Thiruthankaal | Sri Nindra Narayana Perumal Temple | Divya Desams - 089
About the Temple Location:

Ninra Narayana Perumal Temple (also called Nindra Narayana Perumal temple) or Thiruthankaal in Thiruthangal, a town in the outskirts of Sivakasi in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Ninra Narayana and his consort Lakshmi as Arunakamala Mahadevi.

The temple in its present form was believed to have been built by Devendra Vallabha, a Pandya king. The temple has three inscriptions in its two rock-cut caves, two dating from the period of the 8th century.

The temple is built on a granite hill 100 ft (30 m) tall and a granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines and bodies of water. Unlike other temples, this temple does not have a rajagopuram, the temple's gateway tower. The later Pandya kings, Vijayanagar and Nayak kings in the region made significant additions to the temple. The temple is located on the other side of Karunellinathar temple, a famous Shiva temple and can be reached from that temple on the hillock.

Ninra Narayana is believed to have appeared to Sridevi and Bhoomadevi. Four daily rituals and many yearly festivals are held at the temple, of which the Vaikasi Vasanthothsavam, Pillai Lokacharyar festival and Kurathazhwar festival, each celebrated for ten days, are the most prominent.


Ninra Narayana Perumal temple is believed to have been built by Pandyas. There are a host of inscriptions in the temple indicating information related to the gifts offered to the temple. One of the inscriptions from 1032 CE indicates the temple as Paramaswamy who willingly chose the hillock as his abode. A lake by name of Vallabha Pereri existed by the side of the temple. During the reign of Maravarman Kulasekara Pandyan I (1308 - 23 CE), a shrine was erected for the image of Singhaperumal (Narasimha). The two sons of Tiruvenkata Natha, an official in the Pandyan Empire constructed the western precinct. During 1220 CE, they constructed a mutt and endowed it for the recitation of Ramayana, Mahabharatha and Puranas. During the reign of Maravarman Sundara Pandyan (1216–1238 CE), special poojas were instituted. In 1227, Gurukulatharaiyan, the minister of Sundara Pandyan arranged for the construction of the sanctum, Mahamandapam and Ardhamandapam. In later periods, a lady named Tirumangai Andal installed the metal images of Karmachanai Emperuman and the Devis. The festival idols were taken out in procession during new moon day. The inscriptions about these inscriptions were recopied as the rock containing the original epigraph was shattered.

In modern times, two philanthropists, named Ramanujadasa and Narayanadasa arranged for the construction of Kalyana Mantapa, Garuda Mandapa and other Mandapas (halls).

During 1979, the northern compound wall, 120 ft by 30 ft tall collapsed due to torrential rains, which was repaired with the help of local support.

In modern times, the temple is maintained and administered by the Hindu Religious and Endowment Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.


Ninra Narayana Perumal temple is located in Thiruthangal, a town 2 km (1.2 mi) from Sivakasi, on the Madurai road. The temple is built on a granite hill 100 ft (30 m) tall and a granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines and bodies of water. The temple is located on the other side of Karunellinathar temple, a famous Shiva temple and can be reached from that temple on the hillock. The rajagopuram, the main gateway tower, has a flat structure, compared to other South Indian temples that have a steep structure.

An image of the presiding deity, Ninra Narayana, is seen in a standing posture facing east on the third tier of the temple and sporting Abhaya Mudra (right feet gesturing to devotees to surrender to his feet). He is believed to have appeared to Bhoomadevi and Sridevi, all of whose images are housed inside the sanctum. The tier also houses the Maha Mandapam and the shrine of Garuda, the eagle mount of Vishnu. Garuda is seen in a unique posture with a pot of Amrita on his right hand and a serpent in his left hand. His other two hands are seen with a supplicating pose. The sanctum is guarded by imposing images of Dwarapalakas, which are believed to be constructed during the rule of Sattur Kolarapatti. The sanctum houses eleven images of Ninra Narayana Perumal, Markendeya, Garuda, Aruna, Viswakarma, Bhudevi, Sridevi on the right and Neeladevi, Usha, Aniruddha and Bhrigu to the left. The festival metal image of Thiruthangal Appan is placed in front of the images. The images of the deities are made of stucco and hence ablution is not performed as in other temples. The vimana, the roof over the sanctum is called Somachandra Vimana, is similar to the ones in Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple and Alagarkovil. The images of Nardanakrishan, Andal, Durga and Vinayaka are seen on the precinct around the sanctum, while the images of Azhwars are housed in the hall leading to the sanctum.

