Tenkasi Temple

Sri Kasi Viswanathaswamy temple

Sri Kasi Viswanathaswamy temple is in Tenkasi, in southwest Tamil Nadu.  Its Rajagopuram, at 54.5m (180feet), is one the tallest in the state. Construction of the Rajagopuam began in the 14th century during the reign of Parakrama Pandyan and was completed in 1505, after the establishment of the Vijayanagar Empire.  However, the tower was struck by lightning and destroyed in 1824. Construction of the new nine-tiered tower began in 1966 and was completed in 1990.

According to the sthala purana, king Parakram Pandyan was on his annual pilgrimage to Varanasi to worship Kasi Viswanath, when the Lord appeared in a dream and told him to build a temple in the south,  and name the town "Then Kasi (south Kasi)."  While searching for land to build the shrine, the monarch found a nandi idol on the banks of the Chitra River.  He installed the Lingam and built the temple round it.  The king also built the shrine for the divine consort, Sri Ulagamman.  Later, during the Vijayanagar/Nayak era, Tenkasi became the favorite halt of the monarchs on their way to Kuttralam, and they showered their wealth on this temple.

Sri Kasi Viswanathaswamy is worshipped in the Lingam form in the sanctum of the main shrine.  There are separate sannidhis for Sri Ulagamman and Lord Subramanya.  The temple is the repository of some of the most beautiful temple sculptures in the state.  Not only are icons well executed, but they are well preserved too.  There are huge images of Arjuna, Karna, dwara palakas, Veerabhadra, a Goddess, with one foot over a swan, 14-armed Nataraja, with his right leg upheld perpendicularly, almost touching His head.  Another Nataraja, ten armed, stands near the entrance of the mandapam. Then there is an eight-armed Chandi, and a six-armed flute-playing Krishna, with the conch and discus on his shoulders. There is also a lissome beauty, applying the vermilon mark on her forehead, while another amply-endowed, but equally slim lass, looks on.

Devotees are given the Kasi theertham.  It is said that those who worship here get the same benefit that accrues from a visit to Varanasi.  Devotees throng Sri Ulagamman's shrine on Tuesdays and Fridays, during Rahukalam, when She is bathed in Panchamrita and milk, and adorned with turmeric.  Those desirous of marriage and children offer saris to the Goddess.

How to get there: 

Tenkasi is 55km from Tirunelveli, and 150km from Madurai.  It is well connected by road to all parts of Tamil Nadu.  Tenkasi Junction is on the Vairudunagar-Sengottai and Tirunelvel-Punalur rail routes.  The Pothigai Express stops here.  Madurai is the nearest airport.  Accommodation: Plenty of good hotels.

Quickly Find What You Are Looking For