May 20, 2017

Manimangalam Vaikuntha Perumal Temple

Site Name: Vaikuntha Perumal Temple
Site Type: Hindu ancient temple
Location:   Manimangalam, near Chennai, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: Ancient Chola period lesser known temple
Nearest Railway Station: Tambaram
Nearest Airport: Chennai
How to reach: Well connected by road from Tambaram and Chennai
Hotel: A lot of options across Chennai
Restaurants:  A lot of options across Chennai and Tambaram

Manimangalam is a small locality located near Tambaram, which in turn is located near Chennai in Tamil Nadu state of India . Manimangalam is a historic site. The battle between the Chalukya King Pulikesi and the Pallava King Narasimha Pallava was fought in Manimangalam in the 7th century CE. The village had three ancient Vishnu temples and two Shiva temples. Out of three Vishnu temples, one temple is not found nowadays. Raja Gopala Swami Temple is the bigger Vishnu temple, about which I have written in detail in this blog as well in my "Temples of Chennai" book. In this article, let me discuss about the other Vishnu temple of the village, Vaikuntha Perumal Temple.

Unlike Raja Gopala Swami temple, which is a huge temple with so many sub-shrines and beautiful vimanas, Vaikuntha Perumal temple is very small. In fact, hardly few people in the village know about the exact location of this temple. The temple remains always closed, except for 5 minutes in the morning for poojas to be conducted.

Vaikuntha Perumal is a very attractive Murti. He is found seated and has four arms. He holds conch and discus in his upper arms. His lower right arm is in abhaya hasta whereas his left arm with fingers folded is found rested on his lap. (I have heard that this unique mudra is called as Uri hasta; though I am not sure). He is flanked by Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi.

This small and beautiful Chola period temple has no tower or any other sub-shrine. An idol of Ganesh, probably excavated in this village, is placed at the entrance of the sanctum. Few inscriptions of Raja Raja Chola I and Kulotunga Chola I are found in this temple.

On the very next lane, there is a small current era Bhajan temple which has two Pallava period lion pillars at the entrance. One of the lion interestingly has horns. Such lions are called as Vyalas. This is perhaps the only Pallava period work found in this village where the Pallavas fought their best battle.

Happy travelling.

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