Located in Thirunangur, a village in the outskirts of Sirkazhi, is the little serene temple of The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Ranganatha locally known as Thiruthetriyambalam or Palli Konda Perumal Temple

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THE LEGEND

The legend of this temple has to do with the Pastime of Lord Siva and Prajapathi Daksha.

Daksha was one of the Prajapati, son of  Lord Brahma, and among his earliest  creations. The name Daksha means "skilled one". Daksha had two wives: Prasothi who in turn the daughter of Prajapathi Manu and Panchajani . Sati (also known as ‘‘Uma Devi’’) was his youngest daughter; born from Prasoothi. She was the pet child of Daksha and he always carried her with him. Sati (meaning truth and Honesty) is also called Dakshayani as she followed Daksha’s path; this is derived from the Sanskrit words daksha and ayana which means path.

Sati, was deeply in love with the god Shiva and wished to become his wife. Her worship and devotion of Shiva strengthened her immense desire to become his wife. However, Daksha did not like his daughter’s yearning for Shiva, mainly because he was a Prajapati and the son of the god Brahma very much like Shiva; his daughter Sati was a royal princess. They were wealthy nobility and their imperial royal lifestyle was entirely different from that of Shiva. It can also be considered that both Shiva and Daksha was born from Daksha and Daksha considered it inappropriate for his daughter to marry his ‘brother like’ Shiva. As an emperor, Daksha wanted to increase his influence and power by making marriage alliances with powerful empires and influential sages and gods.

Shiva on the other hand led a very modest life. He lived among the downtrodden, wore no clothes but a tiger skin, smeared ashes from the crematorium on his body, had thick locks of matted hair, and begged with a skull as begging bowl. His abode was Mount Kailash . He embraced all kinds of living beings and did not make any distinction between good souls and bad souls. The Bhuta-ganas, his followers, consisted of all kinds of ghosts, demons, ghouls and goblins. He wandered though garden and graveyard alike. And never lived under a roof. So practically he was leading a life of a ascetic.

As a consequence, Daksha had aversion towards Shiva being his daughter’s companion. However unlike Daksha, Sati loved Shiva as she had the revelation that Shiva was the Supreme God. Sati won Shiva as her husband by undergoing severe austerities and penance. Despite Daksha's disappointment, Sati married Shiva.

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Once Brahma conducted a huge fire sacrifice (sacrifice), where all the Prajapatis, gods and kings of the world were invited. Shiva and Sati were also called on to participate in the fire sacrifice. All of them came for the fire sacrifice and sat in the ceremonial place. Daksha came last. When he arrived, everyone in the fire sacrifice, with the exception of Brahma, Shiva and Sati, stood up showing reverence for him. Brahma being Daksha's father and Shiva being Daksha's son-in-law were considered superior in stature to Daksha. Daksha misunderstood Shiva’s gesture and considered Shiva's gesture as an insult. Daksha vowed to take revenge on the insult in the same manner.

Daksha’s grudge towards Shiva grew after Brahma's fire sacrifice. With the prime motive of insulting Shiva, Daksha initiated a great fire sacrifice, similar to that of Brahma. The fire sacrifice was to be presided over by the sage Bhrigu. He invited all the gods, Prajapatis and kings to attend the fire sacrifice and intentionally avoided inviting Shiva and Sati. Daksha decided even to avoid the ceremonial “havis”(white rice) offering to Shiva as part of fire sacrifice

Dadhichi Maharshi and Daksha

The Kurma Purana discusses the dialogues between the sage Dadhichi and Daksha. After the sacrifice and hymns where offered to the twelve Aditya gods; Dadhichi noticed that there was no sacrificial portion (Havis) allotted to Shiva and his wife, and no vedic hymns were used in the fire sacrifice addressing Shiva which were part of Vedic hymns. He warned Daksha that he should not alter the Holy Vedas for personal reasons; the priests and sages supported this. Daksha replied to Dadhichi that he would not do so and insulted Shiva. Dadhichi left the fire sacrifice because of this argument. Daksha said that he was ready to take sin for not offering obaltions to Shiva but would never offer oblations to Shiva.

