History of Srivilliputtur and its Temples:
It is believed that a long time ago Srivilliputhur was just a forest.It was called Shenbagaranyam (forest of Shenbaga trees). In his Varaga avatar, Lord Vishnu came there for a rest under a banyan tree after annihilating Kalanemi an asura king.
Villi and puttan were brothers and hunters. In one of their hunting adventure Villi lost his brother to a tiger. He was saddened. In his dream appeared Lord Vishnu and told about the Banyan tree and asked to go to to the cave. Villi found out not only the idols of Vatapatrasayee-sri Vishnu in resting posture- but also fell upon a treasure of gold and silver.
Using all the wealth Villi created Villiputtur and the temple of Vatapatrasayee. It was later renovated by Periyalvar, Pandiyas and Nayaka Kings.
Periyalwar was originally Garudalwar- the Vaganam of Lord Vishnu. On Lord Vishnu’s orders Garudalwar was born as Periyalwar.The other name is Vishnu Sittar. Periyalwar made garlands for his Lord Vatapatrasayee. He gave lectures on the philosophy of ‘saranagathi’; sung poems on God. Once he won the debates at Pandya Raja sabhai.
The king gifted him with enormous wealth.Perialwar used the money to renovate the temple.
One day to his surprise, in his garden, Vishnusittar found out the divine girl whom he named as Kothai. Actually the girl was the reincarnation of Boomadevi one of the consorts of Lord Vishnu. She was sent to Viliputtur on her own wishes to serve Periyalwar and Lord Vatapatra sayee.
Thus Andal became the foster child of Periyalwar. She became very devoted to Lord Vatapatrasayee. She plucked flowers and made garlands for the lord. But every day she wore the garlands, and then she sent them for the God. On noticing this conduct, Periyalwar felt very sorry. He scolded the child. He prepared fresh garland and offered it to Lord. But to his dismay, Patrasayee did not accept the garlands. Instead he demanded the garlands worn by Kothai Nachiyar.Immediately Periyalwar understood that Andal was a divine being. From that day onwards she became to be known as ‘Soodithantha Sudarkodi’.
The devotion wasn’t contained to flower making alone. Andal wrote hymns on Lord Krishna- Thiruppavai- 30 poems of devotion and love. She vowed to marry Lord Vishnu. Later Perialwar and Andal traveled to Srirangam on the instructions of Lord Ranganatha.There she got married to Lord Ranganatha and her soul got merged with the Lord.Periayalwar returned after marriage and built the Sri Andal temple during 7-8th centuries. In reverence to Andal and Periyalwar, Villiputtur has become Srivilliputtur. Sri represents ‘Sridevi’, ‘Lakshmi’ in Sanskrit.