Kanchi, most known for the revered Kamakshi Amman temple and the woven wonders, has more than what meets the eye. The second holiest after Varanasi, Kanchi is famous for being the seat of Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Jainism, all at once, while majorly worshipping Shakti in the form of Goddess Kamakshi.
The Ulahalanda Perumal (Ulaha – land, Alanda – measured, Perumal – Lord – Lord who measured the land/ world) temple stands as one of the major testimonies to the bouquet of surprises that this temple town has to offer. Dedicated to the Vamana avatara of Lord Vishnu, in which he appears as a dwarf to qwell the pride of the Lord of the Asuras (demons), the deity is depicted by a huge image, with Lord Bali under his feet. This giant avatara of Vamana is known as Trivikrama.
“Bhagavata Purana describes that Vishnu descended as Vamana to restore the authority of Indra over the heavens, as it had been taken by Mahabali, a benevolent Asura King. King Mahabali was generous, and engaged in severe austerities and penance and won the praise of the world. With the praise from his courtiers and others, he regarded himself as the all powerful in the world. Vamana, in the guise of a short Brahmin carrying a wooden umbrella, went to the king to request three paces of land. Mahabali consented, against the warning of his guru, Sukracharya. Vamana then revealed his identity and enlarged to gigantic proportions to stride over the three worlds. He stepped from heaven to earth with the first step, from earth to the netherworld with the second. King Mahabali, unable to fulfill his promise, offered his head for the third. Vamana then placed his foot and gave the king immortality for his humility.
Though photography is prohibited in the inner sanctum like in most other temples, the entrance houses a sculpture which is an exact replica of the deity inside. Catch a glimpse in the pictures below. 🙂
Close-up of the image. Can you spot Mahabali’s head under the Lord’s feet?
I had thought of completing the entire Kanchi sojourn today, but it again seems a bit too much for just one post. Already too late too. 😛 Can’t believe we did so much in a day. So much to learn and imbibe. Hope to post the rest soon. 🙂