Presiding deity: Pundarikakshan, Thamaraikannan the Lotus Eyed Lord
Position Standing: facing east
Proession : Goddess Pangayachelvi
Holy tree: Bilwa tree
Holy spring: Kusha, Manikarnika, Chakra, Pushkala, Varaha, Gandha and Padma
Vimanam-Tower : Vimalakrutha Vimanam
Managalasasanam Periyazhwar and Thirumangai Azhwar
Garuda (the divine eagle) Shibi, Markandeya, Brahmma and Shiva had the darshan of the lord in this shrine.
In a pleasant environment in Thiruparkadal (the ocean of milk) the Lord and Mahalakshmi were happily spending some time. The Lord said that all the beings were happy due to the motherly love showered by Mahalakshmi, he was very happy and offered a boon to her. Mahalakshmi said that no boon would be greater or profitable when she had the pleasure of being in the very heart of the Lord. Yet she claimed greater rights than the Devas in the ocean of milk as it was her birth place. The Lord said that as he happened to be the supreme authority of the place presently, he would fulfill her desire when he would give darshan to Emperor Shibi in Earth.
When the domination of the demons grew high in South India, emperor Shibi marched to the place with his army. On the way, a white swine was giving them trouble obstructing their march. The army could not get hold of the animal. It was elusive even to the emperor and hid itself in a cave in the hill.
While chasing the animal around the cave, Shibi came in contact with Muni Markandeya and told him of his experience. The Muni told him how lucky he was to see the lord in the form of the Swine while he was waiting long for his darshan and advised the king to perform milk abishek to the anthill there. The Lord appeared before the Muni and the King. He also told Mahalakshmi who was with him on the occasion that he would ha all the rights to her in this place and would be simply in a idol form only here.
The king took leave of all and proceeded on his aim of destroying the demons. Sage Markandeya asked the king to turn back to his land as Lord would be incarnating as Rama and would be destroying the demons. The king felt sad to turn back. The sage advised him to build a temple for Lord who gave him Darshan. Shibi felt happy and brought 3,700 families for building the temple. One died on the way. The lord told Shibi that he need not feel for the loss of the person and he could replace him and take care of the whole group.
As per the boon of the Lord, Mother Shenbagavalli took the premier place and comes before the lord in palanquin during the festival occasions.
Structure of the temple:
The temple is on a white rock hill of 50 feet height. Vellarai means white rock hence the name Vellarai with a prefix Thiru denoting respect – Thiruvellarai.
The construction of the tower is incomplete. There are rooms in the temple built of stone. Sounds echo from here.
Pundarekan, a yogi established a garden here and worshipped the Lord with the Tulsi leaves grown here. The Lord pleased with his worship, gave darshan to him and came to be known as Pundarikakshan.
Being one of the 108 Divyadesas, Uyyakondar Engalzhwan, a great Vaishnava Acharya was born here. There are 18 steps to the temple representing the 18 chapters of Baghvat Gita. The next 4 steps to entrance represent the Four Vedas. Then after worshipping the Balipeeta, one has to cross five steps representing the Panchabudhas called Fire, Water, Space, Air and Earth. Then there two entrances to view the Lord representing the two Ayanas (Six months of the year). One entrance would be open from Adi to Margazhi month – July-August to December January, while the other is open in Uthrayana covering the months Thai to Ani – January-February to June-July.
The Balipeeta – the sacrificial platform, is an important spot in the temple. People place their prayers here to the Lord. After getting the result of the prayer, the devotees bathe the Balipeeta and offer Pongal to the Lord. After a bath in the months of Karthikai –September-October- on Sundays, people consume the nivedhana Pongal to get offsprings.
Chitra Poornima and Gajendra Moksham in the month of Chithirai-April-May. Sri Jayanthi or Lord Krishna’s birthday in Avani, August-September with a grand procession and Brahmmotsavam in Panguni, March-April.
Thirvellarai temple is on the Trichy-Thurayur road at 20 km distance. Bus facilities are conveniently available from Trichy Chathiram bus stand to Thiruvellarai. Nearest railway station and airport are Trichy.