Thirukurungudi is a holy Divyadesam of 5 temples. Apart from the spiritual sense, every temple is an interesting place to visit & see. There are 5 temples & 5 nambhis in Thirukurungudi. While 5 Nambhis are in 3 temples (Thirukurungudi, ThiruParkadal Nambhi, Malaimel Nambhi temple), the other 2 temples are also very significant. These 2 temples are Thiruvattaparai and Thirumangai Alwar Thiruvarasu.
WHY MY companions do you blame me? It’s not my fault that I am in love with him! On seeing my Lord of Thirukurungudi, I think only of His discus, His conch, His lotus eyes and pair of coral hued lips. My heart is mine no longer!
– Thiruvaimozhi 5.5.1
Thirukurungudi Azhagiya Nambhi (Nindra Nambhi) was the one born as Swamy Nammalwar. Amarnda Nambi and Kidantha Nambi are the other Nambhis of the temple. It is also the place where the famous Kaisika Ekadashi Utsavam takes place. Everything about the temple is beautiful. Needless to say, the deity, Azhgaiya Nambhi is simply stunning. It is difficult to take one’s eyes off the deity. Swamy Velukkudi Krishnan’s wonderful words on Thirukurundi Nambhi & the temple can be found below.
The story of Thiruvattaparai is very engaging & interesting.It was a time when Sri Ramanuja was in Kerala region and his fame was spreading far and wide. Lot of people there became disciples of Sri Ramanuja (amongst whom VadugaNambhi was close to Ramanuja), which couldn’t be tolerated by the Nambhoodhiris there. So the Namboodhiris with their black magic, move Ramanuja to Thiruvattaparai overnight (just a hill separates this place from Kerala). The next day, the unsuspecting Ramanuja, thinking he is in Kerala, wakes up calling his disciple, “Vaduga.. Vaduga..“. The Nambhi of Thirukurungudi, moved by poignancy of the moment, immediately appears before Sri Ramnuja as Vaduga Nambhi and renders service to His favourite Acharya. Ramanuja had the habit of keeping his remnant Thirumaan to Vaduga Nambhi. On the eventful day too, Ramanuja keeps Thiruman, but for the Supreme Lord himself. The both then go to the main temple to worship the moolavar. The Perumal in the guise of Vaduga carried the pookkudalai and thiruthuzhai in the baskets and went past the dwaja sthambam,entered the garbha griham, placed them there and went further inside and vanished. Later when Ramanuja goes to temple, he sees the Thiruman on the deity’s still fresh & exactly as he had kept for Vaduga Nambhi. Sri Ramanuja begged His pardon, but the Lord told him that He was not satisfied with His own Avataras and that he wanted to act as a sishya to a great Acharyan and to get upadesam from him. He requested the Acharyan to preach Him the Thirumanthiram or Mahamanthiram. Accordingly Ramanuja sat on a pedastal befitting his dignity and the Lord seated himself at a lower level in an obedient posture with his right ear just below the face or mouth of Sri Ramanuja. Even to-day we can see the great teacher and the Lord in this position in the Ramanujaa’s temple at Thiruvattapaarai.
Thiruparkadal Nambhi temple is around a 15 minutes drive from here. Malaimel Nambhi Temple is located amidst forests and a stream in a hill. The very place reverberates calmness and devotion. In this picturesque location, resides Malaimel Nambhi. Thirumangai Alwar Thiruvarasu is the place where Thirumangai Alwar after rendering service to various Divyadesams attained moksha. The small temple is located amidst dense fields and is a very tranquil place. Unlike in other temples where Alwar is seen with sword & weapons, here he is seen weaponless and with folded hands, since he was leaving this materialistic world.
Getting There → Thirukurungudi is situated 47 km from Tirunelveli past Nanguneri. Valliyoor is the nearest Railway Station. Jeeps are available from Thirukurungudi to Malaimel Nambhi temple (Even if you have your own vehicle, hiring one of the many jeeps available in Thirukurungudi is recommended due to poor rood conditions and the hilly terrain). Visiting other temples (Thiruvattaparai, Thirupaarkadal Nambhi, Thirumangai Alwar Thiruvarasu) is easier when you have a vehicle. You can ask the local people / priests to take you to the these temples.