Though a Shaivite by tradition,our home accords Andal place of pride in our pooja room.
My mother used to say we are Andal’s children.
Reason , I was born in Srivilliputhur,one of the Divya Kshetras of Vaishnavism.
My familiarity with Vaishnavite practices is slightly better than Shaivite practices.
Such is the greatness of Andal,one of the twelve Azhwars,and the only woman,she evokes proximity to Godhood easily.
Though there are Sannadhis, separate sanctum for Andal in most of the Divya Kshetras,very little is known about Andal sanctum at Lakshmikanthaswamy temple at Hedthale,near Nanjangudu,near Mysuru, Karnataka,India.
The special features of this temple include,
1.The eyes of Lord Lakshmikantha,Vishnu with Lakshmi,look real whenights are out and Aarthi is performed.
2.Same with Andal Sannidhi.
3.Sixteen faced hall where the Observer can not be seen by the observed.
4.A Special dais where if one is seated before Lord Narasimha,one can feel the positive vibrations.
Lakshmikantha, the principal deity for whom the temple is named, is four-armed with the padma or lotus and gadha held at the back, the shankha and chakra held in the front in the samasharna mudra or mode, that is, in the right and left hands, contrary to norms (most forms of Vishnu have the shankha-chakra symbols on the left and right hands respectively).
Lakshminarasimha, the deity placed on the left of Lakshmikantha, is perfectly symmetrical with goddess Lakshmi being chiselled in perfect proportion and seated at a level that is proportionate in relation to the Lord.
In front of the shrine is drawn a circular motif upon which one is supposed to sit in meditation posture and look steadfast at the eyes of Narasimha. This is believed to result in positive vibrations felt by the worshipper.
The idol of Venugopala, flute in hand, in tribhangi, the dance posture, is most enticing, even as cows and gopis stand entranced by the melody of his music. Andal, whose idol is of recent origin, sculpted over a decade ago, is the piece de resistance in the temple.
The idol has been sculpted not just aesthetically, but also scientifically perhaps.
The eyes that look ordinary in normal light appear real when the priest performs ‘aarathi’ in total darkness with all lights switched off.
As the light from the aarathi is held at level with Aandaal’s forehead, her gaze appears to be directed at you, looking straight into your eyes!
The temple architecture typically consists of three chambers – the garbha griha or sanctum sanctorum, the sukhanasi and the navaranga. Seven ft. high lathe turned pillars hold aloft the hall, the ceiling of which has an exquisitely carved banana bunch.
Much of the ceiling has sculpted geometric patterns. Unlike Hoysala temples, the exterior walls are bereft of sculptures.
The Hadinaru Mukha Chavadi in front of the Garuda Sthambha is brilliantly designed and entails an interesting tale. It was built by Bhimanna Danda Nayaka, a palegar who had 16 daughters, all of them married and settled in life.
As an annual event, the palegar would have all his daughters and sons-in-law visit him and there would be merriment. He conceived and built the chavadi with purpose and tradition in mind.
On the one hand because of the sheer numbers of daughters he had, he found it increasingly difficult to match the sons-in-law with the respective daughters.
Rooted in tradition
Also, according to traditions of the times, women were not allowed to see their sons-in-law directly or face-to-face. Danda Nayaka thus had the 16-faced hall with 16 seats, one for each daughter/son-in-law pair.
Further, the 16 faces were built in such a way that while the palegar himself could see all his daughters and all the respective sons-in-law, his wife would only be able to see her daughters but not the sons-in-law from the pedestal in which the duo would sit!
‘How to reach.
12 km from Nanjangudu .
Bus station. Nanjangudu.