Rama Swami Temple, Pappankulam, Thirunelveli
Rama Swami Temple is dedicated to Hindu God Vishnu located at Pappankulam Village near Alwarkurichi in Thirunelveli District of Tamilnadu. The Temple is located in the midst of the village. As per culvert inscriptions this temple dates back to 12th century and was built by Pandiya King Maravarman I.
The Sthala Purana indicates that Sri Ramabhiran while searching for his wife Sitadevi, came to Pappankulam in South Tamilnadu. He was standing on a rock in the river Gadana Nadhi and was to wage a war with hunter Sambagan who was hiding there. At that time, Lord Siva appeared in the form of a Jyoti (fire) at Madavarvilagam and indirectly helped Sri Rama to locate the hunter where he is hiding. Rama recognized this indication from Lord Shiva.
Sri Rama called Lord Shiva as 'Karutheesar' since Lord Shiva indirectly helped him in his fight with hunter Sambagan. One can see even today, Sri Rama's foot prints and the chakra (wheel) got engraved on the same rock at the Gadana River on which Sri Rama stood and this rock is being called as Sakkaraparai. The place where Sri Rama took shelter under a tamarind tree on the banks of the Gadana River is the location of the present temple.
Rama Swami temple is very old temple. It does not have tower; however, it has all other typical temple features such as flag staff, Bali peetha etc. The front side mandapa (hall) is long and broad and is full of pillars with different statues like Yazhis, Vanaras (monkeys) etc. All the images are stucco images and they are painted in vivid colors.
The main shrine has very attractive and colorful stucco images of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita. Rama is in green color whereas Sita is in slightly yellowish color. Garuda who faces the main shrine is also a stucco image. There is a separate shrine for Hanuman (again a stucco image) where the small stone idols of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana are also located. It's a small but beautiful temple.
The paintings in this temple are also drawn using special herbals. Inside the temple precincts, some of the sceneries of 108 Divya Desams, different manifestations of Lord Vishnu, images of Alwars drawn during Pandya kings can be seen. The paintings, dating to 1216-1244 AD, are similar to mural paintings of Chitra Sabha temple in Courtallam.
After Pandya dynasty, during Nayakars rule, these paintings were preserved with much more care and made it an Art Gallery. The Vahanas used for taking the deities in procession around the village during festival time were neatly cleaned and polished and wore a shining look as if it were made of gold.
As per details available, the Maha Samprokshanam (Kumbabishekam) for this temple was performed some 200 years back. Hence it was decided to perform Maha Samprokshanam for this temple without any more delay. The Thirupani Committee performed Maha Samprokshanam for the temple on 29th May 2015.
Pappankulam is located at about 4 Kms from Alwarkurichi, 30 Kms from Tenkasi, 14 Kms from Ambasamudram, 55 Kms from Thirunelveli, 98 Kms from Thoothukudi, 200 Kms from Madurai and 135 Kms from Thiruvananthapuram. Pappankulam is located at about 55 Kms from Tirunelveli via Mukkudal and Idaikal on the Kadayam route. From Tenkasi, this place is 30 km far via Pottalpudhur. Bus facility is available from both ends. Nearest Railway Station is located at Alwarkurichi and Ambasamudram. Nearest Airport is located at Thoothukudi, Madurai and Thiruvananthapuram.