Our great Acharya Sri Ramanujacharya took refuge here in the 11th Century when he fled from the evil King, Krimikanta Raja. It is from here that Sri Yathiraja continued propagating Sri Vishista Advaitha Siddantha. This place is very close to Melkote (Thirunarayanapura), where Lord Sri Thirunarayana (one of the Pancha Narayanas) was reinstalled and worshipped by Sri Ramanuja himself. The other four Narayanas established by Sri Ramanuja are Sri Nambi Narayana at Thondanur, Sri Keerthi Narayana at Talakadu, Sri Vijayanarayana (Chenna Keshava) at Belur and Sri Veera Narayana at Gadag – all in Karnataka. Sri Nambi Narayana is adorning Chakra and Shanka in the left and right hands opposite to the normal right and left hands. This is to show that he is in MUDRADHARANA posture to initiate people to the SRIVAISHNAVA family.He was said to have done Samasryanam to Thondanur Nambigal. Thondanur Nambi is one of the Great Acharya who offered shelter to our Ramanujacharya.
Thondanur, a small town, about 130/140 km from Bengaluru or about 40/45 km from Mysore, enjoyed a glorious heritage during the reign of King Bitti Devaraya. The King’s palace lay just behind the temple and it is said that the king worshipped Sri Nambi Narayana daily with great devotion. The king’s daughter had some health problems. The worried king tried his best to get her cured by the physicians. When they failed to show any result, he sought the help of Jain Monks, who failed too. The king, a staunch Jain, became desperate. He heard about some Vaishnava scholars who had come from the East. He sent people to invite them to the palace, as a true king who encourages and honours all scholars. Sri Ramanuja cured the princess by simply looking at her. The amazed king became a staunch devotee of Sri Yathiraja and started learning the tenets of Vaishnavism. He later embraced this religion and was named by Sri Ramanuja as ‘VISHNUVARDHANA’. Thus Thondanur has the prestige of being the first place in Karnataka from where Sri Ramanuja expounded his doctrines and helped the growth of Vaishnavism.
The oldest of the three temples is the Sri Nambinarayana temple. The beautiful architecture catches the eye of the beholder. The Narasimha temple is built on a small hillock. One has to climb about 20/25 steps to reach the temple. This temple has been recently renovated. Here the main deity is Yoga Narasimha with the Narasimha Dandam/Scepter and the goddess is “Yadava Nayaki”. Lord Prahalada himself is believed to have installed the Yoga Narasimha archa-vigraha. The highlight of this temple is an unusual archa-vigraha of Sri Ramanuja, who is in His ADISHESHAVATHARA. A beautiful archa-vigraha, which incites curiosity and urge to find out ‘why Sri Ramanuja appears thus’. It is said that Sri Ramanujacharya addressed a gathering of 1000 sarmans (jain pundits) and answered all their questions simultaneously by taking the form of Adishesha from behind a curtain. The amazed pundits were awe struck by his versatility. This is the Avathar found in the temple.
When we come out of the temple just few feet away there is a temple for Sri Parthasarathy temple. The Moolavar is Sri Parthasarathy Swami in Iruntha Thirukolam with Rukmani and Sathyabama. He is in a stage called Tribangam, which is a posture in Bharatanatya. The specialiy here is that his left legs are in the front and the right leg is behind.
Thondanur also has a huge lake called Moti Talab, which was built by Ramanujacharya. The water in the lake is crystal clear and never dries up even in the middle of a drought. The lake has some Water falls and Culverts designed for water sports.During the period of Vishnuvardhana and Sri Ramanujacharya, Thondanur became a popular place.
Type of Place: Historical Lake and Ancient Temples
Situated: Mandya District, Srirangapatna Taluk
Distance: 130 Kms from Bangalore, 30 Kms from Mysore, 8 Kms from Padavapura; 20 kms from Melkote on SriRangapatna highway
Type of transport: Pandavapura is well connected by both Rail and Bus services.
Good roads lead up to the lake and the temples.
Temple Contact Information:
Sri Raguram Bhattar,
Sri Gopala Krishna & Yoga Narasimha Temple,
Kere Thonnur : 571434
Telephone: (08236) 251795