This is one of the 108 divya-desams of the Sri Vaishnavas.
This is a historic place and temple in relation to the ancient epic Ramayana of Lord Rama.
This is the place where:
a) Vibhishana surrendered to Lord Rama.
b) Samudra Raja (the Ocean God) surrendered to Lord Rama.
c) Lord Rama, along with the monkeys, built the Sethu karai (Sethu Bridge) to go to Lanka from here.
The presiding God is Adi Jagannatha, Goddess is Padmasini Thaayaar. Two of the other Sannidhis (altars) are dedicated to deities of Lord Rama – Pattabhi Ramar and Darba Sayana Ramar.
Tirupullani Jagannatha temple is among the 108 divya-desams of Sri Vaishnavas. Sri Kalyana Jagannathar is the presiding Deity with His consorts Kalyanavalli Thaayaar and Padmasini Thaayar.
While addressing on Padmasini Thaayar, Sri U. Ve. Velukkudi Krishnan Swami made reference of below verses from Sri Suktam.
Padmapriye, padmini, padmahasthe, padmalaye, padmadalaayathakshi.
Viswapriye Vishnu manonukoole twat pada padmam mayi sannidasthwa.
Hiranyavarnaa harineem suvarna rajaathastrajam,
Chandraam hiranmayeem jatha vedo ma aavaha.
Since Vibishan fell at Sri Rama’s feet for complete Saranagathi (surrender) at this place, it is also known as "Saranagati Kshetram". Also Ocean Lord and his wife sought Saranagathi here.
Sri Rama did fasting and penance on grass in Sayana (sleep) pose for seven days, thus the place got its name as Tirupullani meaning the place where the Lord’s bed was grass. Normally, the Lord appears in sayana sleep pose only on the serpent bed. However, in this kshetram he is lying - “anai”: on “pull” : grass in Tamil language. And Thiru means Lord. Thus the word Thiru- pull- anai : Thirupullani. Close to Tirupullani at a distance of 4 kms is Sethu Karai or the shore.
As per Sri Vaishnavas, King Dashratha performed putra-kamesthi yajna here in front of Lord Adi Jagannatha and thus obtained four sons. These Deities were worshipped by Lord Rama when he came here. It is also said that the Deities gave Lord Rama a Sarangam bow by which he could defeat Ravana.
The three altars in the temple are:
1) Adi Jagannatha, closeby is Thaaayar (consort) in the next altar.
2) Darbhashayana Rama – Lord Rama sleeping on darbha grass.
3) Pattabhiramam – Lord Rama giving darshan alongwith Sitadevi and Laxman.
Thirupullani is also known as Dharbasayanam or Pullaranya Shetram in Ramanathapuram District is one of the most sacred Vaishnava temple to the Hindus lies about 08 km away from Ramanathapuram. It is one of the 18 Thirupathi's in the Pandya Kingdom. The presiding deity of the renowned temple here is Sri Adhi Jagannatha Perumal with His consort Sri Padmasani Thayar. It is one of the all India Pilgrimage centre because of its association with the great Epic Ramayana and only here Sri Rama came and worshiped the presiding deity Sri Adhi Jagannatha Perumal and secured a divine bow to fight against Ravana. It is here that Sri Rama have laid for three days on kusha grass facing the sea and invoked the aid of the sea God for safe passage to Sri Lanka. Sri Vibishana with his consort surrendered at the feet of Lord Rama and hence known as Sarnagathi Sthala - a place for unqualified surrender to the Lord. It is here that Rama preached the doctrine of "Surrender" that is applicable even today, several thousands of years after this incident. The temple is glorified by 20 holy verses of Thirumangai Azhwar in his "Periya Thirumozhi". The temple with magnificent Rajagopuram is a feast to the eyes.
In Ramayana, Ravana, took away sita and captured her as a prisoner in Lanka. Sri Rama, on hearing the action performed by Ravana, had to take proper and immediate action to get out Sita Piratti from Ravana. But, Ravana's brother Vibhishana who lived along with him doesn't liked the low act of Ravana and advised him to return Sita Piratti to Lord Rama, else the whole Lanka might get into danger. On hearing the advise from Vibhishana, Ravana got angry on him and asked him to get out of Lanka and join along with Sri Rama. Vibhishana came out from Lanka and fell down to the divine feet of Sri Rama and explained him that Sita Piratti is kept as the prisoner in Lanka. Since, Vibhishana finally fell down to the feet of Sri Rama for complete Saranagathi, this sthalam is also named as "Saranagathi" Kshetram.
