From the chariot festival and theerthavari utsavam to special thirumanjanam to Lord Rama, get a glimpse of the Sri Ramanavami celebrations held at three temples in and around Kumbakonam.
In the heart of Kumbakonam town, at the ancient Ramaswamy temple, where Rama and Sita are seen in a majestic Pattabhisheka kolam, celebrations were grand with Rama providing darshan every day in different vahanams in the week leading up to Rama Navami.
On account of Sri Ramanavami this past Friday, there was a special darshan of Rama, along with Sita and Lakshmana, who was adorned with special alankaram. Lord Rama was draped in a grand silk dhoti with Sita in a silk sari, decked up with jewellery and colourful garlands.
At 6 a.m., the deity, along with Sita and Lakshmana, was taken out of the temple for a procession in a decorated chariot that was ready at the Northern entrance. Hundreds of devotees had already gathered outside the temple, ready to pull the chariot through the four streets.
The chariot made its way from the North street at 7.30 a.m. Seated atop the chariot, the handsome Lord Rama provided darshan to His devotees including making a quick stop-over at the Eastern entrance of the Sarangapani Temple. Just after 10 a.m., the deity was back at the Northern side of the Ramaswamy temple, where He provided darshan to the devotees through the day from inside the chariot.
The highlight of this year’s celebrations at the Ramaswamy Temple was the annadanam at the inner prakaram, a gesture that was very well received by the devotees, who were part of this popular annual Chariot festival.
Later in the evening, Lord Sarangapani (of Sarangapani divyadesam) in Sesha vahanam and Lord Chakrapani (of Chakrapani temple) were taken out on a procession from their respective temples to the Ramaswamy temple for a special parayanam. Lord Rama was then taken out in a procession around the Potramaraiyaal tank for the teerthavari utsavam bringing to an end the day-long celebrations.
Ramayana Story on the walls
On the walls of the inner prakaram of the Ramaswamy temple is a depiction, in a three-layer format, of the entire Ramayana, sketched beautifully with water paint drawings along with the meaning of each sequence in the story. In the front mandapam, one finds stone carving depicting historical events such as Trivikrama avataram, Sugriva and Vibheeshana Pattabhishekam, Sita kalyanam and Ahalya Saabha Vimochanam, in a very artistic form.
Inside the sanctum, one finds the brothers (of Rama) in postures that show their reverence to Him and are ready to serve Rama, who is seen with Sita in the grand Pattabhisheka sitting posture.
Lakshmana is seen holding Rama’s bow and waiting for his brother’s orders while Bharatha is seen holding the brass umbrella over Rama in a gesture of protecting him, while Shatrughna is seen fanning Rama.
It is believed that those who offer prayers at this temple will be blessed with happy married life, unity among siblings and good friendship.
Sri Ramanavami festival was celebrated on April 19 with much fanfare in in contrasting style at three ancient Rama temples in and around Kumbakonam. Glimpses of the events are as follows.
Chariot Festival at Pulla Bhoothangudi
At the Valvil Ramar divyadesam in Pullam Bhoothangudi, a temple praised by Thirumangai Azhwar and whose legendary tale dates back to Ramayana and the episode of Jatayu Moksham, there was a night-long alankaram of Lord Rama ahead of the chariot festival. Early morning on Rama Navami, the utsava processional deity mounted the beautifully decorated chariot at the eastern end of the temple. A couple of hours later, just after 8 a.m., Lord Rama was taken out in a procession on a chariot across the streets of Pulla Bhoothangudi.
The story goes that Rama arrived in Pulla Bhoothangudi to the cries of the Eagle King Jataayu, who was in his last breath. Jataayu had fought a valiant battle trying to rescue Sita from Ravana before the Lankan king finally cut off both the wings. Lying in pain and unable to fly any further, the bird succumbed to the injuries, after updating Rama on the whereabouts of Sita.
Rama, who had not been able to perform the last rites for his father as he was away in the forest, derived some consolation by performing his obsequies and giving moksham to the bird. In the Ramayana, this episode is referred to as the death of the second father. It is believed that those who failed to perform last rites for their parents will be relieved of the ‘pithru dosha’ if they visit this temple. Sita is not seen with the moolavar deity as this temple relates to the time when Raama is separated from her.
Features of Pulla Bhoothangudi Divya Desam
Rama in a Bala Sayana Kolam
Temple legend relates to Jatayu Moksham Episode
Place for liberation from Parental Curse
Thiru Mangai Azhwar showered 10verses of praise
How to reach
Pulla Bhoothangudi is located 12 km North West of Kumbakonam on the Swamimalai -Thiruvaikavur road between Cauvery and Coloroon rivers. Buses ply every 45 minutes from Kumbakonam. Auto from railway station will cost Rs. 150.