Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Thillai Vilagam Veera Kothandarama temple

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 (

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.
Grand Posture
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)

‘Thillai Vilagam’
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.

Quick Facts
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)

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