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Sri Vedanarayana Perumal Temple, Anoor

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praveen

Life is a dream
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Sri Vedanarayana Perumal temple is situated in a village known as Anoor, approximately 13 kms from Chengalpattu and situated very near River Palar. In a totally dilapidated condition, as the roots of trees and creepers have taken a firm hold on them, the only heartening feature is that worship is still continued in this temple which follows the Vaikhanasa code. It is only from the numerous inscriptions etched on the walls of this shrine that one comes to know that this was an important centre of worship even in the Chola times starting from the 10[SUP]th[/SUP] century A.D. and also the fact that this religious institution too was a centre of education like many others of the time.  Sri Vedanarayana Perumal Temple, Anoor

The entrance to the main temple and also the sanctum-sanctorum face east. Vedanarayana Perumal enshrined here is seated in the ardha-padmasana posture, with His left leg placed on the pedestal and right leg placed in front and hold the Conch and discus (Sanghu and Chakram) in his upper left and right hands respectively. His lower right hand is in the abhaya hasta pose while his lower left hand in in chin mudra (gesture of teaching). The Srivatsa mark is clearly visible on the right hand side of his chest. To his right and left are Sri Devi and Bhu Devi respectively, also in a seated pose, sharing the same pedestal with Vedanarayana Perumal. The processional deity, also of the same name, is four-armed Vishnu in a standing pose holding the Sankhu and Chakra in his upper arms, His lower right hand in chin mudra and lower left hand in varada hasta, giving boons to his worshippers.

The dilapidated mandapa in front, belonging to the Chola times, bears many sculptures on the pillars like Vamana, Garuda with his palms outstretched, Vishnu Bhaktas, and many more, but sadly, most of these are worn out due to lack of proper maintenance. Stone images of Rama and Sita, originally in a separate shrine, long since vanished, on the banks of the River Palar, are now worshipped here, as are the utsava-murthis of the other temples in this village. Also seen in this pillared mandapa are stone images of Lakshmi-Narayana, Vishvaksena, Nammazhwar, Tirumangai Azhwar and Periazhwar. Two stone icons of Bhakta Anjaneya are kept here, one of which is unique as the entire image, including the halo are sculpted out of one single piece of stone. The small shrine for Garuda is opposite the main sanctum near the mandapa.

Although this temple is in a dilapidated state, there are many epigraphs found inscribed on the walls which throw much light on the history of this shrine and the village of Anoor in the ancient and medieval times. The earliest inscription seen here belongs to the time of Rajaraja Chola I of the 10[SUP]th[/SUP] century, which though damaged, records some provision made for worship and offerings to this temple by the administrative organization of this village.

Another inscription of this time gives information about how this temple also served as an educational centre. It mentions a gift of land by the sabha of Aniyur (Anoor) as a Bhatta-vritti (gift of land to a Brahmin) to a scholar of this village, who was well-versed in one Veda, besides the Sama Veda, in Panini’s grammar, in this Mimamsa and other subjects for teaching these to four students and for feeding them daily. This brings to mind the Sri Venkateswara temple in the village of Tirumukkudal, also situated near Chengalpattu, on the banks of the confluence of the River Palar and her tributaries the Cheyyar and the Vegavati, where a large temple-college functioned in the 11[SUP]th[/SUP] century A.D. as seen from a long and detailed 11[SUP]th[/SUP] century inscription of the time of Vira-Rajendra (1062/63-1070 A.D.), the grandson of Rajaraja I found in that temple. In addition, this inscription which records the information about the teacher in Anoor, mentions that provision was made for playing musical instruments during the several services in the temple.

This temple can be reached by going from Chengalpattu via the village of Pon Vilainda Kalathur.

The temple is open only in the mornings between 7am to 8 am.
 
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