Karamadai is a suburb of Coimbatore and located near Mettupalayam on the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam Highway. Nearby the river Bavani is flowing. Around this place a lot of water bodies are present. In Tamil, stagnating water is known as ‘madai’, and a particular type of tree ‘karai’ grows in this area, hence this place gets the name ‘karaimadai’. Since there was a lot of greenery for the cattle’s pasture feeding, this area was domiciled by cowherds. The cows which are black in the lower portion especially their teats are predominantly seen in this area.
Karamadai is basically an agricultural place and is also famous for the Ranganathaswamy temple and Nanjundeswarar temple. Karamadai had been developed as a suburban town after a huge steel industry came into being here. Sri Ramakrishna Steel Industry had developed this place as a town. They had also contributed for improving the age old temples of Karamadai.
Sri Ranaganatha is an important deity worshipped by Vishnavetes. Srirangam is the abode of the deity. The temple at Srirangam is known as ‘kovil’ by Vishnavetes, meaning “The Temple”. It is very interesting to know that Sri Ranganatha Swamy had self emerged in Karamadai for blessing His devotees.
During that time the whole of this area was a dense forest with ‘Karai’ trees. The cowherds use to bring their cows to this place for grazing the grass. One particular black cow wanders away into the forest area and comes out. It was noticed that the particular cow was not yielding proper quantity of milk when milked. On tracing it was noticed that the cow goes to a particular place and milks on its own at that very particular spot. When the cowherd dug that place he saw blood coming out from that place. He went into the village and informed the elders about the incident.
When few elders of the village went to the site to see, the cowherd who had seen the place, showed them the spot. The cowherd went into trance and announced about the presence of Sri Ranganatha Swamy in the spot. The news spread and the entire village and people from nearby villages all bearing torch in their hand came with honey, fruits, sugar, sugar candy and coconut and other things. All could feel the presence of the Lord there and they offered to the Lord whatever they had brought. They all had immense satisfaction that Lord had chosen their place to bless them. They took the balance of offering as ‘prasad’ of Lord. [Even today this is practiced when the Lord returns home after the car festival. - it is known by the name “bandha seva, kavala seva”]
After this, the rulers of the place had placed themselves at the service of the Lord Ranganatha and improved the temple. The temple dates back to the Chola period. Cholas have made significant contribution to the temple.
Coimbatore and the surrounding areas were under the rule of Madurai Sultanate. Vijayanagar emperor toppled the Madurai Sultanate in the year 1378 and all their area were bought under Bukka-I of Vijayanagara Samrajya. Vijayanagar subsequently gave autonomous power to their Maha Nayak, paving way to form independent rule with Madurai as the capital. This dynasty is known as Madurai Nayaks. Famous among them are Tirumalai Nayak and Rani Mangamma. Significant contribution to this temple had been made by Thirumalai Nayak who had built the temple boundary walls and two huge mandapams inside the temple.
Then during 18th century Coimbatore came under the Mysore rulers and also British. Mysore Maharajas, who had Srirangapatna near Mysuru their capital, are ardent devotees of Sri Ranganatha Swamy. When Coimbatore and thereby Karamadai came under their rule, they had not failed in their love for the Lord and contributed their might to the Ranganatha temple of Karamadai.
During this period under the influence of Rayas and Mysore rulers, both of whom were ardent devotees of Sri Hanuman, Coimbatore also had a large number of devotees for Lord Sri Hanuman.
During the time of British when they wanted to lay railway line to Mettupalayam, it was proposed that the line will run cutting across this temple premises. The locals offerd their prayers to Sri Ranganatha and sought His intervention. Sri Ranganatha intervened that night in the dream of the engineer in-charge and adviced him otherwise. He later withdrew his plans to demolish the temple and realigned the railway lines differently. As a mark of his reverence to Sri Ranganatha, he gifted a festive image of a horse to be used during divine procession.
In accordance with the Sriranga Mahathmiyam, Sri Rama had been worshipping the deity Sri Ranganatha for a long time. Sri Rama gifted the idol of the deity to Sri Vibhishana the king of Sri Lanka. Vibhishana was made to part with the deity Sri Ranganatha when he was carrying the idol from Ayodhya to Lanka. Sri Ranganatha desired to bless His devotee Sri Dharma Varma who was penancing in an island near present Tiruchirapalli. Therefore He stayed back in Srirangam and cast His benign glance eternally on Lanka as desired by Vibhishna. Hence it is believed that the deity of Sri Ranganatha at SriRangam is in a reclining posture facing south.
In Karamadai Sri Ranganatha is seen as a swayambhu and only His face is seen unlike in SriRangam where Lord is seen in recline posture. It is to be noted that in Sriranga kshetra there are separate sannidhis for Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and separate sannidhi for Sri Hanuman as well. In Karamadai Sri Rama is present in the western wall of the sanctum sanctorum and there is a separate sannidhi for Sri Hanuman.
In Karamadai, moolavar Sri Ranganatha is facing east. Here processional deity is worshiped as Lord Venkateswara. The deity of Lord Venkateswara is kept in the maha mandapam near garbhagraham itself. The uniqueness of this temple is unlike in other Vishnu temples, Ramabana [Arrow of Sri Rama] is used instead of Sadari to bless the devotees. Normally Sadari is placed on the head of the devotee in other temples here Ramabana is placed on the heads of devotees. It is believed that the Ramabana has in itself, the discus (Chakrayudha) and Adisesha (his snake bed). Sadari blessing is offered in the procession deity shrine.
Special puja is performed to the Ramabana once a year for sanctifing it.
Sannidhi for Sri Anjaneya is present in the northern side of the main temple, near the sannidhi of Sri Ramanujar. Sri Anjaneya sannidhi is facing north and Sri Ramanujar sannidhi is facing east. Sri Anjaneya is present there from old times. Recently about thirty years back the arch and housing had been added along with a small vimanam befitting the arch and housing.
The moortham which is around six feet in height is very unique and made on a rectangular granite stone.
Lord Sri Anjaneya Swamy of Karamadai, at Sri Ranganathaswamy temple premises is in a standing posture and the carving is of ‘ardha shila’ type. Lord is seen facing westward with both His lotus feet adoring nupuram and hollow anklets [thandai] and firmly rooted on the ground. His left hand adorning bracelet is seen resting on the left thigh and in His hand he is holding the stem of sowgandika flower. The flower which is still to bloom is seen above His left shoulder. With His raised right hand He showers blessings on His devotees. He is wearing ornaments which adore His bosom. He is wearing an ornament ‘kantahara’, a necklace close to His neck. The tail of the Lord rises above His head with a curved end which is adorned with a small beautiful bell. Lord is wearing ear-studs which are just touching His shoulders. His kesam is neatly pleated and tied. He is wearing kesa bhandham in His head. His eyes are seen as if He is on meditation. But the compassion emitting out of the meditative eyes could be felt. With such meditative eyes Lord of the kshetra is a figure to be meditated upon.
Dharshan of Sri Anjaneya of Karamadai who is meditating upon Sri Rama, is an Anubhav. Experience and enjoy the Anandha, stay clear of worldly wants.
Ed [November 2017]
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SRI HANUMAN THINKS DIFFERENTLY, THINKS FAST, THINKS AHEAD AND ACTS FOR SURE.
Our salutations to this Hanuman who always brings subham - everything that is good - for His devotees and eliminates the bad and the evil. He removes even the traces of bad thoughts and deeds from His devotees. i.e He makes them pure in words, thought and deed.