Srivilliputhur Aandal and Sri Vadabadrasayee
Centuries back, there lived a devotee of Lord Vishnu called Vishnu Chithar. Also called Periyazhwar, he has been living in Sri Villiputhur near the temple of Vadabadrasayee Perumal offering prayers to the Lord everyday sincerely. One day Periyazhwar found a baby girl in his Thulasi Garden. As per mythology she was born in Kali Yuga 98, in the month of Aadi (again believed to be inauspicious) in Puram Star on Tuesday (note the day) in Sri Villiputhur during Pandya Dynasty. According to the above belief her date of birth is 8th June 3004 B.C. Anyhow many modern historians predict that she lived during 8th Century AD. Whatever it is, she lived atleast 1300 years back or more.
Periyazhwar who was doing poojas to “Sri Vadabadhrasayee” (Perumal) temple at Srivilliputhur, found her in his garden and brought her up. He named her “Kodhai” and she grew up as an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu there. Her Bhakthi, transformed into love towards God and she wanted to marry Him.
Periyazhwar used to pick Thulasi leaves from his garden, weaved them as garland, keep it in a basket carefully to offer it to the Lord. One day, out of innocence, Kodhai took the garland, adorned herself with it to see the mirror whether she would be a suitable bride to the lord. Periyazhwar saw this act of Kodhai and got furious with her and weaved another fresh garland and offered to the God. To his surprise, the garland fell down from the God's shoulders. He tried many times but didn't succeed. He got worried and prayed the God. He heard a voice saying “Why didn’t you offer me the garland woven by Kodhai? I am eager to adorn the garland touched and felt by my devotee, Kodhai. She is not a mere mortal. She is born for me”
Periyazhwar (also called Vishnuchithar), then offerred the garland which was woven by Kodhai and God accepted his offering. Thereafter he garlanded the Lord everyday, after trying it first with Kodhai. Even today, its in practice that the garland is offerred first to the Aandal at Sri Villiputhur and the same is removed and sent to Thirupathi to adorn the Lord during Brahmotsavam. Also similar practice is followed for Kallazhagar festival at Madurai, where Kallazhagar wears the garland which is already worn by Aandal at Sri Villiputhur.
Also in Sri Villiputhur temple, Aandal is garlanded first and the same garland is offered to the Lord. When Kodhai attained the age for getting married, she was too fascinated with Lord Ranganathar of Sri Rangam as she has heard about Him from her father. Periyazhwar meditated to God without knowing what to do. God appeared in his dreams and said not to hesitate to get his daughter married to him. God also made him realize that Kodhai was none but Bhudevi herself. Kodhai (Aandal) was carried in a palanquin to Sri Rangam and she entered the inner shrine of Sri Ranganathar and joined as the eternal light with the Lord.
Aandal has given the world, two great masterpieces of literary works;Thiruppaavai and Naachiyar Thirumozhi, which are even sung today with utmost devotion in temples and homes during the month of Maargazhi. Thiruppaavai, starts with the lines “Maargazhi Thingal” (மார்கழித்திங்கள்), celebrating the dawns of Maargazhi with prayers to Lord Vishnu. The temple tower was built in 8th Century and is one of the largest in the country. The temple is located in Virudhunagar District of Tamilnadu. And this tower stands the symbol of Government of Tamilnadu.