Sowmyanarayana Perumal Temple is dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Sowmyanarayana Perumal and his consort Lakshmi as Thirumamagal.The temple is known as the place where Ramanuja, the expounder of Vaishnavadatta philosophy preached the holy ashtakshra "Ohm Namo Narayana" to all people irrespective of their caste.
Constructed in the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is glorified in the Divya Prabandha,the early medieval Tamil canon of the Azhwar saints from the 6th–9th centuries AD.
Sowmyanarayana Perumal temple covers an area of about 2 acres and has a five-tiered gopuram . The temple in enclosed in a rectangular enclosure with huge granite walls. The central shrine houses the image of the presiding deity, Uragamellayan Perumal in reclining posture on a snake bed similar to that of Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple. The images of Sridevi and Bhudevi are also housed in the sanctum. There two life-size images of Narasimha, the avatar of Vishnu. One of them is shown holding the demon Hiranyakshipu and other slaying him. Though it is a Vishnu temple, the temple has the image of Shiva in the form of Lingam, Vinayaka and Subramanya.
The festival deity is named Sowmya Narayana Perumal made of panchaloha. The vimana, the shrine over the sanctum is Ashtanga in architecture, which has eight parts, namely, Adhistana , three Padas, Prashthana , Griva , Shikara and Stupi . The outer parts of the vimana have various stucco images of Narasimha, sages, Dasavatara and other mythical stories. The Ashtanga Vimana is found in only three places, namely, the Uthiramerur, Koodal Azhagar Temple and Cheranmadevi temples. The ashtanga vimana raising to a height of 25 m , is taller than the gopuram of the temple, which is not a common feature in Dravidian temples. The shrine of the consort of Sowmyanarayana Perumal, Thirumamagal, is located to the south of the main shrine. There are smaller shrines of Lakshmi Narasimha, Rama, Lakshmi Narayana and Krishna located close to the sanctum.
The shrines of Andal, Narasimha and Manavala Mamunigal are found in separate shrines around the first precinct. The shrines of Garuda, Anjaneya, Ramanuja, Vedanta Desika and Azhwars are found in the second precinct.According to historian K.V. Soundararajan, the Rangantha temples in South India built during the 9th and 10th centuries have a systematic arrangement of subsidiary deities as seen in this temple along with the Appakkudathaan Perumal Temple at Koviladi, Veeraraghava Perumal temple at Thiruvallur, Rajagopalaswamy temple at Mannargudi and Ranganathan temple at Srirangapatna.
Sowmya Narayana Perumal Temple Thirukoshtiyur
Hiranyakshipu, the demon king, got arrogant after he got boons from Brahma, which nearly made him invincible. He troubled the Devas and they prayed to Vishnu for rescue. Vishnu was ready to take the Narasimha avatar to slay the demon king. The Devas pleaded with Vishnu to show the form before he could take it. Vishnu showed them the avatar, but not pleased with the vision, the Devas and sages pleaded him to show it again. Vishnu appeared in three forms of standing, sitting and resting posture at Thirukoshtiur. Since Vishnu showed his form after hardship of Devas, the place came to be known as Thirukoshtiur
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