Ulagalantha Perumal Temple (Trivikrama Temple), Tirukoyilur - Legends
The Bhagavata Purana describes that Vishnu descended as the Vamana avatar to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by Mahabali, a benevolent Asura King. Mahabali was the grandson of Hiranya kashipu, the son of Prahalada. King Mahabali was generous, and engaged in severe austerities and penance and won the praise of the world. With the praise from his courtiers and others, he regarded himself as the all powerful in the world.
Emperor Mahabali, though good natured, ever helpful to those in need, had a desire that none should exceed him in status and fame. To realize this aim, he conducted a great yajna headed by his Guru Shukracharya. Lord thought to bring down his pride. He took the form of dwarf, came to the Yajna field and sought three footsteps of land (three steps by his foot) as dhaanam (charity). Guru Shukracharya sensed some mischief in the dwarf and understood that the visitor was none other than Lord Vishnu.
He vehemently warned Mahabali and did his best to prevent his promise. Mahabali did not relent. He was only keen to keep up his word to dwarf and offered his wish. Lord took his Viswaroopa, measured the earth by one foot step and the Akasha by the second step and there was no place for the third step and asked Mahabali for the third. Mahabali gracefully accepted his inability and offered his head for the third.
Lord placed his head on Mahabali and demanded that he solemnize the dhaanam with water from his right hand. Mahabali took the water bowl to confirm his promise but Shukracharya took the form of a bee and blocked the hole of the bowl from releasing the water. Lord Vishnu took a grass piece; put it on the bowl hole that blinded the Guru. Mahabali was pressed by the Lord to the Padala Loka and taken later with him, goes the story.
Some texts also report that Vamana did not step into the netherworld, and instead gave its rule to Bali. In giant form, Vamana is known as Trivikrama. The legend is associated with Thrikkakara Temple in Kerala, but also with this temple and Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram.
Mrikanda Maharishi was engaged in severe penance & failed to get darshan of Lord Vishnu in his Vishwarupam. He did sever penance & on Lord Brahma's advice reached Krishnaranya & continued his severe penance. Lord Vishnu gave him darshan in his Vishwarupam. This accounts for the Trivikrama image here raising the right leg above the ground. The presiding deity is seen worshipped by Brahma on the right side and on the left by Mrikanda Maharishi, Namachu, Garuda, Ananta, Vishaksvenaad a host of other celebrated saint poets. The Lord is holding the conch in his right hand, instead of the Chakram, as if he were blowing on the conch after his victory over Mahabali.
In this Sthalam only, Nalayira Divya Prabandham was explained to the world and it can be said that it is the place of origin of it.
Poigai Alwar was born in Thiruvekka, is considered to be the Hamsam of Thiru Sangu of Sriman Narayanan, Bhoodhatalwar was born in Mahabalipuram, is considered to be the Hamsam of Thiru Ghadhai (Which is found in Lord Hanuman's hand) and Pei Alwar was born in Aadhikesava Perumal Koil in Thiru Mayilai (Mylapore). All these 3 Alwars took their humanity Avatars to explain the specials and greatness of Lord Vishnu. All these 3 Alwars were born in Chithirai year, in 7th Century, Iyppasi month.
Poigai Alwar belongs to Ashtami and Thiruvonam Natchathiram and was born on Tuesday, Bhoodhatalwar in Avittam on Wednesday Navami and Pei Alwar in Sathayam on Thursday (Dhasami). All these 3 Alwars born at different places but met all at once in Thirukkovilur and in this Sthalam, they got the Paramapadha life.
One day, all these 3 Alwars wanted to worship the Perumal in Thirukkovilur, Sri Thiruvikraman. One fine day, they started from their respective places to worship the Perumal, separately. First, Poigai Alwar wanted to worship, but since it rained heavily, he went to a Brahman’s house and asked for some place to stay for some time, since it was raining heavily. The Brahman gave him a small place in the house (can be said as the small hall).
Only one person can stretch his hands and legs and can feel somewhat comfortable with the place. At that time, Bhoodhatalwar, who was drowned completely due to rain, came there and asked the place to stay for some time to the Brahmana. On seeing Bhoodhatalwar, Poigai Alwar who was sleeping in the room, said that one person can sleep and if it is two persons, we can sit comfortably. And then Pei Alwar came there and all of his dress drenched and he himself was drowned in rain asked for some place there. Then, Poigai Alwar said that if it is one person, he can sleep and if it is two persons, they can sit and since it is 3 persons, they can only stand. And it is explained as a slogan by
"Oruvar Padukka - Iruvar Irukka - Moovar Nirkalam"
Like this way only, all these 3 Alwars got introduced among themselves and showed their affection and love towards each other.
All these 3 Alwars, started to sing Andhadhees (song praise of God) and finally he gave Seva to 3 Alwars.
Some more news on this Sthalam:
1. When Arjunan came along the Theertha yatra, he came to this Sthalam and took bath in Thenpennai River and worshipped Thiruvikraman. This is explained in Villi Bharatham.
2. Malaiyamaan Thirumudikkari, who is one of the 7 vallals, ruled this Sthalam. His successor Maladar Komaan, also ruled this Ksthetram. It is explained in Agappaadal.