Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai

Yoganarasimhar, Yaanaimalai

Vaishnavite Temples, Madurai District


Yoga Narasimhar, facing west


Narasingavalli, facing south

Other Deities

Anjaneya, Garuda

Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai is a cave temple at the foot of a hill in the shape of an elephant, hence the name Yanai Malai. Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai is a beautiful temple with a wonderful temple tank to its north filled with water lilies.The temple throngs with people during various festivals and the processional deity of Thirumohur, Sri Kalamega Perumal visits Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai for the Gajendra Moksha festival. The temple is unique for its Utsavar (processional) idol of Narasimha in a standing posture with the Sudarsana and Panchajanya in his upper two hands while the left lower hand holds the Mace and the right is in the Abhaya Hastha posture (blessing symbol).

Holy Water (Theertham) – Chakra Theertham

Sacred Tree (Sthala Vriksham) – Not known


Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai was constructed in 770 CE by Madurakavi alias Marankaari who was the minister of the Madurai King Parantaka Nedunjadaiyan. Due to some reason it was left unfinished and work was taken up by his successor. The Temple, the Rock Carved Deity, Maha Mandapam, Garuda Mandapam and Mukha Mandapam are excellent examples of the Pandya Period Architecture. The stone inscriptions at Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai are in ancient Tamil Brahmi and Vattezhuthu. There are two inscriptions of Srivallabha Pandya (1101-1124 A.D.), which mention the gifts made to the temple. There are inscriptions of later Pandyas and one of them, belonging to the period of Sundara Pandya (1216-1238 CE), providing details about his conquest of the Chola country.


Sage Romasa is beleived to have carved the idol and performed penance near a tank in Gajagiri (Yaanaimalai) seeking progeny here at Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai. As desired by him the lord appeared as Narasimha, but in his fiery Ugrasena form emanating great heat. None and nothing could cool him down except the arrival of Prahalada and subsequently Goddess Lakshmi after which he took up the form of Yoga Narasimha and granted the boon to the sage. Another legend is that Lord Shiva was relieved of the curse caused due to him beheading one of Brahma’s heads by bathing in the holy water (Chakra Theertham) here at Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai.

The Thiruvilaiyadal Puranam says that a Chola King sought the help of Jains to win a battle against a Pandya King. The Jains created a giant elephant using their mystic powers and directed it to kill the Pandya king and destroy his capital. The Pandya prayed to Lord Siva to save him and his capital and received the Narasinga Asthra which turned the elephant into a hill – Gajagiri, Yaanaimalai.


Yoganarasimhar Yaanaimalai is about 10 Kilometers from Madurai. At the Othakadai Junction take a left and reach the temple. The Hill is visible from all around.

Stay and Food

Fine only for tea and snacks.

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