Kalinga Narthana Perumal (Sri Krishna) of Oothukkadu - Why is it alluring?

As I mentioned in many of my posts, the temple  city of Kumbakonam, Thanjavur district, Tamil Nadu  has countless number of Saivite, Vaishnavite  Sakthi  temples, besides   Navagraha temples. Most of them are historical temples of great antiquity  and lie within a radius of 50 km from the city, exception being the Saneeswara temple at Thirunallar near Karikal, Pondicherry state.  As a child we grew up listening to various  interesting stories and legends drawn  from the Hindu mythology. They, undoubtedly, impart moral values in life and the importance of devotion to God. The most fascinating  are those of  Lord Krishna's  and his early childhood pranks; among them Kaalinga Narthanam episode is quite captivating.

In the small, nondescript village of Oothukkadu, 14 km from Kumbakonam, there is an historical Hindu temple, believed to be 1000 years old, dedicated to lord Vishnu. Here, the ord  is known as Veda Narayanan flanked on either side by his consorts  Sridevi and Bhudevi. The main attraction in this temple is the the Utchava Moorthy (processional idol) -  Sri Kalinga Narthana Perumal. This exquisitely made small metal idol is just captivating and mesmerizes the devotees, coming to the temple.

Kalinga narthanam. naachiyaarthirumozhi.blogspot.com

The panchaloka idol is about 2.5 ft tall. Lord Krishna, depicted  as a five-year-old mischievous boy as he was,  is seen dancing with his left foot on the serpent  Kalinga's  hooded head and his right leg in the air. Krishna holding the tail of the serpent with his left hand and shows Abhaya Mudra (blessing people who take refuge in him) with his right hand.  The balancing act of the lord on the serpent's hood  is beautifully portrayed. There  are scars on the right leg of Sri Bala Krishna, implying violent beating of its tail by the serpent Kalinga. Yet another interesting feature of this amazing idol is actually Krishna's leg does not touch the snake's hood and there is a hairline gap. Such Kalinga Narthana Krishna idols are rare in temple.

In the early stages centuries ago,  the temple was a small one. An accidental recovery of the idol in the temple water tank attracted the attention of the people and the ruler. It was  King Nalakonda Chozhan, who took keen interest and renovated this historical temple. After the arrival of Utchavar idol, Sri Kalinga Narthana Perumal, the popularity of this temple had spread far and wide. There are stone inscriptions in the bottom on the east side of the main tower (Rajagopuram).

Oothukadu Venkata Kavi nikhiletc.wordpress.com

In the 17th century there lived a mahakavi in this village by the name of Vekata Subbaiyar, popularly known  as Venkata Kavi, who dedicated his entire life to this temple and composed numerous songs praising the glory of Lord Bala Krishna. His numbers are sung by well-known Carnatic musicians. It is believed that Venkata Kavi was an incarnation of sage Narada. His songs are emotional and intense. He was so much dedicated to Bala Krishna, it is said, he visualized the lord himself was asleep on his lap and therefore would avoid, doing anything including tapping thalam on his lap.

 Near the Garbagraham, there is a small shrine of Goddess Lakshmi Devi. It is of interest to note that the idol of Lord Vinayaka  is in the dancing posture. The temple was renovated in October, last year. The funds were raised through donations from the public. Last time when I visited this temple, the renovation work was going on in full swing.

Sri Kalinga Narthana Perumal Temple, oothukkadu. oothukadu.blogspot.com

post renovation Sri Kalinga Narthana Perumal Temple, oothukkadu thehindu.com

It is gaining popularity as the  Parihara Sthalam and people suffering from Sarpa dosham, Ragu dosham (blemish) or problems related  to childlessness, delayed marriages, poor business, etc come here to seek remedy. 

Sri Kalinga Narthana Perumal Temple, oothukkadu. oothukadu.blogspot.com

Above image:  Kalinga Narthana Perumal temple, Oothukadu, near Kumbakonam. The entrance tower before renovation.................

Krishna -kalinga narthanam, Thanjavur painting.amazon in.

This history of this village can be traced as  far back as the Sangam period. The very name Oothukkadu means a forest with the spring (oothu meaning spring of water; kkadu meaning forest). Legend has it that sage Naradha once requested Lord Krishna to provide  water in this wooded area and a pond was formed from the spring In this pond Naradha   had a rare chance to witness the Kaalinga Narthanam (dancing on the serpent Kaalinga) that Lord  Bala Krishna joyfully enacted  in front of the divine cows Nandini and Patti, calves of Kamadhenu.  Upon seeing this rare, divine dance, It is believed, sage Naradha  humbly prayed to  Lord Krishna to stay  in this quiet  village with his Kalinga Narthana  dance posture and bless the devotees. Accordingly,  Lord Krishna stays here at Oothukkadu for the prosperity of the people.

Oothukkadu is about 7 km from Thirukarugavoor, where the famous shrine of Goddess Garbha Rakshambigai is located. It is on the Kumbakonam-Melatur -Thittai route. the rivers Vettaru (tributary of the Cauvery) and Cauvery are near by. The surrounding place has a quiet and serene ambiance with greenery all around, an ideal place for those who want to take a brief respite from the hurried urban life.


Kalinga Narthanam. .The Kalinga Narthana temple.