Thirukotiyur Temple
Proper name Thirukoshtiyur Temple
Country India
State Tamil Nadu
District Sivaganga
Location Tamil Nadu, India
Primary deity Sowmya Narayana Perumal(Vishnu)
Architectural styles Dravidian architecture

Thirukoshtiyur is a village located near Tirupathur (on Tirupathur-Sivaganga road) on the way to Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu. It is 9 km from Thirupathur.

This place has an importance among Vaishnavites on account of the Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple, which is one of the 108 divya desams, the holy shrines for the Vaishnavites. It comes under paandya naatu thiruthalangal (region once ruled by pandyas).

Etymology, names and significance

Thirukoshtiyur, derived from its native name Thirukotiyur. During Kritha yuga, Rishis, devas and people were tortured, anguished by the asura Hiranyakashipu as the vengeance for Hiranyaksha's death in hands of Lord Vishnu in the form of Varaha Avatar. Devas, Rishis approached Brahma and Shiva for the solution. In response Brahma, Shiva, all devas, Saptha Rishis decided to meet at one place to discuss regarding. Finally all chose Thirukotiyur as the spot. Together they came like a group and so the name came as Thirukoshtiyur, koshti means in group or as a team.

Thirukoshtiyur is known for its great temple, Sowmya Narayana Perumal temple ( Thirukovil means temple ). One of the 108 Divya Desams in India. The Divya Desam are shrines of Vaishnava worship that have been glorified by the Azhwars.

Periazhwar in his work Periazhwar Thirumozhi visualizes Thirukoshtiyur as the birthplace of Sri Krishna.

Sri Sowmya Narayana Perumal Thirukovil

Sri Sowmya Narayana Perumal Thirukovil, surrounded by a high walls on its four sides, with a Rajagopuram (Main tower) at the entrance which is spectacular to behold. The inner infrastructure, mainly sannidhis (separate shrines) are unlike other temples. Inside the temple complex, The shrine for Narayana is constructed in form of three stages, similar to that of three floors in a building. This interprets as Boologam (earth), Thiruparkadal, Vaikundham. Narayana appears in three stages in three forms. In Ground floor as Krishna in dancing posture. Next level he is sayana thirukolam (sayana = reclining, thirukolam = posture), a posture resting on Adhisesha. And top most level in standing posture as Sri Sowmya Narayana Perumal. This form of appearances of Narayana has been poetically described as Nindran (means Standing posture), Kidanthan (means sleeping posture), Aadinan (means dancing posture) by Alwars.


Sri Ramanuja and Thirukoshtiyur are inextricably connected in Vaishnava lore. Ramanuja was advised by Thirukachi Nambigal (Thirukachi is place and Nambigal means sage) to visit Thirukoshtiyur and learn the ' Sacred 8 letter hymn ', Ashtakshara manthra from Thirukoshtiyur Nambigal(i.e. Thirukoshtiyur sage). Accordingly, Ramanunja travelled 18 times all the way from Srirangam to Thirukoshtiyur for learning the "Ashtakshara Manthram" ("Om Namo Narayanaya!!") from the Thirukoshtiyur nambigal. Each time Ramanuja tried to meet the Nambigal but was ultimately rejected by Nambigal. This continued for 17 times and at last 18th time when Ramanuja arrived and knocked the doors of Nambigal ashram saying "Adiyen Sri Ramanujan vanthurukiren..!" ( which means "Beloved student Sri Ramanuja has arrived!!") on which he was allowed to enter. The reason why Ramanuja was denied 17 times and allowed during his 18th time is that, Ramanuja introduced himself as "Adiyen Ramanujan" (means Beloved student Ramanuja ) in 18th time unlike his past visits in which he introduced himself as "I, Ramanuja have arrived". The word " I'm ", which indicates his egocentrism, led Thirukachi Nambi to reject him. When his ego vanished in word and deed during this 18th visit, he was considered eligible for learning the Ashtakshara manthram.

Thirukoshtiyur Nambigal blessed Ramanuja with the 'Sacred 8 letter hymn' Ashtakshara manthram ("Ohm Namo Narayanaya!!") and told him not to preach to anyone. Nambigal also warns that if Ramanuja disobeys the order, Ramanuja will attain hell. Ramanuja climbing to the top of temple, summoned the whole village people and delivered the Ashtakshara manthram. The act enkindled nambigal and he started questioning, for which Ramanuja replied "Because of the manthram many will attain moksha for which I am glad to go to hell". Nambigal was overwhelmed with kindness showed by Ramanuja and he bestowed the name "Emperumanar" on Ramanuja, which is used to this day by those of the Srivaishnava sect. It is said the event happened in front of Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswami sannidhi, small shrine present on the way towards the Sowmya Narayana Perumal sannidhi.

See also

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