There was an enquiry yesterday from a Reader whether there is any Rama temple older than Ayodhya Rama Temple.He also wanted to know which is the earliest temple of Rama and who built it. He is a seeker of fact. He wants to answer some secular intelligentsia who, for sometime now, have been on a campaign that there was no temple for Rama before fifteenth century, Ayodhya and if Rama’s temple which houses His birth Place is only about 800 years old,why is it nobody built aRama temple for nearly 4700 years?(Rama’s date at 5114BC).
Seems to be an innocuous question. However the purpose is to sow the seeds of doubt about Rama’s history , Temples and of course Hinduism.
The current date of Ayodhya Ram temple is around 12 century.This date is incorrect and it can be dated much earlier. Obfuscation about Ayodhya Ram temple date abounds. I shall be writing about the Ayodhya Ram temple and it’s antiquity shortly .
To the question wheter there are any temples built for Rama before Ayodhya, I shall share quite a few temples . To begin with, I shall start with Rama Temple belonging to , between c. 870/71 – c. 907 CE built by Aditya Chola, ancestor of Rajaraja Chola,who built Thanjavur Big Temple.
‘Aditya I is known to have built a number of temples 108 for Shiva along the banks of the Kaveri. The Kanyakumari inscription gives us the information that Aditya I was also known by the surname Kodandarama. There is a temple near the town of Tondaimanarrur called Kodandarameshvaraa, also mentioned in its inscriptions by the name Adityesvara. This seems to have been built by Aditya I. He also revised Annamalaiyar sanctum in Thiruvaannamalai during 872 – 900. Aditya also was the patron of Sureswara and prabhakara who were pupils of kumarila bhatta a favourite student of Adisankaracharya. The author of that work do confirm that they settled in the banks of Kaveri (Sibishu kaveriteere meaning in the country of cholas (Sibi is an ancestor of Cholas)) and were employed by Manukula Adityan (Aditya Chola).
Reference and citation.
Located around 30kms from Thanjavur on the Pudukottai Highway is the early Chozha Period Kothandarama temple in Gandharvakottai where Lord Rama is seen in a standing posture flanked by Goddess Sita and brother Lakshmana. The temple is believed to have been built by (Kanda) Aditya Chozha. The entire temple complex, including the outer walls, is of a granite structure and dates back a 1000years.
The story goes that Aditya Chozha was moved immeasurably after listening to the story of Ramayana and ordered the construction of the temple. 1km west of the temple is a Mandapa where the story of the Ramayana is depicted.
He donated lands and initiated the conduct of daily poojas and annual festivals here at this temple. Later, Thondaman king and Gandharvakottai Zamindars renovated the temple.
There was a Vasantha Mandapam with a dome like roof at the temple where the Lord used to come on a procession and rest for a while enjoying the greenery around.
On the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of every month, the sun’s rays fall on the entire body of Lord Kothandarama between 6am and 730am, quite a unique occurrence at this temple.
FestivalsIn centuries gone by, Theppotsavam was celebrated in a grand manner at the temple. Several of the vahanas that carried the Lord during Brahmotsavam processions are still seen at the temple.
Kothandarama goes out on a procession on Rama Navami10day Era Pathu Utsavam following the Paramapada Vaasal openingThirumanjanam on Wednesdays and Saturdays
How to reach
Gandharvakottai is about 30kms from both Thanjavur and Pudukottai on the state highway. Buses ply every 10-15mts between Thanjavur and Pudukottai. From Trichy, one can take the Sengipatti-Pattukottai highway to reach the temple (50kms).
The temple is a 5minute walk from the bus stop. Car from Thanjavur Railway station and back will cost Rs. Rs. 400- 500/- Contact: 94435 88102
Reference and citation.
The excavation was carried out under the supe ..
During the first ..
The structure discovered was a temple below the Babri Mosque .. dated 12 Century AD