Saturday, October 1, 2016

Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Semmanchery - Architecture

Srinivasa Perumal Temple, Semmanchery - Architecture
This age old temple dates back to Pallava period. The presiding deity here is Sri Srinivasa Perumal and Goddess Sri Alarmel Mangai Thaayaar. The main deity Sri Srinivasa Perumal here is so beautiful with many ornaments, glittering inside the sanctum. The Lord is seen in the standing posture. A tall and beautiful Dhwajasthambham adds beauty to the ambience. The temple now is in a poor state and few volunteers are helping to bring the temple back to its charm.

Rajagopuram & Dwajasthambam:
The main entrance to the temple as well as the sanctum sanctorum (Garbha-Graha) faces east. At the entrance of the temple, a Rajagopuram consisting of 3 tiers welcome the devotees to the temple. This Rajagopuram has wonderful sculptures made as per Agama rules in it. In complete adherence to Vaishnava traditions, Balipeedam, Dhwajasthambha and Garuda Sannidhi aligned with Rajagopuram.

Azhwars & Acharyas Shrine:
A separate shrine is constructed for Azhwar and Acharyas in this temple.

Chakarathzhwar Shrine:
Sri Chakarathzhwar shrine is located on the northwest side of the sanctum. Yoga Narasimha can be seen on the rear side.

Andal Shrine:
Sri Aandal shrine is located on the northwest side of the sanctum.
Navaneetha Krishna Shrine:
Just near the entrance of the temple, there is a shrine for Sri Navaneetha Krishnar for Lord Vishnu.
Ramar Shrine:
A Ramar Sannidhi is located facing east and opposite to Andal Sannidhi.
Anjaneyar Shrine:
A Sannidhi for Abaya Varadha Anjaneya is there very close to the main Rajagopuram. It is a small shrine at the north east side. Anjaneya is facing west. Anjaneya has his palms pressed together symbolizing his unmatched devotion towards Sriman Narayanan.
Kalinga Narthanar Shrine:
Kalinga Narthanar shrine is located to next to Chakarathzhwar shrine. Here, you can see Lord Krishna dancing on the head of the snake Kalinga to protect his devotees. It is also located near the entrance to the central sanctum and quite close to Dwarapalakas. This Shrine has an exquisite stone image of Lord Kalinga Narthana Krishna about two feet in height. Sri Kalinga Narthanar here is believed to be very powerful. It is said that the childless couples are blessed with a baby by worshipping Sri Kalinga Narthanar here for 48 days.
Thayar Shrine:
Thayar shrine (Sannidhi) is located behind Srinivasa Perumal Sannidhi on the south-western side (very close to the compound wall adjoining OMR). Thayar is Goddess Alarmelmangai Thayar and is beautifully decorated and seen blessing the devotees with much grace.
Sixteen Pillared Mandapam:
In front of garbha-graha is a sixteen pillared mandapa decorated with a number of well chiseled sculptures of Lord Kothandarama, Goddess Mahalakshmi, Kurma Avatara and Sri Sanjeevi Anjaneya.
The Vimana, the superstructure over the main sanctum, has wonderful sculptural incarnations worth noticing. On the lower level on the front side, one can see ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu (Dasavatharam) - Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Nrusimha, Vamana, Parasurama, Balarama, Rama, Krishna and Kalki. Lord Rama, Lord Krishna and Lord Paramapadanathan sculptures are also seen in the vimana.

On the rear side of the Vimana, statues of Goddess Alarmelmangai Thayar, Lord Krishna in Kalinga Narthana and Goddess Andal can be seen. Kalinga Narthana sculpture in the Vimana deserves special mention. This exquisite form of Lord Krishna with a ball of butter in his hand is seen dancing on the coils of the snake. Snake has its hood spread over Lord Krishna's head. 

Agni Devan, who is present only in very ancient temples, is seen with two heads and three legs on the southern side of the tower above the Sanctum. 
Srinivasa Perumal Moolavar Shrine:
Srinivasa Perumal is the main deity in this temple and has four hands (Chaturbhuja). His upper right and left hands hold the discus (Chakra) and conch (Shanku) respectively. His lower right hand is in Abhaya Hastha posture assuring devotees to get rid of all their problems and grant divine happiness. His lower left hand is in Varada Hastha posture granting boons to his devotees. Srinivasa is flanked by his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi.

All three deities Srinivasa, Sridevi and Bhudevi are all on call pedestals (Padma-peetham). It is believed that originally Srinivasa Perumal deity had Mace (Gada) in his lower left hand and got replaced with the present form as time progressed. It is common that in many Vaishnava temples, Utsavar Moorthi bears a different name than that of Moolavar. However, in this temple, Utsavar Moorthi is also known as Srinivasa. This is a salient feature of this holy temple.

Utsava Moorthi is a bronze status with four hands with Ubaya Nachiyar. There are also bronze Utsava Vigrahas for Alarmelmangai Thayar and Lord Krishna in Kalinga Narthana posture. As per Vaishnava traditions, Garuda is facing Moolavar in small Sannidhi. Moolavar is guarded by Dwarapalakas (Guards) on either side of the entrance.
Pushkarani (Temple Tank):
Pushkarini, the holy temple tank is located on the eastern side of the temple. It is believed that sacred water of this Pushkarini has healing powers for vision problems. Devotees who bathe in this tank for 48 days and worship are believed to regain lost vision. Pushkarani is located about 500 meters east of the temple which definitely needs attention.

Sthala Vriksham:
Sthala Viruksham for this temple is Athi Maram (Fig Tree). This tree is located near the Andal Shrine. Apart from this fig tree, few trees are also maintained inside the temple.
A rare sculpture of Lord Balakrishna crawling forward with the mortar (Ulukhala) to which he was tied and which he dragged through the narrow gap between trees felling them in the process can be seen in the temple. This is in connection with famous story in Bhagavatha Purana where two celestial beings called Nalakubara and Manigreeva were cursed to be born as trees by Sage Narada. Nalakubara and Manigreeva got rid of their curse when Lord Krishna dragged the mortar between the trees. 
One finds several interesting sculptures on the Western side of the temple including single stone sculpture of Shiva, Lingam, Mahalakshmi and Ganesha, said to be a 1000years old. This can now be found adjacent to the Thaayar Sannidhi and also adjacent to Madapalli. 

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