Chennaraya Perumal Temple (Dharmapuri - Tamil Nadu)

The day I went to Mallikarjunar Koil, I also ventured to Chennaraya Perumal Koil.

Wait!!! Before I proceed about Chennarayar lemme first tell about the place - Dharmapuri. 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) to Poet Avvaiyar. Adhiyaman was one of the 7 renowned great Vallal (Donators) 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. This temple is circa 800 years old and was built in 12th C by the Chozha kings.

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???!!!!! I know you must be wondering. Well, let me clarify. 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 available in the temple are to be safeguarded. So, what are and were available?

Beautiful, exquisite Murals.!!!! Thanks to the fierce nature and various advents and battles, and some unaware people in the present society, 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.

That’s at the ceiling of Temple entrance. Isn’t his moustache really looooong???!!!!!

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. 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 creator of everything around.

The whole image of Lord Vishnu is intact till date. The ones on the wall are destroyed and the ones near the window have got damaged in the fierce face of nature.

Oh, I almost forgot. These murals were done in natural dyes. I have a great passion for anything done in Natural dyes. Till date, most of my garments are done in fabrics that are natural dyed. Here is my another blog where you can see my garments done in fabrics that are dyed in natural dyes.

Coming back to Chennarayar, in the paintings near the window, only the very fast red color of Indian Madder is still intact. All the rest of the colors are gone.

Though it’s a rarity, it is seen in some temples - Erotic expressions on the exteriors of the temple. A famous example is Khajuraho. Relatively unknown, road less travelled example is Chennaraya Perumal Koil. This is rarely done as an expression on enjoying the sanctity of wedded life and worldly pleasures (though we call it so, it is actually the creation of new life!!!), and then leaving it all and enjoying the sanctity of divine pleasures. So worldly pleasures are seen on the outer walls and as we go inside to the sanctum sanctorum there lays the Lord – the divine pleasure!!! I know such an expression might be unacceptable to some, but still……….



From Salem: 66 km

From Bangaluru: 127 km

From Erode: 114 km


From railway stn: 4 km

Locals refer to the place as Adhiyaman Kottai.


An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.


  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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