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This sthalam is also named as Nanguneri (pronounced Naan-gu-neri), Sirivaramangai and Vanamamalai (pronounced as Vaa-na-ma-malai). Legend says that there are 4 big Lakes in this sthalam, this sthalam is named as "Naangu Neri". (Naangu means four). But at present only one  lake is found. This sthalam is one of the Ashta (eight) swayambhu vyaktha (originated on its own) sthalams. Other seven sthalams are Badri Narayanam, Mukthi Narayanam, Naimisaranyam, Pushkaram, Tiruvenkadam (aka Tirupathi), Sri Mooshnam and Thiru Varangam (aka Srirangam).

Almost in all temples, there would be only one Swambumurthy but in Nanguneri there are 11, Sridevei, Bhoodevi, Sun, Moon, Bruhu rishi, Markandeya, Urvasi, Thilothama and Garuda and Vishvaksenar. This is a unique feature of this temple.

The Lord's one hand is showing his feet, telling the devotee whose thoughts are centred at his feet would have a place on his lap. His hand has a Parathyega Chakra symbol and those who have the luck of seeing the symbols would have no enemies at all.

The holy ablution to the deity at Thothadri is done with pure Gingelly oil. By contact with the holy idol the oil is impregnated with miraculous curative powers. The oil is collected in a pool 20 feet by 10 feet near the temple enclosures. It is said that the healing power of the oil is so great and so mysterious as to cure even the deadliest disease like leprosy.

So bhaktaas who worship this sthalam can get the dharshan of the Emperumaan and also the curable oil. This sthala perumal gave his prathyaksham to Indiran, Romasa Maharishi, Brighu Muni and Maarkandeya Maharishi. He made his presence visble to these four great aathmas as "Aadhi Maruthuvan" (Maruthuvan means doctor). The person who has the diseases is given the treatment by facing him towards East - west direction. And the same way, the perumal Thothatri Naathan gives his seva facing his thirumugam towards the east direction.


The legend connected with the place is that when, during the period of the great deluge, Lord Vishnu was having a peaceful slumber in the Milky Ocean for years untold, gradually a lotus appeared from his navel with the inkling of desire for creation in His mind. He glanced at the lotus, when Brahma who has to create the world appeared on the lotus with his Books, "Kamandalu", "Yajnopavita" and "Dandam". Finding himself alone on the lotus petals he went on thinking too high of himself. He was not able to look down; consequently he thought himself to be the only monarch of all he surveyed. Thus the vanity of self, the ego appeared in his mind.

Vishnu immediately realised the appearance of vanity in the mind of Brahma to be a very unhealthy sign for a person who would be in charge of creation, and wanted to curb the feeling by nipping it in the bud. So he created an opposition in the form of demons, 'Madhu' and 'Kaitabha'. Madhu and Kaitabha found an intruder in Brahma and wanted to finish him off. Brahma was placed in a dilemma and thought it would better to hide himself by going down into the stem of the lotus. But unfortunately, providence had decreed, down the stem was the eternal deluge. Vishnu came to his rescue in the form of a fish and gave him courage to go up the stem and sit on the lotus. At this Brahma returned to the lotus and remained seated. Vishnu took the form of a swan floating over the eternal deluge and appeared before him and told him: "You are the son of Hari the Lord the Creator." Thereafter Brahma started reciting the name of Hari and started meditation. In a previous age, Vishnu had appeared in the Win of Hayagriva and taught Brahma the Pranava Mantra, Om, the very origin of sound. Brahma combined the Pranava Mantra with Hari and went on reciting "Hari Om". Years passed and Mantra Siddhi (Mastery over the mantra) was attained when the desire to know the subtle meaning of "Hari Om" and "Bhoorbhuvahuvah Om" arose in his mind.

Knowing the agitation in the mind of Brahma, Vishnu appeared again in his eternal form with his symbols of 'Sankha', 'Chakra', 'Gada', and ‘Padma’, as an answer to Brahma's desires. The appearance of Vishnu explained the real meaning of the two Mantras. Simultaneously, the other two creations of God, Madhu and Kaitabha got the opportunity to have a vision of Vishnu in his physical form. Brahma took him to be the answer for his prayer and penance but demons took him to be another intruder into the world scene existing at the time of the beginning of creation. They started accosting the new person and asked about his parentage, where from he hailed the reason of his sudden appearance, etc.

