March 17, 2015

Punnai Nallur Kodanda Ram Temple

Site Name: Kodanda Ram Temple
Site Type: Hindu temple
Location:  Punnainallur, near Tanjore city, Tamil Nadu state, India
Highlights: The idols of deities are made of Shaligram stones from Nepal; Sugreeva is found along with Ram
Nearest Railway Station: Tanjore
Nearest Airport: Trichy
How to reach: Well connected by road and rail
Hotel: Budget hotels are found; for better options go to Tanjore city
Restaurants: Many restaurants mostly budget restaurants are found; for better options go to Tanjore


Punnai Nallur is a locality near Tanjore city in South India.The popular temple dedicated to Mariamman is located here. It is one of the most famous temples of mother Goddess and Mariamman in South India. Around 1 km from this famous temple, there is a little known temple of Kodanda Ram is located. Let us explore this temple which has unique features in this article.

Punnai Nallur is a popular place among the devotees thanks to the famous temple of Mari Amman. Thousands of devotees visit this temple everyday. Hardly few of them would know about the Kodanda Ram temple located nearby.

The bow carried by Lord Ram is called as Kodanda. As the main deity (Ram) of this temple carries his Kodanda, the temple is named as Kodanda Ram temple. (Many of the sites, blogs and magazines mention this temple as 'Kothanda Ram' temple, which has annoyingly wrong pronunciation.) It is located at a distance of about 1 km north of Mari Amman Temple. 


Highlights:
  • God Kodanda Ram
  • Sugreeva is found along with Ram, Sita and Lakshman in the main shrine
  • The idols of Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Sugreeva are made of the sacred Shaligrama stone from Nepal
  • Sthala Vruksha (Holy tree) - Punnai
  • The utsava idols are 1400 years old
  • Possibly the only Ram idol made of Shaligrama
  • Built in the 18th century CE

History: 

The Maratha King Pratap Singh ruled Tanjore between 1739 and 1763 CE. He got Shaligrama stones in the form of dowry by his co-father-in-law, the King of Nepal. The stones are very sacred and are found only in the river Gandaki in Nepal. The stones represent Lord Vishnu. Pratap Singh made the idols of Ram, Sita, Lakshman and Sugreeva using the Shaligrama and also built this temple.

The Maratha Queen Emunambal Pahi Saheb had donated about 40 acres of fertile land to this temple in 1892 CE. 

The utsava idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman are 1400 years old. They were found buried in a village called Puvanur near Needamangalam. 

Temple Layout: 

The east facing temple has a five tiered tower. The vimana above the main shrine is called as Soundarya Vimana.

The sanctum sanctorum has the Shaligrama idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman. Sugreeva is also found on the other side of Ram. It is unique to find Sugreeva in the main shrine. Possibly, it is the only Ram idol made of Shaligrama. All the idols are big and are found in the standing posture. Another highlight is to find the stone idol along with the bows. Both Ram and Lakshman hold bows in their hands. There are nine bells (Nava Mani) on Ram's kodanda; he is found wearing a ring and has Lakshmi on his chest. Sugreeva is found with crown, moustache and sword. All these idols are found to be extremely beautiful.

There is a separate shrine for Hanuman. He is in the standing posture with a lifted right arm and is holding lotus flower in his left arm. The ceiling of the shrine has the carvings of 12 sun signs. 

The 1400 years old utsava (metal) idols of Ram, Sita and Lakshman are placed in the shrine of Hanuman. Ram's idol is much taller than the other idols. All the idols are very attractive.

Sudarshan with 16 arms with Narasimha on his back side is found in a sub-shrine. There is a small bas-relief of Ganesha and sub-shrine of Alwars located here. 

Facing towards the main shrine, the idol of Garuda instead of Hanuman is found near the bali peetha and the flag staff.

Opposite this temple, there is a small temple dedicated to Hayagreeva-Lakshmi found. It is attached to Ram temple. In Ram temple, the utsava idol of Hayagreeva is found.

Happy travelling. 


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