The only Rama temple where Moolavar Lord is seen holding an arrow with the inscription 'Rama Saram' bringing out Rama's philosophy in life
'Deer Vahana' Procession on the 11th day of Rama Navami Festival in Panguni is a special feature
Located 50kms from Tiruvarur on Thiruthuraipoondi - Adiramapattinam ECR is the Veera Kothandarama temple in the Dhandakaranya Kshetram of Thillai Vilagam, a temple whose legend dates back to the Ramayana. After defeating Ravana, and on his way back to Ayodhya, Rama stayed here in the ashram of Baradwaja Rishi.
Anjaneya's Dasa Posture
Anjaneya is seen next to Sita (who is seen in a Kalyana Kolam) in a Dasa Posture with his right hand close to his mouth in a posture of whispering something to Lord Rama. The story goes that Anjaneya was reminding Lord Rama of the promise to Baratha to return to Ayodhya at the stipulated time. Hearing this, Sita asked Anjaneya to carry curd rice to Bharatha with the message that they were on their way. On finding Baratha in a state of disbelief, Anjaneya lifted him on his shoulder and carried him to this region. It is at Mudi -Kandan (now Mudikondan) that Baratha found Rama's hair and instantly recognised that his Lord was genuinely on his way back. It was at Mudikondan that Rama hugged his brother Bharatha in a happy gesture of meeting him again after many years (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2012/06/mudikondan-kothandarama-temple.html).
Belief is that presenting curd rice to Anjaneya at this temple would liberate the devotee from problem associated with marriage and navagriha dosham. The curd rice is packed on Anjaneya's body and is not distributed to the devotees.
The 5feet Moolavar Rama is seen in a majestic posture sporting a handsome smile. To his right is Sita seen in a Kalyana Kolam.
Kothandarama is seen providing a 'Tribangi' Seva here at this temple. The neck has one kind of a curve, the hip a different curve and the leg in a bent posture.
The Moolavar idol of Kothandarama is believed to be at least a 1000years old. Rama is holding the bow in his left hand. On a close look at his hands, one is able to see the nerves, the ring and his sharp nails. One is also able to see the sharp distinctive fingers on each hand just like a human hand.
Rama Saram- His special arrow
On his right hand, Rama is seen holding the arrow that contains the writing 'Rama Saram', the only one of its kind in a Rama temple. These writings refer to his philosophy of life – Oru Sol (Rama would not go back on the word he has given), Oru Il (Only one wife – he would not look at another woman) and Oru Vil (The special bow).
He used his special arrow only thrice during his life. The first time was in Chitrakoodam to kill Kakasuran. The story goes that while he was resting on Sita's lap, the asura took the form of a crow and pecked on Sita. As blood started flowing, a drop fell on Rama waking him from his sleep. Realising what had happened, he let go this special arrow at the asura 'crow'. Surrendering to Rama, the asura gave away an eye in liberation of his wrong doing. Hence, to this day, crows cannot see straight.
The 2nd time Rama used the arrow to kill Vaali in Kishkinda and the third occasion was to kill Ravana in Lanka.
Rama's legs – Distinctive features
Another interesting feature of the moolvar Rama is the distinctive marks. One is able to also see clearly the nerves and moles on the legs of Lord Rama. Also, one is able to see the knee cap on both the legs of the lord.
On his left leg, one finds the Raksha bandhan tied by mother Kausalya when Rama was young to protect him from evil forces.
5different Rama temples
The majestic posture of Veera Kothandarama at Thillai Vilagam is similar in facial posture to the ones at Mudikondan (Baalya Rama), Sri Vanjiyam (Hathambavur Rama), Madurantakam ( Eri Kaatha Rama) and Punnai Nallur (Saligrama Rama)
Just adjacent to the Kothandarama temple is the Chidambareswarar Umayambigai temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, where one also finds the idol of Nataraja. This temple is believed to pre date the Chidambaram temple and the two temples of Shiva and Rama are seen next to each other almost in the same complex with an entrance on the Northern side of the Rama temple into the Shiva temple. It is in this context that the place came to be referred to as 'Thillai' 'Vilagam'. Traditionally Brahmins used to live south of the Vilagam.
The Pancha Loka idols of the Thillai Vilagam Rama temple were found buried in the ground to the west of the temple in the early 19th century by Velu Thevar. The temple in its current form was built subsequent to that by Velu Thevar, whose clan are now the hereditary trustees of the temple (currently VG Sekar).
Aadi Amavasai and Thai Amavasai days are sacred at this temple. Couples who bathe in the tank west of the temple on either of these two days are believed to be blessed with children.
11day Rama Navami utsavam in Panguni- with Vahana procession on each of the days
On the 4th day is the Garuda Sevai.
On the 10th day of the utsavam, Rama Pattabhibhisekam is performed with the Lord seen with a special crown.
On the 11th day is the Vidayatri festival where Rama goes on a procession on 'Deer Vahana' the only one of its kind.
