The word  “aadhi” as a prefix for this divya desam indicates its ancient character; the suffix “Thiru” refers to its exalted state.  Vellarai and Svetagiri are names associated with the hillock here, which is made of white granite slabs. It is considered  ancient, since  the legend has it that this temple predates that of Sri Rangam. This divya desam is located 15 Kilometers north of Srirangam on the Tiruchi-Turayur road…


Thiruvellarai Divya Dampathi

Emperor Sibi, a predeccessor of Sri Ramachandra,  spent time at Svetagiri with his army on his way to Lanka to engage Ravana in combat and to teach him a lesson. Here, he saw a white boar (varaham) and chased it until it disappeared in the crevices of   the white slabs that made up the hill. The Emperor was awestruck that the wild boar disappeared so fast right before his eyes. He saw sage Markandeya doing penance nearby. He saluted the sage and was instructed by the sage that he should perform thirumanjanam (bathing ceremony)  for a white anthill nearby. The emperor carried out the instructions of the sage and was blessed with darsanam of the Lord in this place…


Sri Vimalakruthi Vimaanam

Sibi built a temple for the Lord at the site of the Anthill (Puttru) and settled 3,700 purva sikhaa  Sri Vaishnavas, who had their homes between Ganges and Yamuna. One of them died soon after settling here, and Sibi was saddened by the untimely death of this Vaishnava. The Lord appeared before the sorrowing Sibi and comforted him with the statement that He will stand at ThiruveLLarai in place of this Vaishnava. Sibi dug five Pushkarani’s for the Lord ‘s worship today known as Varaha, Padma, Manikarnikaa, Kuchasthi and Gandha Pushkarni theerthams. It is a tradition here that those who are childless can bathe in these theerthams on Sunday in the month of karthigai and have darshan of the Lord who will bless them with progeny. There is yet another theertham known as Maamiyaar –  Manaatu Penn theertham,  which has the shape of a  Swastika. Here, the shape of the tank makes it possible for the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law to take baths at the same time without catching sight of each other!


Periyalwar is a descendant of one of the Purva Sikhai  Sri Vaishnavas who settled here under the auspices of Maharaja Sibi. Some of these Vaishnavas also moved to Thirukkoshtiyur. Selva Nambi, the acharya of Periyalwar is also one of the descendants of these Purva Sikhai Sri Vaishnavas…

The breeze at Thiruvellarai is known  for its medicinal qualities. It is rich and fragrant breeze laden with the scent of herbs and flower bushes occupying the numerous Nandavanams.  Swami Desikan pays tribute to the Nandavanam in the kshetram in his  40th slokam of Hamsa Sandesam. All in all Swami Desikan devotes four slokas to ThiruveLLarai Kshethram in this work. The Lords  of Thiruvellarai, Srirangam, Thiruvenkatam, Kanchi and Thirumaalirumchaolai are glorified by Swami Desikan in his Hamsa Sandesam. This was the high level of regard that Swami Desikan had for the Lord of this sthalam…


Sri Senkamalavalli & Sri Pankayacchelvi with Sri Pundarikakshan

There are five praakaarams here. At the entrance of the temple are 18 steps reminiscent of the 18 chapters of Gita given to us by Lord Pundareekakshan. After climbing these 18 steps, one comes across 4 steps that are considered equal to the 4 Vedas. One now reaches the Bali Peetam, where one prays for the fulfilment of one’s wishes. Thirumanjanam is performed after the fulfilment of one’s wishes.  Beyond the Bali Peetam there are five steps representing the Pancha  Bhoothams (five elements). One climbs up another 8 steps symbolizing the syllables of the ashtaakshara thirumantram, afterwhich one ascends the last 24 steps symbolizing the Gayathri Mantram. Now, one arrives Moolasthaanam,  where Lord Pundarikakshan stands with His consort Pankayacchelvi Naacchiyaar under the Vimalakruthi Vimanam…


In this sannidhi, the Lord has given over all His rights to His consort and in uthasavams, the uthsava murthy lets His consort proceed ahead Him and He follows Her. All the lands and property of the temple are in Her name. There is a seperate sannadhi for Sengamalavalli, His consort. She joins the Lord only the day after the Panguni Brahmothsavam car festival…

Perumal has three temples where His consort’s worship takes precedence over His. These are Thiruvellarai for Sri Devi, Naachiyaar Thirumaaligai (Srivilliputhur) for Bhu Devi, and Naachiyaar Kovil (Thirunaraiyur) for Nappinnai (Nila Devi)…

Excerpted and adapted from:

Temple pictures from:



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2 responses to “Thiruvellarai…

  1. Venkatesh


    Thanks a lot Krishna. Keep it coming 🙂

  2. Interesting Swastika shaped teertham and interesting name too.

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