Have you ever seen a coconut tree with multiple branches? Or have you ever heard of a coconut tree with multiple branches? If your answer is “No” to the above questions ,please visit Thrukurungudi a small town in Tirunelveli district but a historical place visited by some of the famous Vaishnava Alwars. You can see for yourself this hidden natural wonder( Not publicized and not known to many ). In this post I am trying to cover this natural wonder so that others may come to know of the rich traditions and wonders of our land.
In the month of Oct 2017, my husband and I undertook a pilgrimage visit to Nava tirupathi Temples, Nanguneri and Thirukurungudi in Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu which are classified in the list of 108 Divyasthalams of the Vaishnavites.
We hired a taxi to visit the Nava tirupathi temples, Nanguneri and Thirukurungudi. After visiting Nanguneri(vanamamalai) which is about 25 kms from Tirunelveli railway junction, we proceeded to Thirukurungudi(known as Vamana shetram) about 15 kms from Nanguneri, where there are five Nambis(The word nambi in Tamil means trust and in this context refers to a the lord, the man who is trusted by every one) and five temples .See the map below
Map showing Navathirupathi temples, Vanamamalai(Nanguneri) and Thirukurungudi
Most of the temples in this area close by 12 noon or even earlier depending the pilgrims rush. We decided to start with Malaimel nambi temple as this is more difficult to access.
- Malaimel nambi temple
The Malaimel nambi temple is about 12 kms from Thirukurungudi which is on a hillock ( The Tamil term Malai means “hill”). The deity there is known by name Malai nambi. The approach to the temple is through rough rocky terrain for 9 kms. It comes under the Tamil Nadu forest department. Private vehicles are not allowed to enter this area. We had to leave our cab outside and take the forest department permitted jeeps to go up the hill. The jeeps charge around Rs.800/- for one up down trip and the cost gets shared depending on the number of people. In our case we hired the full jeep as there were no fellow travelers. The ride was very bumpy and it tested our ability to bear the shocks. En route there were big boulders and the local drivers negotiated skillfully although we feared that sometimes the jeep might overturn. Finally we reached the destination- Malaimel nambi temple. Alighting from the jeep was a great relief and was an adventurous journey. The place was serene and had a scenic view. We could see hills all around . It is believed that Lord Hanuman lifted himself off to Srilanka from one of the surrounding hills. A beautiful stream flowed down, although there was not much water as monsoon had not started. When we visited this place during our earlier visit in the month of January, there was more water in the stream and it delighted us more.We worshipped the deity ( Malai Mel Nambi) who is in the standing posture and returned down the hill to get back into our waiting cab. The calmness and ambience of this place gave us immense satisfaction.
Forest Check post on Our approach to Malaimel Nambi temple
Streams near the Malaimel nambi temple
Malaimel Nambi temple
- Thirukurungudi temple – The main deity is known by various names Kurungudi nambi/ Ninra nambi (Standing posture), Amarntha nambi/ Irundha nambi (Sitting posture) or Vaikuntanathan, Kidantha nambi( Vaduga nambi/ Vaishnava nambi) (lying position). This temple houses three Nambis.
Main entrance view
- Thiruparkadal nambi temple
- There is also a temple Thiruvattaparai, dedicated to Ramanujar– Udayavar ( Ramanujar) Sannadhi.
Here, Thiruvattaparai Ramanujar is said to impart Mantra Upadesam and the Lord eager to learn the mantra from Ramanjuar appeared as his disciple Vaduga nambi and learnt the mantra.
- Thirumangai alwar temple, Thiruvarasu where Thirumangai alwar attained the heavenly abode or motscham.
As we prepared to go back to Tirunelveli, the cab driver told us that he would show us a surprise before we leave the place. He took us to a coconut grove. There was one coconut tree that caught our attention. What a surprise! It had five branches. See the picture below:
Coconut tree with multiple branches
We had never heard of something like this before. In fact it was our second visit to Thirukurungudi. We hadn’t seen this during our earlier visit. Not many people are aware of this. There is no publicity for this natural wonder. The priests there say that the coconut tree there was naturally grown and symbolizes the five nambis. The place was blessed by the holy feet of Thirumangai alwar and considered very sacred. We could see this natural wonder this time. We took some good snaps with our mobile although it was very difficult to see considering the height of the tree and branches covering one another.
We concluded our 3 day trip to Tirunelveli and returned to Bangalore with enriched knowledge .Thirukurungudi is still in our hearts.