Kothandarama Bhattar and his father Chakravarthy Bhattar have been performing selfless service at the temple for well over 60years now.
Moolavar : Veera Kothandarama East Facing Standing Posture along with Sita, Lakshmana and Dasa Anjaneya
Time : 830am-1230pm and 5pm-815pm
Contact : C. Kothandarama Bhattar @ 80568 56894 or 04369 245725
How to reach
Thillai Vilagam is off the Tiruvarur / Thiruthuraipoondi Muthupet highway 19kms West of Thiruthuraipoondi and 6kms East of Muthupet.Buses ply every 15minutes from Thiruthuraipoondi to Muthupet. One should get down at Gopala Samudram (17kms from Thiruthuraipoondi and 7kms before Muthupet). From here, mini bus will take one to the temple (2kms).
From Tiruvarur, cab to the temple and back will cost Rs. 1000-1250.
One can also reach the temple from Pattukottai(35kms) or Vedaranyam (40kms)
The handsome Bronze Idol of Rama dates back to the Pallava Period
Exquisite 6 feet tall Dasavaratha idols are a special feature
Located in the heart of Ariyalur 1km west of the bus stand is the Kothandarama Temple, where the bronze idol of the handsome South Facing Rama is believed to date back over 1000years to the Pallava period with later renovation during the Chozha rule. The East facing Venkatesa Perumal, a later creation, is now the main Moolavar deity at this temple.
However, to this day, the temple continues to be known after the original deity as the Kothandarama Temple of Ariyalur. Rama is seen along with Sita and Lakshmana in a single peedam.
An interesting feature at the temple is the exquisite over 6 feet tall Dasavaratha idols on either side of the Dasavathara Mandapa, one that was constructed by Vijaya Oppila Mazhava Raya. In recognition of this, one finds his idol at the entrance of the mandapa.
North Facing Lord Narasimha is seen in four forms inside the Dasavathara Mandapa- Lakshmi Narasimha, Yoga Narasimha, Hiranyavatha Narasimha and Prahalada Narasimha. One finds Lord Narasimha with sharp finger nails that tore apart the Asura, while his foot is placed on the slain Asura King Hiranyakashipu whose son Prahalada is seen in a calm, devoted standing posture.
Pancha Rama Kshetram – One of the five Rama Temples in this region
The Stunning Bronze idol of Lord Rama dates back to the 10th Century AD
Located 25kms South of Kumbakonam and 6kms East of Kudavasal on the Northern banks of Kudamurutti River is the Kothandarama temple in a remote village in Paruthiyur off the Kodavaasal- Nannilam road. The stunning bronze idol of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana dates back to the 10th Century AD. This is one of five popular Rama temples in this region, the others being Thillai Vilagam, Vaduvur, Mudikondan and Adambavur.
Rama is seen in a grand standing posture wielding the bow with his left hand while his right is holding a long arrow. The idol of Lord Rama here at this temple is a symbol of divine purity. Lakshmana is seen sporting a beautiful smile.
It is believed that the entire set of idols were found and installed by Paruthiyur Ramayanam Sastri, who also built the temple. Kalyana Varadaraja Perumal, the original moolavar deity is seen in a blessing posture with a Prayoga Chakra along with Sri and Bhoo Devi.
15th Century AD Pandya Period temple in Madurai where Lord Rama is seen in a Yoga Posture
An early 15th Century AD Rama temple on the outskirts of Madurai is in a dilapidated state. The idols were donated by Rudravathi Ammal in 1416AD with the temple built during the Pandya period.
Lord Rama is seen in a Yoga Sitting Posture with Sita to his right (while in a Pattabhisheka posture, she is seen to his left) Lakshmana is seen a standing posture to his left.
Anjaneya and Garuda are seen protecting the Lord with their presence at the entrance as dwarapalakas.
The temple was last renovated 110years ago in 1903.
While the outer walls are in a terrible state, the base structure of the Sanctum and inner prakara around the Sanctum looks solid with the strong Granite Structure dating back several centuries.
The Gopuram has been refurbished and has a new fresh look. Efforts are on to bring the temple back to its historical shape.
Currently there is no bhattar to perform the daily poojas. There are no festivals at the temple.
The street leading to the temple may have been a traditional agrahara with a Saivite temple (which has been recently renovated) to the east of the Rama temple.
Moolavar : Rama in a Yogic Sitting Posture with Sita and Lakshmana
Speciality : Anjaneya and Garuda as Dwarapalakas
History : Built in the 15th Century AD during the Pandya Period
Inscription: 1903 inscription of a renovation done that year with public support
Contact: 97888 54854
How to reach
Vilacheri is about 8kms from Madurai Junction off the Tiruparankunram Highway. Take Periyar- Thirumangalam bus and get down at Moolakarai bus stop. An Auto from Moolakarai to the temple ( 2kms) will cost Rs. 30/-.
