Navatirupati 1 - Srivaikuntam

108 Divya Desams - Thoothukudi


Vaikuntanathan (also called Kallapiran), facing east


Vaikuntavalli, facing east

Other Deities

Suryan, Thiruvenkatanathan, Anjaneya, Garuda, Lakshmi Narasimha, Choranathanayaki, Manavala Mamuni, Krishna with Bhama Rukmini, Santana Garudan, Azhwars, Ramanujar, Dasavataram, Rama with Sita and Lakshmana

Srivaikuntam is the first of the Nava Tirupati Temples to be seen in one day. The main deity is seen in a standing posture. The Navatirupati temples represent the nine planets and Srivaikuntam is that of Surya, the Sun God. Though the sanctum sanctorum is deep inside the rays of the sun fall on the lord’s face for two days in a year, once in Chithirai (April-May) and once in Aippasi (October – November). The east-facing temple is entered through a Mandapam with a shrine for Surya and a 110 feet tall, 9 tiered Rajagopuram. The Rajagopuram has some wonderful carvings all around and notable ones include the horse (with Manmada riding it) and elephant (with Rati seated on it) created with images of women, Vaikunta Natha with consorts seated under Adisesha, Ulagalantha Perumal, a Hunter with his wife removing a thorn from his feet, Venugopala and several others. This leads into the outer Prakaram. Straight ahead is a mandapam with the Balipeedam and Dwajasthambam. To the left is the Vasantha Mandapam. Behind the Vasantha Mandapam is the office premises. To the south of the outer Prakaram as we circumambulate are a Mandapam and the old Granary. Further down is a well. The west side of the Prakaram is devoid of shrines. The north side has a well and another Mandapam where on the top panel are beautiful carvings of monkeys in erotic postures. In the north east is the large Thiruvenkatamudayan Mandapam with Anjaneya and Thiruvenkadanadan. This Mandapam has some of the finest carvings on pillars including Yaalis, Elephants, Lions, Veerabadhra, Rama with Hanuman, and Sita on two sides of a single pillar, Rama with Hanuman and Sugriva, and other carvings. The inner Prakaram is entered through a smaller 5 tiered Gopuram. Garuda faces the lord from his mandapam. As you circumambulate is Lakshmi Narasimha. In the southwest corner of the Prakaram are a well, Goddess Vaikuntanayaki Shrine, and a Mandapam. In the northwest corner is the shrine of Goddess Soranathanayaki. In the northwest corner is a mandapam and the shrine of Manavala Mamuni. As you cross Garuda in front and enter go to enter the innermost Prakaram a shrine for Lord Krishna is seen on the right. Inside the Inner most Prakaram is a Mahamandapam, Ardha Mandapam and the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Vaikuntanathan in a standing posture. Santana Garuda, made of Sandalwood, is in front facing him. Two beautiful Dwarapalakas are seen on either side of the door to the Sanctum Sanctorum. This Prakaram is for circumambulation and no other deities or shrines are present. There are several Vahanas here, some ancient, some metal-plated, and a Temple Car with exquisite carvings. The Tamiraparani River flows right behind the Srivaikuntam temple, taking a turn from north to south.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Brigu Theertham, Kalasa Theertham, Tamiraparani River

Vimaanam – Chandra Vimaanam


Nammazhwar (c. 8th Century CE) has visited and sung praises of this Lord. Manavala Mamunigal (14th-15th Century CE) has also sung hymns for the lord here at Srivaikuntam. Six inscriptions on stone are there at Srivaikuntam which mention the endowments made by various kings to the temple. During the war between Veerapandya Kattabomman and the Britishers, it was used as a fortress by the Britishers and the marks of the battle can still be seen. The highlight of the sculptural splendor of this temple is the Thiruvenkatamudayan Mandapam built during the period of the Madurai Nayak Kings by one Malayyappa Pillai.


A bandit used to live in the lands surrounding the temple in the ancient days and before setting out on his plunders with his group he would offer prayers to the Lord and come back to offer half of whatever he got robbing the rich to the Lord. When he was finally caught while robbing in the King’s palace, the Lord appeared before the King and partook the punishment saying he was the chief of the Bandits. Thus came the name of the Lord here at Srivaikuntam as Kalla Piran (Lord of the Robbers) and Choranathan (Chor – Thief). The intention here was to make people understand that accumulation of wealth without contributing to good causes and charity will result in ultimate ruin. The King understood the real identity of the Lord and went about building up the temple further.

Once when Lord Brahma was asleep an Asura called Gomukha stole the four Vedas from him. Brahma undertook penance on the banks of the Tamiraparani River to seek the help of Lord Vishnu to retrieve the Vedas. Lord Vishnu appeared from his heavenly abode Sri Vaikuntam and killing the demon retrieved the Vedas. Thus this place came to be called Srivaikuntam. The deity worshiped by Lord Brahma got covered by the earth over time and a cow was found shedding milk over the spot. On hearing about this regular habit of the cow the King excavated the place and discovered the Idol. From then came about the practice of performing Milk Ablution to the Lord every day which continues even today thus earning him the name Paal Pandyan (Paal – Milk).


Srivaikuntam is 23 kilometers southeast of Tirunelveli in the Tiruchendur Road. The tall Rajagopuram is visible across the Tamiraparani from a distance. Srivaikuntam temple is reached after crossing the river over the first bridge above Srivaikuntam Dam. A second new bridge has also been built after this.

Stay and Food

Srivaikuntam has a few tea and snack shops. The closest for stay and food is Tirunelveli.

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