Sunday, July 31, 2016

Yeri Katha Ramar Temple, Maduranthakam, Kanchipuram – The Temple

Yeri Katha Ramar Temple, Maduranthakam, Kanchipuram – The Temple
The temple was built during the Pallava era, and is estimated to be 1600 years old. The Moolavar (presiding deity) of the temple is Lord Rama. The temple has inscriptions indicating generous gifts from Chola king Parantaka I. The Moolavar is in a standing position facing east and is around 8 feet (2 m) tall. This temple is situated near the Maduranthakam lake shore.

Sri Kodanda Rama, also known in this region as Yeri Katha Rama (the one who saved the village from flooding from Madurantakam lake), is enshrined in the Yeri Katha Ramar Temple. The temple is about 1300 years old. Sita resides in the temple as Sri Janaki Valli. The other deities enshrined are Sri Chakarathalwar, Sri Ramanuja, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha and Sri Hanuman.

The Kondandaramaswamy temple has two sets of Utsavar idols of the presiding deity and his consort, and Lakshmana. While one deity is named Rama, the other is known as Karunakara Perumal. There is also a separate shrine for Goddess Sita, known as Janakavalli Thayar, which is claimed to be very rare. This shrine was built by an English Collector, Colonel Lionel Blaze who assured the people that he would build a shrine for Devi if the newly built surplus water weirs withstood the fury of monsoon rains.

The huge tank with immense storage capacity would breach every year after the monsoon rains and wash away the rough stone-built outlet of the tank. While camping at Madurantakam during a monsoon night, the tank was full and almost overflowing. The Collector visited the tank bund and is said to have seen Rama and Lakshmana keeping guard at the tank. The construction of the shrine for the Goddess began the very next morning and the Lord is known as Yeri Katha Ramar as he saved the tank bund from collapsing.

Madurantakam is one of the holy places visited by Ramanuja though it has not been sung by the alvars. The place is also unique in that Ramanuja's statue is found dressed in white on all days while in almost all temples the saint is dressed in ochre. The temple is facing east with Sri Kothandaramar as the main deity. There is a beautiful Mandapam outside the sanctum with lots of pillars allowing cool breeze into the temple.

In the Mandapam adjacent to the sanctum, there is a secret underway found which starts from the Maduranthakam lake and passes through the temple and reaches the temple pond. The outer prakaram has a majestic Dhwajasthambham, adding beauty to the temple. On entering the temple, Sri Chakrathaazhwar shrine is found on the left hand side facing north. The Sthala Viruksham ‘Magizha Maram’ is found on the north western side of the temple.

There is a separate shrine for Sri Vishwaksenar on the outer prakaram facing south. Sri Narasimhar gives darshan at the north eastern side of the temple, facing towards south. Lots of stone inscriptions are found along the walls of the temple. The Vimaanam for this temple is called Pushpaka Vimaanam. The temple pond is found in front of the temple and is called Sri Rama Theertham, which needs some clean up.

Sri Aanjaneyar is seen in a separate shrine adjacent to the pond facing west towards the temple. Adjacent to Sri Aanjaneyar shrine Sri Ahobila Mutt is present. In two of his poems, Saint Manavala Mamunigal asks everyone who wants to cast away his past sins to worship the Lord at this place.

This is the place under the Magizha tree, where Sri Ramanujar was given "Pancha Samaskaram"(initiation) by his teacher Peria Nambigal. That is when Maduranthakam was given the name "Dvayam Vilindha Tirupathi". Upon receiving Kanchi Varadarajar's divine order through Tirukachi Nambi, Ramanuja set forth for Srirangam to become the disciple of Peria Nambigal. He met him in Maduranthakam itself, in the lake precincts.

Peria Nambigal was on his way to Kanchipuram to install Ramanuja as the successor of Sri Alavandar. In the month of Avani, on the Sukla Panchami, Peria Nambigal gave the Samasrayanam or Pancha Samskaram called Dvaya Mantropadesam (divine syllable). The festival is celebrated every year. This is the only place where Ramanujar can be seen as a Grihastha (family man).

No Hanuman inside the temple:
A unique feature at this temple is the absence of Hanuman inside the temple. As Raama had sent Hanuman as a messenger to inform Bharata that he was on his way and did not come along with Raama in the Pushpaka Vimaanam, Hanuman is not seen inside the temple.

Karunakara Perumal:
It is also believed that having given the idol of Lord Ranganatha to the new Lankan king Vibheeshana, Raama, the king of Ayodhya, is said to have invoked the blessings of Karunakara Perumal and that he was the pooja deity of Raama.