Friday, October 27, 2017

Thirukkadigai, Sholinghur – Yoga Narasimhar Temple (Big Hill Temple)

Thirukkadigai, Sholinghur – Yoga Narasimhar Temple (Big Hill Temple)
Yoga Narasimhar Temple, or Big Hill Temple is on hill, 750 feet high with 1305 steps leading up to it. Guarding oneself against the hundreds of monkeys, one must walk up 1305 steps to reach the Narasimha Sannidhi at the ‘Periya Malai’. East of this Sannidhi in another hill is the Yoga Anjaneya Sannidhi (one must climb another about 406 steps to reach the Sannidhi atop the Chinna Malai). Atop the hill, in Thiru Kadigai, one finds the Moolavar deity and Amruthavalli Thaayar, while in the town below, one can have darshan of the Utsava Deity.

The Big Hill Temple has a north facing Rajagopuram (main tower) with 5 levels and 7 kalasams (decorative pots) at the top. Seven mandapams are seen enroute. The hill temple has 2 prakarams occupying an area of 1.25 acres. The temple at the top measures 200 ft. (61 m) by 150 ft. (46 m). A big bali peetam (platform) and Dwajasthambam (flag post) is to the north. A four-pillared mandapam is in the outer prakaram (corridor) of the Perumal shrine. East facing goddess, Amirthavalli Thayar is first worshipped before moving on to the sanctum.

A mandapam leads to Lord Narasimha Perumal’s (Vishnu) shrine and two Dwarapalakas (guards) are at the entrance. Yoga Narasimhar can be seen seated in the sanctum in a yoga posture wearing Salagrama with the Sun and Moon at his feet facing east. The Vimanam (the tower above the sanctum sanctorum) of this temple is called as Simha Koshtakkruthi (Simhagra) Vimaanam. A frieze depicting the ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu is beautifully depicted. The icons of Lakshmi Narasimhar, Adhiseshan, Chakkarathalwar, Kannan (Krishna) and Garudalvar are placed on a wooden platform. 

The other names of the Perumal are Thakkan and Akkarakani. Akkaram means Money and Wealth. In front of Perumal are the Vaishnava teachers and philosophers, Nammalvar and Ramanujar with Senai Mudalvar, Saptharishis and Garuda next to them. There is a small window in the wall at the back of Garudalvar through which you can see the small hill and its temple. It is said that the eyes of Yoga Anjaneya whose temple is on the small hill are focused at the feet of Yoga Narasimhar. 

A small Oonjal (swing) Mandapam is in the Big Temple which has a Hemakodi Vimanam (architectural style of dome) with a kalasam covering it. There was a separate temple for Amirthavalli Thayar on the Big Hill previously. Now the Thayar Shrine has been nearer to the Sanctum Sanctorum of Perumal. Procession Deity of Thayar is also kept there. A Vimanam with one kalasam covers the shrine of goddess Amirthavalli. 

While in other temples, the Goddess never leaves the temple's precincts, here the Utsava idol is taken to Sholinghur in the Tamil month of Purattasi, for the Navarathri festival at the Bhaktochitha Swami Temple there and returns to the hill in the Karthigai month. Periya Malai is 750 feet high and has 1305 steps in total. Those who cannot climb up by foot, Dolis are available. Charges vary and it appears to be a minimum of Rs.2000 per person. One can get it in the foothill itself. There is a paid Prasadham stall where we can get Curd rice, Tamarind rice, Sweet Pongal etc.