Friday, May 4, 2018

Dasavathara Temple, Srirangam – The Temple

Dasavathara Temple, Srirangam – The Temple
This is the only temple for all the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, located on the banks of Coloroon (Kollidam) River. This is an east facing small temple with a 3-tiered Rajagopuram. The temple is administered by Ahobila Mutt. The Sanctum has the idols of ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu - Matsya (Fish), Koorma (Tortoise), Varaha (Swine with one horn on the nose) and Narasimha (partially lion and partially human) are with disc and conch only without any other weapons. Vamana Avathara (dwarf Brahmmachari) is with an umbrella. Parasurama has his battle-axe. Lord Sri Rama has his bow and arrow. Balarama holds Plough.

Lord Sri Krishna is in a dancing form with butter in one hand. Kalki sitting on the horse has sword and the Kedayam a disc to prevent enemy’s sword. All the Idols are small. One can see Matsya, Koorma, Varaha and Narasimha Moolavar deities with conch and chakra at this temple. Commander of the Vishnu army, Vishwaksenar also is in the sanctum. Lord Lakshminarayana, worshipped by Thirumangai Azhwar is the procession deity of the temple.

Though more than one procession deities are seen in temples generally, there is only one procession deity in this temple – Lord Sri Lakshmi Narayana. Lakshmi Narayana is seen with his left hand around Thaayar. On the pedestal of the Utsava deity is Garuda who is surrounded by 8 different statues. There is a special shrine for Saint Tirumangai Azhwar. While the temple is East Facing, the adjacent Thirumangai Azhvaar’s Sannidhi is South Facing so he could have darshan of the Dasavatharam Lords as well as Lord Ranganatha.

Thirumangai Azhvaar (Moolavar) himself is seen with his hands folded in a Saranagathi (Surrender) posture while the Utsava deity is seen in a King (Thirumangai Mannan) like majestic posture with Knife, Sword, Shield and Sickle. The Utsava idol of Thirumangai is said to have been created by Thirumangai himself. The Temple also houses the Thirumaaligai where Thirumangai Azhwar lived while he built the prakara walls of Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy Temple. Thirumangai Azhvaar’s residence still exists at 26 North Chitra Street.

The monuments of the 44th pontiff of Ahobila Mutt Jeer Sri Adhi Van Sadagopa Yatheentra Mahadesigan and his Guru 41st Pontiff Srimad Azhagia Singar Srivan Sadagopa Lakshmi Narasimha Sri Sadagopa Yatheentra Mahadesikan are respectfully formed in the temple as special shrines. These are praised as Tiruvarasu (Jeeva Samadhi – where they shed their mortal coils. In the 2nd tier below the Vimanam, there is a sculpture of Lakshmi Narasimha as well as an Oonjal Chain - an indication that there may have been an Oonjal Utsavam at this temple. 

The sub-shrine of Desikan are also located in this small temple. The walls of the Dasavatharam Sannidhi, the Prakarams and the structure of the tower are an indication of the history of this temple. A notable feature is the rectangular shaped Vimanam of this temple. Yet another unique feature is that there are 10 Kalasam for the 10 Dasavatharam Idols.

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