Thiruvallarai, also spelled as Thiruvellarai, is a small temple town in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

A beautiful Vishnu temple is located here. This temple is one of the 108 holy places for Vishnu devotees. Thiruvallarai is considered to be anterior to Srirangam, it is also known as Swedhagiri, Adhivellarai, Uthama Kshethram and Hita Kshethram.

How to Reach there

Trichirappalli is well connected by train to almost all the major cities of India. By air, there are regular flights to Trichy from Chennai, Madurai, Singapore, Malaysia, Sharjha and Columbo. There are buses to almost all parts of Tamil Nadu and Bangalore round the clock.

Vishnu temple at Thiruvallarai

This temple is one among the 108 "divyadesams" like Srirangam and Thirupathi and it is believed to be the oldest temple. The temple is supposed to be 4 "yugas" old.


According to legend, the Emperor Sibi, before he built the temple, saw a white boar "Swedha Varaham" in the forest one day and chased it. It hid itself in an anthill near the place where Sage Markandeya was doing penance. When he enquired of the sage about the boar the sage asked him to pour milk over the anthill to find it. He did so and found the massive idol of the Lord in its present form emerge from it. The Lord told the Emperor to build a temple there.

Legend has it that Garudan, Markandeya, Lakshmi and Sibi Chakravarti offered worship here. Legend has it that Vishnu blessed Markandeya, Bhudevi and Sibi Chakravarti 4 "caturyugas" ago (17.3 million years).


The Main deity (Moolavar) is Pundarikaakshan seen in standing posture facing east. Goddess ( Thaayaar) is henbagavalli, Pangayaselvi. Goddess is also known as Pangajavalli.

Pundareekakshar, in a standing This Divyadesam is located at a distance of 27 km (17 miles) from Tiruchirappalli, enroute to Turaiyur. It also goes by the name Swetagiri. Both the Tamil and the Sanskrit names refer to the hillock of white rock here. It is believed that in terms of antiquity, this temple pre-dates the Srirangam temple, hence the name Aadi Vellarai.

A consort faces east. Shenpakavalli, and Pankayachelvi are the names of his consort. There is a separate shrine for Taayaar here. Pankajavalli is the name of her processional image.

The Temple

Situated on a sprawling 10-acre (4 hectares) site, this is a vast temple, with imposing walls. The temple has three "Prakarams".

The main shrine has two entrances, referred to as the Uttarayana Vaayil and the Dakshinayana Vaayil. As implied by their names, the Uttarayana Vaayil is open from the Tamil month of Thai (Capricorn) onwards, until the month of Aadi (Cancer); from then on the Dakshinayana Vaayil is used.

In addition, the temple has another entrance referred to as the "Naazhi Kettaan Vaayil" where it is believed that Vishnu was intercepted and questioned by his consort, upon returning home later, after his sojourn.

Images of Sree Devi, Bhu Devi, Surya, Chandra and Aadiseshan (in human form) are seen in the eastward-facing sanctum. There are also shrines to Krishna, Nammalwar, Nadamuni, Kulasekharalwar, Tondaradippodiyalwar, Aandaal, Manavaala maamunigal and Ramanuja. The northern entrance of the temple is adorned with an unfinished "rajagopuram" in the Hoysala idiom.

There are as many as seven "theerthams" within the temple complex. Ramanujacharyar is said to have lived here, and Manavalamaamuni and Desikacharyar have also sung of this shrine. Uyyakkondaan a disciple of Nadamunigal is also associated with this shrine.

Linking Articles

Thrivallarai and Thiruvellarai are one and the same Divya Desam or Holy place, in the list of 108 Holy places

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