February 19, 2011

Namakkal Narasimha Temple - 8th Century Rock-cut temple

Namakkal, an ancient town, located near Salem city of South India, has the splendid 8th century rock cut temple dedicated to Lord Narasimha, the Lion God and the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

If you go to Namakkal Narasimha temple, you will find it difficult to believe that it was built around 1300 years back. It's difficult to imagine how the king Mahendravarma Pallava could have built this temple full of beautiful life size sculptures carved out of rocks in the period when the science and technology were not so improved. Similar to other rock cut temples, Namakkal Narasimha temple can also be considered as one of the master pieces by Pallava kings.

The rock cut temple of Narasimha is located on the hill named Namagiri. The main shrine has the sculpture carved out of rock. The main sculpture is the gigantic image of Lord Narasimha with four arms. The rock cut idol is really magnificent and look real. You can even find the nails of the Lord as slightly in the red color.

Just by looking at this magnificent image of Narasimha in the main shrine, you would be satisfied. However, the king who built this rock cut temple was not merely satisfied with this sculpture. There are more number of beautiful sculptures carved out of rock in the main shrine itself. Vishnu is found on the serpent Adi Sesha surrounded by Lakshmi and other Devas. This sculpture looks extraordinarily beautiful. There is a splendid sculpture of Narasimha killing the Asura Hiranya, which looks realistic. Ulagalanda Perumal aka Tri Vikrama raising his leg towards the sky and the scenes depicting the legend of Vamana Avatar are sculptural gifts. There is also another wonderful sculpture of Varaha carrying Bhoo Devi. All these images are lively and too good. You can spend hours and hours in front of them wondering the intricate carvings.

The entire temple is architecturally beautiful with a lot of mandaps (halls) and sculptures. Apart from the main shrine having the rock cut sculptures, there is another rock cut mandap (shrine) housing the big idol of Lord Vishnu with Lakshmi on his lap. The goddess of the temple Namagiri Thayar is found in a separate shrine. Namagiri Thayar's idol is in the sitting posture and looks extremely beautiful. Namagiri Thayar has been very popular for many centuries. In fact, she has more devotees than Narasimha.

This  beautiful temple also has the shrines of Lord Krishna with Rukmini and Satyabhama, Ram with Sita and Lakshman, Nammalvar and Udayavar. There is a small shrine for Garud facing Narasimha.

Happy travelling.

Fast Facts:
Site Name: Namakkal Narasimha Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Highlight: 8th century rock-cut temple; Life-size sculptures carved out of rock; One of the popular temples of Lord Narasimha
Location: 50 kms from Salem city, Tamil Nadu state, India; around 370 kms from Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India 
Nearest Railway Station: Salem
Nearest Airport: Chennai has both national and international airports
How to reach: Easily reachable by road from Salem
Hotel: Many star hotels, luxury hotels/resorts, and budget hotels are available in Salem; 
Restaurants: Only few good restaurants are available in Namakkal; You need to travel either to Salem or Erode for good restaurants

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1 comment:

  1. Very good info. I was looking for the beautiful Narasimha.