Who is Yoga Narasimha?
Lord Narasimha was an avatar of Vishnu who took the form of half-man and half-lion and appeared on earth to kill the demon, Hiranyakashipu, who was almost invincible thanks to Lord Brahma’s boons. Narasimha is a fierce form of Vishnu and is a symbol of valor and strength. He has many forms depending on his posture and the weapons he holds. As Yoga Narasimha, his posture is that of a meditative yogi. Narasimha is also praised as one who restores peace and order to the world. In this pose, Narasimha has four arms. He holds Vishnu’s weapons—the Sudarshana chakra and the conch, Panchajanya, in his raised hands, while his lower hands rest passively in meditation.
Facts about the temple
The Yoga Narasimha Temple is in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. It has three shrines, one each for Narasimha, Bhaktavatsala Perumal, and Hanuman. The Yoga Narasimhar here assumes a refined yogic posture. His idol faces the shrine of Hanuman. The temple has excellent carvings in Dravidian style. This Narasimha Swamy temple is one of the ancient temples in Vellore. It is situated in Sholingur, which is roughly 21km from Walajapet. This temple stands atop a mountain. The shrine for Bhaktavatsala Perumal is at ground level, and the other one is on a 500 feet high hill. The shrine for Hanuman is on a smaller hill. The temple is also called “Tirukkadikai Temple”. This Narasimha Swamy temple is one of the 108 Divya desams of Lord Vishnu. The temple was built during the era of the Vijayanagar kings. Sri Acharya Swami and Swami Doddachar had contributed to building the temple.
“Sholinghur” has another name – “CholaSimhapuram”. In ancient times, it was known as “Kadighachalam”. The stone hill where Yoga Narasimha Swami resides is around 750 feet in height. It is called Periya Malai. One has to climb 1305 steps to get to the temple and get the darshan of the deity.
There are around 108 Theerthams in Kadighachalam. The most important of these is “Brahma Theertham” or “Thakkan Kulam”, also called the “Temple Tank”. The length of this tank is 300 feet, and its breadth is 200 feet. It has 25 steps. Devotees take a bath in this tank before climbing the hill to worship at the temple. The temple gopuram has 7 kalasams. The Goddess here is Amirthavalli Thayar. The unique aspect of the temple is that Lord Narasimha sits in a yogic posture with a Saligrama necklace. He has four arms, two of which carry the discus and the conch. The other two arms are in the meditative pose. Hence, he is called Yoga Narasimha.
As per legend or the Sthala Purana, Narasimha came to this hill after killing the evil demon Hiranyakashipu. According to legend, Narasimha appeared before the Sapta rishis and blessed them with Mukti. Supposedly, the Lord appeared for a span of 24 minutes. Hence, it is said that if one offers prayers on this hill for 24 minutes, they will get relief from their sins. This was how the hill got the name Kadigachalam. Kadigai means ‘24 minutes’, and Chalam means ‘hill’. It is also said that Narasimha appeared in Yoga posture before Prahlad and offered him Mukti.
Folklore claims that Hanuman or Anjaneya stood by the King Indrathymna during his battle against the demons, Arakkan and Nikumban, and saved his kingdom. Anjaneya also self-manifested here in a Yoga posture. Devotees take a holy dip in Chakra Theertham before climbing the small hill, where Anjaneya’s shrine stands. Supposedly, Yoga Anjaneya Swamy’s eyes point to the feet of Yoga Narasimha Swamy.
Varadaraja Perumal supposedly offered darshan in his Garuda Vahanam to an ardent devotee Doddacharya, who could not visit Kancheepuram due to old age.
Benefits of Worshipping Yoga Narasimha
- Yoga Narasimha helps one overcome enemies and creates peace and happiness
- He bestows financial abundance
- He eliminates evil eye problems, evil spirits, and other malicious forces.
- He bestows a successful life.
- Heals physical ailments and mental illness
Narasimha Jayanti is the main festival at the temple. It is celebrated with great grandeur. Chaitra Brahmotsavam and Panguni Thiru Kalayana Utsavam are the other major festivals at the temple.