Vishnu said in reply that He was the creator of the Universe. The reply was not convincing to the devilish mind of the demons. In their demoniac spirit they invited Him for a combat to settle the issue. Vishnu took up the challenge and the fight started. Vishnu wanted to slay the demons by some stratagem. He planned to give a chance to the demons to accept an offer of boons to them. Their devilish mind would not accept it, as they had not been defeated in the war. As Madhu and Kaitabha took Vishnu to be their equal, who could not vanquish them in the war, Vishnu offered to accept boons from them in return. They agreed and Vishnu made a very curious request for a boon, stating that he wanted to be known as the "Vanquisher of Madhu and Kaitabha". The demons were bewildered by the nature of the request. As the promise of giving a boon was to be fulfilled, Madhu and Kaitabha requested Vishnu to annihilate them by placing them at a place where there was no water. Apparently the demons thought that in the condition of the deluge it would be impossible to find a place without water.

They forgot that they were dealing with Vishnu, their creator, and wanted to play a clever trick. Vishnu was too shrewd for the ingenuity showed by the demons, immediately clasped them to his wide chest, squeezed out their blood, and choked them to death. Thus he got the name as the "Annihilator of Madhu and Kaitabha". The squeezed blood had to be thrown somewhere and it fell on the newly formed earth.

The death of his enemies made Brahma happy and he started his work of creation unopposed. But the unholy blood of the demons desecrated the sanctity of the earth and the putrefied smell contaminated the country with bad odour, which became a great hindrance to the austere penance of Bhoo Devi then on earth near Totadri. In response to Bhoo Devi's penance to get rid of this contamination of the earth that she personified, Vishnu appeared before her at this spot.

Once Sage Bhrigu started austere penance invoking Sri Devi at Nanguneri. When Sri Devi was pleased to appear before Sage Bhrigu, Her consort Vishnu also accompanied her. They came to the hermitage of Sage Bhrigu and wanted to bestow some boons. The Sage made a peculiar request to have Sri Devi herself as his daughter and Lord Vishnu as his son-in-law so that he could serve them always at Totadri. As Sri Devi was inclined to grant the boon, Lord Vishnu too granted it. Consequently Sri Devi had to take birth through Sage Bhrigu's wife Kyati as their daughter and, in course of time Vishnu married Her, and remained in blissful abode. This is why Totadri has got the special significance of being known as "Sri Nivasam" where prayer becomes immediately fruitful.

The legend goes that once upon a time there was a righteous king in the kingdom of Sind named, "Gunaseelan", son of Nala. In his usual pastime he went out on hunting, followed by his attendants on horseback. The King missed his companions in the trackless forest and, when he was feeling the pinch of thirst and hunger, he could locate a mysterious animal in the form of a deer having eight legs. This phenomenon diverted the mind of the King and he ran after it. But alas! The deer with its swift legs quickly disappeared, drawing the King deep into the forest.

At its disappearance, the King felt dejected and retraced his steps to find out his companions. By then he felt acutely thirsty and hungry. He noticed at a distance a small hermitage made of mild leaves. He halted in front of it and, finding the door wide open alighted from his horse and entered it. He could not find the owner of the hermitage. There was no temple their till then. But the sanctity of the place gained great
prominence. It was a dense mango forest where many sages like Roma, Narada, Vaikhanasa, Dadhichi, Angeerasa, Jabali, Kalavar, Kanva and others were engaged in deep meditation and penance. Lord Vishnu, seeing this holy assemblage, was pleased to direct Vishwakarma, the celestial architect, to construct a beautiful city, comparable to Amaravati; the heavenly abode of Lord Vishnu, where He stays in His physical form, so that the sages and others might get the benefit of His Darshan daily. Vishwakarma transformed the forest into a holy city with a temple, where people from all parts of the country came and settled down.

One Dharmavatsalan, a very rich Vaisya of Tirumulam near River Kaveri, having squandered all his ancestral wealth in sensual pleasures, became a pauper at last. He played a hoax against his villagers and relatives, and was driven away to a forest. A Lion killed him.

