Anantha Narayana Puram
Unlike in other GSB temples the idols of Hanuman, Garuda and Ganapati are installed together on a platform within the srikovil.
Temple History and Importance
This temple is more known in relation to the Cochin Venkatachalapathy idol case.
During the Portuguese persecution at Cochin, the rare Venkateswara idol along with the idols of Lakshmi Devi from Cochin Gosripuram temple and Narasimha Moorthi from Thuravoor temple were shifted to Alleppey in 1792 AD and kept in the North Agrasala of the Alleppey Venkatachalapathy (old thirumala) temple for more than 60 years. Due to the presence of this divine idol Alleppey progressed in trade and commerce and became an important sea port. Meanwhile, with change of governance in Cochin, the new Raja of Cochin realised the importance of the idol and demanded it back.
However, seeing the progress of Alleppey due to the presence of the idol, Maharaja of Travancore denied the request and also made necessary arrangements for security and safeguard of the Venkatachalapathy idol. He also wished to have this idol installed in a new temple and the Deevan Krishna Rao to acquire the land and provide the wood and money for construction of a new temple. Accordingly the temple was constructed in a new location about 1 km south of the old tirumala temple. Maharaja also gave the name Anantha Narayana Puram to this new temple area.
There is a saying that the original name was Akhanda Narayana Puram which became Anantha Narayana puram over the years. This is unlikely because the name suggested by the Maharaja of Travancore would be only Anantha Narayana in relation to the royal temple of Anantha Padmanabha at Trivandrum.
The idols of Venkatachalapathy, Lakshmi Devi and Narasimha Murthi were moved from the Agrasala of the old temple and consecrated in the new temple in 1852 AD by Srimad Bhuvanendra Tirtha Swamiji of Kashi Mutt. Just within ten months of the prathista, the Venkatachalapathy idol was clandestinely taken back to Cochin on the midnight of 7th Feb 1853. It was taken out of the Alleppey Ananthanarayana puram Temple at night in a basket coverd by Naivedyam (Mooleeku) and carried to Cochin by country boat via Aroor, beyond which was the Cochin State. The people of Alleppey came to know about this only in the next morning by the time the idol was beyond the Travancore State boundary and could not do anything.
The original idols of Laksmi Devi and Narasimha Murthi are still at the Temple. A new idol of Venkatachalapathy was installed in this temple in 1903 A.D by Srimad Varadendra Tirtha.
The temple originally celebrated two annual festivals of 8 days each for Venkatachalapathy. As seen in Devaprasnam, another annual 5 day festival (Sree Narasimha Jayanthi) was started in 1913 A.D for Narasimha Murthi.
Stories and folklore
Payasam and Poison
The starting of Narasimha Jayanthi festival at the temple is said to be due to an incident in the temple. During the annual festival, daily meals or Sadya was provided to the Community members. Once at the end of the Sadya the payasam was served and everybody had it consumed. Meanwhile a poisonous snake in cooked form was found in the vessel containing the payasam. When the news spread everybody became panic and the authorities requested all to stay back in the temple and mass prayer was offered to Lord Narasimha. Everybody escaped unharmed except one person who ignored the request of the authorities and left the temple. This person died of poison. It is said that after this event, the tip of a finger of the Narasimha Muthi's leg turned bluish as if the poison was absorbed by the Murthi. The Narasimha Jayanthi festival was started subsequently as seen in Devaprasnam.
Position of the Murthi
The hair of Narasimha Murthi
Lord in appeared in dream and told the Poojari not to worry and ask the Visitor to view the idol with only one eye keeping the other eye closed. The next day as requested by the Poojari the visitor viewed the idol with one eye wherein he could see divine bright light and he also lost sight of that eye permanently.