In Andal's Garden: Art, Ornament and Devotion in Srivilliputtur
A close focus on the temple-town Srivilliputtur of Tamil Nadu and the worship of one of south India's best-loved goddesses AndalAndal or Goda was a 9th-century Tamil poet and mystic, today worshiped as a goddess across southern India. Her vibrant, sensuous poetry, the Tiruppavai and Nacciyar Tirumoli, sings of her love for Vishnu. Her birthplace is Srivilliputtur, a small town 75 kilometers south of Madurai. Her temple in Srivilliputtur shares space with the Vishnu temple complex, one of the most important of the Tamil Vaishnava temple sites. These two temples share much in common both architecturally and ritually with two major Madurai temples: the Shaiva Minakshi-Sundareshvara temple and the Vaishnava Kudal Alakar temple. Relating the temples in Srivilliputtur to those in Madurai develops an understanding of the nature of temple ritual, myth and patronage under the Pandyans and the later Nayakas. The temple is today a frequent stop for Vaishnava pilgrims, particularly during the three major Andal festivals (March, August and December).
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