Travel Magazine

Jai Sri Ram!

By Priyabaskar
Rama Navami - the birthday of Lord Rama, the Seventh Avatar of Vishnu, falls on the nineth day of Shukla Paksha in the month of Chithirai. The Rama Avatar signifies righteousness, tolerance, and steadfastness of virtues and the victory of Rama over Ravana symbolises the victory of good over evil.
On this auspicious day, sharing information on some lesser known temples related to Ramayana.
1. Adambar Kothandarama Temple:

Jai Sri Ram!

Kothandarama at Adambar with the golden deer - Mareecha

Adambar is one of the five Pancha Rama Kshetrams  - the others being Mudikondan, Vaduvur, Thillaivilagam and Paruthiyur. On the way back to Ayodhya, Sita Devi is said to have asked Rama how she was influenced by the Maya Deer even with she was in the company of Sri Rama for which Rama replied that when a person was born as a human being it would be very difficult to identify Maya, and more importantly to be aware and stay clear of its influences.
Sita Devi said that she had once been influenced, but all the hardships that followed had made her aware and she would never be influenced again. With a smile, Rama snapped his fingers, and lo and behold! the golden deer started dancing in front of Sita again. Without hesitation, Sita wanted the deer again, and urged Rama to catch it for her. Rama strung his bow and uttered " Tham Hanthum Kritha Nischaya: Hathambar". 
Adambar Ramar is found with Sita, and Lakshmana, a praying Hanuman and Mareecha the deer to symbolise the Sthalapuranam of this temple. Currently the temple has no bhattar, however, the post master, facilitates opening the temple on request. Please call and confirm his arrival before visiting.
Location: Adambar is in Nannilam Taluk, about 4 kms from Ananthamangalam. (10.9144905, 79.5619244)Contact : Mr Shankar, Post Master, 8040970630
2. Madhuvana Ramar Temple, Valangaiman:

Jai Sri Ram!

Madhuvana Rama, Valangaiman

Valangaiman is the place where the Mareecha the deer is said to have run, to escape Rama's arrows. When Hanuman returned from Lanka, after meeting Sita, he shared the information with the Vanaras who were camping here. Overjoyed, they jumped from tree to tree, breaking the honeycombs and drinking the honey.  This upset the bees, and they swarmed about, stinging people and animals alike. The monkeys caused havoc, by uprooting trees and breaking branches.
The King came to know of the havoc caused by the monkeys and prayed to Rama to pacify them, Rama sent Hanuman to pacify the monkeys and they stopped causing damage, once Hanuman started singing songs in praise of Rama. Here, Rama is found in a seated posture, with one leg placed on a lotus flower, with the right hand showing Abhaya Mudra and the left hand placed on his thigh. Sita is found seated by his side with a Nilotpala flower in her right hand, with her left hand showing Varada mudra.
Lakshmana stands by their sides, with hands folded in Anjali Mudra. Since Hanuman was sent away to control the monkeys, he is not found in the main shrine. There are two Hanumans found one below the other in a separate shrine. 
Location: Valangaiman is about 8 kms from Nachiyar Koil. (10.8885089, 79.39323848)
Timings: 10-11, 5-9 
Contact: Raghavan Bhattar - 94439 82096
3. Ilakku Ariviththa Vinayakar:

Jai Sri Ram!

