Continuing on with the svayam vyakta kshetras, today’s focus is on Sri Vanamamalai. Being south Indian, I have heard of this sacred place, but didn’t know much about it myself. So doing this post helped enlighten myself about the glories of this kshetra!
Sri Deivanayaka, with Sri & Bhu devis, Soma, Surya, Markandeya, Brighu, Urvasi and Tilotthama
Sri Vanamamalai (also known as Thiruvaramangai) is the abode of the Supreme Lord in His form as Deivanayaka (meaning “Hero of the Celestials”). To north-Indians, the Lord is also known as Totadri, or Totadrinaatha. The temple is located in the Tirunelvelli district of the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The Lord gave darshan to Indra, Brahma, Brighu muni, and Markandeya rishi here. The celestial dancers Urvasi, and Tilotthama perform devotional service to the deity of the Lord here.
The main deity in the inner sanctum is Lord Vishnu (Sri Deivanayaka), seated beneath the hoods of Adisesha, and flanked by Sri and Bhu devis, as He appears in Sri Vaikuntha. Urvasi and Tilotthama also give darshan flying above the Lord, with chamaras in their hands. The presiding deities of the sun and moon planets, Surya and Soma, also worship the Lord here, and their deities are seated on either side of Lord Deivanayaka. It isn’t hard to figure out why the Lord is called the “Hero of the Celestials” in this particular shrine, and has quite the entourage!
Sri Deivanayaka with consorts (utsava deities)
The deity of Lord Deivanayaka is believed to be self-manifest and appeared here upon hearing the prayers of Bhumi devi. The Goddess appealed to the Lord as she could not bear the blood of the slain demons Madhu and Kaithaba, which is said to have fallen here
The main deity is given an oil bath daily, and the oil is collected in a well, and used by devotees who believe it to be medicinal. The temple’s management is in the excellent hands of the Sri Vanamamalai Math who conduct it’s year-round festivities with much enthusiasm, and orthodoxy.