Temple Towns: Perumal Koil, Thirumayam

During our journey through the Chettinad region, we stopped at many temples and shrines and listened to tales both fantastical and illuminating. We had a superb guide in historian V Sriram, who explored the culture, myths and artistic heritage of each place of worship along the way in his inimitable way of immersive storytelling, and drew for us a magical map of faith in this corner of Tamil Nadu.

This cavernous rock-cut temple, one of India’s 108 divyadesams, was built around the 7th century AD and is a heritage structure protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Inside, we find ourselves in the presence of Lord Vishnu in two incarnations, as Sri Sathyamurthy Perumal, whose idol stands with his wives facing east, and Sri Thirumeyyar, whose reclining figure measures a whopping 30 feet. He lies asleep yet all-knowing on the coils of many-headed serpent Adisesha, unconcerned about the asuras’ missiles flying at him.

Read more about our Chettinad temple trails here: https://sarmaya.in/spotlight/temple-towns/