August 29, 2013

Sholingur

Site Name: Yoga Narasimha temple and Yoga Anjaneya temple  
Site Type: Hindu Temple
Location:  Sholingur, near Chennai city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: One of the most important Vaishnaivite temples; one of 108 Divya Desam temples
Nearest Railway Station: Chennai (nearest local train station at Arakkonam)
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Chennai 
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to depend on the temple prasad

Sholingur is a small town in Vellore district near Chennai city in South India. Narasimha temple and Hanuman temple, located on top of two separate hills in this town, are two of the most popular Vaishnaivite temples in India. 

Highlights:
  • Yoga Narasimha temple is located on top of 'Periya Malai' (bigger hill) which is 750 feet high that can be reached by taking 1305 steps.
  • Yoga Anjaneya temple is located on top of 'Chinna Malai' (smaller hill) which is 350 feet high that can be reached by taking 405 steps.
  • One of the most important Narasimha and Hanuman temples in India.
  • Periyalvar and Tirumangai Alwar have sung about this site in their verses.
  • It is rare to find a separate hill temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
  • Hanuman is found in a unique posture with four arms and holding conch and discus.
  • It is considered as the 64th Divya Desam temple.
  • God - Yoga Narasimha and Yoga Anjaneya
  • Goddess - Amirthavalli
  • Teerth (holy water) - Brahma Teerth
  • Vimana - Simhagoshtakriti Vimana aka Hemakoti Vimana

Legend:

Lord Narasimha is an important incarnation of Lord Vishnu. After killing the demon named Hiranya, it is believed that Lord Narasimha reached Sholingur and settled down here. As he gave darshan to Sapta rishis (seven saints) for a kadigai time duration (45 minutes), the site is called as Kadigachalam. He also gave darshan to his great devotee Prahalata in the form of Yoga Narasimha in this site. There is also a legend which states that Vishwamitra became Brahma Rishi after worshipping Lord Narasimha for kadigai time duration in this site.

Lord Hanuman helped the king Indratyumna by killing the demon Nikumban. There is another version of the legend which states that Rama instructed Hanuman to protect the penance of sapta rishis by killing the demons Kaalan and Keyan. It is said that he got conch and discus from Lord Rama. It is also said that Narasimha asked Hanuman to stay in this site till the end of Kali Yuga. 

Some people believe that the King Karikala Chola divided his country into 48 divisions and this site is one of those divisions called as Kadigai. Kadigai is the place of learning; as Vedas were taught in this place, it was called as Kadigai.

This place was also called as Chola Simha Puram, which later became Sholinga Puram and ultimately to 'Sholingur'. There are people who claim that a Chola kind was hiding behind the Shiva Linga to escape from his enemy in this village; hence, it was called as Sholinga Puram. There are people who claim that the place got its name due to Shiva Linga temple built by the Chola in this village.


Temple Layout:

Big Hill Temple aka Periya Malai

The most important temple in Sholingur is Lord Yoga Narasimha's temple located on top of the bigger hill which is locally called as Periya Malai. The 750 feet high hill can be reached by climbing 1305 steps

The temple at top of the hill is moderate in size with a five storey north facing tower. The flag post and bali peetha are also found as usual. 

The sanctum sanctorum has the small idol of Lord Narasimha who is found in the Yoga posture with four arms and his two upper arms holding conch and discus. Facing the sanctum sanctorum Garuda idol is found; adjacent to him the small statues of Sapta Rishis, Visvaksena and Ramanuja are located. The shrine has the golden vimana called as Hemakoti Vimana.

The Goddess Amirthavalli is found in a separate shrine facing the eastern direction. 

The utsava idols (processional) of Krishna, Garuda, Sesha and Sudarshana are also found in the sanctum santorum. 

Small Hill Temple aka Chinna Malai

The second most important temple in Sholingur is Lord Yoga Hanuman's temple located on top of the smaller hill which is locally called as Chinna Malai. The 350 feet high hill can be reached by climbing 405 steps

The temple has a small three storeyed tower. The sanctum sanctorum has a small idol of Yoga Anjaneya with four arms and his upper arms holding conch and discuss. Japamala and Japashanku are found in his lower arms.

There are two separate shrines in this temple dedicated to Ranganatha and Kotanda Rama-Lakshman-Sita. The processional idols of all the corresponding deities are located in the respective shrines.

The tank called as Hanumantha Teerth is located near Hanuman shrine.

There are about 100 teerths in this site. The main among them is Brahma Teerth which is located in the middle of the town.

Happy travelling.





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1 comment:

  1. One can reach this temple from Chennai Via Tiruttani Rly. Station or Arakkonam Railway Station. Plenty of buses are plying between Tiruttani and Arakkonam. Both are separate, but same distance, routes. However, from Chennai to Arakkonam plenty of Express trains are running and from Arakkonam lot of buses to Sholinghur are plying. We can get down near Thattan Kulam or Temple or TVS Bus Stop. Catch an auto and travel time will be 5 Minutes. However, if you come from Tiruttani, get down at Sholinghur Bus stop and get an auto to reach foot hills. Pl. note there is no good restaurants. Also do not carry any bags or not even a small packet of biscuit. Plenty of naughty hanumans (Monkeys) Ram.. Ram..

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