"Āvaraṇa-devatā" of the Hindu temple - a brief note

Brihadeeswarar temple, Thanjavur,close to sanctum, Wikipedia.

Above image: The above entrance/exit entrance is at the big temple thanjavur. The sanctum close to it has Āvaraṇa-devatā God's attendants.........

In the Hindu pantheon there are countless sub or demi or upa deities around if you visit any historical Hindu temples on the tall gopura on all sides you may notice a sea of deities both goddesses and gods along with demigods. Apart you also see scenes from the episode of the Mahabharata and Ramayana. if you go into the inner sanctuary - sanctum or garbhagriha you will run into an array of deities that surround the presiding deity. Here in the sanctum the  prime idol of god is placed in the center being the Core Center of Temple  also known as “Garbha Gudi” / “Moolasthanam”.  The core center of temple is the place where the maximum positive energy  flows. The thing most of us don’t know is the temple structure is built once the idol location of garbhagriha is confirmed and placed. 

Āvaraṇa-devatā meaning  ‘deity installed in the area surrounding the main deity’, they also get due importance in the puja rituals. When food offerings are made to the deity, the temple priests never fail to offer them the daily Naivedyam. 

Invariably in all old temples the sanctum is surrounded by āvaraṇas or enclosures  and their numbers may vary from one to seven. They are supposedly the attendants or the retinue of the main deity. It is something like a king being surrounded or followed by his paraphernalia.  Tradition has it they are enshrined  on the pradakṣiṇā path (circumambulation) round the main deity,

According to the Vaikhānasāgama there are  as many as 135 parivāradevatās spread over seven āvaraṇas for a Viṣṇu temple.Some of them are: Brahmā, Aniruddha, Trivikrama,  Varuṇa, Śukra-Bṛhaspati, and Subhadrā. In the case of Shiva  and Devi temples

In a Śiva templeDevī, Caṇḍeśvara and Brahmā find a place in the āvaraṇas.  Where as in  a Devī temple, Śiva, Viṣṇu, Gaṇapati and Kārttikeya or Subrahmaṇya  are an integral part of āvaraṇas.