Krishnapuram Temple

Krishnapuram, a hamlet 13km from Tirunelveli,is the site of Sri Venkatachalapati temple. Sri Venkatachalapathi temple is little known, but hides inside it intricate life-size sculptures carved in granite, that look remarkably fresh.  The presiding deity of this temple is Sri Thiruvenkatanathar or Sri Venkatachapathy, an aspect of Lord Vishnu.  It is said tat Krishnappa Nayak (1564-1572), the ruler of Madurai, constructed the temple to help those unable to go Tirupati.  The Nayak, it is said, specially commissioned sculptors from Vijayanagar to work on this temple.

The Ranga Mandapam, at the entrance, has tow beautifully carved elephants. Inside are the excellently chiselled sculptures.  One of the pillars depicts a prince and princess being kidnapped by a gypsy and his female accomplice.  The princess is shown being carried on the gypsy's shoulders, while he is being chased and wounded by a lancer.  The gypsy's body is writhing in pain, while, on a second pillar, the princess' mother is shown consulting a female palmist.  The feminine curves, dress and ornaments have been carved in great detail.  Rati, the Goddess of Love, is shown in another pillar, a picture of vanity.  Among the other notable sculptures here are one depicting the little-known episode involving the Pandava, Bhima, and a half-man, half-beast, forest dweller, Purushamrigam.  The ever-green Mahabharata hero, Karna, is shown in one of the pillars, while Arjuna, the other hero of the same epic, is showing doing penance, with a flowing beard, but carrying his weapons, the bow and arrows.  Other representations: a beggar with a monkey on his shoulders, a dancing girl, lovers, an interlocked statue of a bull and an elephant, and a false sadhu molesting a girl, who pulls his beard in anger.

The presiding deity looks remarkably similar to the great Lord of Seven Hills.  He is flanked by Sr Devi and Bhoomi Devi.  There is a separate shrine for Goddess Padmavati.  The village is said to have derived its name from Krishnappa Nayak.  Another school maintains that it was named after Sri Krihnadeva Raya.

How to get there:  Krishnapuram is only 13 km from Tirunvelveli.  Town buses touch this place at regular intervals.  Accommodation: Tirunelveli has hotels and lodges to suit all purses.

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