Narasimhaswamy Temple, Namakkal – The Temple
The temple is located in Namakkal, in the downhill of the Namakkal Fort in Namakkal district in Tamilnadu on the road from Namakkal to Salem. The temple is on the western flank of the hill, which has a set of pillared halls leading to the rock-cut sculpted images. The temple has a flat gateway tower and a second entrance, also with a flat gateway leading to the pillared halls. The sanctum houses the image of Narasimha in sitting posture, called Asanamurthi with two images under his feet. The sanctum is rock-cut and square in shape with a black background. The sanctum has three sculpted cells, two pillars and a verandah in front of it.
The image is treated as a Yogasana image, with the images under his feet seen to be the Sun and the Moon. It is not called a Bhogasana as the consorts on either side of him are absent. He has Vishnu and Brahma on his either sides and he is spotted with two hands holding the conch and the chakra. There is a panel depicting the narrative of Varaha avatar of Vishnu, who takes water from Bali and later grows big as Trivikrama to submerge Bali under his feet as per the Skanda Purana.
Historians consider this as a deviation from the monoscenic sculptures in temples of Kanchipuram and Mahabalipuram. The temple has other sculptural relief on the walls of the temple depicting Trivikrama, Narasimha slaying Hiranyakasipu and Ananta Sayana Vishnu. The temple tank, Kamalalayam, is located outside the temple. There are similar rock-cut images in the temple half way up the Namakkal Fort.
Kudavarai Narasimhar is depicted with sharp nails that he used to kill the demon Hiranya and the palms show bloodstains. Other figures around Narasimhar include King Janaka, Sanathanar, Sun & Moon and Lord Brahma. Since the deity is a Kudavarai Murthi, (hewn out of a huge rock) Thirumanjanam (ablutions) are not performed. The ritual bathing of the god is performed only for the bronze processional deity.
Narasimhar is depicted with eight arms holding a Prayoga chakra, a sword, a conch and a bow. The demon Hiranyakashipu is shown lying on his lap and being torn into pieces. Lord Vishnu is usually known as Sri Lakshmi Narasimha when the figure of Goddess Lakshmi is shown sitting on his lap. Here Mahalakshmi is shown on the chest of the Lord. Sri Namagiri Thayar, Mother Lakshmi’s shrine faces east. It is believed that devotees would become experts in mathematics if they worship Mahalakshmi.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Temple is right at the foot hill of Namagiri on its western side. The same temple complex houses three temples. In the center is the temple of Lord Narasimha, on its left is the temple of Namagiri Thayar and on the right is Sri Lakshmi Narayana temple. Thayar is facing east towards Lord Narasimha to have his darshan always. She is sitting on a lotus flower holding lotus in her beautiful hands. On the right side of Lord Narasimha is Lord Shiva and on his left side is Lord Brahma offering him prayers. Hence this place is also called as Trimurti Sthalam.
Amusingly there is no gopura atop this temple since the Lord is in the cave and the gopura could not be constructed for such a huge saligrama mountain. He is decorated with Karanda Maghudam (Special design of Golden crown), golden earrings, and wildflower garland and sandal paste on his body.
He is having four hands with Prayoga Chakram on his top right hand (Chakram which is ready to use) and Pancha Sanyam on top left hand (white conch). His down right hands is with Aahwana Muthra, like inviting devotees with assurance and kept his down left hand on his left Knees.
He is wearing Saligrama Haram with 108 saligramams and having Velli Pirambhu (Silver stick) which is used to punish demons, nullify the evils sprit and clear black magic.