Just arrived few days ago after giving my exams. After a relative told me about this programme, the temple came straight to my mind as i knew very little about it. For me it was like any other temple in my town but a lot bigger and of course how much importance it has in Chamba’s history and for its people. Thats it. Knew very little about it. Went there , talked with some people who run the complex, read some things about it, got to know some interesting details. Feels good to know about your roots, the significance this temple has with the rich history of this town.
As i am a local, i have been here many times especially during my childhood. Used to play here quite a lot. Just a five minutes walk from my home, this is the first time i clicked any photograph here on my own.
One of the oldest and largest temples at Chamba which stands proudly is in the form of Lakshmi Narayan Temple. It has six different temples in its complex; this temple was built in the 10th century. The entire temple in the complex is arranged from north to south dedicated to either Lord Shiva or Vishnu. There are other temples also housed in the complex including Radha Krishna Temple, Shiva Temple of Chandragupta and Gauri Shankar Temple.
The three deity shrines include the temple of Radha Krishna, Shiva Temple of Chandergupta and Gauri Shankar Temple. Though the temple was built in the 10th century, it was continued to be decorated by rajas who occupied the throne of Chamba afterwards. Raja Balabhadra Verma in those days added the metallic image of Garuda on a high pillar at the main gate of the temple while Raja Chhatra Singh contributed the gilded pinnacles on the temple tops.
In 1678, Raja chhatra Singh placed gilded pinnacles on the temple top as a reaction against the orders of Aurangzeb to demolish the temple. Later Rajas also added a shrine or two thus enriching the complex.
The legend of the temple has the history that Raja Sahil Verma, who constructed this temple, sent nine of his sons to the Vindhyas Mountains to get marble which was suitable for the construction of the Vishnu idol.
The Laxmi Narayan Temple complex also has some fine sculptures of residing deities, which include figures of Lord Vishnu (of the Hindu trilogy), Goddess Laxmi (Goddess of wealth), Narasimha (Lion form of Lord Vishnu) and Lord Krishna. The wooden Chhattries, the shell roof, atop the temple were in response to the local climatic conditions as a protection against snowfall.
The image of Lord Vishnu present in Laxminarayan temple was made of a rare marble imported from Vindhyachal Mountains. As the erstwhile king of the region, Sahil Verma, who constructed this temple, sacrificed eight of his sons to get the marble.
Later finally, his eldest son, Yugkara succeeded to fetch the marble. The Raja was also attacked by the robbers, but with the help of a saint he managed to save himself. Thus with great effort, the idol of the Lord could be made which is the most revered one here.
The Laxmi Narayan Temple in Chamba is constructed in the Shikhara style. There is Bimana (Shikhara), garbhgriha and also a mandapa like structure. The wooden chattris and the shell roofs reflect the climactic condition of the place where snowfall is expected.