Happy Sri Rama Navami!
Sri Kodhandaramar at Vaduvur
Vaduvur is a place situated between Thanjavur and Mannargudi, where water from lakes, ponds and canals are used for cultivating both wet and dry lands, which one can find in abundance. Apart from being fertile, this place is famous for Sri Kodhandarama temple.
Here the main deity, Sri Kodhandaramar along with Sri Seetha Piratti, Lakshmanar and Hanuman appear in ‘Thirukalyana kolam’ and this temple is particularly special since the utsavars also appear in this same state. The original Perumal in this place is Sri Gopalan with Goddesses Rukmini and Sathyabhama. The other holy names for Vaduvur are Vagularanyam (magizhankadu), Bhaskara Kshetram and Dhakshina Ayodhi. Vagula maram (maghizha maram) is the sacred tree of this sthala.
This place called Vaduvur was once donated to the vidhwans by the kings of Thanjavur on an Ekadasi day and hence it is also called as ‘Ekadasi’ village. There is an interesting story about how the Rukmani-Sathyabhama samedha Gopalan temple gave place to Sri Kodhandarama temple.
When Rama spent 14 years in the forest and was preparing to leave for Ayodhya, the rishis prayed in earnest asking him to stay with them. The feeling of separation from His holy presence melted their hearts. Torn between duty and love, Rama sent them away for the time being and starts thinking about their request. He then created His own enchanting divine form as a deity and left it outside the ashrama.
The rishis who came to see Rama and Seetha the next day were spellbound by the beautiful deity. They were fascinated by its magnificence and went inside the ashrama to repeat their entreaty to Rama. Rama asked them wheather they wanted Him or the statue placed at the threshold. The rishis, enamoured by the deity’s beauty and still under its spell, told Him that they wanted the deity.
Rama, with a smile, agreed to their request and leaving the statue behind, left for Ayodhya. Later, the natives of Thirukannapuram brought the deity and established it in their village. Time passed by and later they themselves, during a certain period, took the Ramar deity and the deities of Seetha, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Hanuman themselves and made it to Thalai Gnayiru, a village near Thiruthuraipoondi and buried them under a tree.
Years rolled by and it was the time when Sarabhoji Mannan ruled Thanjavur. One day, Lord Rama appeared in the king’s dream and told him to unearth the deities from Thalai Gnayiru. He asked the king to establish and worship the deities. The king awoke and proceeded immendiately, with his entourage, to Thalai Gnayiru and unearthed the deities. When the king and his entourage were preparing to leave, the natives of the place prevented the king from taking the deities. The king managed to convince them and as compensation left the deities of Bharatha and Lakshmana behind with them. He took possession of Rama, Seetha and Hanuman statues and on his way rested at Vaduvur.
The people of the village (known for their unity) came to know about the idols and pleaded with the king to establish the deities in their Rukmani-Sathyabhama samedha Gopalan temple. Initially, the king refused but when the villagers threatened to jump from the tower of the temple and commit suicide, he relented. He allowed them to establish the idols and since then Rama has been the main deity in the Gopalan temple.
Later, the deity of Lakshmana was also sculpted by the people of Vaduvur. It appeared like a woman and so the villagers established it as Sundari Amman and built a separate temple for Her. They sculpted another deity of Lakshmana and today Rama with Seetha and Lakshmana stand majestically to bless the devotees at this temple.
It is said Kanva Maharishi worshipped in this temple and was blessed with the darshan of Sri Kodandaramar. Likewise, Kulasekara Perumal also was blessed with the Lord’s darshan. Of the two Vaishnava holy religious scriptures, Pancharathram and Vaikanasam, the former is followed in this temple…
A beautiful kriti composed by Sri Thyagaraja on Lord Rama is “Bantureethi Kolu.” I found a video of the famous M. S. Subhalakshmi rendering of this kriti. Enjoy!
Sri Rama! Jaya Rama! Jaya Jaya Rama!