Alagar Koil is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It is situated at a distance of 21 km from Madurai, on foot of Alagar hills, amongst the natural beauty of the woods. The Vaishnavite temple is famous for its beautiful sculptures and exquisite 'mandapams'. It is believed that pilgrims visited Azhgar Kovil even in the early days of the Sangam age. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Vishnu came to this place from his heavenly abode to give away Goddess Meenakshi in marriage to Lord Sundareswarer.
Here, Lord Vishnu resides as Azhgar, brother of Meenakshi. A huge crowd
of devotees is seen here in the month of April/May when Chithirai
Festival is celebrated. During the festival, wedding ceremony of Goddess
Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarer takes place and Lord Azhgar travels to
Madurai. A gold processional idol of Azhgar, called Sundararajar, is
carried in procession by the devotees from Alagar Koil to Madurai for
the divine wedding ritual.
The splendid main tower at the entrance is believed to have been built
by the Pandyan Kings. According to the historical background of the
place, Malayadhwaja Pandyan, son of Kulasekhara Pandyan, was the
earliest known monarch to patronize the temple. Jatavarman Sundara
Pandyan beautified the 'vimana' of the shrine with gold plates. After
the Pandya rule, the Nayakas patronized the deity.
The main deity of this temple is called Paramaswamy and the
processional idol is called Alagar or Sundararajan. The stunning idol is
made of pure gold and is an exquisite example of craftsmanship. There is
shrine of Kalyana Sundaravalli, the divine consort of Alagar, in the
southern enclosure. There is another shrine in the north dedicated to
Andal. Other important shrines are of Sudarshanar and Yoga Narasimha.
There is another shrine nearby, dedicated to Karuppannaswamy, the God
of Kallars. There are finely carved eighteen steps, which are an object
of both worship and amazement by the devotees. It is claimed that nobody
dares to tell a lie at this spot. The place is also known for its holy
springs called Silamboru and Noopura Gangai. According to local
tradition, these springs originated from the anklets of Maha Vishnu
during His incarnation as Trivikrama.