Ninra Narayana Perumal Temple, Thiruthangal – Religious Significance
The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by Bhoothath Azhwar in one hymns and Thirumangai Azhwar in four hymns. The temple is classified as a Divyadesam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in the book. Some of the ancient Sanskrit books consider the temple as an Uthama kshetram, meaning the place that gives the best to its devotees. Divyakavi Pillai Perumal Iyengar has also eulogized the presiding deity in one of his verses.
The temple finds mention in the eighth chapter of Brahmanda Purana that deals with the story of King Puroora Chakravarthy. Puroora was a righteous king of Bharathavarsha and when he became old, he gave his kingdom to his sons. He approached to sages to direct him to the right place to do penance, who directed him to Thiruthangal. After performing austere penance, Mahavishnu appeared to him.
Devendra Vallabha, a scion of Pandya dynasty was once hunting a tiger and reached Thiruthangal. While firing an arrow at the tiger, a divine voice explained the history of the tiger. In its previous birth, the tiger was a ruler by name Chandrakethu, who did not adhere to the principles of doing penance. He was hence made to be reborn as a tiger. Mahavishnu appeared to both Devendra and the tiger. In commemoration of the event, the rock near the temple is named Puliparai (Puli means tiger and Parai indicates hill).
There was once an argument between banyan tree and Adisesha as to who would be closer to Vishnu. Brahma, the Hindu god of creation was asked to mediate and he judged in favour of Adisesha, who went on to become the serpent bed of Vishnu. Banyan tree was highly dissatisfied and he started doing intense penance praying to Vishnu at Thiruthangal. Vishnu appeared to the banyan tree and gave him a boon that he would sit over him at Thiruthangal. The rock is thus believed to be the banyan tree and thus came to be known as Thangalgiri. Based on the legend, there is a common belief that the temple provides relief to devotees suffering from mental weariness and physical fatigue.