Located 21 kms northwest of Madurai is a Vishnu Temple on a picturesque wooded hill.
Here 'Vishnu' presides as Meenakshi's brother 'Azhgar'. During the Chitrai festival in April/May, when the celestial marriage of Meenakshi to Sundareswarar is celebrated, Azhagar travels to Madurai. A gold processional icon called the Sundararajar is carried by devotees in procession from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai for wedding ritual. Palamudhirsolai, one of the six abodes of Lord Subramanya is on the same hill, about 4 kms. above. A natural spring called Nuburagangai where pilgrims bath, is located here.
Alagarkovil, a village situated very near Madurai at the foot of the range of hills called Alagarmalai, is famous for its ancient . Vaishnavite temple, and the beauty of exquisite sculptures in the hall and other 'mandapams' of the temple. The Alwars have sung in praise of the deity of the place and the hills. In addition, Nakkirar, the Tamil poet has composed several popular poems about this deity. As the place itself suggests, the temple is dedicated to Alagar who is popularly known as Sundararajar. It is said that Alagar kovil attracted pilgrims even in the early days of the Sangam age.
The temple is built on an extensive area in a very picturesque spot, surrounded by the ruins of a historic fort. The impressive main tower at the entrance, believed to have been built by the Pandyan Kings, has some beautiful sculptures depicting scenes from the epics. According to historical records, Malayadhwaja Pandyan, son of Kulasekhara Pandyan, who is said to have established the Pandyan kingdom, appears to be the earliest known monarch who patronised this temple. Jatavarman Sundara Pandyan, who reigned during the period 1251-1270 A.D., beautified the 'vimana' of the 'sanctum sanctorum' with gold plates. Later, during the reign of the Vijayanagar king Krishnadeva Raya, the temple was endowed with revenues from two villages for conducting regular festivals.
After the end of Pandya rule in Madurai, the Nayaka kings became the chief patrons of this deity. The famous Nayaka king Vishwanatha, who ruled in Madurai during 1558-1563 A.D., made magnificent donations to this temple.
The main deity of this temple is called Paramaswamy and the processional idol is called Alagar and also Sundararajan. This beautiful idol is made of pure gold and is a fine example of craftsmanship of the ancient period. The shrine of Kalyana Sundaravalli, the divine consort of Alagar, is in the southern enclosure. There is another shrine in the north dedicated to Andal who is said to have visited this place with Periyalwar from Srivilliputtur. Other important shrines are those of Sudarshanar and Yoga Narasimha.
Karuppannaswamy, the God of Kallars and the finely carved eighteen steps, are held in great reverence by the devotees. It is claimed that nobody will dare tell a lie at this spot. The hill by the side of the temple is about 300 metres high and is famous for its holy springs called Silamboru and Noopura Gangai. According to local tradition, this spring is said to have originated from the anklets of Maha Vishnu during His incarnation as Trivikrama. The 3 kms path on the hillock to the temple of the summit, where bathing facilities are available, offers some beautiful natural scenery to the visitors.
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