Adikesava Perumal Temple, Kanyakumari
|Adikesava Perumal Temple|
|Location||Tamil Nadu, India|
|Primary deity||Adi Kesava Perumal|
|Architectural styles||Dravidian architecture|
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The Sri Adikesavaperumal Temple is a Hindu temple located in Thiruvattar, India and is one of the 108 Divya desams, the holy sites of Hindu Vaishnavism according to existing Tamil hymns from the seventh and eighth centuries C.E. The temple is a picturesque setting surrounded on three sides by rivers namely, (River Kothai, River Pahrali and River Thamirabarani).
Architecture and history
The temple architecture is Dravidian style architecture with wooden pillars, doors and roofs. The lord is lying on his snake couch and has to be viewed through three doors. We could see Lord Shiva near Lord Adikesava Perumal inside the sannidhi. Deepalakshmis are many but none resembles the other. The Otraikkal Mandapam (single stone hall) made of a single stone 3 feet thick, is a marvel. Oorthuva Thandavam, Venugopala, Rathi, Manmatha, Lakshmana and Indrajit are excellently carved. The temple is also renowned for its murals.
Going by extant legends, the temple is closely associated with the famous Sree AnanthaPadmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram. Thiruvananthapuram Sri Anantha Padmanabhaswamy temple deity lies in the direction as to see the Thiruvattar Adi kesava deity. The main deity was originally covered with gold kavachams in which diamonds and other precious stones were embedded which the Kerala kings had presented to the temple. There is also a small shrine for Lord Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy near the river and opposite to the Adikesavaperumal Temple. Alvar saint Nammalvar had sung 11 pasurams in praise of AdiKesavaSwamy.
The entire present day Kanyakumari District formed part of erstwhile Thiruvithamkoor or Travancore Kingdom. Up to Marthanda Varma, all kings ruled the erstwhile Venad Kingdom (which was expanded by Marthanda Varma to form Thiruvithaamkoor) from Padmanabhapuram in Kanyakumari District. It was Dharma Raja, the nephew and successor of Marthanda Varma, who shifted the capital to Thiruvananthapuram. Padmanabhapuram Palace, the erstwhile royal abode of Travancore Kings, is still preserved in all its glory and is situated at Padmanabhapuram in Kalkulam Taluk of Kanyakumari District. Marthanda Varma was a staunch devotee of Lord Adikesava and used to worship at the temple before all the major war campaigns undertaken by him.
The Lord AdiKesavaSwamy means 'Foremost Friend'. Legend says that Lord AdiKesavaSwamy defeated the demon Kesi. The demon's wife prayed to the River Ganges and to River Thamirabarani and created a destruction. But it was in vain and she surrendered to the Lord. Thus, the formation of the rivers made in a circle came to be known as Thiruvattaru.
Festivals and prasadhams
Vaikunta Ekadesi is celebrated with pomp and glory. Paal Payasam (Milk Kheer), Aval and Appam are delicious prasadams at this temple. The pujas are done in the same manner as that of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram.
- M., Rajagopalan (1993). 15 Vaishnava Temples of Tamil Nadu. Chennai, India: Govindaswamy Printers. pp. 164–172.
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