Thursday, January 28, 2016

Ramaswamy Temple, Kumbakonam

Ramaswamy Temple, Kumbakonam
Ramaswamy Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Rama, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu located in KumbakonamTamil NaduIndia. The Ramaswamy Temple which depicts the paintings of Ramayana is another important Vaishanavite temple in Kumbakonam. The greatness of Ramaswamy Temple is said to be the only temple where Lord RamaGoddess Sita are in the same platform and Lord Hanuman is playing the Veena instead of reading the Ramayana. The entire deity is said to be made from Saligrama monolith. The Temple is filled with intricate carvings in its pillars.

Dasaratha King of Ayodhya was sad as he had no issues to look after the kingdom after him.  As advised by Guru Vasishta, he conducted a yajna called Puthrakameshti Yajna seeking child boon.  To establish Dharma on Earth Lord Vishnu was born to him as Rama from his first queen Kausalya.  Vishnu’s Adisesha and conch were born as Lakshmana and Satrugana to his second queen Sumitra.  Bharatha representing Vishnu’s discus was born to the second queen Kaikeyi and was a symbol of Dharma himself.  Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Satrugana were born on very auspicious days with Punarvasu, Pushya, and Aslesha as their birth stars respectively.  All the four brothers were a living and practical example in human forms of the rule of Vedas. Rama and Lakshmana were close to each other while Satrugna was close to Bharatha.

Bharatha, an outstanding example of the political dharma of the days, ruled Ayodhya as its acting Governor of Rama from the Nandhi Grama placing Rama’s sandals on the throne.  He ruled till the return of Rama from his exile after 14 years. Their wives excelled their husbands in upholding Dharmas.

No power on earth could separate the brothers.  They were united by soul and mind. Lord Sri Rama in the temple appears as on the Coronation Day in Ayodhya with his consort Mother Sita who suffered untold suffering during their exile, Lakshmana who was only happy to share the hardships of jungle life along with his brother, Bharatha and Satrugna whose sacrifice deserves all praise and Sri Anjaneya who was the soul of Rama in deciding his final victory over Ravana.  After Ayodhya in U.P. this is the temple in Kumbakonam in the coronation style, a pilgrim town known for its famous temples and Theertha – Sacred waters – importance.

Achutha Nayaka of Thanjavur constructed the Ramaswamy temple during 16th century. Maha Mandapam is enriched with intricate stone carving works of Rama-Katha. Vamana Avatharam, Meenakshi Kalyanam, Sukreeva Pattabishekam are some of the famous carving works of this temple. The outer Praharam consists of all 219 wall paintings, which explains the series of incidents from the great Epic "Ramayanam”. Alwar Sannathi, Srinivasa Sannathi, and Gopalan Sannathi are the other temples located within the temple complex.
Ramaswamy Temple was built by King Achutha Nayaka who ruled Tanjore from 1614-1640 CE. He was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama, the incarnation of Vishnu who killed the ten-headed demon Ravana. 
King Achutha Nayaka dug a holy tank in Darasuram near Kumbakonam. During the digging they found icons of Rama and Sita in the tank. The King was overjoyed and he decided to build a temple for Rama and called it Ramaswamy Temple. The Nayak king’s Prime Minister Govinda Dikshitar, called Govinda Ayyan, constructed the temple. He added a commercial corridor between this new temple and the older Chakrapani Temple.
Five Vishnu temples are connected with Mahamaham festival which happens once in 12 years in Kumbakonam. They are Sarangapani TempleChakrapani Temple, Ramaswamy Temple, Rajagopalaswamy Temple and Varahaperumal Temple. This temple, one among them, is situated in the north of Big Street. 
Lord Sri Rama blesses the devotees with all his brothers and Mother Sita. While Sri Hanuman appears with his club in all Vaishnava temples, he is holding a Veena here.
Greatness of Temple
Lord Sri Rama and Mother Sita are seated together in the sanctum sanctorum in wedding posture.  In Other temples they grace from their separate shrines. Devotees believe that praying in this temple would bring them a match with a sacrificial quality for the sake of the other.  Satrugna is on the left of Lord with a Samara fanning his brother, Bharatha holding the Royal Umbrella and Hanuman on the right and Lakshmana appears with his bow as usual.
Sri Anjaneya graces here with a Veena against his usual appearance with a club.  He is free here from the war mind and singing the glory of Lord Rama.  This also shows that Sri Hanuman is not only an erudite scholar but a good musician too.  He is holding the Ramayana epic in one hand.  It is said that He is singing the Ramayana story.  The temple has all the features that Ramayana tells us and is a feast to Rama bhaktas.
The temple
The temple has a 3-tiered gopuram surrounded by walls. The central shrine houses the image of Rama in a seated posture with his consort Sita. The other images are of his brothers Lakshmana, Bharatha and Chatruguna in standing posture and Hanuman in worship posture. The pillars in the hall near the gopuram are sculpted with exquisite finesse depicting various episodes of the epic Ramayana. Each pillar is carved out of a single stone and the delicacy is very prominent. Rama in the temple is depicted with Vyakarna Mudra, while Hanuman is depicted holding manuscripts. The other important aspects of the epic like coronation of Vibishana, coronation of Sugriva, relieving Agalya from her curse and Hanuman playing Veena are depicted. The temple is a typical of Nayak style of temples.

