A cave temple at Yanaimalai, eight kilometres from Madurai, on the road to Melur is dedicated to a magnificent Yoga Narasimha Swami. The grandeur this 5000 year old rock cut temple is amazing. Picturesque beauty of the large elephant shaped mountain, the plain break on which the temple is and the enchanting lotus pond represents the natural aura of serenity to this temple. This place, though not a `Divyadesam’ by itself but is situated between the two divyak kshetrams of Azhagarkoil in the north and Thirumohur in the east.
There is a hill in the shape of an elephant adjoining it, hence the name Yanaimalai. The Yoga Narasimha Perumal temple is situated to its west in a village called Narasingam. It was built by Maran Kari, a minister of the Pandya king Jatila Varman, also known as Komaran Sadaiyan.
According to the Sthala Puranam of Madurai Koodal Azhagar Temple, known as Koodal Manmiyam, published 80 years ago, sage Romasa had installed the Narasimha idol in a cave in the hill. And the 87th chapter of the Uthara Kandam of the Brahmanda Puranam says the sage did penance on the banks of the tank called Padma Thadagam, as it was filled with lotus flowers, near the Gajagiri Kshethram (the present Yanaimalai) seeking progeny, and wanted the Lord to appear in His Narasimhavatara.
The Lord appeared as Ugra Narasimha and the heat that emanated from Him was unbearable. Even the celestials were affected by it and they all came to Gajagiri Kshethram and prayed to the Lord to calm down. The Lord could not be pacified and then they sought the help of Prahlada, whose arrival quietened Him to some extent. They prayed to Goddess Mahalakshmi, who also took Her abode in Him as Narasingavalli, after which He became Yoga Narasimha. The Lord later granted the boon sought by the sage.
According to another legend, Lord Siva was afflicted by Brahmahathi Dosha after He plucked one of the five heads of Lord Brahma. He was relieved of it after He took bath in the holy water source here, also known as Chakra Theertham, and He worshipped Lord Narasimha. It is believed that taking a dip in the Chakra Theertham, which is near the temple, rids one of all sins.
Another story relating to Yaanaimalai Narasimha is that Pulastiya Maharishi, the great grandfather of Lankan King Ravana is said to have undertaken penance at this place and had darshan of Lord Narasimha
Varada Narasimha, the Utsavar, is seen in a standing posture with a Lion shaped face and a mace in his left hand, not see elsewhere.