Narasimha sculpture on Gopuram at Brihadishvara Temple, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India

Sculpture narrates the story of Narasimha - the ferocious avatar of God Vishnu - whose incarnation’s sole purpose was to restore dharma - by destroying evil in the form asura king Hiranyakashipu and end his religious persecution. How to reach Brihadiswara Temple in Thanjavur?

King Hiranyakashipu gains a vardaan or a boon from Brahma for his severe penance that he cannot be killed by a man or animal, during day or night, nor inside or outside, not by any weapon. Once he receives the power he believes that he is immortal and hence should be worshipped as god. He specifically persecutes all Vishnu devotees including his own son Prahlada as Vishnu had killed his brother Hiranyaksha.

Prahalad undeterred continues worshipping Vishnu. After numerous unsuccessful attempts by Hiranyakashipu of disciplining Prahlada, in absolute frustration he proclaims - where is your Vishnu!

Prahalad calmly mentions that Vishnu is present everywhere and in everything. In rage Hiranyakashipu hits a pillar in his own palace and says according to you Vishnu should be in this pillar too - Prahalad in absolute belief confirms Vishnu’s presence. And to Hiranyakashipu shock the pillar breaks and a ferocious Narasimha steps out.

Its a fatal moment - its twilight neither day or night - Narasimha is part Lion and part man - he places the asura king on the threshold on his thigh thus is neither inside or outside and lastly he tears open Hiranyakashipu with his claws not using any weapon in absolute accordance with the Brahma's boon.

Tag : Rajarajesvaram or Brihadisvara Temple | Content: | Image: Richard Mortel | Update: 16-Mar-2021