Ilakku Ariviththa Vinayagar

After Rama came to know that Sita was in Ravana's custody in Sri Lanka, he attempted to build a bridge from the main land to Sri Lanka in order to rescue Sita. When he was proceeding on the Sethu route towards Kodiyakkarai, Ganesha is said to have intercepted him and shown him a hill from where he could get an aerial view of Lanka and Ravana's palace. Hence he is known as Ilakku Arivitha Vinayagar. Rama climbed up the hill at a place now known as Ramar Padham. He was able to see Ravana's palace but only got a view of the backside. As it would not befit a warrior to attack from behind, Rama gave up the idea of approaching Lanka from Adhi Sethu. 
When he proceeded towards Rameshwaram, Ganesha again intercepted him at Uppur, He directed him to view Lanka from the Gandhamadhana Parvatham. This time, Rama got a good view of the front side of Ravana's palace and decided to approach Lanka from there.
After the war and killing of Ravana, and his brothers, Brahma Hathi Dosham followed Rama. He worshipped at the Chatureshwaram - namely Rameshwaram, Kameshwaram, Kuruvi Rameshwaram (Thiruppalli Mukkoodal) and Thiru Rameshwaram (Sita Rameshwaram) to get rid of this dosha. But still he could not overcome it fully. When he came towards Vedaranyam, Ganesha kicked the dosha with one leg, thereby relieving Rama once and for all of the dosham.
The guidance of Ganesha throughout the rescue of Sita, started at this temple. A must visit if you are by this part of the world.Location: The temple is on the Thanjavur - Kodaikarai road (10.37373474, 79.84839592)Timings: The temple can be viewed through the day.
4. Poovanur Kothandarama Temple:

Jai Sri Ram!

Poovanur Rama Temple

Poovanur was once a huge grove of Punnai trees. Lord Rama is said to have rested here along with Sita, Lakshmana on his way back to Ayodhya. Jatamuneeswara who was a manaseeka disciple of Lord Rama requested him to stay there and bless him. Rama manifested his image, along with that of Sita, and Lakshmana in Salagrama stone and gave it to Jatamuneeswara for worship. Jatamuneeswara covered the idols up in an anthill, and was worshipping and protecting them for centuries.
When Bhagavannama Bodhendral, a saint of the Kanchi mutt and an ardent devotee of Sri Rama, was touring around this area, Lord Rama, appeared in his dream, expressing his desire to be worshipped by him. The next day, Bodhendral tried to find the idols but could not do so. That night, Jatamuneeswara appeared in his dream, agreeing to share the location of the moorthis, provided he was also given a place next to Rama when the idols were installed.
Once Bodhendral agreed to do so, the location of the idols was revealed and they were installed in the ancient Varadaraja Perumal temple complex. The Jatamuneeswara was also installed in the praharam. Bodhendral installed a Salagrama Vigraha of Hanuman at the spot where the idols of Rama , Sita and Lakshmana were found, by the side of a beautiful lotus tank, which still looks very beautiful even today. The Hanuman is very beautiful, with folded hands, and with thandai and nupura on his feet. 
Location: Poovanur is 8 kms from Mannargudi and 3 kms from Needamangalam. (10.74834695, 79.41220466)
Temple Timings : The priest offers one time pooja. It is a very impoverished temple. Please inform the priest before visiting.
Contact details: Varadaraja Bhattar 80561 42231
5. Kekkarai Kasi Viswanatha Temple:

Jai Sri Ram!

Rama Padham and Pinda Kuzhis at Kekkarai

Kekkarai is the twisted form of Gaya Karai. When Rama was on his way to Thiruppalli Mukkoodal, the Triveni Sangam near Tiruvarur, he stopped by at the Kasi Viswanatha Temple to offer Pindam (rice balls offered in memory of ancestors) to Dasaratha. This place is considered to be equal to Gaya and even today, several people come from far and near, to offer rituals for their dear ones here on New Moon day or their death anniversaries. 
The temple has Kasi Viswanatha in the main sanctum and two pairs of footsteps, denoting that of Rama and Lakshmana near the Nandikeswara. It also has nice holes which symbolise the nine rice balls the brothers offered to Dasaratha. The temple has two other Kasi Viswanatha deities, one each for the three rivers that come together at that spot. The temple tank is well maintained, and bathing there is said to rid one of all pitru sabhams (curses of ancestors). However, due to lack of patronage, the temple is poorly maintained and is open only for an hour a day.
Location: From Tiruvarur, take the Kekkarai road. Cross the railway crossing and then the temple is about a km away, on the way to the Tiruppalli Mukkoodal Temple. (10.78098182, 79.65217444)
Temple Timings: The temple is only open between 9 - 10 am. The Gurukkal performs puja at several other temples and hence is unable to wait beyond the period mentioned. So please plan accordingly.
Contact details: Balaji Kailash Gurukkal - 9095124124/9758722777

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