Sati came to know about the grand fire sacrifice organized by her father and asked Shiva to attend the fire sacrifice. Shiva refused her request, saying that it was unappropriate to attend a function without being invited. He reminded her that she was now his wife more than Daksha’s daughter and, after marriage, is a member of Shiva’s family rather than Daksha’s. The feeling of her bond to her parents overpowered the social etiquette she had to follow. She even had a notion that there was no need to have received an invitation in order to attend as she was Daksha’s favourite daughter and no formality existed between them. She constantly pleaded and urged Shiva to let her attend the ceremony, and became adamant in her demands without listening to the reasons Shiva provided for not attending the function. He allowed Sati to go to her parents' home, along with his followers including Nandi, and attend the ceremony, but refused to accompany with her.

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Upon arriving, Sati tried to meet her parents and sisters; Daksha was arrogant and avoided interacting with Sati. He repeatedly snubbed her in front of all the dignitaries but Sati maintained her composure. Because of Sati’s persistence in trying to meet him, Daksha reacted vehemently, insulting her in front of all the other guests at the ceremony to which she had not been invited. He called Shiva an atheist and cremation ground dweller. As planned, he took advantage of the situation and continued shouting repugnant words against Shiva. Sati felt deep remorse for not listening to her beloved husband. Daksha’s disdain towards her, and especially her husband Shiva, in front of all the guests was growing each moment she stood there. The shameless insult and humiliation of her and her beloved, eventually became too much to bear.

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She cursed Daksha for acting so atrociously toward her and Shiva, and reminded him that his haughty behavior had blinded his intellect. She cursed him and warned that the wrath of Shiva would destroy him and his empire. Unable to bear further humiliation, Sati committed suicide by jumping into the sacrificial fire. The onlookers tried to save her but it was too late. They were only able to retrieve the half burnt body of Sati. Daksha's pride in being a Prajapati and his prejudice against his son-in-law created a mass hatred within himself, which resulted in the death of his daughter.The Nandi and the accompanying Bhootaganas left the fire sacrifice place after the incident. Nandi cursed the participants and Bhrigu reacted by cursing the Bhotaganas back.

Shiva was deeply pained upon hearing of his wife's death. His grief grew into a terrible anger when he realized how Daksha had viciously plotted a treachery against him; but it was his innocent wife who fell into the trap instead of him. Shiva learned of Daksha’s callous behavior towards Sati. Shiva's rage became so intense that he plucked a lock of hair from his head and smashed it on the ground, breaking it into two with his leg. Armed and frightening, two fearsome beings Virabhadra and kali emerged. Shiva ordered them to kill Daksha and destroy the fire sacrifice.

The ferocious Virabhadra and Bhadrakali, along with the Bhutaganas, reached the fire sacrifice spot. The invitees renounced the fire sacrifice and started running away from the turmoil. Sage Bhrigu created an army with his divine penance powers to resist Shiva’s attack and protect the fire sacrifice. Bhrigu’s army was demolished and the entire premises were ravaged. All those who participated, even the other Prajapatis and the  demi-gods, were mercilessly beaten, wounded or even slaughtered. The Vayu Purana mentions the attack of Bhutaganas: the nose of some goddesses were cut, Yama's staff bone was broken, Mitra's eyes were pulled out, Indra was trampled by Virabhadra and Bhutaganas, Pushan's teeth were knocked out, Chandra was beaten heavily, all of the Prajapatis' were beaten, the hands of Vahini were cut off, and Bhrigu's beard was cut off.

Daksha was caught and decapitated, the attack culminated when the Bhutaganas started plucking out Bhrigu’s white beard as a victory souvenir.  Daksha is killed and still Shiva’s ager was not subdued

As the obstruction of the fire sacrifice will create havoc and severe ill effects on the nature, Brahma and the god Vishnu went to the grief-stricken Shiva. They comforted and showed their sympathy towards Shiva. They requested him to come to the fire sacrifice location and pacify the bhutaganas and allow the yaga to be completed; Shiva agreed. Shiva found the burnt body of Sati. Shiva gave permission to continue fire sacrifice. Daksha was absolved by Shiva and the head of a ram (Male goat) meant for fire sacrifice was fixed on the decapitated body of Daksha and gave his life back. The fire sacrifice was completed successfully.

