Nachiyar Kovil

Nachiyar Kovil

108 Divya Desam Temples, Thanjavur District


Srinivasa Perumal (Narayur Nambi), facing east


Vanjula Valli (Neela Devi Nachiyar), facing east

Other Deities

Garuda, Anjaneya, Thirumangai Azhwar, Ramanujar, Koorathazhwar, 11 Azhwars (excluding Aandal), Rama, Lakshmana, Seetha, Chakrathazhwar with Yoga Narasimha, Manavala Mamunigal, Vedanta Desikar

Nachiyar Kovil is a very large temple with a 75 feet tall 5 tiered rajagopuram at the eastern entrance. The length and width of the temple is about 690 feet by 280 feet and the temple tank which is east of the temple is almost the same size. There are 5 Prakarams here. Dasavatara sculptures are beautifully depicted around the huge sanctum sanctorum. The walls are massive all around. To enter this temple is an experience as you gradually climb to the high level through 21 steps in which the main deity Narayur Nambi is located along with his consort Vanchulavalli Thaayaar along with Brahma, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Sankarshana, Purushothaman and a set of other gods, who are depicted attending their wedding. The idols are all large. The Kal (stone) Garuda here is near the main deity and needs special mention. During the Garuda Seva as this idol is lifted it takes only 4 people and gradually the number of people required increases step by step to a whopping 64 when outside the temple in procession. The importance here is for the goddess and thus the name of the temple is Nachiyar Kovil. Varadaraja Perumal Temple at Kancheepuram is referred as Athigiri, Tirumala Temple at Tirupathi as Seshagiri and Nachiyar Kovil as Suganthagiri.

Holy Water (Theertham) – Manimutha River (temple tank), Sankarshana Prathyumna Theertham, Anirudhan Theertham and Sambha Theertham

Holy Tree – Kadhali – Vilwam (Aegle marmelos), Magizham (Mimusops elengi)

Vimaanam – Hema Vimaanam


Thirumangai Azhwar has sung 108 hymns in praise of the lord here at Nachiyar Kovil. The temple is believed to have been built by Kochengat Cholan (3rd century CE) with later contributions from Medieval Cholas and Vijayanagar kings. He is said to have built 70 temples dedicated to Shiva and Nachiyar Kovil is the only Vishnu temple constructed by him. Nachiyar Kovil is the birthplace of Nambiyandar Nambi (11th Century CE).


Brahma was cursed by the great sages for neglecting his duty and he bathed in the Sankarshana Prathyumna Theertham here at Nachiyar Kovil and worshiped the lord to get relieved. Indra bathed in the Anirudhan Theertham here at Nachiyar Kovil and worshiped the lord to get relieved of a Curse. The Saptha Rishis are believed to have sat on the Sambha Theertham here at Nachiyar Kovil and meditated on the Lord. Sage Medhavi is said to have a baby girl under the Vanjula tree here, named her Niladevi and wedded her to the Lord here at Nachiyar Kovil. Lord Vishnu is believed to have initiated Pancha Samskara (religious initiation) to Thirumangai Azhwar here. Lord Vishnu believed that men have to listen to women in the Kaliyuga and thus the goddess is given importance here in everything.


Nachiyar Kovil is about 9 Kilometers southeast of Kumbakonam.

Stay and Food

Tea and snacks are available locally. Of particular mention would be the tea shop north east of the temple tank that serves fried snacks (vadai, bonda etc) which seem to sell out as they are made. Kumbakonam is ideal for stay.

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