Ancient Vishnu image in a historic village

Kattur, a village near Minjur, has a Vishnu temple wherein the deity is worshipped as Vaikunthavasa Perumal.

Published: 20th February 2019 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th February 2019 10:23 PM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI : Kattur, a village near Minjur, has a Vishnu temple wherein the deity is worshipped as Vaikunthavasa Perumal. There are unfortunately no inscriptions in this temple which could provide details about its antiquity, but there are many epigraphs in the Valishwara temple closeby which throw some light on the history of Kattur.

These inscriptions reveal that for over one thousand years, the name Kattur has continued unchanged. Incidentally, Kattur was earlier also called Rajendra-Chola-Nallur and was situated in the ancient territorial subdivision called Paiyur Kottam, which again was located in Jayankonda-Chola-Mandalam. An inscription of the 11th century AD recorded as having been found on a slab near the Veetrirunda Perumal temple in Kattur (which could be the Vaikunthavasa Perumal) is in Sanskrit and Tamil. It provides information about a trade guild that was famous in the Chola times called the Nanadesi.

A modern tall five-tier gopuram with many sculptures adorning it is on the south side and leads to the interior. Vaikunthavasa Perumal facing west in the central sanctum is seated in ardhapadmasana, with the left leg on the pedestal and right leg placed in front.

In the upper hands Perumal holds the Sankha and Chakra, while the lower right hand is in abhaya hasta (blessing devotees) and lower left hand is in ahvana hasta (calling worshippers). Flanking Vaikunthavasa Perumal are Goddesses Sridevi and Bhudevi. Perumal is enshrined under the Vaikuntha Vimanam. Although the temple has been much modernised, the main stone image is ancient.

In front of the principal sanctum are images of Goddess Lakshmi worshipped as Vaikunthavalli Thayar, and Andal. There is no separate sanctum for Lakshmi in this temple. Other deities in worship are stone and bronze images of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman and also an image of  Chakratthazhvar (Sudarsana, the personification of the discus of Vishnu) with Yoga Narasimha on the rear.

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