Shiva went to isolation and solitude for ages and wandered all around until Sati reincarnated as Parvati, the daughter of the King Himavana. Like Sati, Parvati took severe austerities and gave away all her royal privileges and went to forest. Shiva tested her affection and devotion in disguise. He eventually realized Parvati is Sati herself. Shiva later on married Parvati

Shiva entered into a ferice thandava dance in anger. The whole material world started to tremple with fear.The celestial deities were worried that if the dance continues, it would result in decimation of entire creations. They prayed to Vishnu for help, who appeared at this place. On seeing Vishnu, Shiva's anger was reduced and he requested Vishnu to appear in eleven forms like he did. On his request, Vishnu appeared in eleven different forms at Tirunangur. The eleven places where Vishnu appeared are believed to be where the eleven temples in Tirunangur are located. It is believed that several sages like Agastya, Bharathwaj, Gautama and Varuna performed penance at this place and in this temple Shiva specifically asked The Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Vishnu to appear as one sleeping in Adisesha as Lord Ranagatha to which the Supreme lord readily agreed and appeared as Pallikonda Ranganatha Perumal or sleeping Vishnu on Adisesha in shyana form.

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Another legend says that the story is associated to the great epic ‘Mahabharata’, where the Arjuna, one of the five Pandava Brothers, was thirsty and was in search of water. He was unable to find water in the place around and was advised by the sage Lord Agastyar who was doing penance there, to worship Lord Krishna. As said by the sage Lord Agastyar, the legend Arjuna worshipped Lord Krishna and as a result Lord Krishna is said to offer him a sword.

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When Arjuna dug the ground with the sword, water rushed out resulting in a temple tank in that place called Katka Pushkarani. And it is also said that Lord Krishna appeared in the form of Lord Parthasarathy and initiated knowledge to Arjuna to make him understand the glory of ‘Lord Krishna’. This legend is leading to the name of this temple as ‘Thiru Thetri Ambalam’ (Thetri refers to ‘Initiate’ and Ambalam refers to ‘Temple’).

The Temple

The temple is of modest nature devoid of any ornamental pillars or gopurams. The location of the temple has to do with the agrarian community living around it. The presiding deity of this Temple is Lord Senkanmala Ranganatha Perumal , also called as Lord Palli Konda Perumal, in the reclining form facing the east direction. Lord Bhudevi and Sridevi can be seen massaging the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. The temple complex has a single prakaram(outer courtyard) and a separate shrine for Thayar, Goddess Sengamalavalli (Goddess Lakshmi).. There is shrine for Azwars and Acharyas in the temple.

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FESTIVALS

the annual Brahmotsavam festival is celebrated during the New moon day of Tamil month of Adi when the festival deity of the temple is taken in a procession to the sea at Poompuhar beach for a holy dip on the last day. During the new moon day of the Tamil month Thai, the festival deity of Thirumangai Azhwar is brought to the temple from Thiruvali-Thirunagari. The Thirumangai Azhwar Mangalasasana Utsavam is celebrated in the Tamil month of Thai (January–February). The highlight of the festival is Garudasevai, an event in which the festival images of the eleven Tirunangur Tirupathis are brought on mount designed like Garuda, called Garuda Vahana, to Tirunangur. The festive image of Thirumangai Azhwar is also brought on a Hamsa Vahanam (palaquin) and his paasurams (verses) dedicated to each of these eleven temples are recited during the occasion. The festival images of Thirumangai Alvar and his consort Kumudavalli Naachiyar are taken in a palanquin to each of the eleven temples. The verses dedicated to each of the eleven temples are chanted in the respective shrines. This is one of the most important festivals in the region which draws thousands of visitors

THIRUMANGAI AZWAR

In his periya Thirumozi Thirumangai azwar composes beautiful songs in praise of the Supreme personality of Godhead.

