Location:Natham, 17 kms from Lalgudi, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights:Unique sculpture of elephant and crocodile along with the presiding deity
Nearest Railway Station:Lalgudi
How to reach:Well connected by road from Lalgudi and Trichy; public transport is not dependable
Hotel: No good hotels nearby; better to stay in Trichy or Lalgudi
Restaurants: No good restaurants nearby; it is better to go to Lalgudi
Natham is a small village near Lalgudi town in Tamil Nadu state of India. The village is also called as Nandam. It is located at a distance of around 17 kms from Lalgudi. In this fertile village, a unique temple of Lord Vishnu is located. The village is surrounded by paddy fields in all directions and it is a calm and serene locality. Lord Vishnu in this temple is called as Adimoolanatha Perumal. Let us explore this temple in this article.
Like many other temples of Tamil Nadu, this temple also claims to have connections with the popular legend of Gajendra Moksha. It is believed that the elephant Gajendra was caught by the crocodile. Gajendra cried in pain and pleaded to Lord Vishnu to protect it from the clutches of the crocodile. Vishnu came down to the earth and killed the crocodile, thus liberating the elephant. It is believed that this incident took place in this holy village called Natham.
It is said that Rajaraja Chola I built this temple originally in the 10th century CE and the prakara was constructed by Kulotunga Chola III.
The east facing temple has a five tiered tower with a lot of colorful stucco images. An important idol depicted here is the replica of Gajendra Moksham scene of the sanctum. The holy tank is found in front of the temple entrance. Unfortunately, there is no water in the tank nowadays.
The temple's layout is very simple. Only the sanctum and another shrine are found in the temple. There is no other sub-shrine. There is just one prakara around the sanctum. The east facing sanctum enshrines the presiding deity Adimoolanatha Perumal. He is found in the reclining posture. He has two arms and does not carry his weapons. His consorts are not found. This posture of Vishnu is called as Yoga Shayana. Perumal's right arm is found touching the head of the elephant depicting its moksha. The crocodile is found pulling the leg of the elephant. It is rare to find the depiction of Gajendra Moksha scene in the main shrine of the temple. Hence, it turns out to be unique. In the prakara, the shrine of the Goddess Adi Lakshmi is located. In the sanctum, the utsava murtis of Adimoolanatha with his two consorts and Adi Lakshmi are found. The beautiful bronze idols of Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Hanuman are found in the Ardha Mandap. The Maha Mandap enshrines the idols of Vaishnavite seers such as Ramanuja, Manavala Mamuni, Periyalvar and Vedanta Desikar. Outside the temple complex, the sub-shrine of Garud is found facing towards the tower. It is a well maintained temple located in a serene locality with unique features. Don't miss this temple! Happy travelling!