Lord Jagannath temple in Thirumazhisai is one of the three important Jagannath temples in the world. Jagnnath is a name given to Lord Krishna. Puri is considered as Uttara Jagannath Kshetra (North Jagannath), and Tiruppullani is considered as the Dakshina Jagannath Kshetra (South Jagannath), and Thirumazhisai Nagar is considered as the Madhya Jagannath Kshetra (the middle Jagannath site).
Even though the exact age of Jagannath temple is unknown, from the records and inscriptions, it is evident that this temple was maintained by Kulothunga Chola III of 12th century AD. Tirumazhisai Alwar, the great devotee of Lord Vishnu, who was associated closely with this temple, belonged to 8th century AD. Hence, we can assume that this temple should be at least 1000 years old. It could have been built by Chola kings when they were ruling this region.
Jagannath is found with his consorts Rukmini and Satyabhama on his either sides. All the three idols are big, wide, and gigantic, and they are in sitting posture. The idols of the saints Markandeya and Brighu are also seen in the sanctum itself.
Thirumangaivalli thayar, portrayed as a separate Goddess is believed to be very powerful. She blesses Her devotees with prosperity and all types of wealth. Vahana mandap, Paramapadha vaasal and Sri Azhagiya Singar sannidhi are situated at the outer prahara of the main temple. At the northern part of the prahara is located the sannidhi of Sri Lakshminarasimha.
Sri Vaishnavi has been portrayed in a standing posture with the Conch and Chakra of Thirumal in Her hands. Special Thirumanjanam and prayers are held during the time of Rahukalaa on Tuesdays and Fridays. Girls waiting for marriage and their parents offer flower garlands to Her.
At the Azhagiya singar sannidhi, Sri Lakshminarasimha is portrayed with Lakshmi Devi on His lap. To its left are situated the sannidhis of Andal and Sri Manavala Mamunigal and a marriage hall.
Next is the Sanidhi for Thirumazhisai Alwar who was a giant in Vaishnavite traditions. The story about him reads thus:
Thirumazhisai alwar is the 4th of the 12 alwars. He is also called Thirumazhisaipiran. He has sung Naanmugan thiruvanthathi and Thiruchandavrutham in the Naalayira Dvyaprabhandam. Naanmugan thiruvanthathi contains 96 pasuras while Thiruchandavrudham contains 120 pasuras. He has visited Thiruvarangam, Thiruvallikeni, Anbil, Ooragam, Evvul and Kannan Kabhisthala and has made Mangalasasana on them.
Tirumazhisai Alwar was born to Bhargava Rishi, and he was born as a lifeless foetus without limbs. He was thrown into a forest. Lord Vishnu appeared before him and gave life and limbs. Then, he was found out and picked up by a tribe named Tiruvalan. Tirumazhisai learnt about Buddhism and Jainism. He was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. It was Peyalwar who converted him to Vaishnavism. A repository of mystic powers, Thirumazhisai Azhwar, who is believed to be an `Amsa' of Sri Sundarsana or the Holy Discus, even in his teens, mastered all the Vedas and Agama Sastras. He studied other religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Saivism as he had admitted in one of his verses. When he studied Saivism he came to be known as Sivavakyar, according to historians. But some historians dispute this. They find a lot of difference between the verses of Sivavakyar and Thirumazhisai Azhwar and consider them to be two different saints. Peyalwar, one of the first three saints known as ``Mudhal Azhwars'', met Thirumazhisai and discussed philosophy with him for two days, and he became an ardent devotee of the Lord after receiving the ``Pancha Samskara'' from Peyalwar. As tradition has it, an important event took place when he did penance near a lake known as ``Gajendra Saras''. Lord Siva indulged in a duel during which He opened his third eye. The Azhwar, by his mystic powers, showed the third eye he had in his foot. Impressed by his sincere devotion to Lord Narayana, Siva gave him the title of ``Bhaktisara'' or the quintessence of devotion by which name he came to be known later.This is seen in the Idol of the alwar seen in this temple
It is learnt that the temple was maintained by Kulothunga Chola III. From the inscription dated AD. 1178-1218, we learn that Thirumazhisai was called Chaturvedi mangalam. During the 13th century, it had been called Thirumazhisai agaram. The Thirukachi Nambis, who lived in the 10th century, had sung in praise of this sthala.