|Rajagopuram of Nedungunam Yoga Ramar Temple|
Nedungunam is about 55 kms from Tiruvannamalai and about 24 kms from Arani. The Yoga Ramar temple is between Vandavasi and Chetpet and the temple falls on the bus route itself . The uniqueness about this temple is that here Rama is found sitting with eyes closed without any weapons ( his Kothandam) and his hand placed on his heart in Chin mudra as he listens to Hanuman reading out the scriptures to him.
The five tier Rajagopuram that has been painted with bright hues in the recent past with the words Rama Rama was very welcoming. I started walking a few paces ahead of the others in excitement. To the left of the Rajagopuram, was the temple tank. I peeped in and to my dismay found that it needed cleaning up. In fact it looked quite pathetic in comparison to the magnificiently painted Rajagopuram.
|Sad plight of the temple tank|
|The beautiful Kili Gopuram with the Dwajasthamba in front|
The story of the temple goes like this:
Sukabrahma Maharishi ( a sage with a parrot's head) had been meditating here, asking for the darshan of Sri Rama. Rama, pleased with his penance, came here on his return from Srilanka after killing Ravana, and spent one day with him on his request. Since Rama was returning after the war, he does not have any weapons with him. He is flanked by Lakshmana,( with bow to protect his brother and sister in law) and Sita while Hanuman is seen in front of Rama in a totally unusual posture with manuscript in hand reading out the "Brahma Sutra" and Rama is seen with eyes closed, hand held in chin mutra on the heart listening to Hanuman. The second gopuram is called Kili Gopuram in honour of Sukabrahma Maharishi (Kili means Parrot in tamil) who stands as a hill next to the temple. This hill is called Dheergachala (long hill) and looks like the head of a parrot from an angle. According to Badri Bhattar, the archaka at the temple, Sri Padham of Lord Rama along with Sanku Chakram ( Conch and Discus) are found on the top of the hill, bearing testimony to the fact that Lord Rama had given darshan to Sukabrahma Maharishi.
|The Dheergachala Hill - Can you see the Parrot shape?|
|Dasavatharam on the wall panel|
|The magnificient Dwarapalakas flanking the Yoga Ramar Sannadhi|
|Sanjeevi Hanuman Can you see the|
Two hanumans one over another?
|The Yoga Rama with Lakshmana and Sita Devi|
(Photo Courtesy: Mahendran Karmayogi)
Bhadri Bhattar mentioned that Sri Krishnapremi Swamiji of Paranur, popularly known as Paranur Anna, had visited the shrine a few years ago while it was dilapidated and had mentioned that the main idols were infact swayambu and the temple could have been renovated during the times of Sri Krishnadevaraya. The Bhattar further pointed out that while the sanctum Sanctorum and the hall in front of it were small, the area outside it was large with several mandapams, which could probably mean that it was initially a small shrine which was developed subsequently by kings like Krishnadevaraya.
|I cropped the previous picture to show a closeup picture of|
Yoga Rama just to show how magnificient he looks!
|Hanuman as seen through a mirror (Photo Courtesy: Mahendran Karmayogi)|
|The circumambulatory path|
By this time, some more people started come into the temple to witness the aradhanam. Two ladies, Mrs. Kanaga Devi and Mrs. Renuka Devi, sisters and natives of the village started chatting with us. They were kind enough to take us around the temple and show us various things and narrated several incidents about the temple.
Mrs. Renuka took us to the Dwarapalakas and narrated an incident she had heard when she was a small girl. A little girl had been accidently left behind in the temple and the doors had been shut for the day. According to temple tradition, the doors once closed can only be opened at the appropriate time the next morning. The parents and relatives of the child were extremely worried about the child. While this happened, the child who was alone in the temple in darkness and hunger, did not know what to do. It toddled up to the Dwarapalaka and started suckling on the big toe. The next morning, when the doors were opened the anxious relatives ran in to find the state of the child. The child was sleeping safely below the feet of the Dwarapalakas.She showed
us the chewed up portion of the big toe of the Dwarapalaka.While the autheticity of this story is to be established, it was extremely amazing to actually find only the toes of the huge statue damaged!
|Chewed up portion of the Dwarapalaka's big toe!|
|I have turned the picture around so that the parrot is clearly visible!|
The Square structure represents a pond, the lotus is in full bloom within the pond, and a parrot can be seen sitting on the lotus. All this has been carved from below. It is a hanging lotus flower from the top with the inverted parrot sitting on it! Beautiful indeed! She also pointed out that it was only in this mandap that a miniature prototype of the Yoga Rama was available.
|A prototype of the Moolavar in the Kili Mandapam|
|Vali and Sugreeva fighting|
|Rama shooting at Vali|
|The beautiful Dance Hall|
|Krishna stealing the clothes of the Gopikas|
|Ms. Kanaka and Renuka who were very helpful in|
showing us around and telling us various tales
about the temple
|Lakshmana's Bow now visible|