Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal TempleThe rock fort city of Tiruchirappalli is popularly regarded as a pilgrimage destination for its innumerable temples, churches and mosques dotted across the length and breadth of the district. The neighbourhood of Trichy, Srirangam is a pilgrim's paradise as the island is the proud home of the Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple (foremost of the eight self-manifested shrines, that is, Swayam Vyakta Kshetras of Lord Vishnu and first and foremost among the 108 divya desams).
A pilgrimage to Trichy will not be complete without visiting its historic temples that are considered as spiritual symbols of the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Situated just over a kilometre, east of Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple in Srirangam is the renowned Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal koil, one that goes back further to the Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple when Srirangam was called as 'Vellithirumutha gramam'. Subsequently, Srirangam came to be referred as 'Thiruvarangam' after the construction of the Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple.
History of Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal TempleThe Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple was constructed by the Pandya King Vallabhadeva and the temple has a baronial 'vimanam' - the sacred (grand) tower that tops the innermost sanctum sanctorum of Singaperumal. The region was once a dense forest land, bordered by two large natural streams of water, namely River Kaveri to the south and the Kollidam River (Coleroon) to the north. Furthermore, the area was primarily populated by 'rishis' (sages) and their families. From time to time, wild animals of the forests would trouble the families of the sages.
Although the sages living in the area featured the ability to burn down the wild animals, they decided not to use it against the animals and to lose the fruits of their 'kadum thavam' (penance). Alternatively, the sages attempted a more serious kind of penance appealing the graces of Lord Narasimha - god of protection and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. On noticing the penance of the sages, Lord Narasimha appeared offering auspicious sight (visions of the divine) to the sages.
As per the prayers of the sages, Lord Narasimha stayed there forever with Goddess Lakshmi protecting the people who pray at this place in a dedicated manner. As the almighty himself appeared here in the midst of the dense forest and stuck around to shield the people from danger, injury, destruction, or damage, Lord Narasimha came to be known as ‘Kaatu’ Azhagiya Singa Perumal, where the word Kaatu can literally be translated as forest in English. Several other stories are also stated regarding the history of this temple.
Deities of Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal TempleThe main deity of the Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple in Srirangam is Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal (8 feet tall) who is in a sitting posture facing west. The Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal here is a 'Chaturbhuja Narasimhar' (Narasimhar with four hands). Among the four hands, the two upper hands of the Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal is seen holding a 'sangu chakram' (conch and chakra), while his lower hand is seen in an 'abhaya hastha' posture (blessing posture).
Goddess Mahalakshmi is seen holding a flower and seated on the left lap of Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal. It is extremely important to mention that both the feet of the goddess here can be seen in this temple as Goddess Mahalakshmi is typically seen with her right leg hanging down and the left leg is bent inwards.
Unlike other Hindu temples in the state, the 'urchava/utsava murthy' (festival deity) of the Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple is not found inside the temple complex. Instead, the festival deity of the singa perumal koil is placed inside the Koorathalwar shrine in the Srirangam Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple.
As the Singa Perumal Temple was located in the middle of a dense forest, the festival deity was placed in the Ranganathar Swamy Temple for safety purpose. The age-old tradition of keeping the festival deity of the Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple in Srirangam Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple is followed even today. The temple also houses a separate shrine for Garudalwar (the divine vahana of Lord Vishnu).
Visit of Nam Perumal to Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal TempleThe urchava/utsava murthy (festival deity) of Srirangam Ranganathar Swamy Temple, known as ‘Namperumal’, visits the Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple every year on the Vijayadashami day (tenth day of Navratri festival). Namperumal from the Srirangam temple is brought through the Eastern Vellai Gopuram in a 'palakku' (palanquin). On reaching the Singar Koil, Namperumal adorns the outer mandapam of the temple from morning to evening where special poojas are performed.
Evening festivities commence when the sacred bows made of cane and arrows were brought on an elephant through the Chithirai Veedhi of Srirangam. Around 6 PM, Namperumal on his golden horse vahana is posed in front of the Vanni tree (Prosopis cineraria) for the grand event.
After poojas, the much awaited hunting episode is acted out in front of hundreds of thousands of people who usually gather at the Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple with Namperumal releasing the arrows with brass heads in various directions, terminating the life of the Vanniyasura (forest demon), and ensuring the protection of the good.
Quick Facts:Location: Sri Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple, Srirangam, Tiruchirappalli - 620006
Landmark: Srimad Andavan Arts and Science College
Temple Timings: 06:15 AM to 12:00 PM and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Main Deity (Moolavar): Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal
Special Poojas and Offerings: Devotees perform Thirumanjanam (reverence to the deity by offering a ceremonial bath) to Singaperumal and offer Vastras
Important Festivals: Vaikasi Narasimha Jayanti, Aaugadhi, Pradosham days and Saturdays
How to Reach?
- From Srirangam Railway Station, the Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple is just 200 yards
- The Kaatazhagiya Singaperumal Temple is just 1 km away from the Srirangam Sri Ranganathar Swamy Temple (via Nelson Road)
Nearest Railway Station: Srirangam Railway Station
Nearest Airport: Trichy Internation Airport
Some of the other important religious sites of Trichy include:
Woraiyur Vekkaliamman Temple
Thiruvananikaval Jambukeswarar Temple
Thirupattur Sri Brahmapureeswarar Temple
Rock Fort Ucchi Pillayar Temple
Srirangam Amma Mandapam Ghat
Our Lady of Lourdes Church