1) Mariamman Teppakkulam Tank
This huge tank, 300m (1000 ft) by 285m(950 ft), is located 5km east of the Meenakshi Temple. This is where the Teppam Float Festival takes place, during which the deities are taken out on decorated boats in January or February. The tank is fed water from the Vaigai river through underground channels. It is usually only filled during the Teppam Festival.
2) Koodal Alagar Temple
This is a Vishnu temple located 2km west of the city, which has three altars, one on top of the other, in which Lord Vishnu is in three different poses: sitting, standing, and reclining. The main deity of the temple is Koodal Alagar, who is in a sitting posture. Above the shrine of this deity are the altars of Sri Ranganatha, in a reclining pose, and Sri Surya-narayan Perumal, in a standing pose. There are intricate woodcarvings here, including one of Lord Rama’s coronation. This is one of the 108 Divya Desam temples. There is a Navagraha (nine planets) enclosure in this temple. Koodal is another name for Madurai and Azhaghar means “the beautiful one” in Tamil. The temple is an ancient one and very close to the famous Meenakshi Amman Temple. It is one of the 108 divyadesams, the holy abodes of Vishnu.Alagar Koil is one of the most ancient divyadesam temples in India. All twelve Alwars visited this place. It is stated in the Mahabharata that both Yudhisthir and Arjuna came here.
3) Kallaalagar Temple (Kallazhagar)
Kallazhagar temple is one among the 108 Divyadesams of Lord Vishnu. It is located 20 kms from the temple town of South India, Madurai. The presiding deity of this temple is also known as Meenakshi Amman’s brother. The temple is situated in a scenic place with Vrishabhadri hill as the backdrop for this temple.
Deities: The primary deity is Kallazhagar / Maalangkaarar / Maalirunsolai Nambi in a standing posture facing East. The Perumal is also named as “Paramaswamy” which makes us to remember Lord Shiva. The Thaayar is Sundaravalli in her own shrine.
The temple is called “Dhakshina Tirupathi”
“Kallar” in tamil means thief. The Perumal is called with this name because He steals the heart of all his devotees.
It is said that Yamadharman, the God of death, comes here daily at night to worship the Perumal.
• The temple tower is an astounding structure with wonderful sculptures. There are 3 praharams and 3 mandapams – Sundara Pandiyan Mandapam, SooriyanMandapam and Munaiyathareyar Mandapam.
• The front mandapam, adorned with big and beautiful sculptures is one of the most beautiful ones in Tamilnadu and not to be missed. The corridor pillars are also very intricately carved with fine sculptures.
• At the entrance of the temple, we can find the Badhri Narayan temple, built similar to Badrinath in North India. The principal deity is Badhri Narayan in a meditative posture, flanked by Nara-Narayanan.
• Andal is in an unusual sitting posture.
• The Utsavar is named as “Sri Sundara Rajar”. Both the Moolavar and Utsavar are found along with the Panja Aayutham (5 weapons) namely the Sankha, Chakkaram, Vaal (Sword), Kothandam (bow) and Gadha, in their hands. Utsavar is made up of Aparanjitha gold, which is said to be the purest gold. The thirumanjanam (spiritual bath) is done only with Noopura Gangai water, the natural water spring of the hill. If it is done with any other water, the Utsavar becomes black.
• Separate shrines for Sri Sudharsana Chakrathalwar, Sri Yoga Narasimhar and Sri Andal are also present.
The Azhagar Utsavam on Chitra Pournami is a highly popular festival worldwide and is a perfect example of Shaiva-Vaishnava unison. It is celebrated for almost nine days; the first four days are being celebrated in the hill and He leaves for Madurai city on the day and return back to the hill on the ninth day.
His entrance to the Madurai city is celebrated as “EdhirSevai” and garland of Tulsi from Srivilliputhur Sri Andal is adorned over Him.
The wedding of Madurai Meenakshi and Sundareswarar popularly known as “Meenakshi Kalyanautsavam” takes place as another grand utsavam in Koodal Azhagar temple, the other divyadesam in the Madurai city. Perumal is the brother of Goddess Meenakshi and He is the one who offers his sister’s hands to Lord Sundareswarar during their marriage. It’s a very famous portrait involving the three. Kallazhagar seated on a horse vahana, witnesses the MeenakshiSundareswarar wedding, as the brother of Meenkashi and proceeds towards the Vaigai river. Azhagar getting into the Vaigai river is popularly referred as “Azhagar AattrilIranguthal” festival. Lakhs of devotees come to Madurai to witness this festival
As a rarity, the devotees are given the Vibhoodi (holy ash) which is the procedure only in Saivates temples.
