Vaishnava Nambi and Thirukurungudivalli Nachiar Temple in Thirukkurungudi, a village in Tirunelveli district in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. It is located 45 km from Tirunelveli. Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha, the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Vaishnava Nambi and his consort Lakshmi as Thirukurungudivalli The temple is locally referred as Dakshina Vaikuntam, the holy abode of Vishnu.
As per accounts in the Varaha Purana, a treatise of Varaha, an avatar of Vishnu, Varaha preferred to stay at this place with his consort Varahi in a small form and hence came to be known as Thirkurungudi (literally meaning a small house). As per Hindu legend, Nambaduvan, a peasant and singer (locally called panan) from lower section of the society, was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. On account of his low life, he never entered the temple and worshipped from outside. While walking towards the temple one day, he was stopped by a demon.
He sang the verses which he set for the presiding deity to him. He also assured the demon that he will come back from the temple when the demon can consume him. Nambi, the presiding deity was pleased by his devotion and appeared outside the temple. While returning back, Nambi appeared as a Brahmin and tried to convince him to escape the demon. But Nambudavan was staunch and wanted to be true to his promise. The demon was pleased by the songs and said it did not want to consume him anymore. It is believed that the demon was a Brahmin who was cursed during his previous birth as he was not sincere doing his penance. He was relieved off his curse listening to the songs of Nambaduvan.
This kurungudi sthalam is also called as “Vaamana kshetram”, who is one of the avatharam of Sriman Narayanan, born in Puratasi month – Sukla patsham in Sravana Thuvadasi for Kaasyabha Maharishi and Athithi. The dhavadasi in which he was born is Vijaya dhavadasi.
He was teached the Savithri mantram by Suryan and Vyazha Guru Bragaspathi taught him the Brahma Soothiram. Since , Vaamanar was born to the Maharishi, his clothes and all the activities was same as how a rishi should be. He got the Dharbai from his father – Kaashyaba Maharishi Bhoomi (or) earth gave krishna Aasanam, Chandran gave him the Thandi, (Which is used as a support for the hand), Athithi gave Koupeenam (Clothes)Brahma devan gave the Kamandalam, some vessels given by Guberan and Bharadhwaja Maharishi was his Guru and teached him all the vedas. Parasakthi gave him food with her thirukkaram (hand) when he begged for food.
Inspite of taking the thirivikraman – ulagalandha perumal Kolam, Vaamanar is giving his seva as a short muni in this sthalam. Because of this, this sthalam is called as “Kurungudi”.
When Siva peruman got his brahmagathi dosham by plucking the head of Brahma devan, came to this sthalam and as advised by the Nindra Nambi, to get out of the dosham, he begged from Kurungudi Valli Thaayar for Amudham (food) to get out of the dosham as pabha Vimocchanam. And after this, he learnt the Sudharsana Japam from Vaamanar and got completly out of the Dosham.
By this sthala perumal’s Kurungudi Nambis seva only, Nammalvar born to his mother, Udaya Nangai. Thirumangai alwar got his Mukthi (attained paramapadham) in this sthalam and as a memory of this, a small temple is constructed with the name “Thirumangai Alwar Thiru varasu” in the banks of the river, which is towards the east direction of the temple.
“Nambu” means believe and “Nambi” means believed by all. As the name of the perumal, Nindra Nambi, he is believed and devoted by all the bhaktaas. Like Narayanan who gives his seva in Nindra, Kidantha and Irundha thirukkolam, Siva perumaan also gives his seva as Siva linga Swaroopan in Nindra Kolam as a dancing person. Thirukkayilai and as Thiruthaandava Kolam as a dancing person. Like the same way, Siva perumaan when came to meet and get the dharshan of Nambi perumal, he met him and got the Vimochan of the pabham. As a result of this, a separate sannadhi for Lord Shivan as “Magendranadhar”, who is found inbetween Kidantha Nambi and Iruntha Nambi perumal sannadhi.
