Thursday, 1 April 2021

Agara Narasimha Swamy Temple / Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Agra, Chamarajanagar District, Karnataka.

The visit to this temple at Agara was a part of our Chozha period temples Visit on the ancient trade route from Chamarajanagar to Kollegal ( Gangapadi ), in Karnataka State. This place was called as Durgaiyur Agara, which is now called as Agara. Agara.-Agara, a village in the Yelandur taluk in the Mysore District. Population 4,261. It has four old temples dedicated to Ramesvara, Narasimha, Varadharaja and Durga. In that except Varadharaja Temple, the other temples were recently renovated. The Varadharaja temple was encroached by a private person.

In the Tamil inscriptions, the village is named Durgaiyur- agaram and in the Kannada Durgagrahara, thus showing that it derived its name from the goddess Durga of the place, though latterly the first portion was left out and the place came to be known as merely Agara. It will be seen from the Kannada and Tamil names of the village as given in the inscriptions that agara is only a Tamil corruption of the Sanskrit agrahara.

Moolavar: Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy.

Some of the Salient features of this temple are.....
The temple is facing west with a balipeedam. Nagars are under a tree. Maha Vishnu’s Dasavatharam bas-reliefs are on both sides of the Artha mandapam entrance. Maha lakshmi Sannidhi is in the artha mandapam.

There is an entrance with porch on the north side  with bas relief Ganga and Yamuna. Maha Vishnu’s reclining posture is on the top ( Lintel ) of the entrance.

Moolavar Narasimhar is in yogic posture with tongue protruding outside. Naradha and Bhaktha Prahlada are on both sides of Narasimhar. Mahalakshmi is carved on the chest of Narasimhar. Narasimhar has 3 eyes similar to Lord Shiva is the uniqueness of this temple.
It is believed that Thayar Sannidhi was closed due to threat of snake.

The temple consists of sanctum sanctorum, antarala, artha mandapam and a mukha mandapam. The sanctum sanctorum is of Gajaprishta style with out Vimana. The adhisthana is of padabandha adhisthana with three patta kumuda. Koshta Niches are provided on the sanctum sanctorum walls and they are empty now. The north side entrance porch pillars are of square and Octagonal. Nagabandha are beautifully carved.

The temple was built during Chozha period. Inscriptions are found on the Kumuda of adhisthana.  There are nearly fifty Tamil inscriptions in the four at Agara. During the restoration of the Narasimha temple, inscribed the four temples stones have been broken or chiselled out, several shelled have been displaced and some more left on the site in an condition, so that there is scarcely any epigraph at which is complete. One of the fragments temple mentioning the god, which may on palaeographical grounds be assigned to the close of the 10th century, bears testimony to the antiquity of the temple. There are also other fragments recording grants to the by the Hoysala king temple by Vishnu Vardhana and the general Vishnu-dandadhipa. The car mandapa to the right of the temple fragments built into it in different places.

The 64 inscriptions including this are inscribed in Tamil and Grantha Characters. Some of them are in Sanskrit. Maha Vishnu was called as Singaperumal and the place was called as Duggayur-Agaram.

A 12th Century inscription records the endowment of burning a perpetual lamp before god Singaperumal for which 6 pons are gifted, by Kunrachchi Chettiar. Another person has gifted 3 pons for the same purpose.

A 11th Century inscription records the endowment of Nadavanam by Atkondapillai alias  Singaperumal  of Thiruvarur for the same a land was gifted. For maintenance providing a worker a sum of 3 pons and 5 panams were gifted by Vennaikkanttadan son of Gotamanyirunaki-battar.

This inscription refers to a person Ganatturan and mentions the wage of 3 gadayanas paid to an individual.

Another 13th Century inscription ( Tamil & Sanskrit mentions the King Narasimha and refers to god Singaperumal of Duggayar-agaram. The next inscription refers the same kings name and records the endowment of burning a perpetual lamp in the month Chithirai.

A fragment stone inscription records the purchase of Land at Mampalli and another place and additions made to this latter.

Another inscription records the endowment of burning a perpetual lamp to god Singaperumal by KaladiKiriyalvan for which he had given a gift of 3 gadayanas.

A fragmentary Sanskrit inscription records that Vishnu-Dandadhipa, who appears to have made some gift.

As per the Sthala purana gives a different derivation. It says that a king of the name of Vishnu Sharma, who, when on a visit to the place, was bitten by a cobra, got rid of the poison by his prayers to the deities Ramesvara and Narasimha, and that thence forward the village became known as Agara (free from gara or poison).

In the recently restored Narasimha temple, the garbhagriha and sukhanasi, which appear to belong to the original structure, are of an oval shape ( samputakara ). The ardha mandapa / Navrang  has two entrances with porches on the west and north, and opposite to the north entrance is a cell in which the metallic image of the god is kept Narasimha is a fine figure, about four feet high with prabhavali or halo, seated in the posture of yoga or meditation. The image is said to represent five kinds of Narasimha, a peculiarity not found elsewhere; it represents Yoga-Narasimha being seated in the yoga posture, Lakshmi-Narasimha by reason of having a figure of Lakshmi sculptured in its chest, Ugra-Narasimha on account of the presence of a third eye on the forehead, Jwala-Narasimha as having flames represented near the ears, and Prahlada-Nara-Simha on account of the presence of a figure of Prahlada at the side.

Since oru kala pooja is conducted the closing and opening times are unpredictable.  

This place Agara is on the bus route Chamarajanagar to Kollegal. 31.2 KM from Chamarajanagar, 7 Km from Kollegal, 61.8 KM from Mysore and 147 KM from Bangalore.

LOCATION OF THE TEMPLE : CLICK HERE ( GPS Co-ordination   12.115963,77.0713033 )

REFERENCE : Mysore District Gazetteer

Gajabirushta Vimana
Gajabirushta Vimana

Dasavathara bas-reliefs
Dasavathara bas-reliefs

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