A temple craves for attention

APPROXIMATELY 55 km from Chennai is Narasingapuram, a village where an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Lakshmi Narasimha and his Consort Maragathavalli, is located. Dating back to the Chola period, it seems to bear the Vijayanagara style of architecture, the main characteristics of which include the temple tower (gopuram), the thousand-pillared halls and delicate and intricate carvings.

Though the Chola kings were known to propagate Saivism, this temple proves that they did not lag behind in their support of Vaishnavism. Two Chola inscriptions found in the temple are significant in this context. They reveal that Kulothunga Chola I (1070-1120 A.D) was the one who installed the idols of Lord Rama and Sita found in the temple. The same king is believed to have donated land for making possible nityapuja (daily puja) for Rama and Sita.

Twelve other inscriptions attributed to the Vijayanagara kings (found on the walls of the temple) disclose that those kings were responsible for the renaissance of Vaishnavism in south India. Those benevolent kings seem to have also donated 31 villages around Sriperumbudur (Narasingapuram was one such village) for the upkeep of the temples built, including the one in Narasingapuram.

The magnificent structure, which houses the seven feet tall idol of the Lord and the five feet tall idol of his Consort, is now in a dilapidated condition. The (once) majestic temple tower has now been reduced to damaged tiers and a basement. The floor and the ceiling of the thirukkalyana mandapam are covered by overgrowth of weed, and the walls have developed cracks. The local people have already appealed to the Government of Tamil Nadu to help with the renovation of the temple.

For more details about the temple and to send contribution for the renovation, devotees may contact: Smt. Tripurasundari, an octogenarian who has dedicated herself to the renovation of dilapidated temples, at 110, R.K. Math Road, Mandaiveli-600028, Ph: 24937791.