Nearer to Kurungudi, there lived a valla Baanan (musician) who wanted to worship Kurungudi Nambi on sukla patch Ekadesi. Once, he came along the way to Kurungudi, a Brahma Raatshashan (a wild demon) was very hungry and happened to see this Baanan. It said him that since he is too much of hunger, he is going to be ate as his food. But Baanan replied him that he is going to Kurungudi to get the dharshan, of Kurungudi Nambi and after getting that, he can eat him. After getting the words from him, the demon asked him to go and will wait until he comes.
The Baanan after reaching Kurungudi, stood infront of the Kurungudi temple vaasal (entrance) Inspite of the Dhavasthambham (Kodi Maram) screened the perumal without seeing it, the Baanan started to sing on him, forgetting all things around him. After hearing this, the Kodimaram, which was infront of him made a way to the Baanan, so that he could see the Nambi perumal. He sang the Paasurams of Nammalwar with some musical way in it.
After getting satisfied on the Baanan’s devotion and his devotional songs, Kurungudi Nambi gave his seva to him and gave him the title as “Nampaaduvaan”. Nampaaduvaan can be explained as that the song was sung about the perumal and Baanan was singing it and from now he should sing always on him. And to extend this, he was gave the title as “Nampaaduvaan” by the perumal itself.
After getting the dharshan and getting the title from Kurungudi Nambi, the Baanan went straight to the Raatshashan and asked him that now he can eat him as his food. The demon asked what did he sing on the perumal? As the Baanan started to expalin it, the demon hearing it gorgot all of its hunger and let the Baanan free. Inspite of being so wild, the paasurams of perumal went along the Ears of the demon and filled not only the stomach of it but also the entrie heart and body of the Raatshashan. And the perumal asked Baanan to give the Paasuram to the Raatshashan so that he will not suffer from hunger anymore and he gave him the paasuram. This story is well explained in Varaha Puranam. This story is played as a small drama during Kausika Ekadesi.
The prasaadham (food) which is done the Naivedhyam (offered) for the perumal is offered for Lord shiva of this temple. On entering the temple, a big Mattaiyadi Mandapam is found and we can also see another Mandapam, Nadhi Mandapam. After crossing, the kodi maram is found, with lots of rare sculptures in it. Next to the mandapam, we find the sannadhi of Manavala Maamunigal. An hanging bell can be found in Kulasekara Mandapam which is offered by a king of Thiruvidhangodu to the Nambi perumal. Moolavar Nindra Nambi is also named as “Pari pooranan” and found along with two pirattiyaars, Maarkandeya Maharishi and Brighu Maharishi in Nindra kola seva.
Next to him, we can find the Vainava Nambi, the utsavar along with two pirattis, Neela Devi and Kurungudi valli thaayar.
On the south pragharam of this temple, a separate sannadhi for Lakshmi Narasimhar, Lakshmi Sametha varaha Moorthy and in west prakaram – all ten Avataars, Dasavathaar, Srinivasa perumal Andal and Kurungudi Valli Thaayar Sannadhi are found.
Also separate sannadhi for Nindra Nambi Veetrirundha Nambi, Kidantha Nambi.
Close to the Nambi’s legs, the head of the Mahabali is found. The Irundha Nambi is also named as “Vaikundhanadhan”. 5 Kms after this sthalam, Malaimel Nambi is found on the top of the mountain. Kurungudiyavan kudi is the other name for Vaamanar of this sthalam and he is found on a small Chattiram, 1/2 miles on south direction. 1/2 miles away a small river named “Thiruppaarkadal” is found, where Thriuppaarkadal Nambi Sannadhi is found.
The Moolvar of this Divyadesam is Sri Nindra Nambi. Also called as Kurungudi Nambi, Irundha Nambi, Kidantha Nambi, Vaishnava Nambi, Thiruppaarkadal Nambi and Malaimel Nambi. Moolavar in Nindra Thirukkolam giving his seva and facing his thirumugam in east direction. Prathyaksham for Lord Shivan.
Thaayar: Kurungudi valli Naachiyaar. Two separate sannadhi for two pirattis.