Krishnapuram is a small village in Tirunelveli district at a distance of about six miles from Tirunelveli town. In spite of the innumerable and wonderful temples in Tamil Nadu, Krishnapuram's temple holds its own, as far as sculptural splendour goes. Astonishing is the fact that 300 years later, the figures look alive and young. Interestingly, the Arulnigu Venkatachalapati temple houses statues of deities, as well as scenes from court life. Some of its pillars emanate interesting sounds, when tapped.
Lord Venkatachalapati has been installed here with Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi. Pujas and abhishekam are being conducted to the Lord daily and some important festivals are celebrated every year. There are a good number of images and idols of sculptural interest in the temple, attracting hundreds of visitors.
There is a Mandapam known as "Veerappa Naick Mandapam" on the northern side of the temple. There are two beautifully carved elephants adorning the entrance of this Mandapam. The six pillars at the centre of the Mandapam bear images of exquisite beauty depicting scenes from the Puranas.
Any visitor will be impressed by the dexterity with which each image in the Mandapam has been carved out. They are so life-like and their features and expressions so natural and real that a person will be under the impression that he is actually in front of living beings. Such beautiful idols can hardly be seen elsewhere. The stone for carving out the idols has been selected with such care that they produce melodious musical sounds when struck at different places. There are many good images of ingenious and rare workmanship in the Mandapam, which is just opposite the presiding deity.
Representation Of The Story Of The Adventure Of Bhimasena With Purushamrigam
One of the pillars represents the story of the adventure of Bhimasena with Purushamrigam. To fulfill the ritual at an important yaga, Yudhishthira required the milk of Purushamrigam, a half-man, half-beast denizen of the forests, this creature is a devoted Shiva bhakta and Bhimasena achieved his purpose when it was in deep penance. But it's highly developed mental faculties found out the desecration committed by Bhima and it gave an angry chase.
Lord Krishna, without whom Pandavas would have been nothing, handed Bhima three stones, each of which was cast by him one after another. At each stone, a Shiva shrine sprang up and consequently Purushamrigam, being a sensitive Shiva bhakta, paused to offer worship to Lord Shiva and was consequently delayed in the pursuit of Bhima.
In spite of these efforts, the Pandava prince was captured when, with one foot already out of the forest, he was about to reach civilization again. Bhima could not escape the powerful grip of Purushamrigam and they both entered into an argument of jurisdiction and Purushamrigam, oddly enough consented to an arbitration of the dispute by Yudhishthira.
The latter took the responsibility for the whole act, granted the creature's right to act as it pleased in the forest region, and offered half his body in lieu of that part of Bhima's which was within the jungle when he was caught. Deeply touched by the devotion of Yudhishthira to Dharma, Purushamrigam freed Bhima and changed its cannibal.