Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Temples in Namakkal

Namakkal is near Salem in Tamil Nadu and is famous for its Anjaneyar and the Narasimhar temple below the rockfort in the town itself. We were planning a trip to these temples for quite some time and yesterday we did visit the same. For us it was a 2 1/2 hours ride from Dindigul via Karur. The newly laid road NH 7, part of the Golden quadrilateral made the journey smooth and easy.

Narasimha Moorthy Temple

We reached the Narasimhar temple at the foot of the rock and I was awe struck by the temple as it is a very ancient temple. The appearance itself is sufficient to show that it belongs to a by gone era. When we entered the temple, a board indicated that we have to offer our prayers at the Goddess Lakshmi’s sannidhi known here as Namagirithayar.The idol was resplendent with beautiful ornaments and silk. Her eyes were very wide like that of a lotus petal.

The town takes its name from her as she had performed Nama japa (penance )and the Lord appeared before her. It is believed that Anjaneya in front of the temple brought the saligrama of Narasimha and Renganathar here. When he wanted to offer his evening pooja he entrusted Goddess Lakshmi with this saligramam but he could not lift it after his pooja as it had grown into a hill. The Lord Narasimha Moorthy expressed his wish to be in that place and Anjaneya returned to serve God after Rama left for heaven.

On the way to the Lord Narasimha Moorhty’s temple we could see the Sthala Vriksham, a wish tree. On either side of the entrance that leads to the shrine we could see two serpent idols guarding the gate with Ganapathi nearby.

There wasn’t much crowd though it was a Sunday. The main idol that of Narashima Moorthy (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, half lion and half human) is inside a cave and is very huge in size, around 12 feet in height in a sitting posture and it looks majestic. The whole atmosphere inside the cave filled my heart with Baya bakthi (fear and devotion). There are carvings on all side of the cave and I could catch a glimpse of Vishnu on his Aadisesha and Vamana ( another reincarnation of Lord Vishnu) though it was pretty dark inside. Siva and Brahama are also near the main idol which is a very rare occurrence. The idol of Narasimha is facing the west unlike other Vishnu temples where it faces the east. It is also believed that The Lord here is in Ugra moorthy (Fierce) form, sitting here after killing the demon Hrinyakashipu.

The temple is very old and on top of this rock is a fort which appears magnificent from any part of the town. But I didn’t have the time or energy to climb the steep rock in a hot afternoon.

Anjaneyar temple

Anjaneyar temple is just opposite to the Narasimhar temple . After visiting the Narasimhar temple we headed towards the Anjaneyar Kovil. The idol of Anjaneyar here is gigantic, around 18 feet in height and is visible from a long distance. The Lord is facing the the Narsimhar temple and it is believed that his gaze is in level with Lord Narasimha’s lotus feet. He is in a standing posture with his hands folded with Bhakthi. We didn’t join the long queue as we got a good darshan of Lord from a comfortable distance itself. The Lord was adorned with Vada malai which is very favourite prasadam for the Anjaneyar.

Renganatha Swamy temple

We also heard that at the other side of the hill there is another temple of Lord Vishnu known here as Renganatha Swamy . To reach this temple we had to climb a set of 70 stairs, cut on the hill wide and easy, the only draw back being there was no support for the old and infirm to hold on to while climbing. The temple is open only till 11’oclock in the morning probably because the steps would become too hot to climb bare foot.

Here also the sanctum sanctorum is also cut inside the rock and it was very dark as there was a power cut. Here the Lord is in a reclining posture on the serpent karkodakan unlike other temples where he is on Aadisesha. We could see the idol in faint light of camphor lit by the priest. The idol is about 10-12 feet long and with eyes wide open and two hands again a rare occurrence.

I was wondering why the temple authorities could not arrange a generator for uninterrupted power supply which would help the pilgrims a lot. The temple surroundings looked beautiful with trees and it was quite cool, a moat was on either side of the temple. We could also see the Goddess Lakshmi’s shrine on the left side of the main temple. One cannot but wonder how centuries ago people built such artistic construction which could live through and remain unaffected surviving the vagaries of nature.

All these temples are quite near to one another and are with in walking distance from the main bus stand.

How to reach:

The nearest airport is Trichy which is 70 Kms. from Namakkal.

The nearest railway station is Salem -54 Kms.away

Regular buses ply connecting all parts of Tamilnadu to Namakkal.

Namakkal is a fairly big town with decent hotels and restaurants offering places of residence and eateries. We had breakfast at Hotel Sangam on the Thuraiyur road which was neat and clean and offered South Indian fare at very moderate prices. Lunch was at Nala residency which offers both boarding and lodging. The restaurant here offers multi cuisine and the dishes were quite attractively priced and of good taste too. The ambience was very nice added with excellent service. As we were getting out we bothered to check the tariff for rooms here and were informed that we could get air conditioned rooms , double occupancy for $ 30 only.


Anonymous said...

Did you notice the "blood stain" in Lord Narasimha's nails after killing the demon Hiranyakasibhu ( father of the great baktha Prahaladha)

chitra said...

I too read about the blood stained nails of the Lord but could not see them as the idols hand was covered with Tulsi garlands. But visiting the ancient temple was a great experience. Thanks for the comment.

shruti dani said...

i dont know what to say.it is so nice bio data about namakkal.

chitra said...

thanks Shruti

Anonymous said...

Adiyen.excellently explained.thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Does one have to climb to do darshan of Lord Anjaneya?

chitra said...

Thanks a lot.

chitra said...

No .One can worship from the ground. The idol is so huge He is visible from anywhere you stand.