Friday, April 27, 2012

Kothandarama Temple Ayodhyapattanam

Rama is seen in a Pattabhisheka Kolam

Located about 10kms East of Salem on the Tiruppattur / Athur – Vriddachalam highway is the 17th Century AD Tirumala Nayak period Kothandarama Temple in Ayodhyapattanam.

The Story
The story goes that at the conclusion of the battle with Lankan king Ravana, Rama came here and stayed along with Sita for a day. On the request of Vibheeshana, he is believed to have provided darshan in a Pattabhisheka Posture as a result of which Sita is seen to the left of Rama at this temple. Vibheeshana is seen standing opposite Rama and Sita offering his prayers to them and in a posture of invoking their blessings.

A unique feature at this temple is that Rama is seen in a sitting posture with his left leg placed on his right thigh.

Alongside Rama and Sita inside the sanctum are Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrugana and Anjaneya.
Located on a 1 ½ acre area, the temple was built during the rule of Tirumala Nayak in the 17th Century AD. On the Eastern entrance is a 5 tier 150 feet high Raja Gopuram. As one enters the only prakara of the temple, there is a spacious Maha Mandapa where one finds pillars of good workmanship. One finds several artistic sculptures inside the temple that dates back to the Nayak Period. 
On the North Eastern corner of the mandapa are three musical pillars. Cornices and Horse Pillars are reminiscent of the Madura Style of Tirumala Nayak period. On a single pillar on the Eastern corner are Dasavathara carvings. Four figures carved in the Maha Mandapa are believed to represent Tirumala Nayaka, his wife and two sons. On the upper wall of the Maha Mandapa are several Mooligai Paintings.

10day Rama Navami and Hanuman Jayanthi are celebrated in a grand way at this temple.

In centuries gone by, the temple had Vahanas of Anjaneya, Horse and Elephant as well as a palanquin. The 20 feet high wooden chariot is currently in a dilapidated condition.
Quick Facts
Moolavar         : Rama in a Pattabhisheka Kolam with Sita to his left
Utsavar            : Kothandarama
Time                : 7am-12noon and 5pm-830pm
Contact            : Raja Bhattar @98948 70206

How to reach
Train No. 1603 Chennai Egmore- Salem Express stops at Ayodhyapattanam Railway Station (530am).  From Salem Junction, auto will cost Rs. 200-250(one way). Direct buses every 15minutes to the temple from the Salem Old bus stand. One can also take Tirupattur and Athur/ Vriddachalam bound buses to reach Ayodhyappattam ( will take 45minutes from Salem New Bus Stand).

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kasthuri Ranganatha Perumal Erode

1000 Year Old Ranganatha Temple in the heart of Erode
 Inscriptions date back to 10th Century AD

Located about 2kms from the bus stand is over 1000years old Kasthuri Ranganatha Perumal temple in Erode, a temple that dates back to the rule of Paranthaka Chola.


The Dwarapalakas who were cursed by an angry Sage Durvasa are seen at the feet of Lord Ranganatha offering their service. Lord Kasthuri Ranganatha is seen with his right hand on Sage Durvasa in a posture of cooling the normally angry sage.


10th Century AD Inscription in Tamil records the construction of a Nilai ( Door Jamb) and mentions the name of the God as Pallikonda Devar

On the Western Wall, an inscription relating to the rule of Raja Kesarivarma mentions the temple of Pallikonda Perumal

Chitra Pournami
Brahmotsavam in Puratasi
Garuda Sevai in Panguni, Maasi and Thai

Quick Facts
Moolavar: Kasthuri Ranganatha in a Sayana Kolam
Goddess: Kamalavalli Thaayar
Utsavar : Varadaraja Perumal                                                               
Time : 6am-12noon and 430pm-830pm
Contact: Sriram Bhattar @ 98652 24745 / Nagarajan @ 94439 51121

How to reach
Auto from bus stand will cost Rs. 40 / from the railway station will cost Rs. 50/-

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kodumudi Veera Narayana Perumal

Lord Veera Narayana Perumal prevented floods by turning the Cauvery into an Easterly direction from North 
Parikara Sthalam for different kinds of dosham

Located 40kms off Erode on the Karur Highway in Kodumdi is the Trimurthi Abhimana Sthalam where Lord Shiva is seen in the form of Magudeswara, Vishnu in a sleeping posture as Veera Narayana Perumal and Brahmma beneath a 2000year old Vanni tree.

