Published On: Wed, Jan 25th, 2017

Ruined temple back to life in village near Chennai’s East Coast Road

Natam Parameshwaramangalam is a small, historic village, off the East Coast Road, near the bridge over River Palar. Situated in this verdant place is a Vishnu temple dedicated to Sowmya Damodara Perumal which was once in a dilapidated condition and has thankfully been restored due to the philanthropy of devotees. The suffix Mangalam indicates that it was peopled by scholars proficient in the four Vedas and named after Parameshwara Varman, a Pallava emperor.

The large stone image of Sowmya Damodara Perumal is in a standing posture with Goddesses Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on either side. This Vishnu belongs to the era of the Pallava monarchs as can be seen from the trademark Prayoga Chakra (with the rim facing the onlooker) held in the right hand.

Two ancient stone images of Srinivasa Perumal and Varadaraja Perumal, discovered in the premises, have been kept at the entrance of the main sanctum while a stone slab with a carving of Vishnu’s Sudarsana Chakra, which was excavated during the renovation of this temple, is now in worship near the entrance. Similarly, an old stone image of Vira Anjaneya (Hanuman striding forward with His tail encircling His head) has been enshrined next to the new one of Bhakta Hanuman in a sanctum.

The concrete entrance arch, the front mandapa, the main sanctum and the sub-shrines are all recent additions. A damaged inscription of Krishnadeva Raya’s reign discovered on a stone slab nearby records the name of an official who held the designation Mahamandaleshwara.

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