The Vandiperiyar Sree Dharma Shasta temple is situated in the exact spot where Manavikrama Pandyan was assisted by a sixteen year old boy while he was struggling in a battle against dacoits. It is believed that the boy was Dharma Shasta or better known as Ayappa. In his travels from Tamil Nadu in search for an ideal place to settle down, he first chose the banks of the river Periyar. The location was ill-fated for the king and he, heeding to the advice of Ayappa who rescued him, instantly moved on from there. Much later Manavikrama Pandyan purchased the land where he had his divine encounter and built a temple for Ayappa. The same Ayappa later merged himself into the idol of the Sabarimala Temple near Pampa. Read more about the legend here. The Ayappa temple, which is now a thousand years old, is built in the Tamil style of architecture. Set among hills and tea estates, the temple has serene surroundings. Many legends are connected with the temple. Deep in one of the tea estates around the temple is a stone which is said to have mysterious powers. Any unwarranted activity around the stone invites the wrath of an angry boar which mows down the offenders. The deity is said to be one which has attained enlightenment and has the power to grant moksha to the ardent devotee. The temple also has other deities; Subramanya, Bhagavathy, and Ganesha. Members of the Poonjar Royal family, under the Poonjar Koickal Devaswom manage the temple. Vandiperiyar is approximately 70 kilometers from Poonjar and is near tourist destinations like Kumily, Tekkady and Gavi. The famous Sabarimala Temple is just 25 kms away from here and can be approached both by road and a walk through the forests. Special permissions have to be taken to trek through the forests to reach the Sabarimala. Our temple manager can provide assistance and advice on this.
Vandiperiyar - Thengakal Rd,