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Dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Narayana, Parthasarathy Temple attracts many devotees worldwide. It is located in Chennai and has a rich history. As zealots and history buffs alike you can have a wholesome experience here. You can seek blessings and say prayers for your loved ones and yourself. As the temple hosts many festivals, you can soak yourself in the rich culture and heritage of the region. So, on your next trip to Tamil Nadu, remember to add this temple to your itinerary.


Ancient Tamil inscriptions give us an idea of the history of mandir.

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Originally, this temple was built by the Pallava kings between the 6th and the 8th century CE. It was later made larger and expanded by the Cholas, and again by the Vijayanagara Kings in the 15th century. Moreover, the temple houses many Tamil inscriptions dating back to the 8th century. These inscriptions are typically from the period of Dantivarman, who was renowned as a Vishnu devotee. Some of the internal inscriptions and references within the temple state that the temple was restored in 1564 CE. Furthermore, villages and gardens were donated to the temple, making the temple very rich and extravagant.

This temple is one of the few in India with idols of three different avatars of Vishnu in one complex: Rama, Krishna, and Narasimha. It features gopurams, or temple towers, and pillars, or mandapas, with exquisite carvings, which is a standard feature in most Dravidian temple architecture. All in all, Parthasarathy Temple is among the best places to visit for zealots, history buffs, and architectural enthusiasts alike.

Must Read: Temples Of South India

Legends Of Parthasarathy Temple

Sri Krishna depicted as the charioteer of Arjuna, in the Kurukshetra war, called Parthasarathy

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According to Hindu legends, the seven sages that form the constellation Ursa Majoris, or the Sapta Rishis, worshipped five specific deities called the Panchaveeras, meaning the “Five Brave Ones.” These Panchaveeras were Rukmini, Satyaki, Pradyumna, Anirudhdha, Balarama, and Venkata Krishnaswamy.

According to the Mahabharata, Narayana took his avatar as Krishna but did not take any weapons, as he was just the charioteer for the Pandava Prince Arjuna in the war against the Kauravas. During this battle, Krishna was injured by an arrow that was shown by Bhisma Pitamaha, the grandsire of the Pandavas and Kauravas.

Per the legend, this injury mark can be witnessed on the idol of the Parthasarathy figure in this temple. Historically, this entire location was full of ponds of lilies, and therefore this place is called Allikeni, which means pond of lilies. This is the only place where Lord Krishna can be seen with a moustache as the presiding deity!

Festivals in Parthasarathy Temple

Sri Parthasarathy temple tank, Parthasarathy Temple, Chennai

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There are many festivals which are celebrated in the Parthasarathy temple in Chennai throughout the year.

  • Sri Varadarajar Utsavam and Sri Nammalvar utsavam as well as vasnathotsavam are celebrated during the month of Tamil Vaikasi.
  • Alagiyasingar for Narasimha is celebrated during the month of Ani, which falls between June and July.
  • Other festivals include those for Ramanuja (April-May) and Manavala Mamunigal (Oct-Nov) in addition to festivals for Alvars and acharyas.
  • Vaikuntha Ekadashi, which occurs during the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January) also brings a large number of devotees and pilgrims.
  • The Float Festival or Tehppotsavam Festival is very colourful and grand. It occurs on the seventh day of the Tamil Masi month. The festival is split amongst the different deities as three days for Parthasarathy, and one day each for Ranganathar, Sri Gajendra Varadhar, Sri Ramar and Sri Narasimhar. All in all, the festival attracts a large number of pilgrims from all over Tamil Nadu.

During these festivals, the uthsava murthies or the festival idols are taken on different forms of temple vehicles or vahanams, some of which include the Horse, Garuda, Elephant, the Yali, the Swan, the temple Chariot and Hanuman. The deities are taken through the streets of Triplicane during the uthsavams or the festival periods. Moreover, a float is made using timber, and drums, and it is beautifully constructed and decorated with flowers, lights, jewellery, silk, religious paintings etc, and all of these serve as a visual treat and delight for the devotees and onlookers. The Narayana idol is made to arrive at the temple tank and gracefully placed on the inside of the float. The float usually completes five roundabouts of the Neerazhi Mandapam. Then the deities are taken in a procession around the four Mada streets of Triplicane.

Suggested Read: Famous Temples In Chennai

Curious Incidents

A picture of the Parthasarathy Temple.

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One of the most curious incidents in the Parthasarathy temple in Chennai was a court case that was filed in the British times, between the Tenkalai sect of Iyengars and the Vadakalai sect of Iyengars, both of whom wanted to offer worship through their style in the concluding verses of the prayers to the Lord Narayana. The British always had respect and an adherence towards the ancient ways of temples and religion, and accordingly, it was the Tenkalai set of Vaishnavites that won the case, because of their hold on the temple worship since ancient times.

Other famous incidents or incidents of repute that are associated with the Parthasarathy Temple of Chennai include:

  • Swami Vivekananda is known to have mentioned Parthasarathy of Thiruvallikeni in one of his letters to his disciples asking him to take darshan and blessings of the Lord Narayana over there.
  • The famous Tamil poet, Subrahmanya Bharatiyar regularly used to feed one of the temple elephants in this temple. This temple elephant eventually injured Bharatiyar, who did manage to recover from the injury. However, he is known to have died just a few months later after this incident.
  • Muthuswami Dikshitar, who composed a large volume of Indian classical music, and was considered one of the parts of the Trinity of Carnatic music, composed a song “Shri Parthasarathina pAlitOsmyaham” in this punya kshetra.

Did You Know?

The view of mandir in Chennai.

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  • This glorious temple is mentioned multiple times in the Naalayira Divya Prabandham, the early medieval Tamil literary canon of the Alvar category of saints, right from the 6 – 9th centuries CE.
  • This spectacular temple is considered one of the 108 Divya Desams or “Pure Lands” all dedicated to Lord Narayana.
  • The word “Parthasarathy” means, the charioteer, and it is a reference to Lord Narayana’s incarnation as Sri Krishna in the Mahabharata when he steered Arjuna’s chariot.

Further Read: Mahabalipuram Temples Near Chennai

Parthasarathy Swamy temple is one of the most prominent Vaishnavite temples in South India. You can add Sri Parthasarathy temple to your spiritual travel itinerary when you plan a trip to Tamil Nadu. Take your family and elders on this spiritual trip and experience the wonders of South Indian architecture and culture like no other.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Parthasarathy Temple

What are the temple timings for Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai?

The temple is open from 6:00 AM to 12:00 PM and 4:00 pm to 9:00 am.

Who is the current administrator of the Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai?

The temple is currently being administered by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board of the Government of Tamil Nadu.

Where is the Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai located?

The Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai is located in an area called Triplicane.

Why does Parthasarathy's idol of Krishna have a moustache?

The Parthasarathy idol of Sri Krishna has a moustache because he represents the charioteer of Arjuna during the Kurukshetra war. The moustache is a symbol of male bravery.

Are Westerners allowed in the Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai?

Yes, westerners are allowed in the Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai, but the dress code is to remain covered and not expose too much skin, such as wearing sleeveless tops, noodle straps etc.

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