Located in the heart of Salem Fort and 1/2km South of Salem Collectorate is the over 1000years old Azhagiri Nathar Perumal temple in Salem, one that is part of the Pancha Kshetram – 5 places where Brighu Maha Rishi undertook penance and secured the hand of Lord Vishnu for his daughters. Sundaravalli was born here on Maasi Magam and she was married to Lord Sundararajan on Vaikasi Hastham. Hence, this place is a Kalyana Sthalam. To this day, the match making takes place here in front of Lord Azhagiri Nathar and it is after the Lord’s blessings and his nod and green signal that the families of the bride and the bridegroom proceed with finalising the wedding formalities.
The 10 feet tall Azhagari Nathar is seen in a grand standing posture with a conch & chakra, knife & kedayam, bow &arrow and a mace. Another interesting feature of the standing Lord is the long Poonal that stretches to his feet.
To the North of Azhagiri Nathar Sannidhi is the Venugopalan Sannidhi which is believed to pre-date the installation of the idol of Sundararaja perumal here at this temple. Lord Venugopalan is seen in a standing posture with a stone veena playing the flute with both his hands. During the Vaikunta Ekadesi Utsavam, Lord Sundararajan visits this Sannidhi.
Sri Sailam- Kalyana Sthalam
This place was referred to in different points in time in history as Sri Sailapuram, Garudan Kaadu and Thaaksharanyam. In centuries gone by, this temple had Saptha Prakaram but the invasion of Tipu Sultan led to the destruction of six of the prakarams and currently there is only one prakara left.
Inscriptions and the temple’s history
There are several inscriptions on the walls of the Thaayar Sannidhi that date back to the Chera, Chola and Pandya period. One of the early inscriptions indicates that renovation was undertaken of the existing temple. Another inscription indicates that renovation of the temple was undertaken during the rule of the Nayaks. There are several stone carvings inside the temple and on the upper walls of the Maha Mandapa that is likely to date back to the Pandya period as seen from the fish carvings.
10feet tall Anjaneya
A 10feet tall Hanuman is seen near the Flag Post facing Sundararaja perumal.
Festivals are celebrated in a grand manner all through the year. The entire Naalaayira Divya Prabhandham is recited 5times during the year including in Margazhi when it is recited twice.
9day Brahmotsavam in Vaikasi with processions on Sesha Vahana, Hamsa Vahana, Simha, Gaja and Horse Vahana. Silver Garuda Seva also forms part of the Brahmotsavam celebrations here
10day Sayana Utsavam – Oonjal Sevai in Aani
10day Janmashtami in Aavani
Pavitrotsavam, Rama Navami, Chaitrotsavam and Vasanthotsavam are also celebrated here at this temple.
Pancha Garuda Seva in Thai when Lakshmi Narayana of 2nd Agraharam, Chinna Tirupathi Perumal of Kannan Kuruchi, Prasanna Venkatesan of Sevvaipet and Bhava Narayanan of Sri Sailapuram join Sundararaja Perumal of this temple on a grand procession along with Andal and Peri Azhvaar.
Moolavar: Azhagiri Nathar East Facing Standing Posture along with Sri and Bhoo devi
Thaayar : Sundaravalli Thaayar
Utsavar : Sundara Raja Perumal
Time : 6am- 12noon and 5pm-830pm
Contact : Sudarshana Bhattar @ 99428 14937 / EO M. Murugan
How to reach
Temple is about 8kms from Salem Junction. Direct buses every 10mts from the station. Get down at the Collectorate and walk 5mts east behind SBI Main Branch to reach the temple
Auto from Salem Junction is available.
The temple is about 10mts walk from the Salem Old Bus Stand.
Courtesy: Sri S. Prabhu