Sri Narasimha Swamy Temple at Namakkal
BY: SUN STAFF
Anjeeneyar - Sri Narasimhaswami
Sep 30, CANADA (SUN) The cave temple of Sri Narasimha Swami is situated at Saaligrama Parvatham, at the foot of a hill near Namakkal, about 150 km north of Madurai, Tamil Nadu. The presiding Deities here are Arulmigu Laxmi Narasimha and Arulmigu Namagiri Laxmi.
In Krutha Yuga, the two gatekeepers of Sri Vaikuntam, by the curse Rishies were born as the cruel Hiranya brothers. Hiranyaksha, the younger brother, was killed by Maha Vishnu in the Varaha Avatharam for the harmful deeds done by him to Sri Boomi Devi. The elder, Hiranyakasipu, concentrated his mind and performed great austerities and penance, which got him a boon from Lord Brahma. Thus began the transcendental pastime of Lord Nrsimhadev protecting his devotee Prahlada against his great demon father, Hiranyakasipu.
After the Lord destroyed the demon, all the demigods and even Laksmi devi herself were afraid to approach the Lord. Prahlada offered many prayers to sooth the Lord, and Sri Narasimhadev pleased him with His mercy, and disappeared in the Form of a Saligrama near Prahlada’s kingdom. Thereafter Prahlada worshipped the Saligrama where Lord Narashima disappeared forever.
Sri Namagiri Lakshmi and Sri Namagiri Narasimmar
In Thretha Yuga, during the period of Ramayana, Sir Hanuman saved Rama and Lakshmana with Sanjeevi herbs, which he brought from the Himalayas. Hanuman then replaced the Sanjeevi Hill in the Himalayas. On his return through the sky, Hanuman brought the Saligrama in which Lord Narashimha had disappeared.
On his way back to Sri Lanka, the sun has risen. Hanuman got down on the earth to perform Santhyavanthanam because he was a great sage and bachelor. In the place of Mahalakshmi’s thapovanam, where she was born, Hanuman decided to do his morning duties, so he placed Saligrama near the Kamalalayam Tank, then performed Santhyavanthanam.
After finishing his duties, Hanuman tried to lift the Saligrama, but he could not move it. This confused and worried him. He worshipped the Lord, and suddenly the Saligrama had grown into a huge rock. Then a voice was heard, saying: 'Oh Hanuman, I have determined to stay here. First you go to Sri Lanka and serve Sri Rama. If you want to worship me, you may come here after Rama Avatharam, and may pray here throughout Kali Yuga.' Thus Hanuman is seen even now at Namakkal, on the western side of the rock standing in front of Lord Narashima, in the open air where he is perpetually worshipping the Lord.
Entrance to Narasimha Swamy Temple
At Namakkal, Sri Mahalakshmi’s prayer help to calm down Lord Narasimha, so He also blessed Laksmi Devi and gave her many boons. From this time, the fame of Mahalakshmi began to spread all over the world. Here at Namakkal, Lord Narashimha is therefore known as Lakshmi Narashimha, because of the boon given by the Lord to Sri Mahalakshmi Devi.
The Glories of goddess Mahalaksmi (Namagiri Thayar) spread all over India. The devotees who visit Namakkal first offer their worship to the Goddess and offer kanikkal to her. They also pray to her to fulfill their desires and they soon find that their prayers are being fulfilled. They offer her jewels, sarees, etc.
The Dasara festival is performed for ten days here for Sri Mahalakshmi. The Car festival is then celebrated for 15 days to Lord Narasimha, Sri Hanuman and Sri Ranganathar in, the star of panguni Hastham every year. The Hanumath Jeyanthi is celebrated in a grand manner on the new moon-day of Margazhi every year.
Temple Art and Architecture
The temple at Namakkal, called one of the Thirumurthi Thalams, is very beautiful. The sanctum sanctorum (garbha graham) and ardha mandapam are situated in the cave. Lord Narasimha is seen in the sitting position, after killing Hiranyakasipu. The two Brahma Buthras, Sanakan and Sanathanan, are standing on either side of the Lord, telling about the Lord's pastimes. On one side is the Sun God, and on the other side the Moon God, seen holding samaram and pacifying the Lord’s anger. Likewise, Lord Siva stands on one side and Lord Brahma on the other side, where both are seen praying to the Lord and attempting to pacifying Him.
Beautiful sculptures are found on the arthamandapam walls. The Avataras of Lord Vishnu have been beautifully inscribed on the walls. Lord Vaikunta Narayana is seen with Sun, Moon, Siva, and Brahma, Markendaya and Boomi Devi. Abaya Narashimha's picture is also engraved there, on the next wall, and Lord Ugra Narashimha is seen tearing the chest of Hiranyakasipu with his razor-like nails.
On the other side of the cave wall, Sri Vamanamoorthy is getting Dhanam from Mahabali Chakkaravarthy. Sukrachari is being punished by Lord Garuda for disturbing the Dhanam. Jambavan is above in the sky. On the same wall, Sri Maha Vishnu as Lord Trivikramam is measuring the earth and the sky with His step. On the next wall, Lord Varakamoorthy (Varaha) is seen bearing four Vedas on His nose and holding Boomi Devi in His hands.
Entrance to Anjeeneya Swamy Temple
On the eastern side of the rock there is also a cave temple. It is called Sri Ranganatha Temple, and here Lord Vishnu is found sleeping on Adhisesha. In the same cave temple the Lord is seen in Sankara Narayana Thirukkolam, and on the other side Vamana Avatharam is engraved.
It is said that the cave temples were constructed by Viswakarma, the divine mason. The Lord Narasimha Swamy Temple and Lord Ranganathar Temple have been declared as monuments under the Preservation of Monuments and Sites Act of 1958, and are therefore protected by the Archeological Department.
Different decorated forms of Anjeeneya Narasimha
For more information please visit the Namakkal Temple website.