Madhuraanthakam is about 75 kms south of Chennai. In olden days, it was called Vakulaaranya Kshethram, as it was a forest with lots of Magizham trees. This place also had other names like Madhuraanthaka Chathurvedhi Mangalam, Vaikunda Vardhanam, Thirumadhurai and Thirumandhira Thirupathi. Madhuraanthakam Eri Kaatha Ramar temple is a wonderful temple with rich heritage and history.
About the Temple
The temple is an east facing one. Sri Kothandaraamar is the main deity. There is a beautiful Mandapam that has lots of pillars. The Mandapam adjacent to the sanctum has a secret path that starts from the Madhuraanthakam lake and passes through the temple to reach the pond. The outer praakaaram has a majestic Dhwajasthambham.
The Sri Chakkarathaazhwar shrine is on the left hand side facing north. The Sthala Viruksham ‘Magizha Maram’ is on the north western side of the temple. There is a separate shrine for Sri Vishvaksenar on the outer praakaaram facing south. Sri Narasimhar gives dharshan at the north eastern side of the temple, facing towards south. Lots of stone inscriptions are found along the walls of the temple. The Vimaanam for this temple is called Pushpaka Vimaanam. The temple pond is found in front of the temple and is called Sri Rama Theertham, which needs some clean up. Sri Aanjaneyar is seen in a separate shrine adjacent to the pond facing west towards the temple. Adjacent to Sri Aanjaneyar shrine Sri Ahobila Mutt is present. This temple also is also connected to the life of Sri Ramanujar. Sri Ramanujar along with his wife was on his way from Kanchipuram to meet Sri Periya Nambigal at Sri Rangam, as he was directed by Sri Thirukkachi Nambigal to do so and become his disciple. During the same time, Sri Periya Nambigal started from Sri Rangam towards Kanchipuram, in search of Sri Ramanujar, whom he felt would be the right disciple.
About the Deity
Ramar gives darshan in an unusual posture, holding Sri Sita’s hand. Lakshman is also present with them. This is probably the only place where Sri Rama is seen in such posture. There are two Urchavars; Sri Sita, Lakshmana Sametha Sri Kothandaramar and Sri Bhu Devi, Sri Neela Devi Sametha Sri Karunaakara Perumaal. The image of Lord Rama is so beautiful and said to be the next best beautiful to Sri Rama at Vaduvoor. Sri Rama here is so beautiful and charming with enchanting smile and divine Thejas.
Legend and Stories
The legend of this temple is connected to the Ramayana. There lived an ancient saint called Vipaandakar in Madhuraanthakam, performing penance towards Lord Vishnu. He worshipped the moorthies of Karunaakara Perumaal along with Bhu Devi and Neela Devi in this place. Rama was banished to the forest where He lost Sita and went to Lanka to get her back. Vipaandakar came to know that Rama was going to Lanka and had to cross the forest. Vipaandakar invited Rama to his Ashram here and asked Him to stay. Rama accepted Vipaandakar’s request and stayed for a short while and worshipped Sri Karunaakara Perumaal along with the Rishi. While leaving Madhuraanthakam, Vipaandakar insisted that Rama should continue the stay for some more time. Rama told the saint that He was on a mission of defeating Raavana, to bring back Sita Devi and assured him of a long stay and accept the saint’s hospitality on His way back from Lanka.
After killing Raavana, Sri Rama along with Sri Sita and Sri Lakshmana was flying back to Ayodhya on the Pushpaka Vimaanam. As promised to Vipaandakar, Sri Rama stopped on His way at Madhuraanthakam and got down from the Pushpaka Vimaanam. Sage Vipaandakar had a privilege of having the dharshan of the Lord Sri Rama, holding the hands of Sri Sita Devi, like a wedding posture. Sri Rama stayed here in the saint’s place for some days and left to Ayodhya. While leaving, Sri Rama carried Sri Karunaakara Perumaal along with Sri Bhu Devi and Sri Neela Devi with him and was worshipping the Lord at Ayodhya.
Later, many years after Pattaabhishekam, Sri Rama directed Sri Hanuman to carry Sri Karunaakara Perumaal back to Madhuraanthakam to install and worship the Lord here. Sri Hanuman installed Sri Karunaakara Perumaal and started worshipping regularly. Once, Sri Rama appeared to Sri Hanuman here in the same posture as how he gave dharshan (holding Sri Sita’s hand) to saint Vipaandakar.
History of the Temple
The name of Sri Kothandaramar here came to be popularly known as Eri Kaatha Ramar because of an interesting incident happened during British rule. There was a district collector of Chengalpattu by name Colonel Lionel Blaze during the period 1795 - 1798. Madhuraanthakam lake was one of the biggest ones in the district, threatened the natives during rainy seasons. The bund of the lake was weak and most of the times the lake broke opened the bund and waters gushed into the village creating disaster to lives. Blaze who took up charge as collector and was worried about the lake. During one rainy season he visited the village and camped there. He saw this temple and visited it to know more. The priests told him about the temple. He found huge pillars and stone slabs piled up in one of the corners of the temple and enquired about the purpose of those slabs. The priests explained that they were meant for the construction of the shrine for Sri Janakavalli Thaayaar and were kept on hold due to lack of funds.
