Friday, November 17, 2017

Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane – The Temple

Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane – The Temple
This is a Pre Pallava Period temple in existence from beyond 7th and 8th centuries CE. The east facing Rajagopuram with 5 tiers, 2 Prakarams, a large Temple Tank to the east of the Rajagopuram, many stone inscriptions and an atmosphere around which goes back to days gone by makes the experience truly unique. the Vimana of the main deity is Ananda, Pranava, Pushpa, Sesha, Vaidheega Vimanam. The temple has two gopurams (towers) in the eastern and the western directions. The temple is one of the oldest structures in Chennai. The temple walls, ceiling, pillars all depict the rich Pallava, Chola and Vijayanagar architecture.

There are several inscriptions in Tamil and Telugu dating back to the 8th Century. Some of the inscriptions are about the Pallava and Chola rulers who contributed to the building and maintenance of the temple in a big way. The glory of the temple lies in its being one among the 108 Divya Desams of Perumal. The temple was renovated in 1564 CE during which the new shrines were added in the temple complex. The outer most mandapam has the different Avataras of Lord Vishnu sculpted tastefully. There are several flag posts and pillars which are intricately carved.

It is one of the very few shrines in the country dedicated to Lord Krishna as Parthasarathy, that is, charioteer of Partha or Arjuna, which role he took in the Mahabharata war. Unusually, he is depicted with a prominent moustache and carries a conch in his hand. Also unusual is the iconographical combination found in the sanctum. Here, Krishna is seen standing with consort Rukmini, elder brother Balarama, son Pradyumna, grandson Aniruddha and Satyaki. They are taken to represent Pancha Vrishnis, and conceptually Pancharathra or the Bhagavata worship. Because of the association of the temple with Krishna, Tiruvallikeni came to be regarded as the Southern Brindavan.

It is a rare twin temple of the Pallava period. While Lord Parthasarathy faces East, just behind him is the yoga Narasimhar facing West. Both the sannidhis have equal importance and have a Dwajasthambam in front of them. Another feature of this temple is that while the Utsavar is Parthasarathy the moolavar is Lord Venkatakrishnar. The beauty of the place, its thick groves, tall mansions and the architecture of the temple have been extolled by Tirumangai Azhwar in a string of 10 verses (patikam).

Against the tradition of one deity in presiding status, there are five in this temple with this importance.  Lord Venkatakrishnar is in the main sanctum sanctorum.  Lord Ranganatha and Lord Sri Rama are in the front Mandapam.  Lords Gajendra Varadha and Yoga Narasimha are in the prakara shrines. Hence, the temple is praised as Panchamurthy Sthala.  There are flag posts-Kodimaram and entrances for Venkatakrishnar facing east and Yoga Narasimha facing west.

Eastern side Rajagopuram and other structures said to have been built first by Thondaiman Chakravarthy who ruled these parts having his seat of government at Kalahasthi, to whom Sri Thiruvengada of the seven hills appeared in his dream as a charioteer of Arjuna-another name of Partha. The Mahamandapam and the Thiruvaimozhi Prabandha Mandapam show clear architecture of Pre Pallava period and the perceptible differences seen in the structures in the main shrine and the mandapam in front, go to determine that the mandapams are later annexures to the original shrine by ruling race, as is generally the from the figures on the pillars of the main shrine and the Dwajaarohana mandapam of Parthasarathy as the later and remoter than the former.

The Mandapam in front of Parthasarathy called Thiruvaimozhi Prabandha Mandapam contains peculiar figures of pre Pallava period. The figures in the Kalyana Mandapam, four pillared mandapam in front of the temple and the Hanuman temple on the eastern side tank of Vijayanagara Art. Except Parthasarathy shrine, other shrines have been renovated in the beginning of the century and shrine of Vedavalli Thayar and the 36 pillared mandapam in front of the temple were built in the later part of the last century.

All the Gopurams have been painted during Samprokshanam conducted during the year 2004 and 2005. All the Gopurams are well maintained and they are decorated with serial lights. One of the most ancient inscriptions discovered in the city of Chennai is in the Parthasarathy Swamy temple. It belongs to the reign of the Pallava king Dantivarman of the 9th century A.D. Swami Vivekananda's letter to Azhagiya Singar of Tiruvallikeni dated 1893 has been inscribed near the Narasimha shrine. In it he praises Parthasarathy Swami.

The special significance of the temple being that the perumals of the 5 Divya Desams – Thirupathi Venkatesha Perumal, Srirangam Ranganathar, Kancheepuram Varadarajar, Ahobilam Narasimhar and Ayodhya Ramar – are present in separate shrines. The standing, seated and reclining poses of Vishnu are seen in this temple. Saints Thirukachi Nambi, Sri Vedanta Desika, Acharya Ramanuja, Manavala Mamunigal, Chakrathazhwar, Tirumazhisai Azhwar are in the prakara.

The place is named Thiru Alli Keni after the large, beautiful tank in front of the temple of Lord Parthasarathy. The Pushkarani is also called as Kairavani and five sacred Theerthams are believed to surround the tank - Indra, Soma, Agni, Meena and Vishnu. The holy tank of this temple does not have any fishes. Float festival is held in this tank for seven days on the New Moon day in the month of Masi. (Three days for Lord Parthasarathy and one each of Sri Narasimhar, Sri Ranganathar, Sri Ramar and Sri Gajendra Varadhar. Sthala Vriksham is Ape Flower Tree (Magizha Maram).

The Utsavar idol has the markings of the wounds rendered by Bheeshma during the Kurukshetra War of Mahabharata. Three separate Kalyana Utsavams are celebrated here - two for Ranganatha and Vedavalli Thayar and one for Parthasarathy and Andal. In addition, on Adi Puram day, Andal is seen with Parthasarathy.

Major Shrines of this Temple are;
Andal Shrine:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Vedhavalli Thayar Shrine:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Lord Rama Shrine:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Ranganatha Shrine:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Gajendra Varadar Shrine:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Yoga Narasimha Shrine:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Venkata Krishnan Shrine:
For brief details, please refer below link;
Nearby Historical Places
Bharathiyar Illam:
Bharathiyar Illam where Bharathiyar lived is very nearby and all Bharathiyar songs on Krishnar are based only on this deity. Just as a historical fact, he fell ill and died after this temple elephant hit him.
Raghavendra Mutt:
One of the important Raghavendra mutts is located very near to this temple.