This Trimurthi sthalam is a very important Parikara temple believed to liberate one from different kinds of dosham. There is a separate tower at the Eastern Entrance for each of the Tri Murthies, with Vishnu being in the middle.

Veera Narayana Perumal turns Cauvery’s direction 

Located 40kms off Erode on the Karur Highway in Kodumdi is an Abhimana Sthalam dedicated to the Trimurthies, one where Lord Shiva is seen in the form of a Swayambu lingam, Vishnu in a sleeping posture as Veera Narayana Perumal and  Brahmma beneath a 2000year old Vanni tree. This Trimurthi sthalam is a very important Parikara temple believed to liberate one from different kinds of dosham.

This is one of the four Paadal Petra Sthalams in the Coimbatore District. Thirugnana Sambandar, Thirunavukkarasar and Sundarar visited and composed one Thevaram each about this temple.

There is a separate tower at the Eastern Entrance for each of the Tri Murthies, with the smaller tower for Vishnu being in the middle.

The Story
A fight broke out between Adhisesha and Vaayu to test their powers. Adhisesha coiled around Mount Meru. In retaliation, Vaayu dashed against it and blew it to pieces. Five big clips of Mount Meru fell in different places as five precious stones and each of these became a famous hill sthalam.

Diamond stone became Kodumudi hills, with Lord of Kodumudi alone designing himself as a lingam. In centuries gone by, Shiva was referred to as Thirupandi Kodumudi Mahadeva

Veera Narayana Perumal turns Cauvery’s direction
The story goes that Sage Agastya undertook penance here holding the sacred water of the Ganges in his Kamandala. Indra who had descended in the Chola Kingdom of Sirkazhi undertook pooja invoking the blessings of Shiva to save the people from a famine.

Shiva directed Vinayaka to appear in the form of a white crow and spill the sacred water at this place causing floods around Kodumudi.  Lord Veera Narayana Perumal is believed to come here and turned the direction of this sacred water (River Cauvery) away from the town of Kodumudi. Hence, while the Cauvery is seen in a North South direction till here, interestingly it takes an Easterly turn from North at this place. This incident is commemorated on a rock known as Agastya Paarai. Vinayaka is referred to as Cauvery Kanda Vinayaka.

Another story goes that Bharadwaja rishi took bath here on the Cauvery river banks and worshipped Magudeswara. Pleased with his prayers, Lord Shiva provided darshan in a dance posture accompanied by a Grand Orchestra. Hence this place is also referred to as Bharadwaja Kshetram.

Alongside Veera Narayana Perumal inside the sanctum of Vishnu are Garuda, Anjaneya, Narada, Brahmma, Vasudeva and Vibheeshana.

Sun’s rays of Lord Shiva
Sun’s rays falls on Lord Shiva and Amman on four days in Panguni and Avani indicating offering of pooja by the Sun God to Shiva.

Construction of Mandapas and Pagodas
Pleased with the growth of thumb of his son, which was originally defective, Malayadwaja Pandya constructed three Pagodas, Mandapas and also established a mutt and a choultry at this place.  He also gifted a big and beautiful temple car, endowed villages and made jewellery for the deities in a thanking gesture to the Trimurthies.

Ramayana Story
Ramayana Story relating to Vishwamitra’s Yagna, killing of Thaadagai, liberation of Ahalya’s curse and Rama Pattabhishekam is seen on the upper walls in the mandapa in front of the sanctum in the form of beautiful mini sculptures.

On the third pillar of the prakara, one finds a special type of Vinayaka- Vinayaka’s Swaroopa, Sakthi’s Hamsam and Tiger’s legs.

Pandya kings are believed to have undertaken renovation of the temple, in recognition of which one finds the Pandyan Kondai in front of the Garuda Sannidhi.

