A temple with a sanctum for Vikhanasa Maharishi

The Lakshminarayana Perumal temple faces east, but there is no gopuram at the entrance. A separate sanctum for Vikhanasa Maharishi is located in the prakaram facing north.
Lakshminarayana Perumal temple
Lakshminarayana Perumal temple

CHENNAI : Thandarai, an ancient village near Uthiramerur, is home to two temples — the Lakshminarayana (Vishnu) temple and the other one for Siva, worshipped here as Kuntishwara. The Lakshminarayana Perumal temple faces east, but there is no gopuram at the entrance. The wide open prakaram (enclosure) has a bali-pitham and Garuda mandapam.

In front is the the central sanctum enshrining a small stone image of Lakshminarayana Perumal in a seated pose, holding the Sankha and Chakra in the upper hands. His lower right hand is in abhaya hasta (blessing) and lower left hand is around His consort Goddess Lakshmi who is seated on His left lap. The pitham (pedestal) on which this image has been consecrated is unique.

At the base is kurma (tortoise), on top of which are four elephants (guardians of the four main directions). Atop the elephants is Adisesha, the serpent of Vishnu and right on top is a kamala (lotus). Since Lakshmi is already in the main sanctum, there is no separate shrine for this Goddess in the prakaram as is usually seen in the Vishnu temples of Tamil Nadu.

The utsava-murti (processional image), also worshipped as Lakshminarayana, is in a standing pose holding the Sankha and Chakra in the upper hands; with the lower right hand in abhaya hasta and lower left hand in uru-hasta (resting on the thigh). Goddesses Sridevi and Bhudevi stand on either side of this image.

A separate sanctum for Vikhanasa Maharishi, the promulgator of the Vaikhanasa Agama, is located in the prakaram facing north. This deity is seated, holding the Sankha and Chakra in the upper hands. His lower right hand is in abhaya, and lower left hand is in varada hasta (boon-giving pose). The utsava-murti of Vikhanasa Maharishi is in worship in the principal sanctum.

A small east-facing shrine for Srinivasa Perumal, flanked by Goddesses Sridevi and Bhudevi is located in the prakaram, to the right of the main sanctum. This deity was originally in a nearby village and was brought here for safekeeping. On the other side of the principal sanctum is another Vishnu shrine where the deity is called Kariyamanikka Perumal, also with the Goddesses on either side. This image was originally in a temple adjacent to the Lakshminarayana Perumal temple and consecrated here at a later time. Bhakta Hanuman, Nammazhvar and the Srivaishnava preceptor Ramanujacharya are also in worship in this temple’s prakaram.

A few epigraphs have been discovered in the ancient Kuntishwara temple in Thandarai, one of which refers to this deity as Kuntichuram Udaiya Nayanar and also to Perumal Kariyamanikkattu Emberuman at Thandarai. This Perumal is obviously the deity now worshipped inside the Lakshminarayana Perumal temple as Kariyamanikka Perumal.

Related Stories

No stories found.

X
The New Indian Express
www.newindianexpress.com