Algar Koil (temple) is located in Thirumalirunjolai, which is 21 Km from Madurai, on the foot of Algar hills. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu who is known by the name Azhagar (Algar). He is the brother of goddess Meenakshi Amman. The main idol of this temple is called Paramaswamy and the Processional idol is called Algar or Sundararajan (Kallazhagar). It is believed that at this temple nobody dares to lie. It is said that Yamadharman (the God of death) comes to this place, everyday in the night to worship the Perumal.
This temple is popular for its excellent sculptures and exquisite Mandapam. "Kallar" in Tamil means thief. The Perumal the main deity is called with this name because he steals hearts of his devotees with His beauty and the blessings. He also is believed to protect all His devotees from the evil. There are eighteen finely carved steps, which are an object of both worship and astonishment by the devotees.
The story goes that, to take away the powers of Kallazhagar once there was an attempt by magicians. After knowing this, the priest at this temple caught 18 men who were so enticed by the beauty of Azhagar.
These 18 men, worshipped the Lord and requested to allow them stay there forever as his security guards and to solve any issues relating to the people in this area. There was an image of Karrupana Swamy (representing these 18 men) erected at the Eastern entrance of the temple to mark this event. Karrupana Swamy almost acts as a court to solve all the problems in this area and is believed to provide a fair judgment for those who believe in him.
The Gopuram of this temple is very big and the first Vaasal (entrance) is known as the Thondaimaan Gopura Vaayil and 3 Mandapams (pragarams) are found inside it. Sundara Pandyan Mandapam, Sooriyan Mandapam and Munaiyathareyar Mandapam are the three Mandapams which we can see while going towards the main shrine.
The 18 steps of the temple at the Eastern entrance represent these 18 men. Every night, garland adorned by the Lord is brought to Karrupana Swamy.When Chithirai festival is celebrated in the month of April/May a huge crowed of devotees throng. Wedding ceremony of goddess Meenakshi Amman and Lord Sundareswarar takes place during Chithirai festival and Lord Algar travels to Madurai. A golden Processional idol of Algar called Sundararajar is carried in the Procession by the devotees from Algar Koil to Madurai for the ritual of divine wedding.
In the southern enclosure there is the shrine of Sundaravalli (consort of Lord Vishnu) and in the Northern enclosure there is a shrine of Andal. The other shrines of the temple are that of Sudarshanar, yoga Narasimha and Karrupana Swamy (the God of Killers).
A four-kilometer walk up the Azhagar (Algar) hills (dense terrain) takes one to Silambaru waterfalls (Nupoora Ganga). It is believed by the locals that, drops of sacred water fell at this place when Brahma was washing Lord Vishnu’s feet after his Trivikrama Avatar. Those drops spread as River Nupoora Ganga on the Algar hill. To the present day, the sacred water from Silambaru is used for the daily pooja at this Divya Desam. Legend says that, whoever bathes here in the sacred water at Azhagar Koil will be cleansed of all sins. Turmeric (Tha Manjal) is given as the prasadam in this Temple to the devotees.