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Sri Anjaneya Temple,Koodal Alagar Temple South Mada Street,Madurai

Sri Anjaneya Temple, Koodal Alagar Temple South Mada Street, Madurai

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When thinking about the holy places of South, one will not miss remembering Madurai. This city is one of the busiest cities buzzing with activities, tourists and pilgrims, hence city is called “thunga nagaram” meaning “the city that never sleeps”. This ancient city is known from time immemorial for the temple of Lord Sundereswarar and Meenakshi. The great four towers of this temple is well known. Sri Krishna Rao of Madras School of Arts was entrusted with the work of designing an emblem for Government of Madras (then. Now Tamil Nadu), he chooses the west tower of Sri Meenakshi temple as model.

Everything is beautiful in Madurai. Lord of this kshetra is known as ‘chokkanathan’ in Tamil and ‘Sunderasan’ in Sanskrit. Another famous temple near Madurai is Alagar koil and the presiding deity is known by the name “Alagar” in Tamil and “Sunderrajan” in Sanskrit. In the same way there is a temple for “Koodal Alagar” in Madurai where the presiding deity is known in the name of “koodal alagar” in Tamil and “Viyuga Sunderrajan” in Sanskrit. “chokkan” and “alagar” in Tamil, “Sunder” in Sanskrit means beautiful. Lords of the kshetra are all beautiful so also the kshetra. We had covered details about Alagar Koil in our web pages “Sri Anjaneya Swami of Perumal Temple, Tallakulam, Madurai, Tamil Nadu” and "Sri Anjaneya, Pathinettampadi Karuppa Swami Temple, Alagar Kovil, Madurai".

Koodal Alagar Temple

Astanga Vimana of Koodal Alagar Temple,Madurai :: courtesy: wiki-commons This ancient temple rests on the bank of Kiruthumal River and is very ancient and finds mention in Sangam literature which is estimated to be of third century BCE. The temple is one of the 108 Divya Desam, hymns praising the presiding deity had been sung by Alwars. The deities of this temple is installed in sitting posture in the lower storey, in reclining posture in the second storey and in standing posture in the third storey. This is similar to one we see in Ulagalantha perumal temple of Kanchipuram.

Normally the vimana, the shrine over the sanctum is shatanga namely, Adhistana (base), three Padas (struct), Prashthana (limb), Griva (leading struct), Shikara (cylindrical holder) and Stupi (top portion). But since there are three stories in this temple, which is three padas (strict) the vimana is known as Ashtanga in architecture, which has eight parts.

Sri Rama, Sri Sita, Sri Lakshman idols of this temple belongs to the tenth centaury, from this it is evident that the temple had been patronized by Pandian dynasty also. During the invasion by Sultanates and others, the deities of this temple had been kept under safe custody at Manamadurai which was under Setupati’s rule.

Return of normalcy

It was Sri Kumara Kampanna of Vijayanagar samrajya who had brought peace to Madurai from 1378 by eliminating Madurai Sultanate. Kumara Kampana also known as Kampana Udaiyar was son of Bukka-I led a Vijayanagara army and invaded Madurai in 1378, He defeated the last Madurai sultan, Ala-ud-Din Sikandar Shah. Thus ended the Sultanate rule and brought the territories under Vijayanagara Empire. But the tussle for power continued. But it was only during the rule of the great emperor of Vijayanagara, Sri Krishnadevaraya, lasting peace was finally brought to Madurai.

Golden period of Nayaks of Madurai

Sri Anjaneya Temple,Koodal Alagar Temple South Mada Street,Madurai Madurai was once ruled by Vijayanagar emperors through their representative viceroy designated as Nayak. At some stage Nayak was given independence to govern Madurai, thus forming a Madurai Nayaks dynasty. The Madurai Nayaks rule continued from 1529 till 1736 for nearly two hundred years. Of the many nayaks of the dynasty the period of Tirumalai Nayak and Rani Mangamma rule is considered as the golden period of Nayaks. With the administration stream lined and people’s welfare taking the top most priority, Nayak’s rule Madurai was a welfare state. Temples were renovated, new structures were added to the existing temples, art and culture got a boost during their period. People were happy, inflow of pilgrims and tourist swelled, trade flourished. One of the trades thus flourished was and is textile trade.

