The Palayamkottai Temple is the abode of Sri VedaNarayana with His consorts Sri Bhudevi and Sri MahaLakshmi sitting on a single Peetam. The idol of the Lord is of 15feet height in the sanctum sanctorum. The Utsava Murthy(the procession deity) of this temple is called as ‘Sri RajaGopala Swamy’ also known as ‘Mannar’. In Tamil, a King is referred to as ‘Mannar’. The temple is situated at a distance of 4KM from the town of Tiruvelneli, Tamilnadu. This shrine is also referred as Azhagiya Mannar Rajagopala Swami Temple.
Lord Krishna is worshipped as ‘ Sri Krishna’, ‘Sri Venugopala Swami’, ‘Sri Navaneetha Krishna’ in many temples but , the Lord is worshipped as ‘RajaGopala’(Gopala the King) in very few temples. Lord Krishna is not only a King to the People but He is Gopala, One who takes care of Cows.
In some other temples such as ‘Mannargudi’ in Tiruvarur district of Tamilnadu, ‘Kattumannarkovil’ near Chidambaram in Tamilnadu and other temple near Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli, where the Utsava Murthy is known as ‘Sri RajaGopala Swami’.
History of Palayamkottai Temple:
The name 'VedaNarayana' refers to Lord Vishnu. The Lord got His name as VedaNarayana after He took the first Avatar –Matysa and saved the Holy Vedas from asuras Madhu and Kaitaba.
The legend says, the idol of Sri RajaGopala was worshipped by the Demigod ‘Sri Devendra’ and handed over to the King Arjuna who was worshipped the Lord Sri RajaGopala Swamy at the end of Mahabharata war..
During the Pandya rule, Palayamkottai was known as ‘Sri Vallabha Mangalam’. After the rule of Pandya King Sri Vallabha, the temple town was known as ‘Shenbaga Aranyam’. During the rule of Pandya Kings and later Chola Kings, the temple of Sri VedaNarayana was expanded a lot. Later Sri Ariyanatha Mudaliyar who was chieftain under Sri Viswanatha Naicer, a famous king of Madurai, divided the kingdom into 72 divisions called Palayams. One of these Palayams was called Palayamkottai. An ancient Fort can also seen in this temple town.
The temple was renovated and the Samprokshanam was held on July 9, 2009 in a grand manner
Architecture of the Temple Palayamkottai:
The temple of Sri VedaNarayana is huge with spacious inner and outer prakarams. There is a Mukha Mantapam facing in the east where devotees can see Dwajasthambha, Balipeetam and Garuda. There is a separate sannidhi for the Lord Hanuman. There are separate shrines for Goddess Sri Sridevi and Sri Bhudevi here named as ‘Vedavalli’ and ‘Kumudavalli’ respectively behind Sri VedaNarayana Sanctum in the first prakaram. There are other shrines for ‘Dasavathara’, ‘Alwar’, ‘Sri LakshmiNarayana’ and ‘Lord Aadi Varaha with His consort Sri Bhudevi’.
Sri Garuda Jayanthi: There is a separate sannidhi for Garuda. The Garuda is known as ‘Moolai Garudan(Corner Garuda) in this temple. The Jayanthi day of Lord Garuda is celebrated on ‘Swathi Nakshatram, of Tamil Aadi month(July/August). This day is called ‘Thiruvaadi Swathi’. On Garuda Jayanthi, Special Thirumanjanam and Poojas are offered to ‘Moolai Garuda’ in a grand manner.
Important Festivals of Temple Palayamkottai:
1. Annual Brahmotsavams: Sri VedaNarayana Annual brahmotsavams are celebrated in the Tamil month of Panguni.
2. VarshaAbhishekam is celebrated on Vaikasi Rohini,
3. Special Poojas on all Saturdays in the month of Puttattasi(March/April),
4. Vasantha Panchami and Adhyana Utsavams in the month of December/January.
All the daily poojas, religious rituals and festivals are conducted as per Aagama Saatras.
Palayamkottai Temple Timings, Tiruvelneli District, Tamilnadu:
The temple is opened from 6:00am to 11:00am and from 4:00pm to 8:00pm