Alagirinatha Swamy Temple, Salem – Temple Architecture
The temple is situated in the heart of the town. This temple can be reached through bus and trains very easily. It is 3 kms from south – east to the new bus stand and 8 kms from south – east from the railway junction. This place was referred to in different points in time in history as Sri Sailapuram, Garudan Kaadu and Thaaksharanyam. In centuries gone by, this temple had Saptha Prakaram but the invasion of Tipu Sultan led to the destruction of six of the prakarams and currently there is only one prakara left.
The 10 feet tall Azhagari Nathar is seen in a grand standing posture with a conch & chakra, knife & Kedayam, bow & arrow and a mace. Another interesting feature of the standing Lord is the long Poonal that stretches to his feet. Presiding deity Lord Azhagirinathar graces the devotees from the sanctum sanctorum in a standing posture. The vimana above the sanctum is called Sarvadobadri vimana.
Pure rice is the nivedhana offered to Lord. Right of the Lord, Mother Sundaravalli blesses the devotees in Yoga Padmasana sitting posture. Lord Adhi Venugopala is in a separate shrine who was the first deity in the temple. It is noteworthy that Sri Garuda Bhagwan, Flag Post –Kodimaram and 10 feet tall Sri Anjaneya shrine are in a line before Lord’s shrine. It is said, that Sri Anjaneya performed penance here to achieve the Brahmma status.
To the North of Azhagari Nathar Sannidhi is the Venugopalan Sannidhi which is believed to pre-date the installation of the idol of Sundararaja perumal here at this temple. Lord Venugopalan is seen in a standing posture with a stone veena playing the flute with both his hands. During the Vaikunta Ekadesi Utsavam, Lord Soundararajan visits this Sannidhi.
In the temple, Sri Sundaravalli Thayar Sannadhi is located in the right side of the Moolavar Sannathi; Goddess Sundaravalli Thayar is in padmasana posture having full power of showering mercy to each and every one entering in to the temple daily. In front of the Thaayar Sannadhi, there is a stone mandapam; Sculptures of the fish harp and full moon are found on the pillar and roof of the mandapam.
Inside the temple, to the left side of Sri Alagirinatha Samy Perumal, Sri Adi Venugopalaswamy (Lord Sri Krishna) Sannadhi is situated. Lord Sri Krishna is in the form of dancing with his feet bent with flute in his hands and sanghu and chakra in the two upper arms.
In front of the Sannadhi, You can see a mandapam rich in stone sculptures and carvings. Bas reliefs showing Mahavishnu lying on Adiseshan in the White Sea, Stone Rings and the Pancha Boothams dance performance are very attractive.
The Andal Sannadhi is located in the right side of the Moolavar Sannadhi having full of Sculptures and bas reliefs. The Chakarathzhwar Sannadhi is a newly constructed one. The Urchavar in the Sannadhi is having sixteen hands with various weapons. The temple is having one big wooden car with beautiful wooden carvings and will be run during the month of May. 10 feet tall Hanuman is seen near the Flag Post facing Sundararaja perumal. Sri Anjaneya appears majestically but politely in worshipping form before the presiding deity.
There are several inscriptions on the walls of the Thaayar Sannidhi that date back to the Chera, Chola and Pandya period. One of the early inscriptions indicates that renovation was undertaken of the existing temple.
There is a Dwajasthambam, and Garudazhwar seen in front of the main sanctum. Other deities like Chakrathaazhwar, Santhana Gopalan, Hanuman and Nagar are seen in temple premises.
There are beautiful sculptures on the vimana depicting Lord Vishnu in His Vaikhanasa Udbhava form creating light from the heart and Sri Garuda bearing the Yoga Narasimha on the Adisesha. There is a separate Sannidhi for Durgai at this temple.