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KALALAGAR TEMPLE IN MADURAI
HISTORY OF ALAGAR TEMPLE IN MADURAI
Alagarkoil is one of the important Vaishnava temples in Tamilnadu. It stand close under the southern end of the hill called Alagar Malai or Thirumalirumcholai Malai which runs about 15 miles from east to west. Alagar Malai is about 12 miles north east of Madurai city. Alagarkopil temple is situated 888 feet above se level and lies on latitutde 10.5 and longitude 78.14.
Alagarkoil temple is situated at the foot hills of AlagarMalai. The temple Lord Alagar is facing east. It is surrounded by two fortified walls.
The earliest references about Alkagar koil is found in Paripadal one of the Sangam anthologies composed by Ilampervaluthi. It refers to Alagarkoil hill as”Irunkunram” as the seat of Vasudeva and Baladeva worship suggesting the popularity of Vyuba concept in this part of the country as early as 3rd or 4th century A.D Ten Idylls or Pathu Pattu another anothology of the Sangam literature also refers Alagar Koil as “Irunkunran”. Silappathikaram, one of the twin epics of Sangam Age mentions Alagarmalai. Alagarkoil was reputed in the Silappathikaram as a place well known for temple. Bhutalavar one of the earliest Alvars and contemporary of Pallava King Mahendravarman mention Alagarmalai. The literacy evidence clearly proves that Thirumalirumsolai Malai existed even before the time of Mahendra Varman I (A.D. 590 – 630). Thirumalai Alvar, A Vaishnava hymnist of the 8th century A.D. had sung the glory of Lord Alagar of Alagar koil as Thirumalairumsolai Perumal in 30 verses which also refers about the existence of Buddhists and Jains at the place.
Idaikatti Chitta and Bhaga Munivar in their usimuri and Jenana Sangaram respectively have referred to Alagarkoil “as Irunsolaimalai” and also mention about existence of “Chitta Maruthuva Manram” that is a medical centre of Siddhas. The Koilolaya a legendary history of the Srirangam Temple preserved in the temple records speaks of two Muslim invasions (A.D.1327 and 1371) of Srirangam temple when the idol of Lord Ranganatha was hidden in a well called Alagaiyamanavala at Solaimalai.
1 .Sri Kal Alagar Varalaru, Temple , Madurai 1970, p.2.