Saurashtrans and textile trade in Madurai

There lived a poet by name Madurai Aruvai Vanigan Ilavettanar during the Sangam period, which estimated to be 300BC onwards. The dealers who deal textile cloth in piecemeal are known as ‘Aruvai Vanigan’. It shows that from time immemorial the weaving was the most important industry here. Spinning and weaving were widely practiced crafts.

Saurashtrans are the people who had been driven out of the Saurashtra region as an aftermath when Mohamed of Ghazini attacked the area of Somnath in Kathiawar for more than seventeen times between 1000 and 1027 AD. As the region was plundered of all its wealth, the people started migrating to other places in search of work. Whichever kingdom was offering patronage to them they felt safe in moving over to that country. Thereby they continued to travel throughout India.

Sri Anjaneya Temple,Koodal Alagar Temple South Mada Street,Madurai Saurashtrans who started their journey around thousand years back from their region had undergone tremendous turmoil in their lives and was forced to take-up a profession for their livelihood. As many of them are good at the art of making fine yarn and dyeing of cloth and to continue their journey, many of them choose upon weaving and making silk thread and fine cotton yarn. After leaving their region they were known as weaving community and today they are called “patnulkarar” meaning “Silk thread people”. Because of the fine craftsmanship they possessed, royals gave them patronage. Thus they found support of Royals of Madurai and the community settled in Madurai in large numbers. Even after such time lapse they still maintain their language and culture. They have been maintaining a good number of temples at various places they had settled, so also at Madurai.

One such temple maintained by them is a temple for Lord Hanuman near Koodal Alagar temple.

Temple at Koodal Alagar South Mada Street

Sourastran families living near Koodal Alagar temple are maintaing a temple for Sri Anjaneya in Koodal Alagar temple South Mada street. They formed a sabha for this purpose, named “Sourastra Anjaneya Alaya paripalana sabha”. Around hundred and fifty years back a Anjaneya vigraha found on the banks of Vaigai river near Vlangudi by one of the families residing here. Elders opined that they build a temple for Sri Anjaneya, and the present place was chossen after due religious considerations. From then on the Sourastrans of this area are maintaining this temple.

The temple is located in the south mada street of Koodal Alagar temple. Temple and main deity are east facing. Devotees can have darshan of the Lord from the distance itself. There is a small mandapam in front of the Garbhagraham. In the Garbhagraham there is an elevated platform where the Lord is installed.

Sri Anjaneya Temple,Koodal Alagar Temple South Mada Street,Madurai The temple attracts large devotees during Saturday. All major festivals are celebrated with gaiety especially Sri Rama navami and Sri Anjaneya Jayanthi in this temple.

Sri Anjaneya

The idol of the Lord is made of black hard stone and is about four feet in height facing east in standing posture.

Lord is seen ready to walk northward. In the lotus feet of Lord is seen with hollow anklet [thandai] and a chain anklet [nupur]. He is wearing dhoti in kacham style and held in the waist with a decorative waist belt [udarabandha]. In the upper hand a bracelet known as ‘keyur’ and in the wrist a bracelet known as ‘kangan’ are seen. The right hand is seen raised and showing ‘abhaya madra’. The left hand is resting on the left thigh and holding a sowgandhika flower. The flower is seen just above Lords left shoulder. In the bosom three malas [rosary beads] and yagyopavit are seen. Lords tail is seen raised up to the head and ending up on the left side. Lord is looking straight with His bright eyes and the kataksham of the Lord falls directly on the devotee.



We are blessed by the Lord of this kshetra with His kataksham to achieve the best solution on all the riddles we face while conducting a righteous life.


Ed: April 2024





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