History & Culture

With rich historical background

A wooden white horse donated by a British engineer to the Lord Ranganatha temple in Karamadai, near Coimbatore. The Utsava deity takes the street processions on this white horse. Photo: K. Ananthan  

A new 80 ft tall, seven-tier rajagopuram is being built at the ancient Lord Ranganatha temple in Karamadai, near Coimbatore. Mandapams inside the temple including the Vasantha Mandapam are also being renovated.

The temple dates back to the Chola period. Karikala Cholan has made significant contribution to the temple.

Thirumalai Nayakkar built the temple walls and mandapams in and around the temple. Also, during the rule of Jayachamaraja Wodeyar, many mandapams were built.

This temple also has a historical connection with Ramanuja. On his way from Srirangam to Thiru Narayanapuram (Melkote), Ramanuja visited and stayed here. A stone image of Ramanuja is seen at the entrance to the sanctum.

Interesting story

The story goes that there lived a clan of people for whom grazing and milking the cow was the livelihood.

And one day the cow of one of the locals failed to yield milk. Surprised by this the owner decided to check what was happening.

To his astonishment, he saw the cow shedding milk over a small bush. So along with the others, he decided to find out what was lying beneath it and started digging the mound.

The locals were shocked when they found Lord Ranganatha beneath, who is seen here as a Swayambu Murthy.

Unlike other Ranganatha temples, where he is usually seen in a reclining posture, here only the moolavar’s face is visible.

There is another story which talks about a British engineer who wanted to construct a railway line that would have run near the temple complex.

Upset by this, the devotees prayed to the Lord to stop that endeavour.

As an answer to their prayers, Lord Ranganatha appeared in the dreams of the British engineer on a white horse and instructed him to change the direction of the railway line.

The delighted British engineer donated a wooden white horse to the temple. And to this day the utsava deity is taken out in a procession on this white horse.

There was also a free train that functioned between Coimbatore and Mettupalayam on the occasion of the famous annual chariot festival at this temple that takes place on the full moon day in the month of ‘Maasi.’ This free service on the special occasion was discontinued about 20 years ago.

The renovation of this temple is under way and those who wish to contribute may call 94873 60717 or 04254 273043.

How to reach: Karamadai is about 30 km from Coimbatore on the Mettupalayam Highway.

One may board the Mettupalayam bound Blue Mountain Express train (arriving Mettupalayam at 6.15 a.m.)

Karamadai is seven km from Mettupalayam towards Coimbatore. Buses ply every five minutes between Coimbatore and Karamadai (Mettupalayam/Ooty bound buses).

A taxi ride from Coimbatore and back will cost Rs. 450.

Quick Facts

Moolavar: Lord Ranganatha facing east is a swayambu murthy here.

Thaayar: Ranganayaki.

Utsavar: Venkatesa Perumal

Place: Karamadai, Coimbatore.

Temple Time: 6 a.m. - 12 noon and 4 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Highlights of the temple

Temple dates back to the Chola period.

Ramanuja visited and stayed here on his way to Melkote.

A new seven-tier rajagopuram is being built at the Eastern gateway.

Chariot festival, held in the month of Masi, is a special occasion.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 5:58:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/with-rich-historical-background/article4676813.ece

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