Vaikunta Perumal 8th CE Hindu temple of Kanchipuram, TN

8th CE Vaikunta perumal temple, kanchipuram

lion pillars and relief work. prakara,Vaikunta perumal temple

panels of stone carvings, Vaikunta perumal temple.Kanchi

Vaikunta perumal temple, Kanchi.

\Above images: The Vaikunta Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu.  The main attractions of this  old temple are the relief works - beautiful carvings of episodes from Indian epics on the walls of the prakara and  many attractive lion-carved pillars. The pillars appear to rest on the hind legs of sitting lions facing the open yard........   

Kanchipuram town, Location map, TN.

The Vaikunta Perumal Temple (dedicated to Sri Vishnu) of Uthiramerur near Kanchi, is a declared heritage monument and here the lord's consort is  Lakshmi as Anandavalli. This region was under the control of various rulers - the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas, Sambuvaraya, Vijayanagara Rayas and Nayaks. This village established in 750 CE,  as per record, was donated to Vedic Brahmins following  Srivaishanva samprathayam by Pallava king Nandivarman II (Pallavamalla) 730–795 CE. The village was planned as per Agama shastras with the assembly hall in the centre of the village.  Originally,  built by Pallavas, when the Chola dynasty  ruled in the  later part of the 9th century,  they patronized this temple and made additions. 

An unusual historical fact as revealed by the inscriptions in the temple is about  the conduct of  election  to elect representatives for the village bodies  during the regime of Parantaka Chola  (907–955 CE).  Democratic practices  had been introduced 1000 years ago by the great Chola rulers. After Cholas, the the land was passed on to different rulers including Pandyas and finally the Vijayanagara  Dynasty.  

It was during the reign of Sri Krishnadeva rayar (1502–29)  solid  contributions were made to  the Vaikunta perumal temple, besides  Subhramanya temple and Kailasanatha temple in the same village.

The temple has no entrance tower-gopuramand the ceiling is a flat one.  Have you ever heard of three grabagrihas (sanctums) in one place? It is rare among the Hindu temples. An odd design of this temple is there  are 3 sanctuaries for god on three floors. - one on top of the other all enshrined with the image of God Vishnu in different postures;  seated (ground floor), sayanam - sheshashayee, as the  lord sleeps in the Kshirsagar (first floor) and standing (2nd floor). The latter one is not open to public. The first floor garbagriha (access is through a stairway) is a small and plain one and the king is seen serving the almighty. It is open to public  only on Ekadashi or the 11th of every fortnight of lunar calendar. it is said the main deity in the sanctum is missing and is closed to public for some reasons. There is prakara - prathakshana path on each floor around the sanctum.  On the prakara walls all alone there are  intricate carvings of mythological stories from the epics  Mahabharata, etc. they bear testimony to the amazing talents and skill of artisans way back in the 8th CE.    

In this temple the main deity is with  Sridevi and Bhudevi on his either side in the sanctum. The assembly hall built by Kulothunga Chola  covering about  2,500 sq ft is an interesting one. Architecturally,  the entire weight of the roof falls on the walls all around with no support either in the form of pillars or beams and rafters. 

It is said the entire structure consisted only of  just the assembly hall and when it caved in during the regime of Kulothunga Chola, he had  it rebuilt along with the  garbagriha.,_Uthiramerur