Referred to as ‘Then Gokulam’, the Kalinga Narthana temple in Oothukadu near Kumbakonam is believed to be the only temple that is exclusively dedicated to him (Kalinga Narthana). The temple dates back to the Chozha period though specific data/proof is not available.

The story goes that this place was once a garden of flowers. Residing at the Kailasanatha temple in Aavoor, Nandini and Patti, the calves of Kamadhenu, were providing milk to the Lord. Every morning, the two would also graze across to the nearby Oothukadu Village (2 km away) and collect flowers for the Lord from the garden.

On one such occasion, the two listened to Sage Narada’s narration of the story of Lord Krishna and his Kalinga Narthana. Hearing the story of the five year old (child) Krishna taking on the poisonous snake (Kalinga) and performing the Kalinga Narthana, Nandini and Patti are said to have been shocked by the tough task little Krishna took upon himself.

A worried Kamadhenu approached Krishna at Vaikuntam seeking a solution to her children’s shocked state of mind. Responding to her request, Krishna appeared at the garden in Oothukadu and performed yet again, with ease, Kalinga Narthana in front of a delighted Nandini and Patti thus convincing them that this was a child’s play for him. Narada requested the Lord to be present here at Oothukadu as Kalinga Nardana.

The celestial sage installed the idol of Krishna as Kalinga Narthana with Nandini and Patti standing on either side of the Lord in front of him and called this place ‘Then Gokulam’ or ‘Dakshina Gokulam.’

An interesting feature at this temple is the posture of Kalinga Narthana – Krishna’s left leg is poised on top of the demon snake but not touching it. His left thumb is holding the tail of the snake with none of his other four fingers in contact! His right leg is seen above the ground in a dance posture. On a close look, one can find the scars on his leg below the knee, the result of his fight with Kalinga.

The Kalinga Narthana temple has special significance for musicians. Venkata (Kavi) Subba Iyer lived here and composed immortal songs, including the one that describes the Kalinga Narthana.

For success in their career, up-and-coming musicians and dancers make it a point to offer their worship at this temple. This is also believed to be a Prarthana Sthalam for the unmarried, childless couples and those with Rahu and Kethu doshams.

The temple with its rich history and significance has not been maintained well. The outer walls of the temple have several cracks. The inside areas of the temple too require immediate attention. Total renovation is required if the temple is to be restored to glory. Kumbabhishekam at this temple was last performed in 1988. Another is long due but it cannot happen without the help of devotees and philanthropists.

Those interested to participate and assist in this can contact: Jayarama Bhattar at 94426 99355 or 04374 268549.

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Quick facts

Moolavar: Veda Narayana Perumal

Goddess : Mahalakshmi

Utsavar: Kalinga Nardhana flanked by Rukmini and Satyabhama

Temple Time: 9.30 a.m.-12 noon and 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Festivals: Uriyadi Utsavam on Gokulashtami and special alankaram and abhishekam on Rohini star every month

How to reach Oothukkadu

Oothukadu is about 12 km from Kumbakonam on the Aavoor-Thirukarugavur –Thittai road. Buses every 30 minutes between Kumbakonam and Aavoor. There are also direct buses to the temple (Oothukkadu) from Kumbakonam. Auto fare from Kumbakonam railway station will be Rs.125-150.