Located in Mandya District, Karnataka, 35 km north of Srirangapatna on the banks of the Cauvery, at the foot of Yadava Giri, Thiru Narayana Perumal temple in Melkote dates back to the Kretha Yuga and is referred to as Dakshina Badri. Brahma’s sons Sanatkumaras brought their father’s pooja idol ‘Lord Narayana’ and installed it at Melkote. Thiru Narayanapuram is one of the four famous Swayambu Kshetrams, the other three being Srirangam, Kanchipuram and Tirupati. (Cover photo courtesy: wikipedia.org)
Lord Rama, who had given his aradhana puja idol, Ranganatha, to the newly crowned Lanka King Vibheeshana, was left without an idol for his daily pujas. Brahma is said to have provided the idol of Selva Pillai to Rama who later passed this on to his sons, Lava and Kusa. When Kusa’s daughter married a Yadava prince, this idol was given as part of the gifts and thus moved to the lunar dynasty from solar.
The story goes that Vaira Mudi (the diamond crown) belonging to Lord Paramapatha Nathan in Vaikuntam was stolen by Prahalada’s son Virochana. Garuda managed to recover the crown and hand it over to Krishna.
One of the other highlights at this temple was the Araiyar Sevai. Araiyar sevai is a Tamil performing art form, centered on the ritual singing and enactment of the hymns of the Divya Prabhandam. Araiyar sevai is generally performed only inside Vaishnavaite Temples in the presence of the temple uthsavar — the temple’s processional deity — by hereditary performers.This is one of the four Vishnu temples in India where Araiyar Sevai is still performed, the others being Srirangam, Srivilliputhur and Azhwar Thirunagari.
Selva Pillai story
The utsava deity Rama Priyan got the name thanks to Ramanuja. The idol was taken away by a Sultan and the preceptor went in search of it. Lord came in Sri Ramanuja’s dream and gave details about his presence in Sultan’s palace .The Sultan displayed several idols and asked him to identify Rama Priyan. A puzzled Ramanuja called, “Adiyen, Vaareer En Selva Pillai.” The Lord, as a baby, ran up and sat on Ramanuja’s lap. The name stayed. Ramanuja stayed here for 12 years and set up processes for daily pujas, rituals and annual festivals.
Ashta Theertotsavam during Raja Mudi Brahmotsavam in Karthigai, Thai Punarvasu festival commemorating Ramanuja’s arrival in Thiru Narayanapuram and the nine-day Krishnaraja Thirunal are a few of the other important utsavams that are celebrated here.
It is believed that childless couples who bathe in the Kalyani Pushkarani for eight days and offer prayers to Thiru Narayanan are sure to be blessed with progeny.
From Bangalore, one can reach Melkote in two hours (about 135 km) by road via Mandya-Jakkanahalli.
The deity ( Perumal) of this temple demonstrated
– that God can show his love directly to devotees if the devotion is true and selfless.
– Also Perumal in this temple reinforced the belief that the stone or statue or idol in a temple is not a lifeless principle and the power and the blessing potential of the idol is directly and proportionally related to devotee’s Sraddha and Bhakthi.
Childless couples who bathe with devotion in the Kalyani Pushkarani (Temple tank) for 8 days and offer special prayers to ThiruNarayanan are said to be blessed with a child.
Om Namo Narayanaya !