Unnatural death by suicide, accident, or by wild animals, according to Hindu belief, makes the soul a ghost under torture, moving in the ether from place to place till the time comes for his birth. Dharmavatsalan took many births in various species. In his birth as a man, according to his past Karma, he suffered from leprosy.

He took advice from his spiritual preceptor Bhargava who directed him to worship the deity at Totadri for three years using Gingelly oil for ablution every day, and distribute ample alms among the needy and feed the poor.

Every day, after the ablution of the deity, the oil drained off was collected by him and besmeared over his body. Lord Vishnu was very pleased with this pious act of Dharmavatsalan arid healed his disease and relieved him of sins. The poor man gradually regained his original form and dedicated his life for the improvement of the temple till his last days.

But to his utter surprise he found in a corner food and drink spread over a leaf as if offered to somebody. His acute thirst and hunger did not allow him to wait long. He unceremoniously helped himself to the food and drink. When he had finished the meal, he realized he was an intruder in the hermitage. Sage Kusasanan, who had been to the river for his daily ablution, was entering the hermitage.

The Rishi got angry and immediately cursed the intruder to turn into a dog for his canine action, as only dogs sneakingly creep into the households and desecrate food. The intruder had not only desecrated the hermitage by his action but had also violated the moral code of the country. The curse became immediately effective and the King turned into a roaming mongrel. Gunaseelan besought the Sage to take back his curse in lieu of his entire domain and wealth, but the words of the Sage who had already attained Vak Siddhi were irrevocable. But seeing the humility, distress and penitence of the King, Sage Kusasanan condescended to lighten the kill rigour of the curse by saying that in due course of time, he would come across a holy place where he would regain his original form after a bath. In the form of a mongrel the King had to roam round the earth, how long none could say. Once, during his wanderings, a juggler came before him and finding him quite healthy and plump, utilized his services for showing sleight-of-hand in teats of jugglery. Time passed, the mongrel in the company of the juggler roamed round the earth and at last reached Nanguneri. Before starting his show the juggler took his bath in the temple tank and bathed the mongrel too. But to his surprise the mongrel stood transformed as a king after the holy dip. People thronged round the juggler to see the wonderful jugglery of God. Such is the power of the holy waters of the sacred tank at Nanguneri. It is said that a king who belonged to Sindhu empire got the sabham from Romasa Maharishi to become like a dog. After becoming the dog, the king came to this sthalam and took a bath in the sthala pushkarani to get out of the Sabham.

At one time Mahishmati, mother of the Asuras, was very much grieved at the annihilation of the race of the demons. To regenerate the race she started austere penance invoking Brahma the Creator. Brahma was pleased with her penance, and granted her boon that she would have two sons who would be

Accordingly, in due course, two sons, Sunda and Upasunda by name, were born to her. In course of time when they grew up, their thread ceremony was performed and among the others, Sukracharya, the spiritual preceptor of the race of demons, was also present. The two sons became very powerful and conquered all the worlds as a result of the boons obtained by their mother. In the course of conquest they also conquered “Swarga Lok” (heaven). To cry halt to their ever-expanding conquest, Brahma deputed the celestial dancer Tilottama to divert the mind of the two demons so that their future conquests might be stopped. The heavenly dancer took up the task and performed it skillfully. Her enchanting beauty, seductive looks and graceful dancing with music captured the heart and mind of the two brothers.

Each one wanted to have the dancer as his own life partner. The brothers started quarrelling with each other, which at last developed into a big fight, which ended in mutual killing. Brahma was pleased with the performance of Tilottama and offered her a boon. Her only request was to be in constant service to Lord Vishnu. As this was beyond his powers he directed her to invoke Lord Vishnu by penance at Totadri so that her desire would be fulfilled.

When Tilottama narrated the events to her compeer in the other world, Urvasi, she began to realize the folly of her pride and was only too glad to join Tilottama in her penance to attain the merit of being in constant service to Lord Vishnu. As Tilottama's penance was to start shortly, she also joined her and they both came to Nanguneri, met all the sages who were doing penance at Totadri, including Sage Vaikhanasa who advised them to bathe daily in the temple tank and to recite the eightlettered hymn to Vishnu to achieve their desire Pilgrimage In Tamil Nadu Char Dham Yatra: They were lost in deep penance till at last Lord Vishnu appeared before them with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. He said that thenceforth they would be his permanent attendants, waiting on him and doing service to him.

