Thirukannapuram Divyadesam Sowriraja Perumal Temple is located 30 KM from Kumbakonam on the way to Thiruvarur, Tanjore District, Tamilnadu which is one among the Five Krishraranya Kshetrams.
The Main Deity is glorified as Thiru Neelamega perumal along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi Thayar . The Processional deity is worshipped as Lord Sowriraja perumal. Lord Sowriraja perumal is seen with prayoga chakkra in his hands. The place is considered as Bhoolokha vaikundam. This Vaishnava Divya desam temple is located on the Kumbakonam / Mayavaram-Nannilam-Nagapattinam route. One has to get down at Thiru Pugalur and take auto (2kms). The temple can also be reached directly from Thiruvarur. The temple has a 7-tier rajagopuram and a vast temple complex. The Nithya pushkarini just in front of the Temple is so vast that it looks more like a large lake As we go around the main sanctum we can have darshanam of Thirumangai Azhwar, Vibishanan, and Lord Sri Raman sanctum. sanctorium There is a separate sanctum for Swamy Ramanujar to north side of Pushkarani.
There is an interesting pastime related to this wonderful Srivaishnava divyadesam related to the ‘savuri’ ( hair grown to the deity ).
It so happened , once the temple priest presented a garland that was offered to the Lordships to a women who had come there to have darshan of Lord . ( This was a regular practice of the temple ). The Chola king who was passing by unexpectedly visited the temple. The Priest was worried and somehow managed to get the garland given to the women for presenting the same to the King .
The king who received the garland , to his surprise noticed a strand of hair in the garland and became furious. To escape from his anger and further wrath, the priest humbly submitted to the king that the Lord had a tuft of hair and that strand of hair was from the tuft.
The King forced the priest to prove his innocence . Terrified with the Kings roar , the priest rushed into the sanctum and prayed LORD to rescue him from the Kings temper and save his life .
To save the priest, the Lord out of abundant mercy , gave darshan with a black ‘savuri’ in to the king. From that day on, He has been known as ‘Sowriraja Perumal’.
As Tirupati is famous for ‘laddu’ prasad , Srirangam for ‘payasam’, Thirukannapuram is famous for ‘muniyodharan pongal’. The origin of this prasad is also interesting which has the name Munayadarayan .There was a chieftain, Munayadarayan by name, who was ruling this Nagapattinam region .
He used to honour his food only after praying to Lord Sowri Raja Perumal of Thirukannapuram and due to his devotion he spent all his wealth in the service of the Lord .
For defaulting tax payment to the king, he was arrested. The Lord appeared in the dream of the king and ordered him to release Munayadarayan immediately. When the chieftain returned from the custody at night, his wife served him Pongal . As usual he offered it to the Lord at the temple .But the temple doors were closed .He became sad and so he offered the prasadam through his manasika pooja and then honored the prasadam.
Next day, when the priest opened the temple, they found to their surprise the pudding was seen on the lips of the Lord Sowri Raja Perumal. . The king also was surprised to see the Lord accepting the Pongal offered by the chieftain. Since then , Pongal is offered to the Lord during the night puja and this is called Munayadarayan Pongal.
Once a year, on the occasion of Maasi Magam, the Lord is taken on a procession to the sea shore near Karaikal, about 20 kms from here.
This is the temple where the Lord showed Vibheeshana, brother of Demon king Ravana, his walking beauty. After seeing the sleeping beauty of Vishnu as Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam, Vibheeshna wanted to see the walking beauty of the Lord, upon which he was directed by the Lord to his “Keezh(akku) Veedu’ (Eastern Gateway of the Lord). It is believed that Lord Vishnu displayed his ‘walking beauty’ to Vibheeshana here on the new moon day. To mark this event, on every Amavasya day at 12noon, Lord SowriRajan is carried out of the Sanctum and walks to the Vibheeshna Sannidhi.
This is the temple where the Lord showed Vibheeshana, brother of Ravana, his walking beauty. After seeing the sleeping beauty of Vishnu as Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam, Vibheeshna wanted to see the walking beauty of the Lord, upon which he was directed by the Lord to his “Keezh(akku) Veedu’ (Eastern Gateway of the Lord). It is believed that Lord Vishnu displayed his ‘walking beauty’ to Vibheeshana here on the new moon day. To mark this event, on every Amavasya day at 12 noon, Lord SowriRajan is carried out of the Sanctum and walks to the Vibheeshna Sannidhi.
There is no ‘Swarga Vasal’ for this temple as they say that one can reach ‘Vaikunta’ if they just step on this soil and worship the LORD here It is believed that there is a ‘pulling power’ in the sanctum sanctorum of this temple and even to this day, one can feel and experience this effect.
One more legend speaks about the greatness of this holy dhaam. Once , Garuda was returning from the milky ocean carrying the nectar for his mother as promised With pride ,he flew with the nectar that was not available to all. While flying over this place , he lost his power and fell in the nearby ocean. Realizing that he had committed a sin, he performed penance here and begged pardon of the Lord.
The Lord out of compassion graced him and took him as his vehicle. As the reminder of this event , every Feb- March ( tamil month ) Masi Magam, the lord goes to the seashore and blesses all his devotees there.
Hence the devotees greet the Lord calling him as Mappillai – son-in-law. On the 7th day of ( April- May ) Vaikasi, Lord gives darshan in (TriMoorthy Swaroopam)- Maha Vishnu in the day, Brahmaa in the night at around 11pm and Lord Shiva early next morning..