07 March 2012

Temples in and Around Trichy - Sree Narasimhar Temple-Namakkal

Lord Narasimhar Temple-Namakkal
The legend that is associated with this temple is that after lifting the Sanjeevi Parvatham [The Herbal Mountain] and keeping it back in place. Lord Hanuman, bathed in the river Gandaki in Nepal and He got the sacred stone called Saaligramam, that is considered the equivalent of Lord Vishnu. The Saaligramam that Lord Hanuman was unique that it had Lord Narashima and Lord Ranganathar sculptures in the same stone. So Lord Hanuman thought of taking it back to the South, when He was getting back to Srilanka.
When He was enroute, it was dusk [Sandhya time - Sandhya means meeting point] so Lord Hanuman had to offer his prayers during dusk to his Guru - The Sun. But the Saaligramam could not be kept in the land as it is considered so sacred. So he was searching for a person. And then, He found Goddess Lakshmi doing penance in the sacred pond called the Kamalaalaya Theertham. So Lord Hanuman request Goddess Lakshmi to hold the Saaligramam for a while so that he can complete the Sandhya Vandhanam [Evening prayers].  Goddess Lakshmi agreed and asked Lord Hanuman to be back soon.

Lord Hanuman offered his prayers and started meditating so gradually it got very late. And Lord Hanuman rushed to see Goddess Lakshmi, by then a huge mountain had grown. When He asked Goddess Lakshmi about what happened. Goddess Lakshmi told that as it got very late for Hanuman to get back, she could not bear the weight of the Saaligramam, so She kept in on the ground and it grew to be a mountain. The Saaligramam being a rare one having both Lord Narshima and Lord Ranganathar, Hanuman tried lifting the mountain, but it did not budge. Then Lord Hanuman heard the voice of Lord Narashima, saying that it was His wish to stay there and it is the because of the penance of Goddess Lakshmi at Kamalaalya Theertham that He wished to stay here. And this holy place be called the Namagiri, the Kamalaalaya Theertham be called the Namagiri Theertham and Goddess Lakshmi be called Namagiri Thaayaar. And after the Rama Avataram was over, Lord Hanuman came here and stood worshipping Lord Narashima and He is still blessing the devotees who come to Him.
Narasimha provides darshan to Anjaneya and Lakshmi
Lord Narsimhar providing Darshan to
 Anjaneya and Lakshmi
The speciality of this temple is that this is the temple where all the three prime Gods - the Thrimoorthy - [Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Bramha] are found in one shrine. The temple has no Vimanam, because to build one it has to cover the entire Namagiri mountain. As, Lord Narashima does not have a Vimanam, Lord Hanuman vowed to stand in the open space without Vimanam roofing. And He still does to this day, all attempts to build a roof failed, so he stands outside. The Lakshmi Narashima temple is under the maintenance of Archaelogical Society of India [ASI] whereas the Hanuman temple outside is under the control of the state government. And nearby the temple is the Namagiri Theertham [Kamalaalaya Theertham].
The temple is open during most of the day time. One more interesting fact is that the Lord Narashima's feet and Lord Hanuman's eyes are at the same height position as Lord Hanuman worshipping Lord Narashima's lotus feet.
[Anjaneyar Worshipping
Lord Narasimha's Lotus Feet]

The mandapams were erected by the Pallavas and there is a rock fort on the top that was built by Tippu Sultan. The temple is very serene and tranquil that it captivates the minds of the people who visit it and makes them to come for more of Lord Narashima's and Goddess Lakshmi's blessings.

On the other side of the Lakshmi Narashima temple is the Lord Ranganathar temple. It is said that the Lord Ranganathar statue is bigger than the one at the great Srirangam. And the temple is open only during early morning and early evening for around 4 hours a day. The experience is so exciting that you find your mind to be in peace and tranquility once you visit the temple.

A few more interesting information was available to us from our guide:

1]  One can see all 3 different forms [Thirukolam / posture] of Lord Vishnu.

  • Irundha [Sitting] - Lord Lakshmi Narashimar
  • Kidantha [Sayana] - Lord Ranganatha
  • Nindra [Standing] - Lord Varadharaja [aka Malai Varadharajar]

2.   Usually Lord is seen sleeping on Adiseshan. But here it is Karkodagan [i.e Snake body with lions head]. So, its special.

3.  The perumal temple and Hanumar temples are built in such a way that Narashimar's feet are at the same level of Hanumar's eyes.  

