October 18, 2009

The Furious Lion God - Singaperumal Koil Temple, Chennai

Singaperumal Koil is a small town located at a distance of around 48 kms from Chennai city in South India. It is located in the national highway between Chennai and Trichy. The temple is dedicated to Lord Narasimha.

Lord Narasimha is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He has lion head and human body. He killed the Asura Hiranyakasipu. According to "Brahmanda Puran" (a Hindu mythology book), the Singaperumal Koil temple was surrounded by a big forest. A sage named Jabali was doing penance here. On his request, soon after killing Hiranyakasipu, Lord Narasimha appeared in front of him. The word "Singaperumal" means "Lion God" in Tamil language, and hence the temple as well as the town got the name Singaperumal Koil (Koil = temple).

The Singaperumal Koil temple is around 1300 years old. It might have been built during the period of Mahendravarma Pallavan's reign. However, it is doubtfu if it is a Pallava architecture. There is no data about which king built this temple and exactly when. The temple as well as the main idol have been carved out on the hillock. The temple is also called as Pataladri (meaning Red Hill). If you have to go to circumambulation of the idol (go around the prakara - the corridor surrounding the main deity in Hindu temples), you need to do that by going around the hillock, which is called as "Giri valam" in Tamil language. Giri valam means circumambulating the hill, which is believed to be very auspicious as per Hinduism. The large idol carved out of hillock and Giri valam alone are not only highlights of the temple. The main idol Narasimha has three eyes which cannot be seen anywhere else. The Lord here is a Ugra murti (furious posture) with four arms.

Apart from Lord Narasimha, there are mobile idols (utsav idols) of Vishnu along with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi in the main shrine. There is also a small Narasimha idol located in the main shrine along with the large idol. The Goddess of the temple is Ahobila Valli, who is found in a separate shrine. There is a separate shrine where you can find a small but beautiful idol of Andal. As usual, Lord Garuda's idol is located in front of the main shrine. There are also shrines and idols of Manavala muni, Periyalvar, and Nammalvar. There is also a small shrine where Lord Narasimha along with Lakshmi is found.  In the prakara, there is an idol of Narasimha and a holy tree.

Singaperumal Koil, as located almost on the high road, is well connected by road. You can reach this place either on your own vehicle or public transport. There is also a railway station in this town.

When you visit Chennai in South India, ensure that you visit this ancient, holy and rare temple of Hinduism. Also, visit the nearby Yoga Hayagreevar temple at Chettipunyam village.

Happy travelling.

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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful information, KK. I never knew the Narasimhar at Singaperumal Kovil had three eyes.