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near Kumbakonam
Thirunaaraiyur - Naachiyaarkovil

Thirunaaraiyur, about 10 km from Kumbakonam is famous for the Naachiyaarkovil. The Vishnu Shrine here is dedicated to Lord Srinivasa. A rare feature is, the Garuda Vaahanam made of stone. The divine consort is Naachiyaar or Vanjulavalli Thaayaar.

The unique feature of this temple is that main importance is given to Thaayaar & Peria Thiruvadi Garudaazhwar.

Medaavi maharishi prayed to have Mahalakshmi as his daughter. In order to grant his wish, Goddess Mahalakshmi appeared as a child near a Vanjula creeper. The maharishi named the child Vanjulavalli. When his daughter grew up into a beautiful maiden, he started looking for a groom. Garudazhwar led Lord Srinivasa Perumal to the Maharishi, who set certain conditions for the Lord to marry his daughter. He asked that his daughter should always get the prime importance, the place should be named after her and that the Lord should marry only his daughter and bless devotees at this sthalam with a happy wedded life. The Lord agreed to all these conditions, married Vanjulavalli Thaayaar and gives darshan in Thirumana Kolam. All rituals such as Thirumanjanam, purappaadu (procession) begin with Thaayaar and the temple is known by her name as Naachiyaar Koil.

The Gurada vaahanam in this temple, while in procession can be carried by four people in the first sannadhi. But by the time they reach the temple entrance, the weight keeps increasing & 64 people are needed to carry it. Devotees find that there is perspiration on his body during the procession. The same difference in weight can be witnessed during the return journey. He gets lighter progressively, so that finally only four people are required to carry him to the sannadhi.

Garudaazhwar is seen wearing snakes as his ornaments. There are nine snakes in all adorning his form.
Kuligan - bangle in his right hand
Thiruvalanthazhvaan - left hand
Vaasuki - sacred thread
Dakshan - waist band
Karkodagan - garland
Padman - right ear ring
Mahaapadman - left ear ring
Kuligan - head dress
Apart from these eight snakes, there is a ninth snake adorning his sword.

There is also a sannadhi for Chakrathaazhwar. There is a belief that this idol was given to Medaavi Maharishi by the Lord while bathing.

Naachiyaarkovil is the birthplace of Nambi Aandaar Nambi. Among the important festivals are Thirukalyaanam (Aug Sept), Mukkodi Utsavam (Dec Jan) and Brahmotsavam (March April). The main feature of Mukkodi Utsavam is the Garuda Seva on the 4th day when the stone idol of Garuda is taken out in a procession carrying Lord Srinivasa.

During Garudasevai, the Lord is seated on the stone Garudan & Naachiyaar on Anna Vaahanam.

(also listed under 108 Vaishnava Divya Desangal - Thiru Naraiyur in Chola Naadu).