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The Singaperumalkoil Temple's presiding deity is Narasimha, an avatar of Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi is called Ahobilavalli. It is one of the cave temples built during the Pallava period in the 8th century. The temple is located around 50 kilometers from Chennai, in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. The temple also goes by the name of Padalathri Narasimha Temple. Vishnu, in the avatar of Narasimha, appeared in a ferocious form with red eyes. This spot is known as Padalathri. The temple is said to be at least 1,500 years old.
The temple finds mention in the Brahmanda Purana, where Vishnu appeared as Narasimha in front of sages performing penance after he killed the evil demon king, Hiranyakashipu, who had been granted a boon that no one could kill him. To the discomfort of the king, his son Prahlad was an ardent devotee of Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu tried to slay Prahlad several times, but Vishnu saved the child by his divine grace.
Vishnu took the avatar of Narasimha, with the face of a lion and the body of a man. Narasimha killed King Hiranyakashipu when it was neither day nor night. He killed the evil king on the doorstep, which was neither on air nor land. While the avatar remained aggressive and his anger was not quenched even after the killing, Prahlad prayed fervently and appealed to Narasimha to calm down. Narasimha then took a bath in the temple tank.
Maharishi Jabali performed severe penance seeking a vision of Sri Narasimha at this place. Narasimha granted the wish and gave his Darshan at Pradosha time (twilight time).
There are a lot of inscriptions on the walls of the cave temple, built during the Pallava regime. The engravings were done during the Chola period, between the 10th and 11th centuries. The oldest inscription goes back to 985 to 1016 CE, during the reign of Raja Raja Chola, from Thanjavur, whose donation finds mention.
Rock-cut architecture can be seen at the Singaperumalkoil Temple. The presiding deity is a massive image cut from rock, in a seated posture. The Supreme being of Narasimha has four hands, two of them holding the Conch(shell) and Chakra (wheel), while the other two carry the Abhaya Mudra and the Uru Hasta (pointing towards the earth). Narasimha sits with his left leg folded and his right leg down. The presiding deity is 8 feet tall and in Ugra (fierce) form.
The Ugra Narasimha sports a third eye on his forehead, a feature usually associated with Shiva. People believe that if a devotee gets the darshan of the third eye, all misery in the world can end.
Dwarapalas guard the sanctum on either side. The consort of Narasimha, Lakshmi, called Ahobilavalli, is in the second precinct. There is a shrine dedicated to Andal to the right of the sanctum. The sanctum of Ahobilavalli and Andal face the East, while those of Vishwakasena and Lakshmi Narasimha look toward the South.
A Mahamandapa, a worship hall, and a narrow Ardha Mandapam precede the central shrine. The flagpost has been built behind the altar of Garuda, Vahan (vehicle) of Vishnu, axial to the central sanctum. The entrance to the temple offers scenes from Dasavatharam. The 12 Alwars are present both in deity and procession forms.
The Singaperumalkoil temple follows rituals based on the Vaikasana Agamic tradition, which is the Thenkalai tradition. The priests perform poojas (rituals) daily. Ceremonies are performed four times a day, with each one carried out in three steps – Alangaram (decoration), Neivethanam (food offering), and Deepa Aradhana (Lighting of lamps). Tirumanjanam is performed to Narasimha on Pradosha days at this time.
The sun's rays shine on the feet of Narasimha in Marghazhi and Thai months, as well as on Rathasapthami. On Poornima (full moon) day, going around the hill is celebrated as an event in the temple.
The Singaperumalkoil temple celebrates numerous festivals. Some of the most prominent are the Maasi Float festival in February-March, the Chithirai Poornima, Chithirai Brahmotsavam during the month of April-May, the Narasimha Jayanti, the Shri Ramanuja Jayanthi, and the Pavithra Utsavam during the month of Aavani (August-September).
During the Brahmotsavam held in the month of Aani, the temple car carries the deities of Narasimha and his consort, Ahobilavalli. The car goes around the streets of Singaraperumalkoil. During the Float festival, the float takes the deities across the temple tank.
The temple celebrates Sri Krishna Jayanthi, Navarathri in Aippasi (October-November), and Thirukarthikai (November-December). Other festivals include Sri Andal Neerattu Utsav on Makara Sankranthi in the month of Thai (around mid-January).
Many devotees offer prayers at the Singaperumalkoil Temple, also called the Padalathri Narasimha Temple. People seeking success in litigation, relief from debts, suffering from the adverse effects of Mars affecting their marriage, those born under Swathi and Thiruvathirai stars, those going through the Rahu period and suffering from aspects of Saturn, pray to Padalathri Narasimha. A tree called Azhinjhal behind the temple has a powerful effect, and people seeking marriage, child boon, excellence in education, etc. pray to this tree by applying sandal paste and kumkum (vermilion). Devotees also light lamps in ghee.
All suburban trains from Chennai Beach and Chengalpattu stop at the Singaperumalkoil Temple. There are trains once every hour.
There are deluxe buses that run between Chennai and Chengalpattu stops. There are also autorickshaws from the Singaperumalkoil station that will take you to the temple.
Morning: 7.30 A.M. -12.30 P.M.
Evening: 4.30 P.M. - 8.30 P.M.
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