Kasi Viswanathar Temple Tenkasi
Tenkasi is one of the big town located near Tirunelveli District in South India. Near Tenkasi, you can find the popular tourist destination Courtallam, famous due to its number of waterfalls. The word “Tenkasi” means “southern Kasi” in Tamil language, the local language spoken in Tamil Nadu state of India, where the city Tenkasi is located. Kasi is an ancient sacred city for Hindus located in North India. As Tenkasi is considered equivalent to Kasi, this city got the name Tenkasi – the southern Kasi.
Tenkasi is famous due to its centrally located huge temple of Kasi Viswanathar temple. Of course, the original Kasi city in North India doesn’t have such a huge temple for Kasi Viswanath as it was destroyed by foreign rulers. If you want to visit a big temple for Kasi Viswanath, you need to travel down to Southern Kasi.
The Kasi Viswanathar temple was constructed by the king Parakkirama Pandian in 1455 AD. As he wanted to visit Kasi and couldn’t visit as it was ruled by Muslim rulers at that time, he ultimately built a temple for Kasi Viswanathar in his own city. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Shiva in the name of Kasi Viswanathar. The presiding goddess is Ulagammai. The temple didn’t have tower for many years and it was built towards the end of 20th century AD. The beautiful temple tower is a highlight of this temple and it is nine storeys tower with 178 feet height also is visible from kilometres away.
The Kasi Viswanathar temple which spreads for 4 acres approximately is built in Somaskanda style. The temple is divided into three main sections with three shrines. In one shrine, you can find the main deity Kasi Viswanathar in the form of Shiv Linga. There is another shrine dedicated to the goddess Ulagamman aka Loganayaki. The third main shrine is dedicated to Lord Subramanya aka Bala Subramanian in this temple.
There is a small Ganesha shrine near the temple tower. The southern corridor of the temple has the idols of Sapta Kanya, Suradevar, 63 nayanmars and the shrine of Velavan (Subramanya). The western corridor has the idols of Ayyanar, Mahalakshmi, Vinayaka, and Subramanya. The northern corridor has the idols of Gajalakshmi, Sani, Chandikeshwara, Nataraj, and the temple tank named Kasi Teerth. There is a hall with musical pillars. Apart from all these shrines and idols, the outer corridor and the other areas of the temple has the idols/shrines of Ganesha, Subramanya, Parasakthi Peeth, Sahasra Linga, Bhairav, and Meenakshi & Chokkanathan.
Whatever shrines are present in this temple, the highlight of the temple is its beautiful sculptures present in the mandapa of Bala Subramanian. The sculptures such as Rati, Arjun, Krishna with flute, Bheem, Manmadan, Soldier, Bhairav, and Badrakali are extremely wonderfully carved statues. Especially the statues of Krishna with flute, Shiva with his leg raised towards top and the dancing Kali are very lively. They are considered as one of the best collection of sculptures in the entire South India.
When you happen to go to South India, don’t miss to visit Tenkasi Kasi Viswanathar temple and Courtallam.
Distance: The driving distance between Chennai and Tenkasi is 619 km, while the aerial distance from Chennai to Tenkasi is 555 km. By Train it is 637 Km, from Tirunelveli 55 kms , from Courtallam 6 kms and 200 kms from Madurai.
How to Reach: Easily reachable by road or train
accommodation: lot of budget hotels, luxury hotels and restaurants available in Tenkasi.