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Chathankulangara Narasimha Temple Near Chenganoor – Famous For Wooden Sculptures

Chathankulangara Narasimha temple is located around 500 meters from Chenganoor Mahadeva temple. It is believed that Sasthamkulangara might have become Chathankulangara and therefore this might have been a Sastha temple earlier. The sankalpam of Narasimha Murti in the temple is that of along with Goddess Lakshmi and blessing Prahlada. The temple is famous for its wooden sculptures.

The murti of Narasimha worshipped in the temple carved in wood and is considerably big. The darshanam of Chathankulangara Narasimha murthy is towards west. Women are not allowed inside the nalambalam.

The Upa Devatas worshipped in the temple are Sastha, Ganapathy, Naga and Rakshas. 

The 10-day annual festival begins with kodiyettam on the Thiruvonam nakshatra day in Kumbham month (February – March).

It is believed that Narasimha Murti was the upasana murti of Munjira Swami who arrived here as part of his pilgrimage. He performed puja in the place and later he was unable to life the murti as it had got fixed to the ground. The temple was renovated in 14th century CE. The place of building the shrine was donated by Kandathu Madom. An ancient writing recovered from the temple states about the donation of land by Mekandathu Thevan Chankaran. The temple was earlier managed by Munchira Madom. Currently the temple is managed by NSS Karayogam.

Chathankulangara Narasimha Temple Sculptures

The temple is famous for its sculptures carved on jackfruit tree wood and which covers the walls of the sreekovil of the temple.

The shrine is of Chaturasra Alpavimana fronted by a Namaskara Mandapam.  In this Nirandhara Type temple (shrine without circumambulatory passage inside) of 14th century, Adhishtana (plinth part) is of manchaka type. The roof of the main shrine is covered with copper sheets and that of Namaskara Mandapam is a tiled pyramidal one. The entire temple complex is surrounded by the Nalambalam. The square-shaped Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) has its own octagonal Griva (neck of the done) and Sikhara (cupola) crowned by a Stupi.

The granite Adhishtana consists of moulded tiers such as Upana, a short jagathi, vritha kumuda, Kantha with simha - mala and pattika. The Vedika followed by walls are made entirely of wood and carved beautifully with various puranic scenes. The jali windows, devakoshtas and animal friezes are ornamented on the walls.  The temple has four functional doors with Dwarapalakas, and each of them has Durga figure as the Latha bimba. 

 The wood carvings of the wall are excellent and arranged generally in horizontal registers. The western wall portrays various mythical scenes like Krishna Leela, eight armed Vishnu carried by Garuda, the story of Kiratarjuniya, Putana vadha, Krishna killing elephant, Baka and the serpent Kaliya along with the figures of Siva, Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesha, Subrahmanya and Bhagavati. The Devakoshtas comprise of Narasimha tearing the entrails of Hiranya, Narasimha in Yogasana and so on. The northern half of the eastern wall depicts the story of Setu Bandana and on the south, there is a Ganesha figure. Dasavatharam (ten incarnations of Maha Vishnu) and Ananthashayana Vishnu is also engraved on the wall. One of the Devakoshthas represents Krishna killing Dhenukasura.

 The Southern wall displays the figures of Shiva - Parvati, Ganesha, Nataraja; the dance of Siva witnessed by various Gods like Vishnu, Brahma, Subrahmanya, Kali etc. and Sita in Ashokavanam. The devakoshthas includes the figures of Krishna drinking milk from a cow’s udder,  Yakshi, Gajanthaka murthy, and Shiva rescuing  Markandeya along with the Lalata bimba shows Shiva - Parvati. Wooden sculptures on the northern wall comprise of puranic figures like Krishna with a flute and Gods and Goddesses and the famous Vastra harana is also enshrined there in one deva - koshtha. 

The Pranala (the stone pipe for letting out lustral water) located below the functional door of the northern wall is held in a Simha's mouth and rests on the head of a bhuta figure kept in standing posture. The prastara (entablature) of the temple is also beautified with wooden sculptures.  On the valabhi, there carved the scene of the Samudra madhana and other scenes from the puranas.

 The stone inscriptions engraved at the entrance into the temple from the west are in Vattezhuthu, the old Malayalam script. This inscription may be attributed to the 14th century on paleographical grounds. It states that Devan- Sankaran of Melkkadu executed repairs in the temple and re-congregated it, and gives a list of donations of money made by a number of individuals for feeding Brahmins during the two Dwadasi days of each of the twelve months of the year and on other occasions.  In the latter portion of the inscription, a list of lands given to the temple is also remarked.