4) Thirukkoshtiyur Divyadesam
This Divyadesam located 8 kms South-West of Thiruppathuren route Sivaganga. Main deity is Uragamellanayan also called Sowmya Narayana perumal in a reclining posture and the Thayargoddess is TirumaamagalNachiyar.
Demon Hiranyakashipu was tormenting the demigods and rishis because of his powerful boon. Once he disturbed Kadambha Maharishi in his Ashram (today’s Pattamangalam nearby) and the Maharishi cursed Hiranyakasipu that his place will be the cause of his death. Then all Devas, Rishis, Brahma and Rudra assembled in Goshti (Group) here to make a plan to eliminate Hiranyakasipu. Since they came in Goshti, this place is called Thirukkoshtiyur. As per the plan, Prahlada was born in the womb of Kayadu, the wife of Hiranyakashipu. Narad muni then gave instructions while Prahlad was in womb itself. The second part of the plan was appearance of Lord Narasimha coming out from a pillar and killing of Hiranyakashipu. This took place at Ahobilam at Andhra Pradesh.Then, on request of Kadambha Maharishi, Perumal stayed in Thirukoshtiyur as Madhavan / Sowmiya Narayan.The ashram of Kadhamba rishi is present as Adikkalam Katha Ayyanar temple at Pattamangalam nearby just outside the main Guru temple.
Temple: A 85 feet high 5 tier Rajagopuram welcomes us. The Vimanam is called AshtangaVimanam which is present in 4 tiers. Perumal is seen in these 4 tiers in “Kootradiya (Dancing), Kidandha (sleeping), Nindra (Standing), Irundha (Sitting)” postures.In the ground floor, Narthana Krishna is seen with Satyabhama and Rukmini in dancing posture.In the first floor, the main deity Uragamellanayan is found in reclining posture in response to the prayers of Kadamba Maharishi.In the second floor, Perumal is seen as UpendhraNarayanar along with Boomidevi and Neeladevi in standing posture. In the third floor, He is seen as ParamapathaNathar in a sitting posture along with Boomidevi and Neeladevi under the umbrella of Aadhiseshan.
Famous Pastime of ThirukoshtiyurNambi(Gosthipurna) and Sri Ramanujacharya took place here :
Thirukoshtiyur Nambi(Gosthipurna) was one of the Acharyas of Sri Ramanujacharya. SrilaRamanuja travelled 18 times from Srirangam to Thirukkoshtiyur to learn the Ashtaksharamanthram. Travelling from Srirangam to Thirukkoshtiyur during that time was not all that easy as is now. Every time Ramanujar informed ThirukkoshtiyurNambi, “I, Ramanujan, have come” and Nambi replied “Come back after I am dead”. He meant that the ego of “I” has to be dropped to get the learning. Only on the 18th time, Ramanujar realized and told “AdiyenRamanujan has come” and he was preached the Ashtaksharamanthram “Om NamoNarayanaya” with the condition that it should not be preached to any undeserving person without testing as he has done with Sri Ramanujar
Sri Ramanuja agreed but he got all the villagers assembled in the street, climbed up the AshtangaVimanam of this temple just opposite the house of Thirukkoshtiyur Nambi and from the top of the temple tower preached to the mankind what he learnt in a hard way,. When ThikkoshtiyurNambi warned Ramnujar that he would reach hell by his act, Ramanujar replied he is ready to go to hell for the sake of the mankind who would reach Vaikuntam and be freed of rebirth. On knowing the kindness and care of Sri Ramanujar towards mankind even at his own cost, ThirukkoshtiyurNambi was very pleased and felt guilty that he himself didn’t do it. He then gave the title of “Emperuman” to Sri Ramanujar and accepted Sri Ramanujar himself as his master.
Sri Andal regarded Sri Ramanuja as Her elder brother. In the month of Aadi, Sri Andal festival is celebrated in which She comes in procession along with Sri Ramanujar.
5) Sri Matsayamoorthy in Thuvarimaan Agraharam (Appearance place of Matsya Avatar)
The temple is located at 10 kms from Madurai on the banks of Vaigai river. There are only a few temples dedicated to Matsya Avatar of Lord Vishnu and this holy place, considered as South Dwaraka, is believed to be the avatar sthalam of Matsya Moorthy.
This temple is maintained by Tirumala Tirupathi Devathanam. Sunray’s fall on the Lord during the Sunset (6pm to 6.15pm). Sunray’s fall at the feet on the first day, on the chest on the second day and on forehead on the third day. This happens once in a year, 12th, 13th, 14th days of Phalguna masam(March).
Matsya avatar lila took place in the vicinity of Madurai on the banks of river Kritamala. Lord appeared as a fish to great devoted king Satyavrat. (Ref Sb 9th canto)