Parikara Sthalam

This is an important Parikara Sthalam for liberation from all kinds of Dosham. Unmarried people are believed to find their spouse after they perform parikara pooja at this temple. This is also a parikara sthalam for improvement in business and career prospects. Worshipping Shiva during Pradhosham days is very sacred at this temple.

Devotees carrying Kaavadi to Palani have bath here at Cauvery before proceeding to Palani.

Specifically this is a temple for liberation from Avittam star dosham.

7th Century Inscriptions indicate renovation of the temple by Narasimma Pallava. There are two lion faced stone pillars as a testimony to his contribution. An 8th Century inscription indicates donation by Thermaaran of gold coins, jewels and ornaments to the temple. Malayathu Pandya donated villages towards the upkeep of the temple. Komara Varma gifted things towards Thirumanjana on Thiruvathirai Star

11th Century AD stone inscription on the Cauvery banks in Tamil refers to a gift of gold for food offerings.

On the Northern wall is a record of tax free gift of villages fixing income from same in gold and paddy to God to meet expenses of offerings, worship and celebrating star of the king and Maasi Magam

13th Century AD inscriptions indicate gifting of land by Sundara Pandya Kesarivarma

On the back of the Ardha Mandapa in front of Amman Shrine refers to the setting up images of Ilaya Pillayar (Subramanya) an d Garuda and a grant of 5pon to meet expenses of worship.

Aadi Perukku is a special occasion when devotees have sacred bath at the Cauvery
Aani Jeshtabhishekam- Once in a year Moolavar Thirumanjana with Sandalwood oil paste
Horse Vahana procession in Puratasi
3day Utsavam in Margazhi
11day Brahmotsavam in Chitrai including Chariot Festival in Hastham

Quick Facts

Deity                : Veera Narayana Perumal East Facing Sayana Kolam
Goddess           : Veera Lakshmi/ Thirumangai Nachiyar
Temple Time     : 6am-12noon and 330pm-8pm
Contact            : Sridhar Bhattar @94881 43403/93605 01970.04204 222020

How to reach
6107 Chennai Mangalore Express Stops at Kodumudi (7am)
From Erode, One can reach Kodumudi in one hour by bus and within 45minutes by bus from Karur.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thiru Pullani Panguni Utsavam

Kalyana Jagannatha Perumal and Pattabhisheka Rama made a joint trip to the Sethu Shore for the Theerthavari Utsavam

Ahead of his march to Lanka, it was here at the Thiru Pullani temple (about 10kms south of Ramanathapuram) that Rama invoked the blessings of Adhi Jagannathan, the moolavar deity at this Divya Desam seeking victory in his upcoming battle against Ravana. The story goes that after having defeated the Lankan king, Lord Rama narrated to Sita here at Thiru Pullani the sequence of events that led to him crossing the Sea on his mission to bring her back.

In memory of Lord Rama’s onward march to Lanka that was planned from the Sethu Sea Shore and in celebration of his subsequent victory over the Lankan King Ravana, Kalyana Jagannatha Perumal, the Utsava deity and Pattabhisheka Rama of Thiru Pullani Divya Desam made a joint once in a year 4km trip to the Sethu Sea Shore last Friday (April 6) morning for the Theerthavari Utsavam.

Kalyana Jagannathan and Pattabhisheka Rama had an early start to the day with a 7am alankara to get them ready for the day long procession to the Southern sea shore.

Seated on two separate palanquins and driven all the way on bullock carts Jagannatha Perumal and Pattabhisheka Rama went on an one hour procession to the Sethu Sea Shore at 11.30am for the Theerthavari Utsavam.

At the Hanuman temple on the banks of the Sethu sea shore, special Thirumanjana was performed for both Lord Jagannathan and Pattabhisheka Rama, while Hanuman was honoured with a special Abhisheka as an acknowledgement of his efforts in locating Sita and giving Rama the good news.

After providing joint darshan on the banks of the Sethu Sea Shore for over 3hours, Kalyana Jagannatha Perumal and Pattabhisheka Rama made their way back to Thiru Pullani Divya desam in the evening.