Blaze told the priests that if Sri Rama protected the village from the lake during the storms of the year, he himself would build the shrine for Sri Janakavalli Thaayaar at his cost. Saying this, he went back in a hurry without even having dharshan of the deities. Colonel tried to strengthen the lake bund with his resources but was not confident about the strength of the bund. The storms began to show in the village with heavy winds and strong pouring of rains. Rain continued for days together without any signs of stopping. The water began to rise in the lake and on one day reached up to the bund level. Blaze expected a calamity to occur. But as the collector of the district, he went out to see the water level of the lake so that he can take some precautionary measures. He took one of his servants with him holding an umbrella and went near the lake.
On seeing the lake fill up, he was worried about handling the calamity. He thought worriedly, and watched two young, well built men going around on the banks of the lake with bow and arrows on their hands. As it was night, he couldn’t figure them out, but pitied them as they were walking on the lake bund during that dangerous night. He returned back to his place as he was already wet but was still thinking of those two strange young men. The next morning Blaze woke up and saw that the rains stopped and the sun shining. Anxious about the status of the lake, he came out and understood that there was no flooding the previous night and the bund withstood all the waters. He was too happy and went rushing to the temple to share the news with the priests. The priests were happy and welcomed him inside the temple. This time, Blaze who was in a relaxed state of mind, peacefully entered the temple and accepted the respects from the temple priests. During that time the sanctum was closed as the Alankaaram (decoration) was going on for the deities.
Once the doors of the sanctum opened, Blaze was shocked to see the same two young men who were wandering with bow and arrows the previous night along the lake bund, being worshipped. He couldn’t control himself and explained the priests what he saw the previous night. The priests were too happy to hear him and everyone realized that those two young men were Sri Rama and Sri Lakshmana only who have saved the village from the threatening lake.
From then on, people fondly started calling Sri Rama here as ‘Eri Kaatha Raamar’. Blaze, as promised, immediately arranged to build the shrine for Sri Janakavalli Thaayaar, which is present at the south western side of the temple. Sri Janakavalli Thaayaar is so beautiful and is decorated with wonderful ornaments. An inscription is still found in the temple revealing that the Thaayaar shrine was built by Colonel Lionel Blaze of East India Company, the then district collector of Chengalpattu.
The temple has two main festivals. One is Sri Rama Navami and the other is the Brammothsavam during the Thamizh month of Aani on the day of Moolam star. Vaikunda Ekadasi falling in December-January (Tamil Margazhi) is grandly celebrated in the Temple.
The nearest airport is at Chennai. Maduranthakam also has its own railway station, with suburban trains going towards Melmaruvathur stopping here. Maduranthakam is on the Trichy-Chennai highway (NH45) at a distance of 89 km from Chennai and 25 km from Chengalpattu. There are several buses travelling toMaduranthakam from Chennai.
Sri Erikatha Ramar ( A.k.a) Kothanda Ramar Koil,
Madhuranthakam - 603 306
Devotees visit this temple to seek fulfillment of the following:-
- Freedom from diseases
- Relief from adverse effects from bad planetary aspects
- Relief from bondage
Achutham Keyshavam Rama Narayanam Krishna Damodaram Vasudevam Harim Shridharam Madhavam Gopika Vallabham Janaki Nayakam Ramachandram Bhajey
Meaning -Oh Lord who cannot be perished, who also has names like Keshava, Rama, Damodara, Narayana, Sridhara, Madhava, Krishna, Ramachandra the beloved of Janaki, let me say your name regularly.
Vasudeva Sutham Devam Kamsa Chanoora Mardhanam Devaki Paramanandham Krishnam Vande Jagathgurum
Meaning -I bow to you O Krishna, the ultimate guru, Devaki and Vasudeva's son, and the destroyer of Kamsa and Chanur.
Adharam Madhuram Vadanam Madhuram Nayanam Madhuram Hasitam Madhuram Hridayam Madhuram Gamanam Madhuram Mathuraa Dhipate Rakhilam Madhuram
Meaning -Meaning - Sweet are Your lips, sweet is Your face, sweet are Your eyes, sweet is Your smile, sweet is Your heart, sweet is Your gait, O Lord of Mathura, everything about You is sweet.
Alokya Mathur Mukha Madarena Sthanyam Pibantham Saraseeruhaksham Sachinmayam Devam Anantha Roopam Balam Mukundam Manasa Smarami
Meaning -I think of this Balamukundan as the one who looks lovingly at his mother's face while taking milk from her, who has eyes similar to the red lotus, who is the embodiment of truth and intelligence and other forms.
The temple is open from 07:00 am to 12:00 pm and from 04:30 pm to 08:30 pm.