THE ALVARS Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Alvars were great devotees of Lord Vishnu. According to tradition, there were 12 Alvars, namely Poykai, Bhutam, Pey, Tirumazhisai, Nammalvar, Periyalvar, Andal, Kulasekharan, Madhurakavi, Tondar-adi-podi, Tiruppaan and Tirumangai,. They came from diverse caste groups and lived between 5th and 9th Century in southern India. Being great devotees of Lord Vishnu, especially Ranghanatha, they composed beautiful devotional poetry in his praise. Their individual compositions were later compiled into a single scripture by the name Divya Prabhandam. The Alvars played a very significant role in the development of bhakti cult in Southern India and in the popularity of Vaishanavism.