108 Divya Desams - Tirunelveli


Thothadri Nathan, facing east


Srivaramangai Thaayar, facing east

Other Deities

Garudan, Lakshmi Varahar, Vishwaksenar, Lakshmi Narayanar, Chakrathazhwar, Rama with Sita and Lakshmana, Andaal, Ramanujar

Thiruchirivaramangai is a large east-facing temple with a large 5 tiered Rajagopuram at the entrance in the east. The Rajagopuram leads into the outer Prakaram. A long Mandapam with a 3 tiered gopuram leads into the second Prakaram which houses the shrines of the goddess and others. The cloistered mandapams on the sides of this Prakaram have some wonderful carvings on the panels below the ceilings and require time to go through, understand and appreciate. The innermost Prakaram houses the main deity. The main deity here is Thothadri Nathan in a sitting posture on Adisesha, surrounded by his consorts, Sages Brighu and Markandeya, Chandra, Surya, and the celestial nymphs Urvasi and Thilothama fanning him from above. This is a unique depiction and the entire panel of carving cannot be seen through the small door of the sanctum sanctorum. Even the official priest who goes in does not have space to move back to see all the depictions. To explain the carved panel a priest leads desirous devotees to a picture and explains the depiction before taking them to the sanctum sanctorum. In the Mandapam before the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum are some excellent multisided pillar carvings which are truly awe-inspiring. Some of these carvings include Rama with Anjaneya, Bheema, and a Sphinx reaching out to catch him, Yaalis, Women, and others. Some of the pillars in the corridor are just standing on their own without cementing to the floor and ceiling. We recommend you walk around with the obliging and courteous priests here to understand various aspects of this wonderful temple. There is a temple tank behind on the west side. In the north is the Setru Thamarai Theertham which is a large and beautiful lake.

Thiruchirivaramangai temple is considered one of the eight Sywayambu Kshetras of Vishnu where the presiding deity is believed to have self-manifested. The others are in Srirangam, Srimushnam, Tirupati in South India and Saligrama, Naimisaranya, Pushkar and Badrinath in North India. The oil used for the Lord’s ablution is collected and drained into a well called ‘Ennai Kinar’, (meaning oil well) and considered to have medicinal value.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Indra Theertham, Setru Thamarai Theertham

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Mango (Mangifera sps)

Vimaanam – Nandavarthana Vimaanam


Nammazhwar (7th-8th Century CE) has rendered Mangalasasanam Hymns for the lord here at Thiruchirivaramangai. Thiruchirivaramangai temple has many inscriptions, the earliest of which is from 1236 CE belonging to the period of Maravarman Sundara Pandya I (regnal years 1216 – 1238 CE) mentioning gifts from him on the occasion of Adi Puram. Another inscription of 1275 CE belonging to Maravarman Kulasekara Pandya I (regnal years 1268 – 1301 CE) indicates the details of tax collection in the region. An inscription on the Raja Gopuram dating 1284 CE from the period of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya (regnal years 1276 – 1293 CE) indicates gift of land to the Thiruchirivaramangai temple. An inscription of 1299 CE mentioning a gift of Vikrama Pandya III is on the northern wall. A gift of money to sculpt the image of Sadagopar in 1305 CE is found in the Eastern wall in the second prakaram. The temple has been under the administration of Vijayanagar Kings, Travancore Kings and during 1447 CE, came under the administration of Vanamamalai Mutt. The first pontiff of the temple arranged for the installation of a processional deity of the goddess from Tirupathi. The Namboodris who were officiating here at Thiruchirivaramangai temple was replaced by the priests from Tirupathi during the period. During 1794 CE, the Nawab of Carnatic, Umdat ul-Umra (1748 – 1801 CE), endowed extensive lands to the Mutt.


Goddess Mahalakshmi is believed to have born here and hence the name of the place is Thiruchirivaramangai – Sri Vara Mangai (means, a lady). The Lord gave Darshan to Brahma, Indra, Sages Romasa, Brighu, and Markandeya here at Thiruchirivaramangai. A king of Sindh is believed to have attained the form of a dog after a curse from Sage Kusasanar. He came here to Thiruchirivaramangai to worship the lord and gain his original form. Bhoomadevi lost her purity when the blood of Asuras killed by the Lord spilled on earth. The Lord gave her purity back by giving her Darshan here at Thiruchirivaramangai. Urvasi and Thilothama, the celestial nymphs, are believed to have worshiped the lord here and received the boon of standing behind the lord to fan him with Venchamarams (white feathery fans).


Thiruchirivaramangai is in Nanguneri which is about 35 kilometers south of Tirunelveli.

Stay and Food

None locally. The closest is Tirunelveli.

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