The consort of Ninra Narayana, Aruna Mahadevi (also called "Shenbagavalli") has a separate shrine in the second tier. The Utsavar (festival image) of Arunakamala Mahadevi is called Shenbagavalli and is housed inside the same shrine. Unlike other temples, the image of Thayar is seen in standing posture. All poojas are first performed to Thayar before being done for the presiding deity. The second tier houses the four-pillared hall, vehicle hall and mirror room. A cave temple on the lower tier, bearing the traces of Pandyan art, is located to the West of Kalyana Mandap. The image of Pallikonda Perumal is housed in the cave, with Sridevi and Bhudevi serving at his feet and sages Markandeya and Bhrigu occupying prominent places on either side. The rectangular walls around the temple enclose all the shrines and water bodies associated with the temple. The rajagopuram, the main gateway tower, has a flat structure, compared to other South Indian temples that have a steep structure.

Religious significance

The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by Bhoothath Azhwar in one hymn and Thirumangai Azhwar in four hymns. The temple is classified as a Divyadesam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the book. Some of the ancient Sanskrit books consider the temple as a uthama kshetram, meaning the place that gives the best to its devotees. Divyakavi Pillai Perumal Iyengar has also eulogized the presiding deity in one of his verses.

The temple finds mention in the eighth chapter of Brahmanda Purana that deals with the story of king Puroora Chakravarthy.

Festivals and religious practices

The temple follows Vaikhanasa Agama. The temple priests perform the pooja (rituals) during festivals and on a daily basis. As at other Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu, the priests belong to the Vaishnavite community, a Brahmin sub-caste. The temple rituals are performed four times a day: Kalasanthi at 8:00 a.m., Uchikalam at 12:00 p.m., Sayarakshai at 6:00 p.m., and Ardha Jamam at 8:00 p.m. Each ritual has three steps: alangaram (decoration), nivedhanam (food offering) and deepa aradanai (waving of lamps) for both Ninra Narayana Perumal, Ranganathar and Arunakamala Mahadevi. During the last step of worship, nagaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument) are played, religious instructions in the Vedas (sacred text) are recited by priests, and worshippers prostrate themselves in front of the temple mast. There are weekly, monthly and fortnightly rituals performed in the temple.

The Vaikasi Vasanthothsavam, Pillai Lokacharyar festival and Kurathazhwar festival, each celebrated for ten days, are the most prominent festivals of the temple, and for the surrounding villages. Vaikasi Vasanthothsavam is celebrated during the Tamil month of Vaikasi (May–June) when devotees pull the chariot round the streets of Thiruthangal. Verses from Nalayira Divya Prabandham are recited by a group of temple priests amidst music with nadaswaram (pipe instrument) and tavil (percussion instrument). The other major festivals celebrated are Srijayanthi Uriyadi, Pavithrotsavam, Garudotsavam, Navarathri, Karthigai, Thirumangai Azhwar day, Vaikunta Ekadasi and Kalyana Utsavam. During Chitra Pournami, the festival image has a holy dip in Arjun river, decorated and mounted on a horse mount and taken around ten villages around Thiruthangal. On the fifth day of Aadi Pooram, the festival image is brought to Garuda mount and taken to Srivilliputhur Divya Desam along with four other temples.

Sthlapuranam :

This sthala perumal, travels like a cool breeze into the hearts of his bhaktas and takes out their sorrow and there by making them happy. Since, the perumal has the character (Thanmai) of the cool breeze and air, this sthalam is called as “Thiruthankaal“.

The Moolavar, Nindra Narayanan is found in Nindra Kolam and towards his right side, separate sannadhis for periya pirattiyaar who is called as “Anna Nayaki”.

Neela devi also named as “Aanandha Nayaki” and towards the Moolavar’s left side is Bhoomi Pirattiyaar, also named as “Amirutha Nayaki” and Jambhavathi are found and giving their darshan to the bhaktas.

