Andal, also known as Kothai, Nachiyar and Godadevi, is the only female Alvar among the 12 Alvar saints of South India. She is human incarnation of Goddess Bhudevi.
Periyalvar, is said to have found Andal as a baby in the tulsi garden at the Srivilliputhur temple, and adopted her.
Andal was a Tamil poet and Bhakti saint, like Meera of the north, or Akka Mahadevi of the Kannada region.
As a young woman, she fell in love with Lord Vishnu and refused to wed any mortal man. In her songs, she asks for His embrace, demands His caress. She rejects everything and everyone else. A woman with agency around the eighth century! Andal was devoted, yet audacious. A fascinating woman! One can know her only through her works. Language may be a barrier though, and literal translations fall short.
As per Andal biography, as she grew, her determination to marry Lord Ranganatha also increased. She also started making a unique offering to the Lord. She used to wear a flower garland first herself and then offer it to God. As an explanation, she said that first wanted to see whether the garland looked good or not by wearing it herself and looking in the mirror. Only after she was convinced that the garland looked nice, she offered it to God.
One day, her father saw her doing this and admonished her from repeating this act. Godhai made a new garland for the Lord. It is said that the same night, Vishnucitta received a vision from the Lord, who told him that He heartily accepted Godhai’s offerings. From that day onwards, Goda came to be known as “Andal”, the girl who “ruled” over the Lord.
As Andal reached the marriageable age of 15, her father asked her to get married. She replied that she would marry only Sri Ranganathar. It is believed that after this incident, Vishnucitta again received a divine vision, in which the Lord instructed him to send Andal to Sri Ranganatha Temple. At the same time, the priests at Sri Ranganatha Temple also received a vision where the Lord ordered them to prepare for the marriage. It is said that after reaching Sri Ranganatha Temple, Andal married the Lord.
Andal composed two poetic works in her lifetime, both in Tamil. Even though she compiled the poems in her teenage years, they display a high level of literary and religious maturity. Her first work is known as Andal Thiruppavai. It is compilation of thirty verses, in which she imagines herself to be a cowherd girl who longs to serve Lord Krishna. The second compilation is known as Nacciyar Tirumoli, consisting of 143 verses. Through this poem, she disclosed her passionate yearning for Lord Vishnu.
Sri Andal in the Thiruppavai 27th verse describes the reward of Paavai Nonbu. Sri Andal and other Gopikas decorate themselves with jewels, costumes, flowers and happily share sweet (made up of rice and ghee) with Lord Narayana.
On Koodaravalli, many devotees will go to temple, offer Ghee filled Akaravadisal to Lord Govinda and end Marghazhi Month Nonbu (fast). Many will do Annadanam.
This Year( 2022) koodaravalli falls on January 11th let us too prepare this akkaravadisal and offer Lord Ranganathar and get his blessings .