Temple structure:

On the entrance of the Temple is the Pandhal Mandapam and along the side, we can find very big mandapams where Golden Chariot and Golden Chapparam (another kind of perumal's Vaaganam) are kept. These are taken out during the utsavam done in Panguni (Mar-Apr) and Chithirai (Apr-May, only chapparam). On the north side, we can find the Vaanamamalai Mutt where the Jeeyar of the Mutt resides.

When entering into the main temple, we can find Sevvanthi Mandapam which is built by Sevvanthi Naayakar. In this mandapam only, the utsavar gives his seva during utsava times. On the left side of this mandapam, we can find Veerappa Naayakkar mandapam, in which all the pillars are beautifully sculptured with numerous shapes. When passing through this mandapam, sannadhis for Lakshmi Narayanan, Lakshmi Varagar, Venugopalan and Dasavatharam are found.

After crossing the Kodi maram, we can find Kulasekaran mandapam. Here vadakku Naachiyaar, Therku Naachiyaar, Manavala Maamunigal, Udayavar, pillai ulaga Asiriyar and except Nammalwar, all the Alwars are found in separate sannadhis. Nammalwar is found as "Sadagopar" in "Sadaari" (this is kept on our head in Vishnu temples) as "Sadagopar Sadaari" in utsavar sannadhi. Also, seperate sannadhis for Sri Ramar, Sri Kannan, Chakaratalwar are found.

After crossing all these, we can reach towards the main moolavar sannadhi and can find Thothatri nadhan in Veetrirundha thirukkolam and opposite to him is the Garudalwar is found.

Moolavar is found along with two pirattiyaars in veetrirundha kolam and Rambhai, Thilothamai who are called the "Deva loga women" serve the perumal, Brighu Maharishi, Maarkandeya Maharishi, Chandra - Soorya, Vishwakshenar are found. The Aadhiseshan, serve as the Umbrella for Thothatri naathan, he is giving his seva to the bhaktaas.

Utsavar Deiva Nayagan is found along with this pirattiyaars, Srivaramangai thaayar and Andal in a big peetam.


Daily thirumanjanam of the moolavar with Gingelly oil mixed with medicinal herbs (thaialam). Temple is in the form of Asmath gurubyo namaha(mutt, our acharyan)- Asmath parama gurubyo namaha(mamunigal sannithi)- Asmath sarva gurubyo namaha(perumal sannithi).

Firstly the vishwarupam will be performed at mutt secondly it is performed in mamunigal sannithi and at last in the perumal sannthi and the tiruppavai  sathumurai will be in vice-versa. Manavala Mamunigal , though born at Alwarthirunagari, has established ashta diggajaas his shishyas to preach the  Vaishnavam and also to preach the emperumanars preachings. And in the ashta diggajaas Swamy Ponnadikal jeeyar (First holy jeeyar of Vanamamalai Mutt) is the first of eight. Hence Mamuni has got much importance in this place.

Moolavar and Thaayar:

The Moolavar of this temple is Sri Thothadrinathan also named as Vaanamamalai. Prathyaksham for Brahmadevan, Indiran, Ramasa Rishi, Brighu Rishi, Maarkandeya Rishi. Moolavar in Veetrirundha Kolam facing East direction.

The Thaayar of this temple is Sirivaramangai Naachiyaar - Periya piratti, Bhoomi piratti and Neela devi are the three Naachiyaars of this sthalam. Periya piratti and Bhoomi piratti are the two naachiyaars who is found along with the Moolavar.

Utsavar :

The Utsavar of this temple is Sri Deiva Naayaga Perumal.


Nammalwar - 11 Paasurams.


Indira theertham, Setru thaamarai theertham. And since, Indiran took bath in this to get out of the diseases, the Pushkarani is called Indira theertham.


Nanda Varthana Vimaanam.

Last Updated on 26 November 2013