Lord Rama installed Shiva Linga here at Patteeswaram and provided darshan in a Kalyana Kolam Rajaraja, Rajendra and Kulothunga Chozha made this an integral part of their kingdom and took several important decisions from here
Located just under 10kms South West of Kumbakonam is the Kothandarama temple in Patteeswaram, a temple whose legend dates back to the Ramayana
The temple in its current form is believed to date back to the 16th Century AD. The mix of granite and brick construction seems to indicate that this temple may have seen renovation during different periods in history and different rulers may have played a role in the construction of the temple though there are no specific records available to this effect.
Direction to the temple
In centuries gone by, the landmark to this place was denoted as being South of Arasalaru and North of Mudikondan River.
Pallava and Chozha Period
In the 8th Century AD, Pallava King Nandivarma II built the beautiful Nandipura Vinnagaram -Jagannathan Perumal Temple (Divya Desam), a few kms East of Patteeswaram giving this region a grand stature and a rich place in history. Subsequently, Rajaraja Chozha, Rajendra Chozha and Kulothunga Chozha made this an integral part of their kingdom from where they took several important decisions .
Liberation from Chaaya Hathi Dosham
Having defeated and killed Ravana, legend has it that that Rama visited Patteeswaram, installed Shiva Linga (referred to as Rama Linga) at the Thenu Pureeswara temple (half a km East of the Rama Temple) and performed pooja invoking the blessings of Shiva to liberate himself from Chaaya Hathi Dosham that had struck him as a result of killing Vaali hiding behind a tree. Later, Devas arrived here and requested Rama to provide darshan in a kalyana kolam at this place.
Another story goes that Pattu Saali Maha Rishi invoked the blessings of Rama on behalf of silk weavers of this place who were going through troubled times.
10day Navarathri Brahmotsavam
Rama Navami Kalyana Utsavam
30day Utsavam in Margazhi
Moolavar: Kalyana Rama in an East Facing Standing Posture
Utsavar : Kothanda Rama
Time : 8am-12noon and 5pm-830pm
Contact : Varadaraja Bhattar @ 98405 78704
How to reach
Pateeswaram is about 8ms from Kumbakonam. An auto from the Kumbakonam railway station will cost Rs. 125. Buses every half hour from Kumbakonam Bus stand (Aavoor bound buses)
While at Patteeswaram, also visit Gopinatha Perumal Temple (1km West), Jagannathan Perumal Divya Desam in Nathan Koil (4kms East), Sundaraperumal Koil (4kms West) and Kalinga Narthana Temple in Oothukadu (12kms South West).
5th Century AD Inscription refers to Granite Construction
Azhagar of Maliruncholai and Perumal of Sholavandan used to visit Alankanallur every year in a special alankara
Located 22kms from Madurai off the Madurai-Dindigul NH is the Janaka Narayana Perumal temple in Sholavandan, where Sita's father is believed to have undertaken penance invoking the blessings of Lord Narayana to find a bridegroom for his daughter. Answering his prayers, Lord Narayana is believed to have provided darshan here to Janaka. Hence, he is referred to at this temple as Janaka Narayana Perumal.
This place was earlier referred to as Janaka Puri. Moolavar deity Janaka Narayana Perumal is a Saligrama idol seen in a standing posture with Sri and Bhoo devi.
The Utsava deity is Rama seen along with Sita and Lakshmana. In earlier times, this temple was referred to as the Rama temple of Sholavandan.
In centuries gone by, on the same day that Azhagar used to get into the Vaigai at Thenur about 7kms from here, the Lord of Sholavandan too used to get into the Vaigai here at Sholavandan.
Also, in the past, Azhagar and Perumal of Sholavandan used to go to Nallur, a village between Thiru Maliruncholai and Sholavandan in a special alankara. Hence that place has come to be known as Alanka Nallur.
There are many inscriptions inside the temple. An inscription on the Northern wall of the inner prakara makes reference to construction of a granite structure in the 5th Century AD.
This is a prarthana Sthalam for the unmarried and those without children. Those who visit this temple and offer their sincere prayers are likely to have their wishes fulfilled.
10day Brahmotsavam in Panguni
Pushpa Alankaram on Puratasi Saturdays
Moolavar: Janaka Narayana Perumal in an East Facing Standing Posture
Thaayar : Janakavalli Thaayar ( Separate Sannidhi)
Utsavar : Rama seen with Sita and Lakshmana
Time : 630am-12noon and 430pm-830pm
Contact : S Raghurama Krishnan Bhattar @ 93454 45554
How to reach
Nellai Express from Chennai stops at Sholavandan station (4.45am arrival)
Number of buses to Sholavandan from Periyar Bus stand in Madurai- will take 1hour
Auto from Madurai Junction and back will cost Rs. 400
When here, also visit Chitra Ratha Vallabha Perumal at Kuruvi Thurai, about 8kms West of Sholavandan