108 Divya-deshams: Thirukkadigai

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BY: SUN STAFF - 10.5 2024

Sholingapuram, Thirukkadigai

A tour of the 108 Divya-desams, the divine abodes of Lord Vishnu and Lakshmi.

Thirukkadigai, or Sholingapuram, is located in Sholinghur, a village in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. This Divya Desam temple is dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu, as Lakshmi Narasimhar with His consort Lakshmi as Thirumamagal. Thirukkadigai is one of the most famous temples of Lord Narasimha. There are three separate shrines for Lord Narasimha, Bhaktavatsala Perumal and Hanuman (Anjaneya). They are situated on the larger hill, at the base of the larger hill and on the smaller hill, respectively.

Temple gopuram

The Vishnu Purana and Padma Purana refer this place as Kadigai. Since Vishwamitra got his Brahmarishi title here, it became Simhapuram. The place was originally called as Cholasimhapuram, which later became Sholinghar. Various scriptures quote the place as Kadigachalam or Thirukadigai because the place is believed to offer blessings to devotees for worship lasting a kadigai (24 minutes).

Peyalvar refers to the presiding deity as Vaan Poonkadigai Ilankumaran, based on a legend that the presiding deity is also called Bhakotchita Swami. Peyalvar also describes the place as the one having gardens thronged by a swarm by bees. The temple is believed to be one of the 74 seats established by Ramanuja to spread Vishishtadvaita.

The temple has twin hills, with the one of Yoga Narasimha called the Periya Malai (big hill), which is 750 ft. (230 m.) tall and occupying an area of 1.25 acres. The top of the hill is approached by a flight of 1,305 steps. The temple at the top has a five-tiered rajagopuram. Lord Narasimha sits in a yogic posture in a shrine, facing east, and is called Yoga Narasimha Swamy.

Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, a granite wall surrounds the temple, enclosing all its shrines uphill. The vimana over the sanctum is called Hemakoti Viamanam. There is a separate shrine for the Lord's consort, Amrithavalli Thayaar.

Yoga Narasimha

Yoga Anjenayar Swamy temple of Hanuman (Anjaneya) is situated on the second hill, called Chinna Malai (small hill), which is 350 ft. (110 m.) tall. Yoga Anjenayar is sported with chathurpujam (four hands) holding a conch and discus in the upper hands and a jeba malai and jeba shankaram in other two hands.

The image of the festival deity, Varadaraja, is housed in the lower shrine of the big hill. The deities of Bhaktavatchala Perumal and Sudavalli Thayar reside in the lower shrine. There is a four pillared hall midway to the top of the hill housing the images of Doddacharya and Sudarshana.

The temple tank is called Brahma Theertham, as Brahma performed penance at this place to propitiate himself from having one of his five heads cut off by Shiva. The temple tank is located opposite the temple, outside the main entrance in the foothills.

Yoga Anjaneya

Many inscriptions are found in the temple at the foothills and also on the top of the hill. The town was originally under the control of Shaivites, which is substantiated by the temple ruins near Parappan Kulam, in the valley between the two hills. This is where the original Sholinghur was situated. Unfinished Nandhis and sthupas are found in numerous places in Sholinghur.