Koodal Azhagar is credited with the origination of Thiru Pallandu which constitutes the first 12 verses of the Divya Prabhandham A thrilled PeriAzhvaar sang ‘Pallandu’ on seeing Koodal Azhagar. Thiru Koodal is said to be equivalent to Paramapatham itself
The Koodal Azhagar Divya Desam is situated in the heart of Madurai, half a km South East of Madurai Junction and half a km South West of Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Three Tier Temple Structure-Lord in all three postures
Lord is seen in all three postures at this Divya Desam. At the base Tier is Koodal Azhagar in a grand sitting posture under the Serpent Lord Aadhiseshan. Climbing about 20 steps on to Tier 1, one sees the Lord in a Sleeping Posture. And another 10 steps above, in Tier 2, is Lord Surya Narayanan in a standing posture.
Temple Tower depicting the Great Epics
In the temple tower at the entrance, one sees the story of the Ramayana and Mahabaratha depicted through sculpture in different tiers of the tower. These sculptures can be closely seen from Tier 1 of the temple and are not to be missed.
Pandya king Pururavan contributed a lot for the Koodal Lord. His grandson conquered the North and came back prompting PeriAzhvaar to sing:
“Parupathu Kayal Poritha Pandyar Kulapathipol
ThiruPolintha Sevadi En Senniyin Mel
Porithathaai MaruPosithaai, Enrenrum Vaasagamey
UruPolintha Naavinenai Unakurithaakinaiye” Fourth Thirumozhi
பருப்பதத்துக் கயல்பொறித்த பாண்டியர் குலபதிபோல்
திருப்பொலிந்த சேவடிஎஞ் சென்னியின் மேல்பொறித்தாய்
மருப்பொசித்தாய் மல்லடர்த்தாய் என்றென்றுஉன் வாசகமே
உருப்பொலிந்த நாவினேனை உனக்குஉரித் தாக்கினையே.நான்காம் திருமொழி
Later, another Pandya king Vallabadevan wanted to know the Lord with the power to show the way to Paramapatham, the heavenly abode. The King hung a Golden Parrot with the announcement that the parrot would automatically fall, once someone informs him of the right Lord to Paramapatham. Several came and went back without success.
It is believed that the Koodal Lord appeared in the dreams of Vallabadevan’s priest Selvanambi and suggested the name of PeriAzhvaar of Srivilliputhur. Accordingly, PeriAzhvaar was brought to the court of the Pandya King in Madurai. With several examples from vedic scriptures as well as historical references, PeriAzhvaar showcased to the Pandya King that Lord Vishnu was the Lord who could take one to the heavenly abode. And to every one’s surprise the parrot fell down.
The Azhvaar taken on a Street procession in Koodal
A delighted Pandya king praised PeriAzhvaar and took him on an elephant procession through the streets of Madurai. Legend has it that Koodal Azhagar himself came to see this sight on his Garuda Vaahanam.
“Pandyan Kondaada PattarBhiraan Vanthaan Enru…….”
PeriAzhvaar’s Thiru Pallaandu
Delighted at the sight of the Koodal Lord, PeriAzhvaar showered praises with his Pallaandu. Hence, Koodal Azhagar is credited with origination of ThiruPallaandu, which now has come to be sung as the first 12 songs of the Divya Prabhandham. Being the place where PeriAzhvaar sang the now famous Pallaandu, this place is considered equivalent to Paramapatham.
“Pallandu Pallaandu Pallayirathaandu, Palakodi Nooraayiram
Mallanda Thinthol Manivanna Un Sevadi Seppu ThiruKaapu…..”
“பல்லாண்டு பல்லாண்டு பல்லாயிரத்தாண்டு* பலகோடி நூறாயிரம்
மல்லாண்ட திண்தோள் மணிவண்ணா!* உன் சேவடி செவ்வித்திருக்காப்பு…”
The Pandya Symbol
Pandya king Sathya Varadan undertook penance before the Koodal Lord, who gave him darshan inside a sacred tumbler, as a fish. This is stated to be the reason for the Pandyas to have ‘Fish’ as their symbol in their flags.
Vaigai River in Madurai
At Sathya Logam, Brahmma washed the legs of Lord Vishnu, after his Trivikrama Avataaram, the sacred water drops of which fell on Madurai. These sacred drops spread as two rivers, Vaigai and Krithumala. Koodal Azhagar temple is on the banks of Kruthumala river.
The drawings of all the 108 divya desams can be seen on the walls of the prakaram.
Navagraha Sannidhi- The only one in a Divya Desam
This is the only divya desam with a Navagraha Sannidhi
Deity : Koodal Azhagar Sitting Posture East Facing
Goddess : Madhura Valli Thaayar
Paasurams : Thirumangai Azhvaar(1)-1762 ThiruMazhisaiAzhvaar (1)- 2420
Temple timing : 6am –12noon and 4pm-9pm
Festivals : Vaikasi Brahmotsavam, Maasi Theppotsavam, Panguni Utram Thiru Kalyana Utsavam