A tiny, enchanting image of reclining Vishnu enshrined here

Sirupuliyur is a small village, but well-known among Vishnu devotees as the Sala Sayana Perumal temple is located here.

Published: 15th June 2021 07:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2021 07:32 AM   |  A+A-

Sirupuliyur is a small village, but well-known among Vishnu devotees as the Sala Sayana Perumal temple is located here. This temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams (places sacred to God Narayana, eulogised by the famous Vishnu devotees called the Azhvars). Thirumangai Azhvar has waxed eloquent about this deity in ten Tamil stanzas (Pasuram) and also mentions that Sirupuliyur was a beautiful place, full of blue and red water lilies, lotuses and fertile fields, The main deity, known as Aruma Kadal Amudhan, is a small image, reclining on the serpent Adisesha. He is also called Sala (Jala) Sayana Perumal as Adisesha is known to float on water. Jala is water in Samskrit.

Thirumangai Azhvar mentions this deity as Salasayanam in his Pasurams. It is said that this Azhvar was disappointed seeing the small size of this image and therefore Perumal directed him to visit the Bhaktavatsala Perumal (Vishnu) temple in Thirukkanamangai to see His huge form. Incidentally, the deity in Sriupuliyur faces south as in the Ranganatha Svami temple in Srirangam. The processional image (utsava-murti) is worshipped as Kripasamudra Perumal. These images are enshrined under the Nandavardana Vimanam. 

According to the traditional lore connected with this place, Sage Vyagrapada (Pulikal Muni in Tamil) worshipped Perumal here and attained Mukti. There are images of this rishi and also Sage Kanva near the feet of the main deity. Around this sanctum is the first enclosure (prakaram) wherein there are paintings of the ten incarnations (Dasavataram) of Vishnu. The sanctum for Goddess Lakshmi, in which the main image is known as Thirumamagal Nachiyar and the utsava-murti is called Daya Nayaki, is located in the second prakaram. The entrance to the temple is adorned by a tall gopuram on the south side, about seventy-five feet tall in five storeys. Many festivals are celebrated here of which the most important is the annual festival (Brahmotsavam) which is held in the month of Vaikasi.

Chithra Madhavan
The writer is a historian who focuses on temple architecture 


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