Perumal or Perumaal (Tamil: பெருமாள்) also Thirumal (Tamil: திருமால்) is the Hindu deity most popular amongst Tamils of Tamil Nadu state in India and in the Tamil diaspora. Perumal is also another name of Lord Vishnu.
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Early mention in Sangam literature
Tamil Sangam literature (200BCE to 500CE) mentions mAyOn, or the dark one, as the supreme deity who creates, sustains and destroys the universe. Paripadal 3 describes the glory of Thirumal in the most superlative terms.
Paripadal(3)by kaduvan iLaveyinanAr:
"thIyinuL theRal nI poovinuL naaRRa nI kallinuL maNiyu nI sollinuL vaaymai aRaththinuL anbu nI maRaththinuL mainthu nI vEthaththu maRai nI boothaththu madhalu nI vencudar oLiyu nI thingaLuL aLiyu nI anaiththu nI anaiththinut poruLu nI"
The last line states that Thirumal (Lord Vishnu) is the supreme deity who is the inner controller (Antaryamin) of the entire universe. This is one of the Lord's glories, which is first mentioned in Vedas and later propounded by Alwars in Prabhandams and Sri Vaishnavaite Acharyas in various commentaries.
Popularity in the Tamil Nadu
Thirumal/Perumal is the only deity who has enjoyed the status of Paramporul during the only recorded (Third) Sangam age. The reference to "Mukkol Bhagavars" in Sangam literature clearly indicates that only Vaishnavaite saints holding Tridanda existed during the Sangam age and Thirumal was glorified as the Supreme Deity whose divine lotus feet can burn all our evils and grant Moksha (Maru Piraparukkum Maasil Sevadi). During the post-Sangam period, his worship was further glorified by the Alwars and the great Vaishnavite acharyas.
- The 108 Divyadesams according to the Alwar Saints (106 of which are in the Earthly Realm).
Prominent among these Divyadesams are
- Sri Navamukundan Temple in Thirunavaya, India
- Sri Ananthapadmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, India
- Sri Varadaraja perumal temple in Kanchipuram, India
- Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple in SriRangam, India
- Thirumaliruncholai (Kallazhagar temple) in Madurai, India
- Thiruvengadam (Sri Balaji Temple), in Tirupathi, India
- Thiru Narayanapuram (Selva pillai) in Melkote, India
- Aadhi Thiruvellarai (Pundarikatchan) in Thiruvellarai, India.
Prominent Thirumal Temples (though not mentioned by the Alwars) in other parts of the world are
- Perumal temple in Jaffna, Sri Lanka
- Sri Venkateswara perumal temple in the USA
- Sri Sunderaraja Perumal Temple Klang, Malaysia
- Sri Alarmelamanga Samedha Shri Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Batucaves, Malaysia