Alagar Koil - Madurai

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Alagar Koil is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is situated at a distance of 21 km from Madurai, on foot of Alagar hills, amongst the natural beauty of the woods. The Vaishnavite temple is famous for its beautiful sculptures and exquisite 'mandapams'. It is believed that pilgrims visited Azhgar Kovil even in the early days of the Sangam age. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Vishnu came to this place from his heavenly abode to give away Goddess Meenakshi in marriage to Lord Sundareswarer.

Here, Lord Vishnu resides as Azhgar, brother of Meenakshi. A huge crowd of devotees is seen here in the month of April/May when Chithirai Festival is celebrated. During the festival, wedding ceremony of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer takes place and Lord Azhgar travels to Madurai. A gold processional idol of Azhgar, called Sundararajar, is carried in procession by the devotees from Alagar Koil to Madurai for the divine wedding ritual.


The architecture of the Azhakar temple corresponds to any of those of south Indian temples, with large gopurams and pillared mandapams.The gopuram of the Karuppa swamy shrine depicts the passionate side of human relationship in the form of beautiful statues. Apart from these, it also depicts the evolution of cultural aspects of the local society including a depiction of an Englishman in British police uniforms. There is another half built gopuram on the southern side of the temple which has been used as an artistic backdrop in a few Tamil movie songs.

The Main tower entrance (Mukya Gopuram) always remains closed, with the shrine of Karupana Swami. The very closed door itself is worshipped as Patinettaam padi Karuppan(meaning, the black Lord who (sits) at the Eighteen steps ). There are various legends associated with this. Only Once in a year, the door is opened and Sudarshana Chakra(Or Chakrathaazhvar as the temple devotees mention), the famous Vishnu's wheel, passes over through the open door. Not even the Lord's Utsava Murti(deity for processions and festivals) goes through this passage. This is a centuries old practice.

The style of the buildings denote, 3rd or early 4th Century construction.

Some research scholars opine that this was earlier a Jain temple, (the somaskanda vimanamfor instance) but which however was later converted into a Vishnu temple. It is true that during archaeological excavations, many Jain caves and inscriptions were found in the same hill around this temple. However, the famous Vaishnava works in Tamil, belonging to the early 4th to 6th Centuries point that to this temple as a Vishnu temple. The famous Silapadikaram too, that belongs to the 3rd Century AD, points out to this temple as a Vishnu temple.


During 2013, while cleaning the area on front of Karupana Samy shrine, a big Teppakulam was discovered. Before the whole Teppakulam was covered with sands and bushes. Festival

Every year during the Tamil month of Chithirai, Chithirai Thiruvizha is celebrated. Chithirai Thiruvizha is about Meenakshi's (Azhakar's Sister) Marriage and Azhakar itself. First 15 days is about Meenakshi and her marriage and next 15 days is about Azhakar. The main event is Kallazhakar Crossing the Vaigai river. Millions of people gather in vaigai river to see this event. While Kallazhakar enters the river he comes to know that his sister marriage has been ended already, he returns to Karuparayar Mandapam and then he takes ten avatharam then returns to Azhakar Kovil.

Azhakar Hills

The Azhakar Hills has a tropical forest cover which extend from Azhakar Kovil in the south to Natham in the north. The Tamil Nadu state forest department has been maintaining a herbal garden on the hills. The entrance to the garden is restricted to siddha research scholars. The garden is irrigated by a natural spring locally known as the devi theertham or Noobura Gangai. There is a temple dedicated for Goddess Rakkayi at the top of the hill near the spring. Devotees take spiritual bath on the spring before worshiping Rakkayi amman. On the way to Rakkayi temple, there located Pazhamudircholai. It is one of the Six Abodes of Murugan.