Sri Parthasarathy Temple
This temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna, was built in the 8th century AD under the patronage
of the Pallavas, housing the idols of the five avataras of Sri Vishnu. It has a small temple
shrine dedicated to Vishnu's consort called Vedavalli Ammai in this part of the country.
While dedicated to Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna, the Parthasarathy Temple at
Triplicane enshrines images of the five incarnations of Vishnu including that of a wounded
Krishna. Parthasarathy literally means the 'charioteer of Arjuna'.
Partha is another name
for Arjuna and Sarathy means charioteer. Lord Krishna served as the charioteer of the Pandava
Arjuna in the Great War of Mahabharatha. It's one of the oldest surviving temples in Chennai.
It was built by the Pallavas and later renovated by the Vijayanagar rulers. The Pandyas and
Cholas contributed some changes.
Traces of the architectural signs of the Vijayanagar kings,
who ruled as late as the 16th century, are also evident in the temple structure. The main
shrine is for Venkatakrishnan with Rukmini, Balaraman, Satyaki, Anirudha, Pradyumna - in a
standing posture facing east. There are shrines for Ranganathar in a reclining posture with
a separate sanctum for his consort Vedavalli.
There are shrines facing the east for Rama along
with Sita, Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrugna and Hanuman, Varadarajan seated on the Garuda, and
Narasimhar in a seated posture. Apart from these, there is a separate shrine for Andal. A
distinct feature of the temple is that it houses five Avatars (incarnations) of Lord Vishnu:
Aranganathan, Venkatesa,Varadaraja,Narasimhan, And Rama.
In the 16 th and 17th centuries,
this temple was the scene of many battles, Golconda, the Dutch and the French occupying it
at various times.