(Last Updated on : 20/11/2015)
Vaikuntha Perumal temple is situated at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. It was built by Pallava emperor, Nandivarman Pallavamalla in the 8th century A. D. This temple is famous for its unique architectural grandeur and religious importance.
Vaikuntha Perumal temple is one of the hundred and eight 'Divya Desams'. The Vaishnavas regards it as a very sacred place. This temple was once praised by the Tamil Vaishnavite saint, Tirumangai Alvar, who was a contemporary of Nandivarman. This temple was originally known as 'Parameshwara Vishnugriham' after the name of this king, Nandivarman whose original name was Parameshwara.
Vaikuntha Perumal temple is of medium size and is located in the centre of the town. This temple has three vertically aligned sanctum-sanctorum (garbhagrihas) situated one on top of the other. The ground floor sanctum contains a figure of Vishnu in a seated posture, the one on the first floor preserves the recumbent image of Lord Vishnu and on the topmost floor, there is a standing form of this deity. There are circumambulatory passages (pradakshina patha) in all the three sanctums. Two flights of steps leading from the ground floor to the first storey are also available in the temple. One of them is for ascending and the other is for descending. These were constructed in such a way that they are not visible from the outside.
Vaikuntha Perumal temple was built first in South India with a distinctive style. Thereafter, others followed the style such as the Sundara Varada Perumal temple in Uttaramerur (Kanchipuram district), the Kudal Alagar temple in Madurai and a few others. The technical expertise and skill of the master architects of the Pallava age of the 8th century A.D can be imagined from the architecture of the Vaikuntha Perumal temple speaks. There are several religious sculptures can be found on the walls of this temple, which is very unique and important. The temple also contains a series of historical sculptures on the inner walls of the verandah running around the four sides of this temple. There are several historical sculptures found in this temple, which cannot be found in any other temples of India. These inform about the history of the entire Pallava dynasty up to the reign of Nandivarman Pallavamalla, the builder of this temple. The sculptures and the numerous inscriptions of the Pallava dynasty of the Vaikuntha Perumal temple have helped the historians of South India to write about all the events of ancient Pallava history and to fix the chronology of this dynasty.
In the Vaikuntha Perumal temple, the religious sculptures of various incarnations of Lord Vishnu can be seen. But most of them are now damaged and disintegrated and exhibit remarkable workmanship and showcase the matchless skill of the Pallava sculptor.