Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Padalathri Temple (Narasimhar Temple), Singaperumalkoil, Kanchipuram – The Temple

Padalathri Temple (Narasimhar Temple), Singaperumalkoil, Kanchipuram – The Temple
Patalam means red.  Athri means hill.  As Lord Narasimha, appeared here furiously with Red Eyes and huge as a mount, the place came to be known as Padalathri. This temple was built by Pallava kings. Mother Ahobilavalli and Andal shrines are facing east, while those of Vishvaksena and Lakshmi Narasimha face south.  There are shrines for Garuda and Anjaneya.  The Dasavathara scenes are depicted in the entrance of the temple.  All the 12 Alwars are both in deity and procession deity forms in the temple.

The temple is built in Rock-cut architecture, occupies around 1.5 acres (0.61 ha) and has two precincts. It is located in Singaperumalkoil, a suburb located 45 km (28 mi) from Chennai, the capital of the South Indian state of Tamilnadu. The presiding deity housed in the sanctum in a cave is a rock-cut image, in seated posture with his right leg bent and left leg left hanging. Narasimha has four hands with two of the top hands holding his conch and Chakra, while the other two hands showing Abaya Mudra and Uru hasta (resting on his lap).

Ugra Narasimha is sported with a third eye on his forehead, which is usually a feature of Shiva temples. The sanctum is guarded by two Dvarapalas image on either side. The shrine of his consort, Ahobilavalli is located in the second precinct, which is believed to be a later addition. There is a shrine of Andal located to the right of the sanctum. While the two shrines of Ahobilavalli and Andal have precincts, unlike the shrine of Narasimhar.

The shrine of Garuda facing Narasimhar, the eagle mount of Vishnu, is located axial to the central shrine. The central shrine is approached through Mahamandapa, the worship hall and a narrow Ardha mandapam. The flag post is located behind the shrine of Garuda, axial to the central shrine and the gateway tower. There are images of Azhwars in the worship hall on both sides. The vimana, the roof over the sanctum, has stucco images of various avatars of Vishnu. The Vimana below the sanctum sanctorum is known as Pranava Koti Vimana. There are separate shrines of Lakshmi Narasimha, Ramanuja, Manavala Mamunigal and Vishwaksenar.

Procession deity Prahalada Varadha graces with consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi in standing form under the Pranavakoti Vimana.  The main sanctum itself is a rock cut shrine on which the deity too is carved out of the hill itself. So, whoever wants to circumambulate around the temple has to actually go around the small hillock as Giri Pradhakshinam. Hence, Giri Pradhakshinam is very popular here.

While walking around the temple, there is an Azhinjal tree in this temple, which is considered most sacred. It is said that this tree has mentions in the ‘Naachiyaar Thirumozhi’ composed by Sri Aandaal. People praying for marriage or children tie a small piece of thread from their clothes on the branches of this tree. By doing this with a wish, it is believed that their wishes are granted.

There are Bali Peetams seen at certain directions, while going around the temple. Anjaneyar (Hanuman) is seen on the pillar adjacent to Dhwajasthambha, where many people light Ghee lamps for the God. While entering into the street of this temple, there are 4 ancient pillars having beautiful sculptures. The Theertham for this temple is called Suddha Pushkarani and it is found east of the temple, is said to be full through the year.  Sthala Viruksham is Paarijaatham.

Every Pradosham, special poojas are conducted for the Pradhosha deity. While Azhvaars have not praised this temple, the Goddess here is the same as the one in Ahobilam (Ahobila Valli).

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