Sacred Place for Surrender to the Lord
It was here that Vibheeshana, the brother of Ravana, came for refuge and surrendered to Lord Rama asking him for protection from Ravana’s fury. Rama preached the doctrine of ‘Surrender’ that is applicable even today - ‘I cannot reject anyone who comes to me for protection. This is my dharma. If Raavana himself came to me I would not reject him. How then can I reject his brother who has done me no wrong?’

The doctrine that Lord accepts all who, in absolute surrender, seek shelter at his feet is an important message of hope to erring humanity.

Out of all the Divya Desams, Thiru Pullani is said to be the most sacred for those devotees who want ‘absolute surrender to Lord’.

Darbha Sayana Rama

Having accepted Vibheeshana here at the Sethu Sea shore, Lord Rama orchestrated the plan to cross the sea. Spreading Darbha grass on the banks of River Sethu, Rama under took a fast addressing Varuna (Sea Lord) and looked to him for a solution to cross the sea. Being the one who undertook a fast lying on the Darbha grass, Rama is seen in a Darbha Sayana Posture.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cricket Coaching Camp in Chennai

Two cricket coaching camps are to be watched out for this summer in Chennai
Both the camps start next Monday (April 16) and run for about 45days.

Interestingly, the two are as far apart as it can come to be.

The first one to be organised at the historical Gandhi Nagar Club Ground (cricket is being revived at the ground- more on that in a separate story) in Adyar has a star studded coaching team.

For possibly the first time, four renowned former Ranji Cricketers are coming together for a summer coaching camp. Accompanying former Ranji Trophy winning captain S. Vasudevan will be R. Madhavan, former South Zone player and former Chairman of TN Selection Panel, PC Prakash, Former Ranji cricketer and a level 2coach and M. Venkatramana, former India spinner and a level 3 coach.

There is a possibility of this coaching team expanding the camp into a longer term programme. Former India Fast bowler and the man behind the MRF Pace Academy TA Sekar could also be part of this star coaching unit when he is in Chennai,away from his duties at Delhi Dare Devils.

The coaching camp at Gandhinagar club ground (on a matting wicket) will be of 4 coaching sessions a week with a mix of morning and evening sessions.

The focus of the summer camp at Gandhinagar ground will be on skill development, inculcating the spirit of the game and its great values and ensuring discipline and high standards of behaviour.

(as regards the last mentioned coach of the camp at Gandhinagar Nagar Club ground, the writer did not necessarily have a great experience in one of the lower division league matches played at Engineering College Ground about 7-8 years ago ( a year in which the writer’s team won the fifth division league) as regards code of conduct and high standards of behaviour expected of any cricketer (and more so of a former Test Cricketer) in a cricket match.

For registration, contact: 99400 48900

PS: 1month after the announcement, it looks like it has turned out to be a damp squib ( though there was a cavaet mentioned in their initial document about the likely involvement of lead coaches with TNCA related coaching activity). Over the last fortnight or so, two of the above mentioned coaches have been away in the districts on TNCA duties bring back to limelight the challenges of running coaching academies and camps.

If the full time commitment of the 'brand owner' is done away with in course of time, then the initial objectives as  well as the reason for the wards to sign up may be lost.
The second one to be organised by INSIDE EDGE at Vivekananda College Ground in Mylapore is led by B. Vignesh, a rookie, software engineer, one who quit a high paying software job in a leading Tier 1 IT company to pursue his passion in cricket.

This camp targeted at boys in the age group 6years to 18years will bring Cricket Australia’s Cricket Education programme to Chennai. INSIDE EDGE’s Summer camp will be a prelude to a long term Cricket Education programme whose aim is to deliver broad based cricket education aimed at developing young people through cricket.

Innovative in its teaching methodology, Cricket Australia trained coaches are employed in the program to use the latest coaching methodology to maximize participation, enhance skill development and provide a quality cricket experience for participants.

Split into two sessions 630am- 9am in the morning and 330pm-6pm in the evening, the camp will have Cricket Australia Accredited coaches and the training sessions will be on turf wicket. Each age group will be given specific training, with focus on match situations and not just the minimum techniques in nets.

For registration, contact: 98400 62786

PS: Vignesh is a league team mate at Sir MCTM Old Boys ( in the Chennai TNCA League)