The Incredible Sculptures of Kachabeswarar Temple – Thirukachur

Hey guys, today let us take a look at this ancient temple called Katchabeswarar temple in a small town called Tirukachur.  This temple is said to be built around 8th century A.D and was rebuilt again in 16th century. This temple is known for its very weird carvings. For example here is  A very strange carving showing someone with a massive hunchback, this person’s back is almost bent at 90 degrees to the legs.  The person is walking using a stick, because it would be impossible to walk like this without a stick. Here is a figure standing on top of another figure. And look at this guy’s hairstyle. It looks like a native American headdress. If that’s his real hair, may be he is getting an electric shock? There are no fingers in his hand, He appears to have only half of this arm and is standing in a weird position. What does this mean? Here is another figure with a very large head dress. It is shown touching the ground.  In another pillar we can see Conjoined twin girls. They look very scary, with very glaring eyes and interesting facial features. Why do we see these carvings in a Hindu temple?

This temple basically  sits on a square piece of land of about 2 acres with a compound wall on all sides. Inside the walls, there is kind of an L shaped structure which houses the sanctum and other structures. You can see some towers sticking out of the flat roof.  The temple tank is situated outside the compound wall, it also belongs to the temple property. It is a gigantic tank, always full of water for Public use.

Gigantic wooden doors protect the main entrance.  The main entrance is made of a cube like structure  made of granite blocks. It is considered an original ancient structure from many centuries ago. This temple has been continuously renovated so you will see the a mixture of some new structures here and there.

As soon as we enter inside the temple, again we are drawn to the strange carvings. Here is a carving which shows a figure – half tortoise and half human – putting a flower on a lingam. Who is this figure? It is Lord Vishnu because you can  identify his tools and weapons. This carving tells us the story of how this temple was founded. The name of this type of Vishnu is called Karkada and this is why the lingam got the name Karchabeswarar.

In the same pillar, you can see another carving. Here is a man holding a ball like thing  on top of a lingam. What is going on here? Please let me know the answer in the comments section. Let us go into the chambers which house the deities. These are dark chambers where there is very little light. All these structures are made of granite and the walls are very thick. Look through these diamond shaped windows and you realize how thick the granite wall must be. On the ceiling in the main structure, I found a very strange carving. What is this? Why are they carved on the ceiling of the most important chamber? Are these merely fictional animals, or do these species exist in real life?Inside the sanctum, there is a small lingam which is known as Kachabeswarar. Locals consider it as a powerful lingam which emits divine radiation.  Outside the temple, there is a small building with several pillars. It has many interesting carvings on the the ceiling and pillars. Here is a horse man ready to throw  a spear and this horse, a male horse is shown stomping on the enemy, who is on the ground.

Look at this curious carving. Here we can see a lingam which is on a gigantic pedestal. There are 2 birds shown on either side of the lingam, and the bird on the left is shown touching the lingam while the bird on the right is shown looking at the lingam. What is the story behind this?

This is a scene from an ancient Indian story . On the left is a saint called Bhusunda who is in the form of a crow. In Tamil, he is known as Kaagabhujandar a saint who is said to be immortal. On the right of the lingam, is Lord Brahma, who is in the form of a Swan. According to Tamil Stories,  Lord Brahma transformed into a swan and tried to see the tip of the lingam and had failed. So he approaches Bhusanda, and asks him if he had seen the tip. This is that scene where they both meet.

Like this, there are many many strange carvings in this temple. They tell a lot of rare stories which you cannot see in other temples. So if you get a chance, do visit this small town called Tirukachur and explore this temple, it will be a visual treat for you.

Praveen Mohan

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