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Thread:Indian Heritage ArchitectureViews: 602
Aug 31, 2007 6:11 am re: Thread for :Indian Heritage and Architecture
Shobha(usha) gowri Sri Ulagalantha Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram
Awesome-the Lord with his leg lifted heavenwards -truly amazing sight and the sculptors depiction of the Lords face,the emotions and dress :you can see every fold in the dhoti,the eys looking down at you from above,the fingers.....one just has to stand and look and look and look
Fortunately there are no big crowds and you can take your time-but it could have all changed now.


This is a small temple near the Kamakshi Amman Temple.The main deity of this temple is 35 feet high and 24 feet wide posing with one foot on earth and the other on the sky. This form is called Trivikrama. This temple is one of the 108 Divya Desam's of Lord Vishnu. Subshrines of this temple namely Tiruneerakam, Tirukarakam, and Kaarvaanam are Divya Desam's as well.

The mythological story goes as follows: King Bali, son of Virochana and grandson of Prahlada, was famous for his austerities. Though a Daitya, a ruler of demons, Bali earned much merit by his virtuous deeds and his devotion to Brahma. He became so powerful that he defeated Indra and
humbled all the Devas. The Devas appealed to Lord Vishnu for protection and he promised the same. As King Bali never refused alms begged of him, Vishnu took the form of a dwarfish Brahmin and appeared before Bali with a request for a small gift. Bali asked the dwarfish Brahmin to express his desire. The dwarfish Brahmin begged of him that he wanted just three footspaces of land where he could live. This being a very small request, Bali consented to give him the required land. The Brahmin then assumed the form of Thiruvikrama-and raised his right foot and covered the whole of the earth. Then with his left foot he covered the entire heaven. Then he asked Bali where he could show place for the third pace. Bali showed his head.Vishnu recollected that Bali had been a man of great charity and had done immense good to the world. Especially as Bali was the grandson of Prahlada, who was his great devotee, it was not fair to kill him. So Vishnu made him the King of the Netherworld (Patala Loka). Depiction of this incident is Ulagalanda. Perumal, one of the ten incarnations of Vishnu according to Hindu mythology. The shrine dedicated to this incident is very rare and is peculiar to Kancheepuram. This incident happened on Amavasya Day of the month of Kartika, on which the Deepavali festival is performed to commemorate the victory of Vishnu over Bali."
Another write up I found:
Going for the dramatic effect, we chose a small temple with lots of surprises. The Ulagalandha Perumal temple, though unpretentious in appearance, had surprises for both the historian and the pilgrim. The core of the temple is probably of Pallava vintage going by the main deity but inscriptions are only from the Chola period. The temple has been sung by Azhwars of the 7-8th century but the temple may be much older. For the pilgrim, the temple houses in four separate shrines, four different deities praised by the Azhwars. The temple is unique in having four divya desams in one temple complex.

We paused at the entrance porch admiring the unusually decorated pillar corbels with the face of an asura and stepped into the main sanctum. The small size of the temple complex and the simple structure does not quite prepare us for the main deity. At a towering 9.6 metre height and 7.2 metre width is the bas relief of Ulagalandha Perumal Vishnu as Trivikrama measuring the world. The image has one foot over the head of king Mahabali. The other is raised parallel to the floor. His hands are stretched out, the fingers counting two in one hand and one in the other, reminding the devotee of his two steps taken, and yet to take the third. The deity is not of stone but of stucco which has periodic applications of special oil.

This is a rare image, especially the size. Despite the dimensions, the sculptor had an eye for detail, evident in the dress and ornaments and what was remarkable was that despite the size and the low light in the room, there was an obvious sense of action in the image that was palpable to the viewer.

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