The seat of learning

It was in Tirukoshtiyur that Sri Ramanuja was initiated into the Tirumandiram by his preceptor.

Periyazhwar describes Tirukoshtiyur as a place with big mansions and gem-studded porticos that were so brilliant that they cast shadows. Swans flocked to the fertile fields

abound with lotuses. Even cuckoos perched on huge trees seemed to sing the praise of the Lord. Periyazhwar also

reserves the highest praise for the people of Tirukoshtiyur. In Periyazhwar Thirumozhi, he says: “During famine,

grains sell at such a premium so much so that even a handful costs a gold coin. But even then the people of Tirukoshtiyur feed the guests as if everything was normal.

There was none with malice. Just seeing them seemed to fill one’s hearts with good thoughts.” Tirukoshtiyur is one of

the two Divya Desams where Thirumangai Azhwar in his Periya Thirumozhi has praised Siva for being a part of Him (of the temple). Hence, the Siva sannidhi dates back to more than 1,000 years. A special feature of the Pillayar

here is that He is seen with two hands and the sannidhi is as old as Siva’s.

During Samprokshanam, the new kalasam is first taken to the Pillayar sannidhi and then to Siva sannidhi for  installation. As part of the renovation, the Ashtanga

Vimana, a rather rare feature among the Divya Desam temples, will see a complete gold covering (atop the copper plating) weighing around 100 kg. The entire temple

complex is being given a water wash to cleanse the

walls and pillars. These days it is not easy to find devotees physically fit to carry the ancient vahanas, which are heavy,

a situation not unique here. Plans are on to build mounts that are light. There is also a new entrance/exit, from the

outside, being planned on Tier 1.

One of the special features of the temple is the exquisite centuries old mural paintings. In recent times, these paintings on Tier 2 where the Lord is seen in a standing posture (Upendra Narayana) and on Tier 3 (Lord in sitting

posture - Paramapada Nathan) had started to wither away. The entire collection will be brought back to life and is likely to add visual appeal to the second and third tiers. Yet

another highlight of the renovation is to sketch the temple legend in the form of paintings on the walls around the Prakara. Other renovation activities include a new fence for the temple tank, rest houses for devotees, new security system across the temple complex and a modern electrical

system. Plumbing work inside the temple complex is expected to ensure that water, milk, etc from the

Tirumanjanam will be collected in a single place.

The temple is administered by the Sivagangai  Samasthanam. Samprokshanam is expected to take place in

January 2017.