Ayyavazhi/Nizhal Thangals

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A Nizhal Thangal (நிழல் தாங்கல்) (also called Narayana Swamy Temple) is a simple temple of the Ayyavazhi religion built per the instructions of Akilattirattu Ammanai by commoners in order to worship without distinction of color, race or caste. Cleanliness is strictly enforced: there are no sacrifices, no incenses, no arathi and no poojari. Inside the temples, no murti is used. Instead, a saffron cloth is laid on a chair, upon which a rudraksha is placed, and a mirror is placed on the wall behind it. Tamil is the official language of worship, and the object of worship is Lord Narayana with the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. A survey from the year 1998 states that there are approximately 7000 Nizhal Thangals throughout South India.

Some Nizhal Thangals serve as community centers, with facilities to cook for large crowds of people; others serve as schools for the community