View of the Temple Hill atop the Rock Fort
 called "Namagiri"
Located about 55kms from Salem off the Bangalore- Kanyakumari NH 7 is the Narasimha temple at the Saligrama Cave Hill in Namakkal. Opposite the Narasimha temple is the Anjaneya temple where he is seen in a standing posture facing Lord Narasimha. Behind the Narasimha temple on the Eastern side is the Ranganatha temple, where the Lord is seen in a Karkodaya Sayana posture.
Temple Time: 7.30am-1.00pm, 4.30pm-8.30pm
Contact phone number: V. Raja Bhattar @ 94437 2307
Next to Narasimha inside the Sanctum are sculptures of Vaikunta Narayanan, Hiranya Samharam, Vamana, Trivikrama and Varaha, all said to be 13th Century work of the Pallavas.
The Viman of the Narasimhar Temple

As per her direction, Anjaneya unleashed his tail to pick up the Saligrama Mountain only to find a sparkling light emanating from the mountain. It was Lord Vishnu providing darshan, in his Narasimha posture, to both Mahalakshmi and Anjaneya.
Since Anjaneya brought the Saligrama to this place and helped create this place, Lord Narasimha asked him to remain here facing the Saligrama hill and provide darshan to the devotees a tall standing posture without a Gopuram
Namagiri Thayaar - Lord Narasimhar Temple-
As Goddess Lakshmi undertook penance here by chanting his ‘Naama’ [On Namo Narayana’] and the hill was created after she placed the Saligrama on the ground, Lord Narasimha named this hill as ‘Naama Giri’ and referred to her as Naama Giri Thaayar. Given her contribution to this place, he gave her the first priority at this temple. Devotees are to first visit Naama Giri Thaayar before they enter the Narasimha Sannidhi.
At the Narasimha Sannidhi, one finds Narasimha in the middle flanked by Shiva on his right and Brahmaa on his left. Also, inside the sanctum are Sanaka and Sanaathana, Brahmma’s sons. One finds Surya and Chandra fanning Lord Narasimha.
Lord Ranganathar-Namakkal
To the East of the hill and behind the Narasimha Temple is the Ranganatha temple, where Lord Ranganatha is seen in a special Karkodaga Sayana Posture with his head resting South and his feet directed towards the North.
King of Snakes ‘Karkodagan’ undertook penance here and requested the Lord to rest on him. Hence, the posture here of Lord Ranganatha is referred to as Karkodaga Sayanam. While he is seen sleeping on top of the Snake, a unique feature here is that the face of the Snake Karkodagan is that of a roaring lion.
There are three entrances to the Ranganatha temple. The entrance in the middle is the one that is opened every day, while the other two entrances are opened only on Vaikunta Ekadesi day. One has to climb 100 steps to reach the sannidhi.

Sri Lakshminarasimha:
Lord Lakshmi Narasimha - Namakkal
The Cave Temple of Lord Narasimhar-
The other part of saligramam is Lord Lakshmi Narasimha which is inside the same cave temple. The lion faced swami is holding the dying demon Hiranyakasibu. The posture is called veerasana and he faces west. There is fire in his eyes. It is an expression of anger, bravery, victory and annihilation. He holds conch and chakra. He has a punishing wand on his hand for the evil doers. Lord Siva, Brahma and other rishis are there witnessing the annihilation. On the prayers of Sri Lakshmi his rage subdued and he became cool and calm. So he has been called Sri Lakshmi Narasimha.

The temple is bestowed with some pieces of precious art: Lord Sankaranarayana- right half Lord Siva and left half Lord Vishnu.
This is a very rare sculpture expressing the oneness of the great philosophies of Saivam and Vaishnavam.

Pujas and festivals:

The pujas are performed as per vaikanasa agama. Thayar is offered with jewels, sarees and garlands in abundance by devotees. The three festivals of importance are Dasara festival for ten days in Purattasi; Car festival is the main attraction with all colors and festivities drawing thousands of devotees from all over Kongu region; Anjaneya Jayanthi is another famous celebration during Margazhi.

History of temple:

The cave temple was believed to be originally carved out by the Adhiyaman clan; later further improved by Pallavas and Madurai Nayakar kings.This temple is taken over and maintained by Archaeological department under monuments and sites act 1958.

Thaligai for Lord Narasimha
On the occasion of his Thiru Kalyanam, Devas wanted to feed Thirupathi Srinivasa, who referring to this place as ‘Mel’ Ahobilam, asked them to feed the Lord here. Hence, presenting Thaligai to Lord Narasimha here is very special and is equivalent to feeding Thirupathi Lord Srinivasa.
On Pradhosham, presenting Thaligai and Paanagam [sweet drink made with jagery] will liberate one from all troubles.
Sculpture at its Best 
How to reach Namakkal
Chennai-Salem Yercaud Express[Salem arrival 5am] or Chennai Egmore-Salem Express [Salem arrival 6am]
Direct Trains also from Coimbatore and Bangalore to Salem
From Salem, one can take a one hour bus trip to Namakkal
Buses every 5minutes from Salem

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