Prime Deity: (Moolavar) Yoga Nrsimhar
Consort (Thayar) : Amirthavalli
Significance: Consecrated (Divya Desam)
Sacred Fountain: Thakkaankulam
Sacred Dome (Vimanam) : Hemakoti (Simhagra)
City : Sholingar (Sholingapuram)
Sholingar, also known as Sholasingapuram or Sholingapuram is situated in the Chennai-Bangalore railway line, 23 kms from Valajapet and 37 kms from Arkonam. It can be reached by bus from Tiruttani, Chittoor, Vellore and Tiruvellore. The temple is 12 kms away from the Sholingar station.
The sanctum sanctorum of the Prime Deity is atop of a hillock called Kadikachalam which is about 750 feet high with 1300 steps. The lion-faced Yoga Nrsimhar, in the yoga-sitting posture is facing east. He is donned with a ‘salagramam garland’. (‘Salagramam’, black stones with different shapes, are found at the banks of the River Kandaki, Nepal.
Each stone represents a different Vishnu deity. These stones are kept with reverence in the vaishnava homes and are offered daily poojas. The Lord is thus easily accessible to the devotees.) He is considered to be extremely powerful. Sholingar has a traditional name ‘Thirukadikai’. The belief is that to stay atleast one ‘kadikai’ (about 24 minutes) in this place, sanctions ‘moksa’ or Liberation from the cycles of birth and death. The legend says that the Sage Viswamithra stayed and worshipped in this place for a ‘kadikai’ and received the status of ‘Brahmarishi’.
The Saptarishis (Atri, Bharadwaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vasishta and Viswamitra) prayed to Lord Nrsimha to give up His wrath and reveal Himself in the peaceful ‘Dhyana’ form. The Lord obliged and chose to remain in Sholingar.
The Nrsimha avatar or the Lion-Man incarnation is the fourth manifestation of Lord Narayana’s ‘Dasavatar’. The Lord assumed this terrific form to kill the asura, Hiranyakasipu who had received incredible boons through his tapasya, such as, that he would be killed neither by a man nor by a beast, neither in the morning nor at evening, not in the sky or earth, nor by any kind of weapons, and that his blood should not be spilt on the earth. His son Prahlada, a great devotee of Lord Narayana categorically refused to worship his father and asserted that the Lord is everywhere. Infuriated Hiranyan broke open one of the pillars of his court-hall and the Lord came out in the awesome Nrsimha form not only to put an end to Hiranyakasipu but also to confirm the unshakeable faith of his beloved devotee. Sri Adi Sankara has composed a stotra with 17 stanzas celebrating Sri Lakshmi Nrsimha, (the Lord with His Spouse Lakshmi), called the Lakshmi Nrsimha Karavalamba Stotram. The stotram is called so because each of the stanza ends with a refrain ‘Lakshmi Nrsimha mama dehi karavalambam’ meaning ,’O Lord Lakshmi Nrsimha, please lend me your helping hand’. The Lord continues to give a helping hand even today when devotees offer their special prayers to get rid of their mental agony and physical pain, loss in business, conjugal problems and so on.
Nearby is another lovely hillock luring the devotees with its natural scenery. Here dwells Lord Anjaneya who also sits in yoga posture, facing west – his eyes focused on the feet of the Prime Lord. This shrine could be reached after climbing about 400 steps. There is a legend associated with this shrine. Once a king named Indraduyman came to this place chasing a deer. When he attempted to shoot an arrow at it, the deer disappeared and there came ablaze a flame. From then on he left his hunting activities.
He received an extraordinary prowess with which he routed a rakshasa called Kumbhodharan and protected his citizens. It is believed that at the behest of Lord Nrsimha, Lord Anjaneya came to help the king. The former bestowed the latter with the wheel (chakra) and the conch (shanku), and also four arms. Like the Master, Lord Anjaneya also sits in yogic posture, containing within himself, his immense energy. Worshipping this Lord, along with the Prime Deity, drives off insanity and evil doings, is the staunch belief of the devotees.
At the foot of the hill is the shrine of Lord Bhakthavatsalan ( fondly called ‘Thakkaan’) and He is the one Who enjoys all celebrations and festivals. Yoga Nrsimhar and Yoga Anjaneyar are stone images. Amirthavalli Thayar, the Spouse of the Lord dwells in a separate shrine and happily enjoys ‘Tirumanjanam’ (sacred bath) on Fridays. The most important festival in the month of Karthigai is performed with much fanfare. The next is the Brahmotsavam in the month of Chitrai for 10 days. ‘Narsimha Jayanthi’ in the month of Vaikasi, is obviously a most important day of celebration.
There is a small shrine for Sri Varadaraja Perumal alighted on Garuda at the banks of a pond in the hill-route. He could be worshipped only during the highnoon hour. He appeared so granting the prayer of Thottacharyar (16th century) whose lineage looks after this temple. Tirumangai and Peyalvar have consecrated Thirukadikai in 4 pacurams. The temple people say that Nammalvar in his Tiruvaymoli lovingly exhorts the Lord of Sholingar only as ‘Akkaarkkani’ (2-9-8), meaning ‘candy-fruit’.
Distance from important cities: From Vellore-60 kms, Chennai-125 kms, Tiruvellore-58 kms.
Lodging facilities: Devotees can stay at Sholingar or Tiruttani or at Vellore. Rental rate Rs.200 to Rs.600/-
Transport facilities: Adequate bus-services from Vellore, Tiruttani and Tiruvellore. We can travel by train from Chennai to Arkonam and from there, take a bus to Sholingar. Nearest Railway station – Tiruttani, Panavaram. Nearest Airport – Chennai.