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Divya Desams In Kerala – Original 13 But Now 11 Divya Desams In Kerala

As per ancient records, Kerala was known as Malai Nadu and there were 13 Divya Desams in the regions. But after the state reorganization after Indian Independence two of the Divya Desams are in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu.

Thirteen Vishnu temples are regarded as ancient and especially sacred because they have received homage and praise from the Alwars (devotional saints). These temples figure in the Tamil devotional hymns of three saints – Kulashekhara Alwar, Nammalvar and Thirumangai Alwar – who were great champions of the bhakti movement of 7th – 8th century AD.

Nammalvar who is considered the greatest among the Tamil Vaishnava mystic saints, has sung in praise of all the temples except one, Vittuvakkodu. However, this temple has received mangalasasana (encomiums) from Kulashekhara Alwar in this well known Perumal Thirumozhi no. 5. Four of these shrines figure in the hymns of Thirumangai Alwar.

The 13 Divya Desams Are:
  1. Thiruppathisaram Thiruvaazhmaarban Temple (Kanyakumari District In Tamil Nadu)
  2. Thiruvattar Sri Adikesava Perumal Temple (Kanyakumari District In Tamil Nadu)
  3. Thiruvananthapuram Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple
  4. Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Temple
  5. Thrichittatt Maha Vishnu Temple
  6. Thiru Puliyoor Mahavishnu temple
  7. Thiruvaranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple
  8. Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple
  9. Thrikkodithanam Maha Vishnu Temple
  10. Thrikkakara Vamana Moorthy Temple
  11. Thirumoozhikkalam Lakshmana Perumal Temple
  12. Thirumittakode Anchu Moorthy Temple
  13. Thirunavaya Nava Mukunda Temple

Thirunavaya Nava Mukunda Temple in North Kerala is dedicated to Mukunda or Narayan in standing posture. The shrine is located on the banks of Bharathapuzha River. There is also a separate shrine for Goddess Lakshmi. The greatness of this temple has been sung by Nammalvar (13 verses) and Thirumangai.

Thirumittakode Anchumoorthi Temple in Palakkad District is a unique temple as Vishnu is believed to have appeared in five forms before the five Pandava brothers. Saint Kulashekhara has devoted ten songs in praise of the deity. In one of the famous songs, he compares himself to the bird in mid ocean which has no other place to land than the shaft of the boat; so also he has no other place of refuge than the holy feet of the Vishnu at Thirumittakode.

Thrikkakara Vamana Moorthy Temple is located in Ernakulam District. The presiding deity also known as Thrikkakara Appan and Vamana is in standing posture. Nammalvar has devoted eleven verses on the holiness of this temple (Thiruvaimozhi 9.6).

Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal Temple is located near Angamali in Thrissur District. The legend of the temple is associated with Lakshman of Ramayana. The beauty of the place and the deity have been praised by Nammalvar in ten verses in his Thiruvaimozhi (9.7) and also Thirumangai.

Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Temple is located at Thiruvalla in central Kerala and the deity is known as Kolappiran or Sri Vallabha. Nammavar and Thirumangai have sung each on this temple.

Thiruvanvandoor Mahavishnu Temple is located in Alleppy District and Lord Vishnu is worshipped here as Pambanaiyan or Kamalanathan. Nammalvar has sung in praise of the temple in Thiruvaimozhi.

Thrichittatt Maha Vishnu Temple at Chengannur – Lord Vishnu is known as Imayavar Appan, the name which occurs in Nammalvar decade on the temple. He also mentions that there were three thousand Vedic reciters in this village located on the bank of Chittar River.

Thiru Puliyoor Mahavishnu Temple near Chengannur – The name of deity here is Mayappiran. Nammalvar mentions the place as  'Kuttanad Tirupapuliyur' in his decade on the place.

Thiruvaranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple – This famous and vibrant temple on the banks of Pampa River is an important temple in Kerala. Nammalvar sings its glory and religious importance in Thiruvaimozhi 7.10.

Thrikkodithanam Maha Vishnu Temple is eight km from Thiruvalla. The presiding deity is known as Adbhuta Narayana or Amrita Narayana. Nammalvar sings about the glory of the temple.

Thiruvattar Sri Adikesava Perumal Temple is located in Kanyakumari District and the presiding deity worshipped here is reclining posture. In pasurams, Nammalvar refers Thiruvattar as 'Valamikka vattaru'.

Thiruppathisaram Thiruvaazhmaarban Temple, also known as Thirupathisaram Kuralappa Perumal Temple, is located near Nagercoil. It is the birthplace of Nammalvar’s mother. Nammalvar sang in praise of the shrine.

Thiruvananthapuram Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple – Nammalvar has sung in praise of the shrine. In pasurams, Nammalvar refers Sree Padmanabhaswamy as "Thamarai Manaalan" and Thaayar (Mahalakshmi) of this temple as Sree Hari Lakshmi Thaayar.