Sri Andal Temple
The Pillar-Hall, with an artistically designed front view, welcomes us. On either side of the hall, Vanamalai Jeear monastry with shops, and monastries of Vedantha Desikar and Manavalla Saint are set up.
The next to Pillar-Hall is the Divine Marriage Hall. It looks exequisitely beautiful with sculptured figures of Yali in big pillars. A statuette of Saint Appar is found in a pillar which is in the southern entrance. On the inside ceiling of this hall, the paintings of Nayakkar Dynasty period’s Ramayana have been drawn. These painting are getting defaced due to lack of proper maintenance.
Passing the Marriage Hall, we come across the hall of Flag Staff. In the columns of this hall, the carved figures of Rama, Lakshmana, Arjunan, Karnan, Rathi Devi, Manmadhan, Gugan, Kalaimagal, Veerapathirar, Sakthi, Venugopalan, Viswakarma, Rudhra kanigai, Jalandhiran and Mohini look excellently beautiful. In the northern enclosure, Old Ekadasi Hall, Glass Hall, Ointment Room, extra kitchen house and the gateway to the Heaven are found. To the south of the Flag Staff, there is a hall made of wood and in which a highly decorated Goddess Gajalakshmi statue is also seen. Nearby, there is a temple for Lord Anjaneya also. In the corner of the southwest part of this enclosure, there are panchaloga statues of Rama, Sita and Lakshmanan. In the northwest corner, there are temples for Srinivasan and Sundararajan. In the southeast corner of this enclosure, one can see Lakshminarayanan, who was worshipped by the Vaishnavite poet Periyazhvar. Nearer to it is the Madhavi Pandhal which finds reference in the Andal Thiruppavai. Upon the walls of the enclosure, 108 Vaishnavite temples have been beautifully painted.
Dhuwaraga Palagar statues have been installed on both sides of the entrance to Mahamandapam and Arthamandapam. There is a Swing Hall inside the Big Hall, which is being called “Friday Kuradu”. The statues of Thirumalai Naikkar and Chokkappa Naikkar, with their consorts, are found carved in the pillars of this hall.
Inside the Sanctum Sanctorum, Sri Andal, Rangamannar and Garudazhwar are sitting majestically on the Golden Throne. Only in this shrine, Garudazhwar can be seen sitting on equal footing with the God.
Translated from Tamil by Professor. Dr. M. Shanmugam, Ph.D., Thiruvalluvar College of Engineering & Technology, Vandavasi – 604 505, India