Nadathur ammal kalakshepa mandapam
After coming out of the lizard room we find ourselves in a corridor with a collonade of pillars. We have on the walls murals which have been restored recently by the ASI conservationists.This mandapam is the ‘Kachivayathan mandapam’ where Tirukacchi nambi used to offer fanning services to Varadaraja Perumal. It is more familiar as ‘Nadathur Ammal Mandapam’. On the ceiling we have a painting depicting Nadadur Ammal rendering kalakshepam to numerous shishyas. It was at this mandapam that five year old Venkatanatha got the kataksham of Nadadur Ammal who stopped his kalakshepam to admire the tejas of the divine child. He forgot at which point his kalakshepam got interuppted and was thrilled to hear the five year old tell the goshti where the acharyan had stopped. Nadadur ammal blessed the boy and predicted that he would be darshana sthapakar. This boy is the famous and revered Vedantha Desikan. In later years Adivan Sathakopan swami the founder of the illustrous Sri Ahobila Muth did kalakshepam at the feet of Ghatikachalam ammal.
After this we descend the Atthigiri and get back to ‘malai -praakaram’ once again. At this juncture let us analyse the name Atthigiri or Hasthigiri. Atthigiri probably was in vogue because of the presence of atthi trees or fig trees or perhaps the original moolavar was ‘AtthiVaradar’. According to another version this was the home of Gajendran who was saved by Varadan so it came to be called Hasthigiri. Varadan is called ‘Atthiyuran’ Hasthisan, Devarajan, DevaPerumal, Perarulalan, Karisa and Varadaraja.
After coming down we see before us on a platform a sannidhi which can be reached by climbing a few steps. This houses the divya mangalavigrahams of Dhanvantri, in standing and sitting postures. Devotees make rice flour kolams and light lamps. Tirumanjanams take place at the request of devotees. Dhanvantri emerged out of the Ocean of Milk during ‘Samudhra manthanam’ and holds ‘amritha kalasam’ – a pot of nectar. Praying to Him relieves one of physical and mental ailments. As we walk along the same platform we find at the extreme end a sannidhi for Valampuri Vinayaka.
As we descend down the platform we find ourselves before the sannidhi of Malayala Nachiyar. Malayala Nachiyar was a devotee from Kerala who gave her heart and soul to Varadan. She is in standing posture and Panguni Uthiram is dedicated to Her. Some aver that She is ‘Malai aalum nachiyar’ or the One who rules the Hill(Attigiri).
With this our circumbulation of the malai praakaram is complete and we come out to Garudan sannidhi and turn left and then on the right and cross Thayar sannidhi to find ourselves in a mandapam where swinging ceremony takes place for Andal during Margazhi Neeraatal. Then we come out via Tondaradipodi corridor and go past swami Desikan sannidhi . We spot to our left the ‘patthu-kadai’ or the stall selling prasadams. Next we have on an elevation the ‘Vahana-Mandapam’ the place where the vahanams are kept. Then we have taps for washing hands and next to it the Vasantha Mandapam the venue of the Vasantha Utsavam. After coming out of the ‘Gopura vaasal’ we find ourselves on the famous ‘Sannidhi-Street’
We spot a 16 pillared mandapam the spot where the second umbrella is hoisted up during utsavams. Special maryadhai accorded to some Tridandi sanyasis are done in this mandapam. At the end of the street is the famous ‘Tiruvadi-koil’ the temple for Anjaneya swami. This temple is where sannidhi-street purappadus culminate and during ‘Tirumbukaal’ (return) auliyacheyal goshti begins. In sum this is an attempt to describe ‘Perumal-koil’ to some extent. The second part will be a summary and what happens from morning to night on regular days ,the utsavams celebrated and also an attempt to describe some important mandapams associated with Deva Perumal.
Write up: Vyjayanthi Rajan