Ages ago, when I was a little kid, my parents had taken me to Nava Thirupathi (The 9 auspicious temples of Lord Vishnu considered equal to Tirupathi). I don't remember a thing of it!!! But this time when I went, my only stop was Sri Vaikundam. I was so blown away by its beauty. In simple words, it was as gorgeous as Thirukurungudi.
The first instruction that I got was that as soon as I enter, I'd see a gorgeous mandapa on the right, ignore it and go in, have a darshan, coz the sanctum sanctorum closes soon, then take a circumambulation, see the monkeys, then come out and see that mandapa. Monkeys? I had that exclamation that you're having now!!!
So in I went, took a darshan. Lord Vishnu here is called Choranathar or Kallarpiran. His consorts here are Choranayaki and Vaikundanayaki. Another important shrine here is of Surya or Sun God. The nine Vishnu temples are dedicated to the Navagraha or 9 planets of Hinduism. Here its Sun God!
Then I took a circumambulation, I figured out what those monkeys were. Just like many other temples of Tirunelveli, here too, atop the sunshade extension and many other places, there are simple animals, birds and reptiles depicted everywhere! Here it was mostly monkey and more active and in all grandiose than anywhere else.
The pillars have a pushpa bodhgai (dropping floral detailing on either sides of pillars just below the roof). That's common, but here no 2 looked alike.
Every flower was different! At some places the flower was replaced with a fruit eating upside down parrot.
Some of the pillars had a snake detailing atop and few had a monkey also, depicting a lovely play between them, or is it a deadly fight?!!!
Coming back soon with more about the temple and the sculptural awesomeness of this place!!!
TO GET THERE:
Dedicated to Prof.Swaminathan & Co.