Ponnum Peruvembudaiyar Sastha Temple, Rajakkalmangalam, Thirunelveli
Ponnum Peruvembudaiyar Sastha Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Aiyappan located on the northern bank of Nambiyar at the base of the hill called Koormagiri (Tortoise Hill) which looks like a Koormam (Tortoise) from the top in Rajakkalmangalam in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. The temple is located on the highway in a village called Rajakkalmangalam which is exactly between Vallioor and Nanguneri.
There are archaeological findings near this temple recently unearthed by ASI indicating the presence a city on the northern side of river Nambiyaru, like the Sastha at chitoor a few km east of this place on the southern side of the river called Thenkarai Maharaja temple dedicated to Sri Ayyappan’s brother, Panthala Maharaja, who came here in search of Sri Aiyappan.
Sastha in Linga Form:
A demon who tortured all the Devas and people had to be decimated. So, Lord Shiva created Dharma Sastha and directed Sastha to kill the demon. Later on, once the mission was successfully accomplished, Lord Shiva gave a “Linga” form to Dharma Sastha who is popularly known as Lord Ayyappa. So, the unique feature of the Sree Peruvembudaiyar temple is that Lord Ayyappa along with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala are in the form of a “lingam” in this temple. Lord Ayyappa, as we all know, is Hariharan (a combination of Lord Vishnu (Hari) and Lord Shiva (Haran). Further, a “Vel” is also a part of the legacy of this temple which definitely adds to the significance.
During the “Kreda” Yuga, an asura (a demon) threw away Goddess Mahalakshmi in the ocean. Lord Narayana took upon the form of “Koorma Avatar” and killed the demon to rescue his beloved consort Goddess Mahalakshmi. It is believed that after killing the demon, Lord Narayana visited Perumazhinji and conducted Shiva-pooja in his “Koorma Avatar” to rid himself of the Dosha. This is the reason this place is also called as Koormagiri Malai.
Years ago, the Dharma Sastha was seated atop a hill to give darshan to his devotees. One day, as usual, the priest who conducted the rituals in the temple was climbing the hill. Suddenly, he tripped and fell down. Who would come to his rescue other than Lord Sastha himself? How would he allow his devotee to suffer? The priest heard a voice that said, “O, Priest, there is no need for you to come all the way up to propitiate me. To ensure that all my devotees can access me freely, I am already present along with my wives Poorna and Pushkala in the lingam form beneath a Neem Tree.
I will be glad if you can do the rituals for me at that location where red ants and white ants are appeasing me with flowers”. As if on cue, the priest went near the Neem Tree and discovered the three Lingas. As the Dharma Sastha was found beneath a neem tree (called as “Veppa Maram” in Tamil), the Sastha is fondly referred to as Sri Peruvembudaiyar Sastha. It was also believed that siddhars were devoted to Dharma Sastha and prayed to Lord Ayyappa in a formless manner.
Equivalent to Sabarimalai:
Legend has it that the Dharma Sastha who was created by Lord Shiva in Perumazhinji also took upon the onerous task of killing a female demon and was anointed as Lord Ayyappa in Sabarimalai. Devotees who were unable to take the trip to Sabarimalai, prayed at the Sri Peruvembudaiyar Sastha temple. Lord Ayyappa in the “lingam” form is very much special. The triumvirate kings – Chola, Pandyan and Cheran - in Tamil Nadu also seemed to have visited this place. This is as per archaeological records that were retrieved. Records show that devotees visited this shrine enroute to Sabarimalai, took bath in the “Nambi” River and cooked food nearby.
Unique feature of the Sree Peruvembudaiyar temple is that Lord Ayyappa along with his consorts Poorna and Pushkala are in the form of a “lingam” in this temple. The Boothathar moorthy of this place is a marvelous stone work. Boothathar is the personal god of Sri Aiyappan, like Veerabahu to Murugan, hence you may see him in all Aiyappan temples facing south in front of the Sastha Sannathi. The temple trust has constructed a separate building for conducting “Annadhanam” (free meals). During the months of Karthikai and Margazhi, Annadhanam is conducted thrice in a day.
Annadhanam is also conducted every Saturday. The trust has created a Lotus Pond in which Lord Shiva is seated in the centre and the arrangements have been made to ensure that water flows on Lord Shiva 24 x 7. A mini-poultry farm, a resting station for birds, creation of a beautiful garden – all these have been created and are also being maintained.
Those who wish to fix the marriages of their daughters, childless couples and those with mental and physical illnesses have come to this shrine and have been blessed with the grace of Sri Peruvembudaiyar Sastha. Wealth will pour in and all your diseases will vanish without a trace when you are the recipient of the grace of Lord Ayyappa.
Ponnum Peruvembudaiyar Sastha Temple,
Mobile: +91 9003799344 / 9363346436
The temple is located in a village called Rajakkalmangalam - highway connecting Vallioor and Nanguneri. Rajakkalmangalam is located at about 9 Kms from Valliyur, 8 Kms from Nanguneri, 86 Kms from Thoothukudi, 40 Kms from Thirunelveli, 200 Kms from Madurai and 125 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Nearest Railway Station is located at Vallioor and Nanguneri. Nearest Airport is located at Thoothukudi, Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.