Visit to Nava Narasimhar temple (Dakshina Ahobilam) at Avaniyapuram
- 16km before Arani
- 26 km from vandavasi and
- 20 kms from cheyyar
Geographically, Tambaram-Kanchipuram-Cheyyar-Avaniyapuram may be the shortest but it could be the longest! In the current road condition, Chenglepat –Uthiramerur-Vandavasi-Avaniyapuram is the best.
The Geographical location:
- Twin temples on a small hillock
- One at the middle tier for Lord Narasimhar with Goddess Lakshmi also with the lioness face (Avani meaning Lion).
- There are nine Narasimhars and so is called Dakshina Ahobilam
- The top tier temple is for Lord Venkateshwara
- Shrines for Sholingar Narasimhar, Sri Ranganathar and Varadhraja Perumal. Thus we see all the main pancha divya desa moorthies – Kanchi, Srirangam, Sholingur, Tirumala and Ahobilam.
- The Lord is said to have obliged Brigu Maharishi by appearing before him in the forms of five divya desa deities.
- The temple is believed to have been built during the Pallava regime.
- There is a natural rock formation in the form of a Lion with eyes, beard, nose etc., more importantly with the front left leg raised in a blessing posture. A swayambu Narasimhar?
- Avaniyapuram Avaneeswarar temple – A temple with margatha lingam installed by Sri Aadhi Sankarar is present at the base of the avaniyapuram hill
On 10th April, a group of 16 of us, started off from Nanganallur Mr.Sivan’s place at about 6:30 AM and after picking up everybody it was around 7 when we joined the GST Road at Pazhavanthangal. By 9 AM we spent about half an hour before Uthiramerur in the shadow of a road side tree for the break fast. Then briefly stopped over at Thennanngur Pandurangan temple for about 20 minutes and then reached Vandavasi. From there we took the Arani road which was neither good nor bad and so could go only at moderate speed. By the time we reached Avaniyapuram, it was around 10:45 AM.
The temple is on a well spread out and not so high hillock. There are two temples in 2 tiers. We have to climb 64 steps to reach the first and main temple in the middle tier for Lord Lakshmi Narasimhar. There is a small Hanumar shrine mid way. When we entered we were in for a rude shock since our great Arcot Veerasamy was having his fun time. There was no electricity and it was a total darkness. Since we came in from a bright noon sunshine we could not even see the neighbor for a few minutes and so could not move. The main shrine is such a way that we can see the deity only from a good distance away. Further the deities – Lord Narasimhar and the Goddess Lakshmi in his lap are very small. To add more misery, the shrine was not lit brightly with deepams as well. The place has a uniqueness of Goddess Lakshmi having a lioness face which I have not heard of before. So we were very anxious to have a close dharshan but when we asked permission to go a little inside the shrine, the Bhattacharyar reacted very angrily and said a wild ‘No’. He was telling that to keep you all Chennaities with electricity we are being made to sweat without the electricity etc., – very true and understandable indeed. We were a little depressed and later moved over to the other sub shrines where there are 5 Narasimhars in one place; a very beautiful Alarmelmangai thayar and the Urchava idols – atleast we could have a closer dharshan of all these deities and so a little fulfilled. By then I and a few people moved over to the main shrine to have another dharshan and while we were there, electricity came up and went out in a few seconds. It was just a glimpse of the main deity for a few seconds but that itself was a little consoling. But in a few minutes, we were in for a sweet surprise – electricity came up and it was there fully throughout! Our first problem was solved and were a little relieved. We could see the main deity under Electricity but it was still far away that we could not recognize the lioness face of the Goddess. Ok, atleast this was good enough, we were thinking.
But then another problem was waiting. There is one more temple at the top tier for Lord Venkateshwara and other deities but since the bhattacharyar’s son was too ill (later I met him in his house), the bhattacharyar , as one man can not handle both the temples at the same time and so was not ready to accompany us to the top tier temple – very much understandable but then we have also come a long way specifically for this temple, is itn’t?. All along, our group, especially the brother of Mr.Sivan was pestering the Bhattacharyar continuously to show us the top tier temple and he was a little moved and ready to come up in spite of some people waiting for some rituals. So, the second problem was also solved!
There are 110 steps to the top tier temple of Lord Venkateshwara. But it was too hot then and the steps were really boiling like a hot plate. Some of the elders could not come up fully and returned mid way. Here we can have a close, bright, peaceful and satisfying dharshan of the deity. Our group sang some bajans also. By this time, the Bhattacharyar might have been happy with our behavior and the perseverance and so got a little friendlier and started taking us to various shrines very happily and gave good explanations as well.
There is a separate cave like enclosure in the prahara where we see:
- Sri Ranganathar in a lying posture but unusually turned completely towards us along with Ranganayaki Thayar
- Sholingar Yoga Narasimha is in a sitting position along with Amirdavalli Thayar – an absolute beauty.
- Sri Varadaraja Perumal and Perundevi Thayar.
Thus we see all the main pancha divya desa moorthies – Kanchi, Srirangam, Sholingur, Tirumala and Ahobilam.
Excepting the main deity in the middle tier all the other deities can be seen very closely and so very satisfying indeed.
