A TRAVEL STORY
I shared the pics of scenic beauty enroute to my trip to various temples. Today, I am presenting the pics and the story of various temples in my journey.
The devotees aren’t allowed to click the images inside the temple. So, the images of all the idols are courtesy Wikipedia. The information source credit goes to Wikipedia and https://templesinindiainfo.com.
Our first destination was Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Temple in Singirikkudi, Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu. This is one of the Shrines of Nava-Narasimha Temples ( 9 temples) dedicated to Lord Narasimha, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. He appears with the head of a lion with the body of a human. Lord Narasimha is in His Ugra Or Ferocious form as He is slaying the demon King, Hiranyakashyap, on His Lap. The Lord has 16 hands. There are separate Shrines dedicated to Thayar (Mother) (Kanakavalli) and Andal, facing the opposite direction of the Lord. His devotee, Prahlad, is seen on His right side along with Sages Sukracharya and Vasishta. The temple is more than 1600 years old.
According to a legend, King Nimi Chakravarti of Surya dynasty wanted to perform a yagna ( sacrificial ritual) to gain more powers. He approached Sage Vashishtha to conduct the rituals, who expressed his inability to do so. The King then requested Sage Kowshik to perform the yagna, which was successful. When Sage Vashishtha returned, he was furious to learn that King Nimi Chakravarti went ahead with his Yagna without waiting for him and didn’t welcome him. He cursed the King that his body and soul will be separated. The King used his powers to repeat the same curse on Sage Vashishtha who came to Singirikkudi to perform penance and appease Lord Narasimha who freed him from the curse and granted Salvation. It’s believed that if you worship Lord Narasimha and wish for anything, He immediately grants your wishes.
We had hired a car from Chennai itself. If you wish to visit this temple, you can take a Pondicherry-Cuddalore bus and get down at Thavalai Kuppam from where you can take an autorickshaw. The temple timings are subjected to change :
Morning 7.00 Am – 12.00pm
Evening 4.30pm – 9.00 Pm
We proceeded towards Lord Lakshmi Narasimha Temple at Poovarasamkuppam near Singirikkudi. There’s another Narasimha temple at Parikkal. These three temples are geographically placed in a straight line from West to East and it’s very auspicious to visit all the three temples on the same day.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimha temple at Poovarasamkuppam is nearly 1200 years old and is referred to as South Ahobilam. This temple is located at 15 kms from Villupuram.
After slaying the demon Hiranyakashyap, Lord Narasimha’s anger didn’t subside. So, the seven sages ( Saptarshi) performed a penance to seek His Darshan. However, they were unable to bear the Heat emitting from the Lord and prayed to His Goddess to calm Him Down. Goddess Amirthavalli appeared and sat on His right lap, which made Him calm.
The speciality of the temple is that the Goddess looks at the Lord with one of Her eyes while blessing Her devotees with the other. The story associated with the temple is that one of the kings of the Pallava Dynasty adopted Jainism and started destroying Shiva and Vishnu temples. The devotees were against this move and those who opposed him were sentenced to death. Narahari, a sage, also expressed his disagreement and was given the death penalty. He cursed the king with Brahma hathi dosham, a sin occurred by murdering a Brahmin. The king went through a turbulent time which made him repent over his sins .He wanted to apologize to Narahari for his sins and absolve him from the curse . The king slept under a poovarasan tree when Lord Narasimha appeared in his dream and told that the Sage Narahari would bless him and free him from the curse. It was precisely at this moment that a leaf with the Image of Lord Narasimha fell from the tree. Sage Narahari absolved him of the curse and the King built a temple to Lord Narasimha in accordance with Narahari’s wishes.
If you wish to visit the temple by air, the nearest airport would be Puducherry, 36.6 Kms. The nearest railway station is Villupuram. It’s better to hire a cab from Puducherry to visit these three temples. The timings are subjected to vary according to the various religious festivals.
Morning: 6:00 AM to 12:30 PM
Evening: 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
We had a wonderful Darshan of all the deities and proceeded towards Parikkal which is 28 kms away from Villupuram. The temple is said to be as old as 1800 years and built by Vasantharaja of Vriddachalam. As per the local belief, your prayers will be answered here and you will be free from debts, enemies, and diseases. Lord Narasimha is the presiding deity with His Consort, Kanakavalli Thaayar. Actually, Amirthavalli and Kanakavalli Thaayar are the various forms of Goddess Laxmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu.
The story associated with the temple is that:
A demon called Parakalasura ( a relative of Hiranyakashyap) troubled the King Vasanthraja and his subjects. As advised by his Guru, the King performed a penance and invoked the aid of Lord Narasimha to protect his kingdom from the demon. Lord Narasimha answered his prayers and slayed Parakalasura. His ferociousness didn’t subside immediately. So, the King also prayed to Goddess Lakshmi who appeared as Kanakavalli Thayar and sat on His lap to calm him down. This place was called Parikalapuram after the King requested that the place be named after the demon because of whom he had the good fortune of getting blessed by Lord Narasimha and Kanakavalli Thaayar. It eventually became Parikkal.
Puducherry Airport is the closest at 83.3 km and Chennai International Airport is 172 km. If traveling by passenger train, you can get down at Parikkal railway station which lies between Villupuram and Vriddachalam station. For travel by road, you can catch a bus from Madras- Villupuram-Ulundurpet- Trichy and stop at Kedilam Junction from where you can get share autos to Parikkal.
As mentioned earlier, the temple timings are subjected to change.
Morning: 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Evening: 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
We had lunch at an Iyer Mess and then started around tea time at 4 PM to our next destination, Srimushanam, and enroute visited Vriddhagiriswarar Temple, Vriddhachalam, the details of which I will share it in my next blog.
Hope you enjoyed this part. Will continue my travel stories in the next one. I will share the stories from the Indian mythology in my Sunday blogs, shortly.
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