Located 20kms North of Srirangapatna and just North of the Nambi Narayana Temple is the Yoga Narasimha Perumal temple in Thondanur, one whose moorthy is believed to have been installed by Prahalada in the Kretha Yuga. Hence, the idol here is said to date back about 5500years. One has to climb about 15steps to reach the temple. This temple is seen as a special Abhimana Sthalam of Ramanuja.
Ramanuja’s debate at this temple
After his exile from Srirangam, Ramanuja came first, here to Thondanur, before proceeding to Melkote.
Here at Thondanur, Ramanuja’s disciple Thondanur Nambi, who also built the famous Thonnur kere (the huge dam North of this temple) brought the Hoysala King Bitta Deva and his daughter to Ramanuja.
The King’s daughter had been afflicted with Brahma Rakshasha and was not in a proper state of mind. Ramanuja directed the king to take his daughter to the huge Eri (Sarovar) known as ‘Pancha Apsara Thataka’. He asked the king’s daughter to bathe there and then invoke the blessings of Yoga Narasimha at the temple South of the dam. At the temple, the Archaka placed the Narasimha Dhanda on the daughter and to the king’s surprise she was instantly liberated from the illness. To this day, one sees Yoga Narasimha holding this magical Dhanda in his right hand.
Belief is that Lord Yoga Narasimha fulfils all the prayers of the devotees here at this temple. Once fulfilled, the devotees present a 10×6 Veshti to Yoga Narasimha and an Orange Veshti to Ramanuja at this temple as a thanks giving gesture.
Spreading Vishishtaadvaitha in this region
When asked what he wanted, Ramanuja informed the king that he was here to propagate Vishistaadvaitha and that he would like the King to convert to a Vaishnavite.
Bitta Deva, much against the wishes of his people, became a Vaishnavite and changed his name to Vishnu Vardhan reasoning out to his people that in this Kali Yuga, Ramanuja was the avathara of Sesha (similar to how Lakshmana was in the Tretha Yuga).
An unhappy lot, the 1000 Jains of Thondanur wanted to confront Ramanuja in a debate. Outside the Yoga Narasimha Temple, after Ramanuja invoked the blessings of the Lord, he was thrown 1000 questions by the people of the kingdom. And in one go Ramanuja hit back at them with 1000 answers much to the delight of the people. Pleased with his answers, the Jains converted to Vaishnavism.
Moving from Thondanur, he later built/renovated the temples at Melkote, Gadag, Belur and Thalakkad. He also renovated the Amara Narayana temple at Eka Chakra Puram in Kaivara, a temple that relates to the legend of Hidumba Samhara.
Ramanuja in Sarpa Roopam
When the time had come for him to leave for Srirangam, the people of Thondanur, who had become fond of him, asked him to stay back here.
He told them that he would have to leave but would leave his powers here and installed his own idol here at Yoga Narasimha temple with Vaikanasa Agama Sastras and is seen even today in the Sarpa Roopa form. While in Melkote, he has an Abhimana status, in Srirangam he is seen in ‘Shareeram’ (body form) and in a Sthoola Roopam (Athma form) at Sriperambadur. Here in Thondanur at the Yoga Narasimha temple on the banks of the Thonnur Eri, Ramanuja is seen in a Sookshma Roopam (Atom) with conch and chakra.
A box used by Ramanuja in the 12th Century AD is still seen inside the temple.
This temple too like the Lakshmi Narayana temple in Thondanur has a Chola Style Architecture but was built / renovated by Hoysala Kings. Hence there is no Raja Gopuram at the entrance.
A couple of 12th Century AD inscriptions at the temple refer to the assignment of 7ma of 30Kuli of taxable land to Lakshmi Narayana by the priests of Yoga Narasimha temple of Yadava Narayana Chaturvedi Mangalam.
A 2nd inscription refers to the gift of 6Pon from out of interest for conducting festivals/ceremonies in the temple of Singa Perumal built by Chokkandai Pergadi.
Moolavar : Sri Yoga Narasimha East facing Sitting Posture
Time : 930am-530pm
Contact : R Raghurama Bhattar @ 08236 251795
How to reach there?
Direct buses from Pandavapura Bus Stand (bus bound for Narayanapura) every one hour- will take 30minutes from Pandavapura. Auto from Pandavapura to Yoga Narasimha temple is available.
Courtesy: Sri S.Prabhu