Look at this wonder of Lord! This is a rock looking like a lion from this angle. The face with the beard, the eyes, the mouth, the jaw. Doesn’t the front leg also in a blessing pose? Lord Narasimhar and Thayar with the lion faces and this rock looking like a lion – well, there is so much beyond our perception.
And finally when we came back down to the middle tier, the Bhattacharyar became a complete friend of us and was ready to allow us little inside in small groups to have a closer dharshan. The final problem was also got over! Now we could clearly see the lioness face of the Goddess Lakshmi and we could also see the face of Lord Narasimhar completely shapeless due to the depreciation over so many centuries (how many Thirumanjanams he might have seen!). We could also see that there is one more Lord Narasimhar just below feet of the main deity. It was the highlight and we came all the way just for this. We thanked Him for accepting our prayers to give us a good dharshan. What a drama He played that ended very well indeed!
Just opposite the main deity, there are 2 Garudars side by side, one Garudar, also with a lion face! for the main deity and the other one with a normal face for the Lord Venkateshwara of the top tier temple.
There are totally nine Narasimhars here like Ahobilam and that’s why this place is called Dakshina Ahobilam.
The nine Narasimahars here are:
- Main deity + one more below the main deity
- Five Narasimhar in a group in a sub shrine within the main shrine
- Urchara moorthy in a sub shrine within the main shrine
- Sholingar Narasimhar in the top tier temple
a) The steps can be boiling. Go with shoe socks or towels with threads to tie,
b) Remember it’s a playfield of our Arcot Veerasamy. You are lucky if there was electricity. Maybe an emergency lamp could help. Or go with sufficient oil and wicks and ask the Bhattacharyar to light as many deepams as possible.
c) Not a bad idea to go with a good binacular
d) Above all, God is Love after all and so He will not let us down
Appeal to the temple management:
Since most of the time electricity is not going to be there and people from far away places are coming, I wish the temple management make necessary arrangements to light up the main shrine more brightly with many more natural deepams like the Kerala temples without any dependence on electricity. I wish that this message of mine reach them somehow.
There is a motorable road around the hillock and so while returning we did a girivalam around the hill (in the car, of course) and proceeded towards Kanchipuram, our next destination, via Cheyyar.
Contact: Bhattacharyar Sri Mukundachar – 9629540448 / 9941756271. House at the base very near the start of steps.
There is Tea shop (there is only one, I think) at the base which serves good tea, it seems. Later I heard that my friend Balaji and friends, after their disappointing dharshan without electricity, took 3 cups of tea each here to cool off themselves! Unfortunately I came to know this only later and so we missed it really.
Avaniyapuram Avaneeswarar temple
A temple with margatha lingam installed by Sri Aadhi Sankarar is present at the base of the avaniyapuram hill which we missed out unfortunately.
This surrounding has a very good connection to Ahobilam not only by the name ‘Dakshina Ahobilam’ but more than that. Sri Sashta Parankusha swamy, the sixth Jeeyar of the Ahobila mutt had constructed and helped about 60 temples and had put in lots of great scholars who were well versed in vedams to maintain those temples. One such place is ‘Yagnamedu’ which later became ‘Injimedu’, about 4-5 kms from Avaniyapuram. This place was also called ‘Yagna vedhikai’, as lots of yagnams / Homams are performed here. Sri Injimedu Azhagiyasingar is the 42nd Jeeyar.
Sri Perundevi Nayika Sameta Sri Varadharaja Perumal Temple
Srimath Azhagiya Singar 45th Jeeyar had a great affinity towards Kanchi Sri Varadhar. So, as per his wish this temple was built.
Sri Yaga Samrakshana Ramar
From the time of Sri Sashta Parankusha Yatheendra Maha Desikan, it is said that Sri Ramar of this sthalam has found lots of Yagams and Vedams. Sri Ramar is said to be found almost 1500 years back and it is said that he emerged from a yagam, so he is called as “Sri Yaga Samrakshana Ramar”. Problem in marriage, Puthra Bhagyam, etc., are said to vanish if we visit this sthalam and get the dharshan of this Sri Ramar. Specifically, if people born in Moola, Aayilyam stars have any problem in getting married, they can visit this sthalam, to get their problems get solved.
Sri Thirumanicherai Udayar Temple at Perumalai
Temple: This small 200ft high hillock top temple has about 51 covered steps. So rain or sun will not affect the devotees. This is a 2500 years old temple which got ransacked about 700 years ago by various invasions. The Thirumanicherai Shiva lingam which was left alone without any pooja/ worship for nearly 700 years, finally got a facelift and the Kumbabhisheham took place in 1999. Sanghu theertham is present in the hill in the shape of Sanghu. It is said that there is a spacious cave here where Pampatti Chithar is living in the form of a snake.
Legend: Agasthiar worshipped here. Once on an ego battle between Brahma and Vishnu, they set off to reach the top and bottom of Shiva as a competition. During that time Thazamboo gave a false witness to Shiva that Brahma had reached the top of Shiva. Knowing this, Shiva cursed Thazampoo that it should not be used in any Shiva pooja. In order to get rid of the curse, it stands here as the Sthala Vruksham. Nandhi’s footsteps are seen here.
Photos of the temple can be seen here .