After spending some time trying to decipher and read atleast a few words of the political inscriptions, my next stop was the much bigger temple located very close by - Sundara Vardha Perumal temple. This temple is about 1200 years old. This is said to have been constructed by the mason Paramesa Vathan who was extremely skilled in Vasthu Sashtra, under Nandhi Varma Pallava.
The architecture here at the sanctum sactorum is a specialty. Its called the Ashtanga Vimanam. This kind of architecture was what inspired Kanchi Kamakoti to start up on Besant Nagar Ashta Lakshmi Temple.
The east facing sanctum sanctorum is in 3 floors. On the ground floor, the Vishnu is Standing with Sridevi and Bhoodevi. In the circum ambulation passage are the shrines of Achtha Varadhan, Anandha valli thayar, and Anirudhra Varadhan.
On either sides of the sanctum sanctorum are steps that lead to the 1st floor. There Lord Vishnu is in the seated posture again with Sridevi and Bhoodevi. Just outside the sanctum sanctorum are 2 dwarabalakas on either sides. There are few more separate shrines around for Krishna with Arjuna, Yoga Narasimha and Lakshmi Varaha murthy as well. The above pic is of the Gopuram from the first floor!!!
From there further atop is another floor of sanctum sanctum sanctorum where Lord Vishnu is in the reclining posture. Along with his are Brahma from his naval, beside are Madhu and Kaidaba. Also present in the scene are Shiva and Markandeya Maharishi. Its essentially a simpler and smaller version of the complex, huge, reclining Vishnu at Thirumayam.
The view from the 1st and 2nd floor were absolutely stunning. The best part was, I was there during sunset and it was spectacular!!!
And here are some mind blowing facts about these shrines. The sculptures in the sanctum sanctorum and the dwarapalas outside are all made, not of granite or any stone but of wood. Its made of wood called Atthi (Ficus Retusa Moraceae). The wood has been treated with herbs and oil treatments that on appearance they look like granite!
Another awesome feature is the frescoes. On the sidewalls and the walls behind all the 3 sanctum sanctorum are beautiful paintings, most probably of the Nayak period!!! There is some deterioration at some places. But mostly visible in the 1st & 2nd floors. Yes, there are some people who light camphor near the sanctum sanctorum to show their devotion. Pls DON'T! Its gonna ruin the frescoes!!! And if you see someone who had lit one when you're there, pls put it off!!!
In the outer circum-ambulation passage on the ground there are some interesting relief sculptures.
At every corner of the platform base, were these beautiful curvy patterns - at some places just decorative, some had a mythical creatures, and some were mermaids!!! The entire platform was filled with inscriptions.
TO GET THERE:
Refer my earlier post.
Dedicated to Gopu, Siva & Vishwa