November 7, 2015

Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Temple - Thanjavur

Site Name: Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple 
Location:  Near Ayyan Kulam, Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Built by the Maratha King; Gigantic idols of Perumal and his consorts
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road and rail
Hotel: A lot of options across the entire Tanjore city
Restaurants: A lot of options across the entire Tanjore city

Those who know about Thanjavur (Tanjore) city in South India know mainly about the great Brahadeeswarar Temple built by Raja Raja Chola around 1000 years back. However, there are many rare and interesting sites found across the entire city. Let us explore about an interesting temple named Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple in this article.

The West Main Street, which is called a Mela Masi Veethi in Tamil language, is a well known locality for the citizens of Thanjavur. The huge temple tank named Ayyan Kulam is a popular landmark in that street. After passing the tank through a lane leading from Mela Masi Veethi, near the Nal Kal Mandapam, Prasanna Venkatesa Perumal temple is located.

History: 

The temple belongs to the Maratha period. It was built by the Maratha King Pratap Singh in the 18th century CE.

Muthuswamy Deekshithar, one of the three great Carnatic musical legends, has composed a song in praise of this deity.

Legend: 

It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared in the dream of the King Pratap Singh and asked him to pick up his idol and his consort's idol that were lying in the nearby tank. The King accordingly discovered the idols and built this temple.

Temple Layout: 

The east facing temple is located on top of a small hill and it can be reached by climbing about 14-15 steps. The temple has a Raja Gopuram (tower).

In the sanctum sanctorum, the tall images of Prasanna Venkatesa along with his two consorts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi on his either sides are found. All of them are found in the standing postures. The deity was called as 'Malai Eriya Perumal' in the olden days.

In the Maha mandapa, the old Tanjore paintings depicting Vishnu and his Avatars in different postures are found.

Facing towards the main shrine, the sub-shrine of Garud, bali peetha and flag staff are found. Also, a small idol of Ganesha is found behind Garud.

On either sides of the main shrines, two sub-shrines are found. In one shrine, Perumal Padam, the holy foot steps of Vishnu, is enshrined. The other shrine has a small idol of Hanuman.

The temple has just one prakara (circumabulatory passage). There are many sub-shrines located there. They are:

  • Alwars shrine
  • A sub-shrine enshrining two pairs of Adi Kesava Perumal and Lakshmi. One pair is in the sitting posture, whereas the other pair of Perumal and Devi are slightly bigger in size and are in the standing posture.
  • A sub-shrine for Venu Gopalan - Krishna playing flute - with Rukmini and Satyabhama
  • A sub-shrine of bigger Madana Gopalan - Krishna playing flute with Rukmini and Bhama
  • Two big idols of Vishnu
Outside the temple, there is very small temple of Hanuman, which is very popular in the locality.

Happy travelling.



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