Thirukkurungudi, considered the southern home of Lord Vishnu, is under renovation.S. Prabhu

When Thirumangai Azhwar, who built the huge walls of Srirangam and contributed in no small measure to the temple there, sought moksham, Lord Ranganatha directed him to visit his ‘Southern Home.’ Accordingly, Thirumangai went to the Vamana Kshetram of Thiru Kurungudiand performed services invoking the blessings of Lord Azhagiya Nambi and composed the last of his sacred verses (Paasurams) on the Lord before attaining moksha at Thirukkurungudi. Hence, it is believed that ‘Vaikuntam’ (the ultimate destination for Vaishnavites) is in ‘calling distance’ from the Lord’s Southern Home, at Thirukkurungudi.

Thiru Kurungudiis also home to the Vaishnava tradition of ‘Kaisika Ekadesi.’ Kaisika Nataka, the story of Kaisika Puranam, is a form of worship of the Lord through dance, music and drama and is presented on Kaisika Ekadesi.

The story of Nambaaduvan

Kaisika Puraana is the story of Nambaaduvan, who belongs to a backward class, and his love for Thiru KurungudiNambi. Embarrassed to enter the temple during the day as he was considered low in society, he would stand outside the temple with a veena in hand and sing in praise of Lord Nambi, through the night. Nambaaduvan shared with a demon (rakshasa, who had earlier threatened to consume him) the Kaisika Puranam, the songs which he had sung on Kaisika Ekadesi in front of Lord Nambi thus helping the demon secure Vaikunta moksham.

It is believed that those who observe fasting (upavasam) and sing and/or listen to the Kaisika Puranam on the Kaisika Ekadesi Day will attain Vaikunta moksham.

Residing at Thirukkurungudi, Ramanuja visited other Divyadesams such as Thiruvattaru and Thiruvan Parisaram. While at the Divyadesam in Tiruvananthapuram, Ramanuja wanted to return quickly to Thirukkurungudi.

Answering Ramanuja’s prayers, Lord Anantha Padmanabhaswamy directed Garuda to carry him to Thirukkurungudi. And to Ramanuja’s surprise, he was on top of the Thiru Kurungudirock at the blink of an eye.

It was also here at the Thiru Kurunguditemple that Lord Nambi took the role of a disciple and obtained Vaishnava initiation from Ramanuja. Hence, the Lord here is referred to as ‘Vaishnava Nambi.’

Araiyar Sevai originated at Thiru Kurungudiand was first introduced by Nathamuni. Legend has it that Lord Nambi, hiding behind a wall on Bashyam Street (South Mada Street), used to watch the young Araiyars practise this difficult art form for hours. Hence, the Lord here is also referred to as ‘Gaana Priyan.’

There are several stone inscriptions found within the temple complex. A 10th Century AD inscription refers to the gifting of 25 sheep while an early 14th Century AD inscription on the Northern wall, dating back to the rule of Sundara Pandya II, mentions about the gift of a land to Lord Nambi. Another inscription dating back to the Pandya period indicates the gift of 25 cows for supply of ghee for lighting the lamp.

Garuda Sevai on the fifth day of Panguni is a special occasion. Kaisika Ekadesi is one of the big highlights at this temple.

Spruced up

Spread over 18 acres the temple, which has a five-tier rajagopuram and five prakarams, the Eastern temple tower, all the mandapams, vahanams, vimanams, the prakarams and the huge outer walls, is currently being renovated. There are several exquisite sculptures and beautiful images inside the temple that date back to the Nayak period. To expedite and complete the renovation work at the earliest donations are solicited from devotees. Those interested may contact 94432 05739.

Thiru Kurungudiis located about 40 km from Tirunelveli (11 km from Nanguneri) off the Nagercoil Highway at the foot of the Mahendra Hill on the Western Ghat. From Chennai, one can take the Kanyakumari/Ananthapuri Express to Valliyur. From here, one can reach Thirukkurungkudi (10 km) in 20 minutes by boarding the Papanasam bound bus via Ervadi.

By car, one can reach the shrine in 45 minutes from Tirunelveli. One can also visit Vaanamamalai Divyadesam in Nanguneri.

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Azhagiya Nambi

Thayar: Kurungudi Valli

Temple Time: 8 a.m.-12 noon and 5 p.m.-9 p.m.

Special features

Araiyar Sevai originated here.

The place is referred to as the ‘Southern Home’ of Lord Vishnu.

Lord Vishnu took the role of a disciple and obtained Vaishnava initiation from Ramanuja at the place.

Thirumangai Azhwar attained moksham at the place.

How to reach Thiru Kurungudi

Thiru Kurungud iis located about 40 km from Tirunelveli (11 km from Nanguneri) off the Nagercoil Highway at the foot of the Mahendra Hill on the Western Ghat. From Chennai, one can take the Kanyakumari/Ananthapuri Express to Valliyur. From here, one can reach Thirukkurungkudi (10 km) in 20 minutes by boarding the Papanasam bound bus via Ervadi.

By car, one can reach the shrine in 45 minutes from Tirunelveli. One can also visit Vaanamamalai Divyadesam in Nanguneri.