Parikkal Narasimar

Fearsome and loveable

In order to pacify an enraged Narasimha, Goddess Mahalakshmi embraced Him and thus Parikkal acquired its name. The moolavar idol here is said to be swayambu.

The Utsavar idol of Lord Narasimha with His Consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi. — Pics. by G. Narasimhan.

SAINT NAMMAZHWAR assumes the form of "Parankusa Nayaki" or ladylove in his Thiruvaimozhi and one of the incarnations of Lord Narayana, which appealed to him most was that of the half-lion-half-human Narasimha. In one of his poems he explains how the ladylove "dances on hearing the glory of Lord Narasimha, sings again and again about His greatness, sheds copious tears and runs around in ecstasy seeking union with Him." One may wonder how this fearful form of the Lord can be appealing to His ladylove but the numerous temples for Lord Narasimha in Tamil Nadu, especially in the northern districts of Chengalpattu, Vellore, Chidambaram and Kancheepuram, only show that He is a much worshipped deity.

There are also temples where the Moolavar and Utsavar idols are those of Narasimha and one among them is Parikkal, 23 km from Villupuram.

There is a rail route to Parikkal. If one travels by road on the Villupuram-Vriddachalam road, after covering a distance of 20 km, one will find a huge Anjaneya idol standing on the left side of the road facing west without a roof to protect him from rains and scorching sun, a la his counterpart in Namakkal. By travelling in the western direction a further three km one can reach Parikkal, after crossing the the Thenpennai. The Garuda Nadhi flows two km north of Parikkal. As it is situated between two rivers, it is considered as holy as Srirangam.

The temple, which has no Rajagopuram, is at the centre of the village.

A pilgrim can offer obeisance to Anjaneya at the entrance while the idols of Vinayaka and the Nagars are found in the main Prakaram. Afterpraying at the shrine of Garuda, he can worship the presiding deity, Lakshmi Narasimha with His Consort, seated on His left lap. Said to be a Swayambu Murthi, the idol, according to some scholars, was installed by Vyasaraja.

The Anjaneya idol, found inside the sanctum sanctorum, was also installed by him and it is one of the 732 idols installed by the saint all over the south. The other, of course, is the idol in the Nallattoor Temple, near Tiruttani.

The place gained the name of Parikkal as Goddess Mahalakshmi embraced Lord Narasimha to pacify Him and Her idol is found with Her right hand wrapped around the Lord.

The Lord is also found with His left hand around the Goddess.

The Parikkal Narasimha Temple with Dwajasthambam and Balipeetam.

According to another legend the Lord destroyed a demon known as Parakalasuran here to save His devotees and hence the place came to be known as Parikkal.

The Lord here was said to have appeared before Vasantharajan, a local ruler.

Unlike in most of the Narasimha temples, the Utsavar idol here is also that of Narasimha in standing posture with Sridevi and Bhoodevi on either side. There is also a small idol of Lakshminarasimha in the sanctum sanctorum besides that of Sudarsana.

There is a separate shrine for the Goddess, Kanagavalli Thayar, on the right side of the temple, and Her Utsava idol is inside the main sanctum sanctorum. To the northwest is the shrine of Anjaneya, where two idols of Bhakta Anjaneya and Veera Anjaneya are worshipped. The shrine is thronged by those who are afflicted by Navagraha Dosha and they light ghee and oil lamps.

They spread before the idols the nine kinds of grains (Navadanyam) and write their pleas on them seeking relief and His blessings. In the northern Prakaram there is a shrine for Lord Varadaraja of Kancheepuram.

A big portrait of Lakshmi Narasimha in the main Mandapam attracts devotees. There is a well inside the temple known as "Naga Koopam" and bathing in its water cures one of many ills. Garuda and Gomukhi Theerthams are the other water sources. The holy tree is "Magizham."

There is an ancient "Deepasthampam" in front of the temple, which faces east. Festivals are held almost every month with the Brahmotsavam taking place in Chithirai, when the float festival is also celebrated. The Lord visits Thenpennai and Garuda rivers for "Theerthavari" in the months of Thai, Masi and Panguni. The temple was renovated and the Samprokshanam was performed on May 30, 1994. It is under the control of the HR and CE Department. Buses from Panruti, Ulundurpet and Villupuram pass through Parikkal.

One of the foremost Narasimhar kshetras in south India, Parikal, near Villupuram, is replete with puranic lore. In this place, Lord Lakshmi Narasimha killed the asura Parikalasuran and hence this place is called Parikal.

Parikalasuran was the lieutenant to three asura rulers, namely Kamalakshan. Tharakatshan and Vidhyunmali. Parikalasuran had the face of a horse and the body of a human being. The three rulers were burnt to ashes by Lord Shiva. Lord Narasimha also helped Shiva in their destruction. But Parikalasuran escaped unhurt and hid himself in Thirimudhukuram (Vridhachalam).