Lord Rama, stayed along with Sugreeva, Hanuman, Vibhishana and other Vanara army and discussed with all of them that how to get out Sita piratti from Lanka. He stayed in this Pullani sthalam and did tapas in Sayana Kolam on Dharbaipull (the grass) for seven days without eating anything. Since because of doing tapas on the grass and showed his Sayana kolam in the pull (grass), this sthalam is called "Thiruppullani". Pull means the grass and the Anai means the bed and since Sri Rama showed his Sayana kolam in Pullani, this sthalam is called as "Pullani". Sri Rama worshiped the Aadhi Jagannatha Perumal and prayed him to help him out to get Sita Piratti. As satisfied by the worship of Sri Rama, Aadhi Jagannatha Perumal gave him the Bow and because of this, the perumal is also named as "Deivasilaiyar" and Divya Sapan.
Thiruppullani is located near Sethu Samudhram shore (Sethu Karai). Sri Ramar could not know how to cross the huge ocean and got the advise from Vibhishana that they can cross the ocean only if all the water dries. He advised Sri Rama, that he can ask the Samudhara Raja to get dried and can make them the way towards the Lanka. On getting the advise from Vibhishana, Lord Rama seeked the help of Samudhara Rajan (Ocean King). But he doesnt show any response for Sri Rama.
Sri Rama worshiped before the Samudhara Rajan to make the way, but since there was not response from him, Sri Rama got angry and threatened against Samudhara Rajan that if he doesn't make them the way, he would make the ocean dry completely. On hearing the threatened words from Sri Rama, Samudhara Raja was frightened and came out from the ocean along with his wife Varuni and fell down on the feet of Sri Ramar as Saranagathi. Inspite of Vibhishanan got the Saranagathi, Samudhara Rajan and his wife Varuni also got the Saranagathi and thereby justifies that this Kshetram is given the name as "Saranagathi Kshetram".
After this, the Samudhara Rajan made the ocean to become quite and asked Sri Ramar to build a bridge, so that they can travel through it to reach Lanka. As advised by Varunan, Nalan and all the other Monkeys (Vanara Senai) started to build a bridge and this bridge is called as "Sethu Anai", since this is constructed along the Sethu Karai (Shore). And finally crossing through this bride to Lanka, Sri Rama fought with Ravana and killed him and got out Sita Piratti.
Kanva rishi, who was Maha rishi stayed in this sthalam and did a strong tapas against the Perumal without having any food. On satisfied with the tapas of Kanvar Rishi, Emperumaan gave his seva and asked for the Varam that he should be always along with him and continue to help him. The Perumal agreed his words and continued to help him.
Once there lived a rishi by named Devala Maharishi and did a strong tapas on the Perumal. He started his tapas after taking the bath and started the tapas. When he was doing the tapas, seven deva Kanyas came down to this sthalam and wanted to take a bath in the small river.
They enjoyed that moment and all of them forgot themselves. Their enjoyment made them to forget them to give the proper respect to Devala Maharishi and on seeing this act of the Sapta deva Kanyas, he cursed them all to become Yatchars (ordinary humans with less minded). On getting the sabham, all the 7 deva Kayas felt for it and realized their mistake and asked Devala Maharishi that how could they get out from the curse. Devala Maharishi asked them to get to Pullaranyam (Thriuppullani) and get the help from Pullar Maharishi, so that he can help them to get out of the Sabham.
All the sevan deva Kanyas reached Thiruppullani fell down to the feet of Pullar Maharishi. They all told him about the sabham got from Devala Maharishi and he had advised all of them to get the help of Pullar Maharishi to get out of the curse. Pullar Maharishi advised all the 7 Kanyas to stay in Thiruppullani and worship the Aadhi Jagannatha Perumal and he is the only person who can make them to get out of the curse. When Sri Rama came to this Pullaranya kshetram, his eyes glanced on all the 7 deva kanyas and at that moment all of them were out of the sabham and once again reached the deva lokam.
