|Description This Divya
Desam is the well known Kallazhagar temple located at a distance of about 18 km from Madurai. Nearby is Pazhamudirsolai, one of the
six Padai Veedu shrines of Murugan.
There are as many as 128 verses sung by Perialwar,
Andal, Tirumangaialwar, Bhootattalwar, Peyalwar and Nammalwar on Maalairuncholai.
Kallazhagar is enshrined at Azhagar Koyil, and Srivilliputtur enshrines Kattazhagar, while Madurai enshrines Koodalazhagar. The sangam period tamil
work speaks of theis hill and the springs in its environs.
Deities: The Moolavar here is Azhagar, in a standing posture facing
east. Azhagar is also known as Sundararajar, Paramaswamy and Rishabhadrinathar. Azhagar is
considered to be the tutelary deity of the Kallar tribe of this region, hence the name
Kallazhagar.Taayaar here is Sundaravalli.
Legend has it that the Somasundara Vimanam, also known as the
Somaskanda Vimanam or the Somachanda Vimanam was designed by Viswakarma. Legend has it
that this shrine was built by Dharma Deva, upon whose request Vishnu took this place as
his permanent abode.
The temple: This temple is situated in a picturesque locale. The hill
nearby resembles the shape of a cow, and hence the name Vrishabhadri. The temple is
surrounded by two forts, the outer one being Azhagapuri and the inner one Hiranyapuri. The
southern gateway to the fort, the Hiranyankottai vaasal is the main entrance here. The
Tirumalai Nayakar mandapam is a grand structure while the Anna Vahana Mandapam has
sculptures describing scenes from the Puranas. The Kalyana mandapam has life sized images
of Narasimhar, Krishna, Garuda, Manmathan, Rathi, Trivikrama and Lakshmi Varaha. The
flagstaff here is gold plated. The Aryan mandapam houses Yalis with non removable
stone balls in their mouths as in Trivandrum.
There are shrines to Valampuri Vinayakar and Saraswathi in the temple. There are
shrines to Yoga Narasimhar, Karuppannaswami (deity of the Kallar tribe) and Raakkaayee
Amman. The doors of the temple over the famous 18 steps in this temple,
are considered to be a manifestation of Karuppannasami who is considered
to be the gurardian deity here. Songs of the Tamil Siddhar (Bhoga Siddhar) describe the
azhagar malai hill and refer to the 18 step Karuppannaswamy.
The Noopura Ganga theertham is the Silambaar river. It is believed to have emanated
from the anklet of Vishnu. Full moon, new moon and dwadasis are considered sacred for
bathing in this theertham. Inscriptions form the period of Rajaraja Chola are seen here as
well as those from the 16th century Vijayanagar period, the Hoysala and the Nayak periods.
Festivals: The Chittirai festival is a grand one, where on the fourth
day, Azhagar is taken to Madurai, where he resides on the banks of the Vaigai river for
five days and then returns. Chittirai is the month of great festivities in Madurai, for it
is when, the grand Chittirai Tiruvizha of Madurai
happens, attracting thousands of visitors. The festival images (gold) here are of great
beauty. Bhramotsavam is celebrated in the month of Aadi, Vasantotsavam in Vaikasi.
Tirukkalyanam is celebrated in the month of Pankuni, when Sri Devi, Bhu Devi,
Kalyanasundaravalli and Andal are seen with Vishnu. On Dwadasi in the bright half of
Aippasi, the festival image of Azhagar is given a ritual bath in Noopura Ganga.