(Last Updated on : 16/09/2010)
Rajagopala Temple is located at Mannargudi near Thanjavur and is dedicated to Krishna or Rajagopala. It is a vast temple complex and has a 1000 year history. It is also called Dakshina Dwaraka and as Champakaranyam.
The sanctum of this temple has a seven feet high image of Vaasudeva with his consorts Sri Devi and Bhoodevi, and the utsava murtis of Sree Vidya Rajagopala, his consorts Rukmini and Satyabhama, and an image of Santanagopalakrishna. The Sree Vidya Yantram located in the sanctum is of great importance. The Goddess Senkamala Thaayar (Raktaabja Nayaki in Sanskrit) is called 'Padi Thaandaa Pathini', and her image is never taken out in a procession outside the temple. Popular belief has it that cradling the image of Santanagopalakrishna in ones lap, would bless barren couple with progeny.
This is a huge temple with seven prakarams surrounding the sanctum. The rajgopuram is 154 feet high and is on top of the entrance to the outermost prakaram. There are several pillared halls - such as the Thousand pillared hall, the Vallala Maharaja Mandapam, Yaanai Vaahana Mandapam, Garudavaahana Mandapam, Vennaithaazhi mandapam and Punnai Vaahana mandapam. The Shrine to Garuda is on top of a 50 feet high monolithic pillar in front of the temple. There is a saying that 'Mannaargudi Madhil Azhagu' - the walls of the temple of Mannargudi are of great beauty. Several theerthams (temple tanks) adorn this shrine. The Haridra Nadhi tank is located near the temple, and popular belief is that a river was transformed into a tank, and the deity performed the famous Rasa Leela near the tank.
The sanctum is a thousand years old, although the first stone structure was built during the reign of Kulottunga Chola I (1113 AD); hence this temple is also called Kulottunga Chola Vinnagaram. The outer structures date back to the later Vijayanagara period.
The annual festival of Bhrammotsavam is celebrated in the month of Pankuni (Mar 15-Apr 15) for a period of 18 days, when the deities are taken out in procession on decorated mounts. The float festival is held during June 15 - July 15. Aadi Pooram is celebrated between July 15 and Aug 15.