In this sthalam, Sri Rama is found in Tapas Kolam in Dharbha Sayanam. Generally, the Emperumaan is found on Aadhiseshan as the bed, but here in this sthalam, he is found on the Pullanai and Lakshmana, who is the form of Aadhiseshan is found along with Sri Rama and helping him. The utsavar is Kothanda Ramar and is seen along with Sita Piratti, Lakshmana and Hanuman. On the south side of Artha mandapam, is seen a separate sculpture of Vibhishanan.
A separate sannadhi for Pattabbi Ramar is also found. Pattabisheka Ramar is the thriukkolam of Sri Ramar while he was given the throne to take over Ayodhya as the king along with Sita Piratti, Lakshmana and Bharatha and Shatrughnan. This Sannadhi is found in front of Dharba Dayana Rama Sannadhi.
This is a separate sannadhi for Santhana Gopalan, which is found on the north of Dharbha Sayana Rama sannadhi, and the Mandapam is called as "Santhana Gopala Mandapam". In this sannadhi, Sri Krishna is found as a small child on Aadhisesha. It is believed that on worshipping this perumal can get the pragnancy. The perumal is daily fed with Milk Paayasam as the "Naivedhyam" in the night. It is said that all the pilgrimates travel towards Rameswaram, have to worship this Thiruppullani Aadhi Jagannathan. On the west side of Moolavar sannadhi, there is a big Banyan tree is found and beneath that is found a lots of Siva Lingam. It is said that people can get the pregnancy by dedicating the Siva Lingam beneath the tree.
Rama’s father King Dasharatha is believed to have performed a Yagna here and is believed to have had his four children after this yagna. Hence it is the belief that childless couple who bath at the Sethu river and pray to the Lord here will be blessed with a child. 72 Chatur Yugas ago (countless crores of years), three sages Pullavar, Kannavar and Kalavar came to this temple region, then covered densely with darba grass and merged themselves in deep penance. Pleased with their penance, Lord Vishnu appeared before them in the form of Arasa Maram. Though happy they were, the Sages sought the grace of Perumal in His original form, Perumal obliged in the form of Lord Adi Jagannatha. That is the place now called Tirupullani. A shrine for Mother Padmasani was built later. This is also the place where emperor Dasaratha learnt the Mantra for child boon and was blessed with Sri Rama and his brothers as his sons.
The two important festivals are the Brahmotsavam in the month of Panguni to Adi Jagannathar and Rama Jayanthi Utsavam in the month of Chithrai. Besides during Vaikunta Ekadasi, Krishna Jayanthi, Pongal, Deepavali, and also in weekends devotees throng the temple.
Ramayana is glorified as Saranagati Sastra by Vaishnavites, as it preaches the efficacy of self-surrender (saranagati) throughout.
Srimad Ramayanam which is also called sharangathi shastram in each and every kanda speaks of sharangathi. In Bala Kandam - the celestials/devas surrendered to the Lord Maha Vishnu for protection of the innocents who were being terrorized by the Rakshasas especially Ravana. And Dasaratha's sharangathi to Parashurama
Ayodhya kandam - highlights Bharata's surrender to Rama when he pleaded Him to return to Ayodhya.
The Aranya Kandam describes the surrender of the sages to Lord in the forest to protect them from the demons.
The next Kiskinda kandam describes Sugriva's submission/sharanagathi to Rama to protect him from his brother Vali who had inflicted untold suffering on him and lord Rama's sharanagathi to samudra rajan
The Sundara Kanda of the epic which focuses on the exploits of Hanuman also brings out his total surrender to Rama and his exemplary devotion to Him and Sita Devi advises Ravana to surrender to Rama.
Every canto of the Ramayana, except the last one, highlighting the concept of surrender.
The next canto delineates one of the paradigmatic instances of Self-surrender cited by the preceptors - Vibhishana's surrender to Rama after Ravana failed to be convinced by his advice and persuasion to return Sita to Rama. It was in this context that the Lord assured His protection to anyone who surrendered to Him.
While surrendering to God accepting Him as the means to liberation one must resolve to do only such actions that will please Him and also desist from those which displease Him. He must repose total faith in God's grace and must feel humble realizing his helplessness. After surrendering to God he should not worry about his eventual liberation and must accept everything in life as divine will.