Saturday, August 21, 2021

Parthasarathy Temple, Chennai

Parthasarathy Temple
Parthasarathy Temple is a Hindu temple situated in Thiruvallikeni (Triplicane) in Chennai, India. It is classified as one of the famous 108 Vaishnava places (Divya Desam) of pilgrimage (Paramasivanandam, 1981). Pilgrims who return from Tirupathi are traditionally said to take their holy bath in the sea and worship the Parthasarathy temple (Paramasivanandam, 1981).

According to a Pasura of Tirmangai Alwar, this temple has been built by a king named Tondayarkon who is believed to have lived some 1,700 years ago (Ayyar, 1982; Paramasivanandam, 1981). After that, the temple was renovated and developed by many kings and wealthy devotees from time to time. Three of the twelve Alvar saints who lived between the 5th century to 10th century A.D. have honoured this temple in their songs (Paramasivanandam, 1981). According to the Brahmanda Purana, King Sumati has worshipped Parthasarathy in this place after worshipping the Lord at Tirupathi (Paramasivanandam, 1981).
Evidence is there to prove that this temple was restored in about 1564 by a pious citizen (Ayyar, 1982). For some time in the 17th century, the Dutch-owned this temple and then it had passed on to the East India Company (Paramasivanandam, 1981). The temple had internal conflict from the 1750s onwards to the end of the century between the two subjects of Vaishnavism, namely Thenkalai and Vadagalai (Mukund, 2005). In 1843, the temple was recorded as the property of the local public (Paramasivanandam, 1981).
A number of inscriptions have been found from the temple premises (Ayyar, 1982). Most of them have been written in Tamil while there is one in Telugu (Paramasivanandam, 1981). They reveal information about many charitable endowments to the temple by several kings including Dantivarman (795-846 A.D.) of Pallava Kingdom (Paramasivanandam, 1981). Inscriptions of the later Cholas, the Pandiyas, and the rulers of the Vijayanagar Empire have also been found (Ayyar, 1982; Paramasivanandam, 1981). Some of the ancient inscriptions by Cholas and Pandiyas are said to have been misplaced and scattered in the course of renovations done in Vijayanagar times (Ayyar, 1982).
The temple
The Parthasarathy temple is considered one of the two oldest and important shrines in Chennai (Ayyar, 1982; Paramasivanandam, 1981). It has five idols (Murthis) and the Saptarishis (seven sages) are said to have worshipped these idols here (Paramasivanandam, 1981).

In the inner sanctum of this temple, the images of Parthasarathy, Rukmani, Balarama, Satyaki, Sankarshana, and Aniruddha are found (Ayyar, 1982). Several small shrines dedicated to Narasimhaperumal, Rama, Hanuman, Gajendra Vardarajaswami, Andal, Alvars and Acharys are also located within the temple (Paramasivanandam, 1981). In a Mantap called Tiruvaymoli Mantap, the idols of great religious teachers and exponents such as Alavandar, Ramanuja, Manawala Mamunigal, Vedantha Desikar and Tirukkachi Nambi have been placed (Paramasivanandam, 1981). There is a pond named Kairavini Pushkarani to the east of this temple.

1) Tiruvallikeni1 by Nsmohan is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

1) Ayyar, P.J., 1982. South Indian shrines: illustrated. Asian Educational Services. pp.27-29,39-40.
2) Mukund, K., 2005. The View from Below: Indigenous Society, Temples, and the Early Colonial State in Tamilnadu, 1700-1835. Orient Blackswan. pp.64-70.
3) Paramasivanandam, A.M., 1981. Ancient temples of Tamilnadu. Tamil Kalai Publishing House. pp.23-26.
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This page was last updated on 22 August 2021


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