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A Weekend Trip to Namakkal

by Lakshmi Menon
(Bangalore, India)

iOne of our weekend visits took us to Namakkal in Tamil Nadu. I was eager to visit the two important temples there - Sri Anjaneyar Temple and Sri Narasimhar Temple.

1) Sri Anjaneyar Temple is the most popular temple of the town. The shrine of Lord Hanuman is one of the largest (18.5’ height) and oldest in this region. The temple by size is quite small. The important feature of this temple is the shrine has no roof on top and hence it is open to the sky. According to the legends, any efforts to place a roof on top of the Lord has been unsuccessful in the past, either lost to fire or otherwise.

The Anjaneyar idol is decorated with Thulasi garland, flowers, betel leaves garland, etc. The Anjaneyar holds a Japa Mala in one hand. Anjaneyar is said to have been the Kartha for the Narasimhaswamy temple.The beauty is that the idol is amazingly sculpted in such a way that the eyesight of Hanuman directly falls on the feet of Lord Narasimha's sculpture located quite a few meters away at the foot of the Namagiri Fort.

It is believed that when Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu was doing penance at this place, Hanuman brought an image made of Saligramam which he kept here for a moment to perform his daily prayers, got fixed and grew into this hill.

The temple is open from 6:30 am – 1:00 pm and 4:30 - 9:00 pm on all days except during festive occasions when it has extended timings.

Namakkal is the place where Mathematical Genius Ramanujan lived and he used to come here to pray regularly. Namakkal was earlier known as Namagiri.

2) Sri Narasimhar Temple is located in the opposite side, just a few meters away from Sri Anjaneyar Temple. This is a typical rock cut temple. Lord Narasimhar is seated here in the Virasanam with one leg folded and another leg placed on the ground. He has 4 arms. The palm of the front right hand is in the blessing
posture. He is sitting here with Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, and his sons. On either sides are Suryan (Sun) and Chandran (Moon). Goddess Lakshmi is not on his lap as usual but in the pendant on His heart. Since all the three Gods are here, this is considered a Trimurthy Stalam.

An important feature of this temple is the red mark on Lord Narasimha’s hands, reflecting the legend that the Lord presented Himself at Namakkal, after killing Hiranya Kashipu. It is said that the anger of Lord Narasimhar after killing Hiranya Kasibhu was calmed down by Goddess Lakshmi in Namakkal.

This was built by Adhiyaman Gunaseelan and it is over 1000 years old and protected by HR&CE dept. The temple is constructed in Dravidian style. The sanctum sanctorum (garbha graham) is created by digging into the cave 10 feet deep. The rest of the temple including the Ardha Mandabam, Maha mandabam, Namagiri Thayar’s sanctum sanctorum and entrance is located outside the cave. There is no Vimanam at the entrance.

Varaha Avatharam (the pig incarnation) is on the right. All the four vedams (scriptures) are seen atop His nose. One of His legs is seen only till the knee and another till the ankle. Adhisheshan (His snake) and Niladevi are seen below trying to search His feet.

Abhaya Narasimhar, with all other gods praying Vishnu to stop the evil deeds of Hiranya Kasibhu and to kill him is in the left. The angry Ugra Narasimhar tearing the Hiranya's chest by nails is also on the left. On the other side wall Sri Vaamanamoorthy is receiving dhaanam from Mahabali Chakravarthy. The shrines of Ramanujar, Krishnar, Ramar etc. are outside the Garbha Graha. There is also a tree (the Sthala Vruksham) outside.

The temple is open from 7:00 am – 1:00 pm and 4:30 - 8:00 pm.

The enormous single rock is about 65 metres high, with a flat top and a circumference of about a km and over the rock is the Namakkal Fort.

The distance from Electronic City, Bangalore to these temples is 235 kms.

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