Mani Varadarajan mani at SHASTA.STANFORD.EDU
Mon Jun 29 20:40:32 UTC 1998

There are many, many Vaishnava temples in South India
which either depict the Gajendramoksha episode in relief
on the gOpura or pillars, or have Vishnu as Gajendravarada
as a deity with a shrine of his own.  One could almost
say that this episode is ubiquitous in Sri Vaishnava
temple iconography, given the popularity of this episode
in the Alvars' poetry and southern Vaishnava devotionalism.

Two temples that immediately come to mind are "aTTabuya karan"
(ashTa-bhuja-kara) in Kanchipuram, where Gajendra-rakshaka
is the primary deity, and the Varadaraja shrine in Tiruvallikkeni
("Triplicane"), Madras, where Vishnu on Garuda is depicted as
saving the elephant. Both of these temples have been sung of
by Tirumangai Alvar, the temple-goer extraordinaire, and
hence predate the 8th-9th centuries C.E.


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