as “Pangajavalli”.
Periyalwar – 1 Paasurams
Thirumangai Alwar – 13
Total – 14
Kanda Kshree Theertham.
Varaaha Manikarnika Theertham.
Vimanam: Vimalaakkruthi Vimaanam.