Rarnavaram, near Porur, once considered a suburb of Chennai that was difficult to reach from the heart of the city, has now become a crowded place, very much within city limits. It is therefore heartening:to know that the very ancient temple for Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal located there, which was once in an extremely dilapidated condition, with hardly anyone visiting it, is now in a flourishing state and the centre of active worship.
According to the sources connected with the history of this temple, it was originally constructed during the time of the Pallava ruler, Narasimhavarman II in the 8th century AD. However, the pillars of the temple, especially those in the mandapam, point to this being a creation of the Chola times, subsequent to the Pallava era. Whatever be the exact antiquity of this temple, the fact remains that for a long time it remained neglected with many parts of the shrine in a dilapidated condition. Luckily, enthusiastic devotees arranged for the renovation of this temple and the consecration (samprokshanam)was performed in 1983.The second samprokshanarn was performed in 1994 when the flag-staff (dhvajasthambam) was installed and the third samprokshanam was held in November 2007. The street leading to the temple has been known, from the ancient times, as Iyengar Street, revealing that people of the Srivaishnava community had settled here long back. The entire area was known as Brinduranya fihetra as there was a large Tulasi garden here.
The entrance to this medium-sized temple, as well as the main shrine, faces east. Worshipers enter the temple through aspacious mandapa with the dhvajasthambam, in front of which, directly facing the main shrine, is a tiny image of Sri Vainateya or Garuda with palms together (anjali basta). Then there is another pillared mandupa containing the pillars of the Chola era. Enshrined in the main sanctum is the small but very powerful image of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal. Like most images of this Deity, here too He is seen with Goddess Lakshmi seated on His 1efiThigh. His upper Hands hold the Conch (sankha) and Discus (chakra). His lower left Hand encircles the Waist of the Goddess while His right Hand is in the posture of assuring His devotees that He will save them from all harm (abhaya hasta). Interestingly, this Image is of greenishstone(pacchaikkal)ofaresonantnature. Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal wears a Sakzgrama garland of 38 Salagamas, of which 25 are Sri Santana Gopala Salagramas and the rest are Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Salagramas.The Deity is enshrined under the AnandaVimanaand the sacred tank (teertha) is known as Amrita Pushkarini.
Before the renovation began, only the stone Images (Mulavar) of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha and Sri Amritavalli Thayar were inside the temple. The Utsava-murtis of four-armed (chaturbhuja) Vishnu (also called SriLakshmiNarasimha),with Goddesses Sridevi and Bhudevi on either side (processional Images) were installed later. There is a small image of Lord Santana Krishna in this temple and it is believed that those who hold this Deity in their hands and perform worship (archana) will be blessed with offspring.
Thes anctum for Goddess Amritavalli Thayar is found in the pillared Chola manahpa and faces east. A sanctum for Sri Anjaneya, enshrining a small image of the greatest devotee of Sri Rarna, in anjali hasta, with his tail, at the end of which is a big bell, encircling his head is seen here, also facing east.
All the rituals of this temple are conducted according to the Vaikhanasa Agama. The Brahmotsavam, which is celebrated in the Tamil month of Ani (June-July) during Sravanam asterism (nakshatra),was started in 1994after the dhvajasthambam was consecrated. On Svati nakshatra every month, there is a procession for Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal. Similarly, every Paurnami, there is procession of Goddess Amritavalli Thayar and on every Amavasyd, Sri Anjaneya is taken on a procession in the evenings after anointment with butter (vennaikkappu).Sri Narasimha-jayanti in this temple is not celebrated on the day of His birth asterism as in other temples, but during Svati nakshatra in the month of Ani (which is the second day of the Brahmotsavam). This temple is known for its bhajana worship, held every Saturday. It is also believed that if people pray to Sri Bhakta Anjaneya Svami in this tem-ple and tie a coconut with the husk as per the rituals prescribed, their wishes will be fulfilled
This temple is open from 7.30 am to 10 am and from 5.30 pm up to 8.15 pm.