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Kothandaramar Temple at Punnainallur

When one vis­its the Than­javur belt, one realis­es the immense work that has gone in con­se­crat­ing every street pos­si­ble with tem­ples. Each tem­ple has a unique fla­vor, pur­pose, design and caters to dif­fer­ent aspects of human endeav­our. One can spend a month in a town and not have enough time to vis­it all the tem­ples. Such is their num­ber.

Some­time back I had shared my expe­ri­ence at the Pun­nainal­lur Mari­amman tem­ple. Anoth­er sig­nif­i­cant tem­ple that is locat­ed in the same town is the Kothandara­mar tem­ple. The tem­ple com­plex was extreme­ly beau­ti­ful and filled with paint­ings (paint­ed recent­ly) depict­ing the Ramayana. We expe­ri­enced a rare sense of calm being in this tem­ple.

Saligra­mas are fos­silized shells rep­re­sent­ing Lord Vish­nu. They are col­lect­ed from the Gan­da­ki riv­er bank in Nepal. Palaeon­tol­o­gists say that Saligra­mams are fos­silized ammonites that lived in the oceans about 240–65 mil­lion years ago and dis­ap­peared with the dinosaurs. Hav­ing lived and fos­si­lat­ed for such a long time, these Saligra­mams have been a wit­ness (in a cer­tain way) to sev­er­al mil­lion years of evo­lu­tion and hence very sig­nif­i­cant. Wor­ship of the Saligra­ma is quite com­mon in many house­holds. Strict dis­ci­pline is adopt­ed by the wor­ship­per and the Saligra­mam is kept in a pro­tect­ed place (Shaucham is of utmost impor­tance).

The King of Than­javur, Prat­ap Singh was gift­ed with 4 large and rare Saigra­mams by the King of Nepal. These Saligra­mams were then con­se­crat­ed as Rama, Lak­sh­mana, Sita and Sug­ri­va. Nor­mal­ly one finds only the mur­ti of Hanu­man. This is one of those unique tem­ples that pays trib­ute to Sug­ri­va for help­ing Rama find Sita.

The Pan­chalo­ha Utsa­va mur­tis that are about 1400 years old were unearthed and installed there.

An impor­tant aspect of every tem­ple is the Stha­la Vruk­sham. The stha­la vruk­sham of the Kothadara­mar tem­ple is the Pun­nai which in recent times is famous for its bio-fuel prop­er­ties.

A few min­utes of clos­ing the eyes inside the tem­ple gave a glimpse of the calm and com­posed atti­tude with which Rama approached his life. May Karuna Sagara Rama show­er his grace upon all of us!

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