Nambi Kovil (Temple)

On the hills close by stands a small temple dedicated to Lord Nambi called Malai Nambi with a panoramic view of the village below. This hill is called Nambi Malai (Nambi Hill).

AT the foot of the Mahendragiri hills on the western ghats and on the banks of the river Nambiyaru lies the sleepy village of Tirukkrungudi, the abode of Narayana. In the ``Varaha Purana'' the Lord speaks of His sojourn in this holy village.Thus this place derives its name ``Kurungudi'' the smaller abode of Narayana. This centre is also called ``Dakshina Badri. '' While at Badri in the north, Narayana preached the ``Tirumantram'' through ``Uttara'' a human being for the salvation of the entire commnity, it was at Tirukkurungudi that Saint Sri Ramanuja gave his sermon on ``Tirumantram'' to the Lord Himself.

Temple worship is a way of life in the south and tradition has an important place in the life of its people. Historical evidence shows that the close links between Hindu temples and Tamil literature dated back to several centuries. Tamil life cannot be visualised without the temples. The fanes of Tamil Nadu are unique for their close association with many saints and their hymns. The tradition of singing hymns in temples has been an established practice. Sri Ramanuja, the Vaishnavite acharya, who propagated the ``Visistadvaita'' philosophy codified certain rituals in temple worship and made it obligatory to recite the great hymns of Alwars Divya Prabhandam in temples along with Sanskrit scriptures.

The temple at Tirukkurungudi is dedicated to Lord Nambi, called Sundara Paripurnam in Sanskrit and Nambi Narayan in Hindi. As the name signifies there is no equal to the beauty and fascination of the deity and He is beauty personified. The majestic mools vigrahas are in different postures of standing, sitting and lying. These huge idols are carved of stone with application of natural colours and decorated with gold leaves as per our agama rituals. Nammazhwar the foremost amongst the Vaishnavite saints, is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Nambi. Nammazhwar, Periazhwar, Tirumazhisai Azhwar and Tirumangai Azhwar have chanted hymns in praise of Lord Nambi in the ``Divya Prabhandam.''

A shrine for Lord Siva is installed inside the temple besides the main shrine of Lord Nambi, and the deity is called ``Pakkam Nindrar'' and this has been immortalised in his hymns by Tirumangai azwar. After worshipping Badri Narayana and Lord Ranganatha, Tirumangai azwar attained salvation at the feet of Lord Nambi. For upholding and preaching Vaishnavism Saint Ramanuja founded at Tirukkurungudi ``Sri Perarula Ramanuja Jeer Swami Mutt'' which governs the temple. Kaisika Ekadasi falling during the Tamil month of Karthigai is of importance in this temple as also Vaikunta Ekadasi at Srirangam, and attracts thousands of pilgrims. The presiding deity is taken round on different vahanams during the annual brahmotsavam.

At one time 18 families of Arayars were performing the traditional art of chanting the name of the Lord gestures, and on one occasion Lord Nambi himself witnessed the scene appearing as a Srivaishnavite. Pleased by the devotion the Lord gave salvation to all the members of the Arayar families. In recognition of their services a bell is installed inside the sanctum. A huge carvedbell presented by the Kerala king Aditya Verma in 1468 AD is also found in the temple. On the hills close by stands a small temple dedicated to Lord Nambi called ``Malai Nambi,'' with a panoramic view of the village below.

An interesting stone inscription is found on both ends of the south mada street, of an agraharam having been built by a British officer, Mr. Livings who was the Collector of Tirunelveli during 1849 A.D. The early temples were built in the form of mandapam for the sanctum. Later the arthamandapam, mukhamandapam and mahamandapam were added to meet the growing need for rituals and festivals. The temple at Tirukkurungudi has a collection, intricate carvings with exuberant details rich in different styles of the Pandyan and Nayak dynasties. Superb wood carvings are found in the tiers of the temple tower. Large stone carvings at the Rati mandapam and Veerappa Nayak mandapam exhibit intricate details. The masterpiece is the carved Narasimha performing the ``Hiranya Vadham.'' The mastery of the artisan is visible on the walls of the main tower and special mention is of a piece depicting the trading between India and the Persian gulf.

Nambi Kovil Photos SlidesShow