Look at this The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  —who snatched away the crowns, might and glories of the foes; made their wives lose their ear rings (made them widows); loosened the iron chains on the legs of vasudeva Maharaja, His father (who was in prison) and saved gajendra who was caught by the crocodile. He resides in Thiru Thetri Ambalam where there are lotus ponds where huge lotus flowers are found. The crab entered the lotus flower. At that time pearl-like flowers fell from the areca nut trees and blocked the mouth of the crab’s house. The crab could not go to his hole and stayed in the flower. Azhwar says he saw this Lotus flower or Senakamal in this temple.

Look at this boy who drank the poison and milk of the wicked pootana who came disguised as yasoda to feed Him with her milk and kill Him-which nobody would dare do. He resides in Thiru Thetri Ambalam of tiru nangoor where—bees hover over the Kadamba flowers grown alongside the paddy crops; making a buzzing sound; where women wearing anklets work in the fields making jingling sound of the ornaments.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  would enter the huts where the cowherd women would keep fresh butter. He would eat from all the houses and pull their sarees too. Thus would He roam the Vraja Mandala. He resides in Thiru Thetri Ambalam where there are tall coconut trees the fruits of which fall on the mango trees. The fruits get carried by the river Kaveri along with different kinds of flowers leveling the ground as she flows with force.

Our The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  is like a dark cloud. He defeated the seven powerful bulls that had curved horns, were dark and angry for the sake of  the gopis. Come out and see Him—who married them—in Thiru Thetri Ambalam where there are tall mansions. The trees and creepers grown there grows so high as to touch the moon, tie him with their tendrils and make him immobile. This static moon shed his beam on the gems studded walls of the mansions making them very bright and brilliant.

Oh! Look at this ever young moorti who has association with Mahalakshmi (having a golden belt over her hips) and gopis (having shining white teeth and dark long eyes) that the ornaments like necklace and chains worn by them get crushed in the act. He resides in Thiru Thetri Ambalam where there are beautiful women (with sweet and soft speech) living in beautiful houses capture and imprison the minds of young men with their bow-like brows.

This The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  is the one who cut off the mountain-like twenty arms of Ravana who thought proudly—‘Aha! This young human being considers Himself as the sole monarch., Should I tolerate Him and call myself as the king of demons!’. He challenged Rama for the war but was finally killed by the ‘human being’. He resides in this divya desa called Thiru Thetri Ambalam where sweet and beautiful doe-eyed damsels teach their pet parrots sweet words.

Look at this mischievous The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  who took a vamana incarnation, entered the yaga Boomi of mahabali, begged three feet of land from him. Loot at His roopa—a brahmana dwarf boy with sacred thread across His shoulders and a deer skin round His waist. He resides in Thiru Thetri Ambalam where the beautiful women take bath in the river. The kumkum paste applied to their breasts dissolve in water and get settled on the white sand dunes.

Look at our The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  my swami who took enormously huge varaha avatara, in whose hoof was the meru mountain got stuck, making a clinging sound like the small pebbles in the anklets. He lifted mother earth bhomi devi from the deep ocean placed her on His tusk and walked briskly shaking His huge form causing the trembling of mahalakshmi in His chest. He resides in tiru nangoor where there is the combined noise of vedic chanting, reading of six vedangas, discourse of itihasas and puranas, chanting of vedic mantras in sacrifices, singing hymns to Him—heard at all times that makes the city of Thiru Thetri Ambalam a wealthy city.

Look at our The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  who swallowed and kept inside His stomach the seven worlds, oceans, hills and mountains eight directions, andas and pervaded all of them. The deluge water flooded the whole regions and the level of sea rose. He resides in Thiru Thetri Ambalam where the vaidikas always chant four vedas and where there are gem studded mansions adding to the spiritual and material wealth of the city.

Tirumangai AzhwAr, the chief of tirukkuraiyaloor, who always bears a spear in his hand has sung ten songs, a garland of words on The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  who resides in Thiru Thetri Ambalam which is a beautiful city with beautiful mansions. Those who read them and enjoy the nectar will rule over this earth while here and enjoy the pire devotional service  of The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna  like eternal residents of Vaikunda.