LAKSHMI NARASIMHA SWAMI TEMPLE, NAMAKKAL
Stone Inscriptions found in these temples refer to Namakkal as “Thiru Aaraikal”.They speak of two cave temples called as Adiya navaya Visnugrha which is the Narasimha temple and Adiyendra Visnugrha, the Ranganathswamy temple.
They are temples of great architectural beauty coupled with genius! It is truly amazing that the Lakshmi Narasiha Swamy temple is built in such a way that Lord Hanuman in the Namakkal Hanuman temple in the next street can be clearly seen from the the peedam below the Garudalwar sannidhi.!
This small peedam in the inner prakaram has a small gopuram. There is a small opening in the gopuram and another one in the back wall of the Garudalwar shrine.
The wonder of this darshan is that the gaze of Hanuman standing some 250 feet away is fixed on the paadham (foot) of Lord Narasimha. These openings are strategically placed so the gaze of Hanuman is not obstructed. Talk about architectural genius!
The inner prakaram looks more like a spacious courtyard with small shrines all around. There are sannidhis for Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, a Udayavar (Ramanujar) sannidhi, Nammalwar sannidhi, one for Sri Krishna, Bama and Rukmini and a Desikar sannidhi.
When I was taking photographs here a devotee led me to the big wooden doors that opened into this prakaram and pointed out myriad carvings on wood panels on the doors depicting scenes from The Ramayana and Dasavathara.
How often have I passed through these ancient wooden temple doors without noticing the treasures it contained! I realized what it is “to see with unseeing eyes”.
A few pics of these exquisite wood carvings.
This panel shows Sita giving bhiksha – alms to Ravana who has taken the form of an ascetic.
The one next to it shows Rama slaying the Maya maan or pon maan –golden deer.
Hanuman and Sita in the Asokavanam
This panel on another door shows Rama breaking the Siva Dhanus at Sita’s Swayamvaram. Sage Visvamitra stands behind Rama.
I think this one shows Ahalya emerging from the stone as the curse leaves her when Rama’s foot touches the stone. Again Sage Viswamitra looks on.
Outside in the outer prakaram is a sannidhi for Lord Laskhmi Narayana and the madapalli or temple kitchen.