All the statues (Moolavar and Thaayar, except Sengamala thayar) are painted and because of this, they are not done with the thirumanjanam. Only, Sengamala thayar is done with the Thirumanjanam only with the oil.

Manmadhan, who is the son of Thirumaal, Sri Vishnu, was made into ash by Lord Shiva and in Krishna Avatar, he was born in the name of Pradhyumnan, as the son of Sri Krishnar. His son is Anirudhan.

Ushai, who was the daughter of Baanasuran, loved the grandson of Sri Krishnar, Anirudhan. But, he has seen him only in her dream. So she asked her friend how to get him. Her friend, Chitralekha got some photos painted and one of the photos, Anirudhan was found and identified by Ushai. Chitralekha, who knows magic, took away Anirudhan, when he was sleeping in his cot. On knowing this, Anirudhan was jailed by Baanasuran. After hearing his Grandson was jailed, Sri Krishnar fought along with Baanasuran and made Anirudhan out of prison and was married to Ushai. This is one of the oldest stories told about this sthalam.

Another story about this sthalam is also said and it is related to Lakshmanan, brother of Sri Ramar.

Chandrakethu, who was the son of Lakshmanan, had the fast on Ekadasi and he took his oil bath before the Dhuvadesi came. As a result of this, he became a puli (tiger) and when he came to this Lakshmanan worshipped this sthala perumal and finally got his mukthi.

Periya Pirattiyaar did a strong tapas against Sriman Narayanan. On becoming happy and fully satisfied on her tapas, Sriman Narayanan gave him the Varam that she will become the hamsam of Annapoorani by offering food and shelter to the people of this entire world and said she is the combined and total structure of all the other naayakis – Aanandha Nayaki, Sridevi, Neeladevi and Amirutha Nayaki. And as further to this, the sthalam will be named as “Sripuram” and these are the Varam (Which is given as the prize who satisfies the perumal) given for Sengamala Thayar. Since, Thirumagal stayed in this sthalam and did the tapas, this sthalam is named as “Thiru thangal”. (Thangal means the place of stay).

This sthala thayar is also named as Jaambhavathi. She was the daughter of the Great Vishnu bhaktas, Jaambhavan who had a great love and bhakti towards Sriman Narayanan. Once in Ramayana time, he wanted to hug SriRamar but Sri Ramar didn't allow him to do so. But, he gave him a promise that in the Krishna Avathar, he can catch hold of him and will be given in Ramavtar, Jambavan in Krishnavtar, came towards Krishna to steal the Siyamanthaka mani, for which they bought for 58 days. In Vaamanavathar, he asked Sri Vishnu that he should be killed only by his weapon, Chakkaram. As a result of this, he was killed on the 28th day and at that time, Sri Krishnar made him remember his past. Jaambhavan was so happy that he was killed by a great person, who takes care of the entire world and asked for final help from Sri Emperumaan that he should marry her only daughter, Jaambhavathi. As his final wish, the Perumal married, Jaambhavathi.


The one more feature of this sthalam is the Garudan. Garudalwar is found along with the snake in his left hand and Amudha Kalasam in his hand and giving his seva and other two hands are folded and he is found along with 4 hands.

Another speciality is the Thaayar is found in standing posture facing her thirumugam along the East direction. In all the sthalams, the thaayar is found only in sitting position, but only in this sthalam, she is found in standing position, which is said to be one of the specialities of this temple.

Moolavar and Thaayar:

The Moolvar of this temple is Sri Nindra Narayanan. Also called as “Thiruthankaal appan”. Moolavar in Nindra thirukkolam facing his thirumagan along the East direction. Prathyaksham for Salliya pandiyan, Puli, Sri Vallavan and Sridevi pirattiyaar.

Thaayar: The thayar of this temple is Sri Sengamala thayar. She has her own separate sannadhi. Also named as Annanayaki, Amiruthanayaki, Aanandhanayaki and Jambhavathi.

Utsavar: The Utsavar of this Divyadesam is Thiruthan Kaalappan and is found in Nindra thirukkolam.


Bhoodathalwar – 1 Pasuram

Thirumangai Alwar – 4 Paasurams
Total – 5 Paasurams.

Papa Vinaasa Theertham. It is said that people who take bath in this theertham can attain moksha after their death.

Devachandra Vimaanam.