Chennaraya Perumal Temple, Adhiyaman Kottai (Dharmapuri - Tamil Nadu)

The day I went to Mallikarjunar Koil, I also ventured to Chenraya / Chennaraya Perumal KoilBefore I proceed about Chennarayar lemme first tell about the place - Dharmapuri. 

Chenraya Perumal Temple Adhiyaman Kottai Frescoes
Pic Courtesy: British Library  via EAP ref EAP692/4/1/3/13 (used in this blog with permission)

Chenraya Perumal Adhiyaman Kottai Dharmapuri Temple
Dharmapuri was originally called Thagadur. It’s been just 300 yrs since it’s called Dharmapuri. It was once ruled by the famous Adhiyaman Neduman Anji. And his fort is called Adhiyaman Kottai. It was Adhiyaman who gave the eternal Nellikkani (amla/gooseberry) to Poet Avvaiyar. Adhiyaman was one of the 7 renowned great Vallal (donors) of ancient Tamil Nadu.

Now, coming back to the temple. This temple is located within the premises of Adhiyaman Kottai. The fort doesn’t exist now. It is only the ruins if the fort seen now which is almost just only the short wall now. Chenraya Temple was built during the Hoysala Empire in 12th C CE and was further expanded by Krishna DevaRaya of Vijayanagara Empire. The frescoes in this temple were done during the Vijayanagara Era in 17th C CE.

The first time I went here on the same day as Mallikarjunar Temple, but it was closed on that day. I again ventured here on one early morning with another local friend. This time again it was closed. But I made it a point not to budge from the place unless I see the temple from within. I waited for some half an hour and the authorities came.
Authorities???!!!!! They were the authorities of ASI (Archeological Survey of India). Yes, a better late than never. Now the temple is in the safe hands of ASI. Whatever is still surviving in the temple are to be safeguarded. So, what is surviving?
Beautiful, exquisite Frescoes.!!!! Thanks to the lack of awareness, elements of nature and natural ageing, half the paintings are a gone case now. Then, things got under the scrutiny of the efficient ASI and today whatever is left is taken care of with utmost care.
Chenraya Perumal Temple Adhiyaman Kottai Frescoes
Pic Courtesy: British Library  via EAP ref: EAP692/4/1/3/9 (used in this blog with permission)
The God here is Chennaraya Perumal. Perumal is another name of Lord Vishnu. The Ardha Mandapam of this temple is around 10 feet long. The ceiling of the whole 10 feet has a huge image of Lord Vishnu, called Viswaroopam. The body of Lord Vishnu is filled with several humans, animals, birds, plants and several other beings. This is to denote that Lord Vishnu comprises of everything around and he’s the protector of all lives. 
Some other painting include scenes from Mahabharata & Ramayana. The whole image of Lord Vishnu is intact till date. The murals on the walls and the ones near the window have got damaged though. In the paintings near the window, only the very fast red color is still intact. All the rest of the colors are gone. Ofcourse, all these were painted with natural mineral dyes. The styling is very Deccan school, reminding me much of Kalamkari textile art, with women depicted in Virupakshi style & men depicted in Deccan Muslim style. 
I wasn't allowed to photograph the frescoes here, from inside. However's here's the complete documentation of all the frecoes, inch by inch, done by British Library as a part of their Endangered Archives Programme - The above 2 pictures are from their collection.

This temple is not a sculptural marvel; there are very few sculptures especially on the vimanam (tower) on the temple. Erotic expressions are seen many a times on the exteriors of the temple. A very famous example is Khajuraho. Some examples in Tamil Nadu include Nellaiyappar Temple. Relatively unknown, road less travelled example is Chennaraya Perumal Koil.  

From Salem: 66 km
From Bangaluru: 127 km
From Erode: 114 km
All the Dharmapuri temples (this & Mallikarjunar temple) along with Hogenakkal Falls can be done as a day-trip from Bangalore.

From Dharmapuri railway station to Chennaraya Perumal temple: 4 km

Lodges & small hotels are available in Dharmapuri.
For more comfort & luxury, nearest large city is Salem which can be reached in 1:30hrs by car.


An ardent traveler by passion. Being an ex - Art History Teacher, my area of interest especially lies in Nature and Heritage. Visited 85 UNESCO World Heritage sites as of June 2022. I've been listed among the Top 7 Women Travel Bloggers of India, Top 50 in UK. I have been interviewed in a couple of TV Shows, Radio Channels and Events as well. Read more about me and read the testimonials of different brands


  1. Very good details, especially the last picture!!

  2. Another wonderful place from India..

  3. Hi Friend! Another great place to put in my list... Hard to find time!!

    Now, do you have time to relax with a visit to a museum? Blogtrotter is at the British! Enjoy and have a great holiday season!

  4. Beautiful pictures and narration. You show that part of India which is less frequented by visitors.

  5. Hey Sow,
    Thanks da.. :)

    Hi Phivos,
    Ha ha... Thanks dear.. :)

    Hi Aysegul,
    It is definetely a wonderful place. No second thoughts about it.. :)

  6. @GMG,
    Very true. So difficult to find time. A lifetime is not even enough to visit all the places in India itself, leave alone the whole world...

    Thanks sweety.. :)

  7. The murals are amazing, its sad that most of these are lost now...I would love to know more about what these are all about...

  8. @Siddhartha Joshi,
    The central panel of the ceiling in this temple is the huge painting of Lord Vishnu. To denote that he guards all living beings, all humans, animals, birds, devas, asuras etc are all depicted within this body. :)


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