As promised in my previous post, here is one of (hopefully) several photo posts on the historical temples/places in and around Tamil Nadu. I don’t know if i can cover one place every week, but i hope to cover as much as possible in the coming months!
The temple in the pictures above is the Parthasarathy Temple in the Triplicane area in Chennai. The temple is a Hindu Vaishnavite temple and was built-in the 8th century (!!) by the Pallavas especially the Pallava King Narasimhavarman I (630 AD – 668 AD), who also completed the work in Mahabalipuram started by his father Mahendravarman. The temple was later developed/expanded by the Chola kings and Vijayanagara kings over the next 700 years.
Fun facts about the King:
- Mahabalipuram or Mamallapuram is named after Narasimhavarman who was also called as Mamallan (great wrestler)
- Narasimhavarman was a devotee of Shiva! (how about that huh? Shiva devotee building a Vishnu temple, hehe)
- Hieun Tsang, the Chinese traveller visited Kanchipuram (Pallava capital) during his reign.
Coming back to the temple, the name Parthasarathy means ‘Charioteer of Arjuna’, which is not surprising as the main deity of the temple is shown to have battle scars, but sans weapons (as Krishna was the Charioteer of Arjuna during Mahabharatha and did not take up arms in the war). The other interesting aspect is that the temple houses 5 forms of Vishnu – Narasimhar, Ramar, Ranganathar, Varadarajar and ofcourse Krishna. Though the temple has been preserved using modern techniques, it still possesses the old world charm with its detailed carvings, many inscriptions of Pallava/Chola Kings and the overall architecture in itself. (Oh the temple is also ISO 9001:2008 certified!)
It is in the heart of my city, close to the Marina Beach and has stood the test of time since the foundation stone was laid. To walk in the corridors as many great Kings did, to pray in the sanctum sanctorum as many great saints did… that is just something else!