The temple has beautiful architecture pieces and has been built by the Nayakkar kings. Govinda Dikshitar, the prime minister of the Nayaks, constructed the temple. He added a commercial corridor between his new temple and the older Chakrapani temple.

It is said to be the only temple where Lord Rama, Goddess Seeta are in the same platform and Lord Hanuman is playing the Veena instead of reading the Ramayana. It was built in the 16th century by Achutha Nayaka of Thanjavur and is constructed in Dravidian style of architecture. The temple has beautiful pieces depicting art and architecture.

The Main deities of Ramaswamy temple are Lord Rama, Lady Seeta, Lakshmana, and Lord Anjaneyaa. The sculptures of all the deities are said to be made from original Saligrama monolith rock. The Karuvarai, the central sanctum, of the temple houses Lord Ramaswamy in a seated with his wife Lady Seeta. The other deities surrounding them are the brothers of Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Chatruguna who are standing near them and close by is Lord Hanuman sitting and worshipping Lord Rama and Seeta.

The temple has a 3 story Gopuram surrounded by walls and the pillars in the hall near the Gopuram are sculpted with exquisite finesse depicting various episodes of the epic Ramayana. Each pillar is carved out of a single stone and the delicacy and intricacy of the carving and the detailing of the artwork are very prominent. Lord Rama is depicted in Vyakarna Mudra, while Hanuman is depicted holding manuscripts. The other important events like coronation of Vibishana, coronation of Sugriva, relieving Agalya from her curse and Hanuman playing Veena are also depicted. Apart from the Gopuram, the temple complex also comprises of a Maha Mandapam. The columns of Maha mandapam are enriched with intricate stone carvings depicting incidents such as Vamana Avatharam, Meenakshi Kalyanam, Sukreeva Pattabishekam and Ramayanam. Apart from the main temple, the complex also houses the Alwar Sannathi, Srinivasa Sannathi and Gopalan Sannathi. There is also a shrine for Lord Perumal with Mothers Sridevi and Bhoodevi in the temple.

The Utsava-vigraha of the Sri Räma, Sri Sitä, Lakshmana and Hanuman is placed before the mülavigraha. Images of the mülavigraha, at least of Sri Räma and Sri Sitä are clearly visible from the road.
The Carved Pillars:
The sixty-two pillars in front of the mandapam are great works of art. They hold individually Räma standing with Kodanda, Sitä, Hanuman, Räma and Sitä sitting together, many ornamental ladies, and a lady with sophisticated footwear.
Temple Paintings:
Very distinct and unique features of the Ramaswamy Temple are the walls of the Praharam on which the story of the Ramayana is depicted in the form of a series of paintings. One can go through the entire Ramayana pictorially whilst taking 3 pradakshinams (rounds) of the inner sanctum, the Karuvarai. All these wall paintings are made with herbal colours and the local artists help in maintaining the condition of these paintings.

Scenes from Ramayana are painted on three walls of the prakaram, numbered and catalogued.
Temple Opening Time
The temple is open from 6.00 a.m. to 12.00 a.m. and from 4.00 p.m. to 9.00 p.m.
Sri Rama Navami is celebrated in the temple with special pujas in March-April – Panguni Tamil month. On the Masi Maga day in February-March, Lord Sri Rama and Mother Sita visit the Maga Magam Temple Tank for a bath and offer Theertha Prasad to devotees.
Those facing obstacles in their wedding proposals pray here as Lord and Mother appear in their wedding posture.  In Ayodhya, they appear in coronation style. Devotes perform Thirumanjanam to Lord and offer vastras.
Arulmigu Ramaswamy Temple,
Kumbakonam-612001, Thanjavur
Phone: +91 435 2401788

The temple is at the southern end of the Big Bazaar Street in Kumbakonam linked by road and rail from all corners of the state. The temple is located right in the centre of Kumbakonam.