PLACES RELATED TO MOTHER SITADEVI IN SRILANKA ———- Seetha Kotuwa,Divurumpola,Ashoka Vanam,Ravana Caves ………………. the places which brings tears to Sri Sita Rama devotees


 

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With the blessings of Asmath Acharyar and Elders we could have darshan of all the holy places  related to Srimad Ramayana , in India  during 2010 which is briefed as “SriRama  Anu yatra” travelogue

Part (1)
https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/piligrim-diary-to-sri-rama-holy-abodes/

Part (2)
https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/sri-rama-anu-yatirai-part-2/

The inert desire of visiting the holy places in Srilanka fructified this August 2018. Our Thirumaligai deities accompanied us all through ..

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After obtaining Asmath acharyar’s blessings ,and with the grace of our Kula deivam-Kazhiyur  Adikesava  Perumal and Lord Srinivasa, we undertook this yatra overseas ..

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our Altar

The Introduction is appended in the below URL 

https://kazhiyurvaradanblog.in/2018/08/26/an-introduction-to-sri-ramayana-sites-in-sri-lanka-curtain-raiser/

                             Srimad Ramayana sites in Srilanka can be classified as

  • Places where  Lord Rama  purified  Sri Lanka located in the Northern,North-Western and Central Srilanka-namely, Thalaimannar ,Ramasethu, Nilavarai Bottomless well , Ramboda, Rattota, Dunvuila, Divurumpola
  • Places  where  Mother Sita  was   held captive .  Seetha Kotuwa, Sita Eliya, Divurumpola and  RAvana Caves .
  • Places   visited by  Hanumanji    -almost the whole of Lanka especially Sigiriya, Ramboda, Manikatuther, Hakgala Botanical gardens, Sita Eliya, Ussangoda, sanjeevini drops at Rumasalla, Ritigala, Thalladi, Kacchiteevu, Dolukonda.

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Lord Srirama along with Sitadevi and Lakshmana were living in the paransaala (hermitage) constructed by Lakshmana in Panchavati near Nasik. 

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SRI SITA RAMA LAKSHMANA RESIDING IN KAMADGIRI MOUNTAIN IN CHITRAKOOT

 As the hermitage was surrounded by five banyan trees, it is known as Panchavati about 12 kms from Nashik.   The demon  Ravana deceitfully  kidnapped Mother Sita  in the absence of Lord Rama and Lakshmana at the end of thirteenth year of  exile  and flew towards Lanka in  Pushpaka Vimanam.   

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SRIRAMA EMBRACING JATAY WHILE LAKSHMANA LOOKS ON -AT TAKET NEAR NASIK

Jatayu-the eagle bird  fought valiantly with the demon RAvana sacrificing his life for  Lord Rama  and attained salvation. This place is known as Taket located about 60 kms from Nashik.

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SRIRAMA EMBRACING WOUNDED JATAYU

 Jaganmatha  Sita  became inconsolable over the death of the aged Jatayu whom Srirama addressed as “FATHER” .  When the pushpaka vimana  was flying  over Kishkinda ,  Sitadevi bundled her jewels and  dropped it in the midst 5 vanaras  at Kishkinda (Hampi)   which is located in Karnataka . These jewels were presented to Srirama  by the vanara Sugreeva while Lord was  searching for Sitadevi.

RIVER TUNGABHADRA IN KISHKINDHA (HAMPI)

Our poorvacharyas  expressed in their teachings  that Mother Sita  an incarnation of Mahalakshmi Thayar could not be kidnapped by an insignificant asura named RAvana.   Ravana after  acquiring  invincible powers by performing severe tapas was tormenting the whole universe. Puffed with arrogance , pride and lust  he had kidnapped and imprisoned many celestial girls.  To free the innocent  girls from the clutches of the cruel RAvana , the divine mother Sita  allowed RAvana to kidnap HER so that SHE could free all of  them from Ravana’s captive  .

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WAY TO SEETHA KOTUWA

This act of Mahalakshmi can be compared to a parent’s  attempt  whose child had fallen into the river.  Instead of standing at the shore and lamenting, the parent would immediately dive into the river to rescue the child.  The parent and child are related only in this life whereas we Jivatmas have relationship with Paramatma from time immemorial.

From the day we  took this  human body  due to our desires ,  Paramatma  anxious and worried makes all attempts in seeing that we recognize our original nature and  initiates all plans to make us understand our true identity .

HE sends Acharyar for our upliftment. Lord Sri Rama the Paramatma sent Hanumanji -the acharyar who glorified Paramatma and gave the holy name (ring ) to Sitadevi.

           As  Srirama had pledged to annihilate the entire asura clan, Mother Sita out of compassion wanted to save RAvana by advising him . Such was Mother’s compassion.  Whenever Sitadevi encountered RAvana, SHE advised him to extend friendship gesture as both of them were kings and Lord would be pleased to accept Ravana as his friend even though he had committed the gravest sin of separating HER from the Lord.  She enumerated  Lord Srirama’s qualities and advised  him to surrender and thus protect his wealth and clan.

Our acharyar’s ancestor- Sri Mudaliandan swamy also  glorified  as “Dasarathy” who is considered as  the reincarnation of Lord Rama HIMSELF ,and  the foremost disciple of Swamy RAmanujar  used to compare our lives with  Srimad Ramayana ….

Sita is the suffering Jivatma,

Lanka surrounded by sea on all sides can be compared to our body entangled in this samsara saagaram,

RAvana is the mind,

the ten heads of Ravana can be compared to the ten senses ,

Lord Rama is the Paramatma..

Hanumanjee  is the Acharya who unites Jivatma and Paramatma by conveying Paramatma’s intentions to Jivatma and doing samasrayanam.  Acharya conveys our plea to Paramatma and ensures that the Jivatma rejoins Paramatma.

 In Lankapura,  RAvana’s palace along with many palaces for his many queens made of pure gold once stood here majestically until Hanumanjee  burnt it down. 

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Mother Sitadevi was first brought to Mandodari Palace after alighting from Pushpaka Vimanam at Weragantota. 

Sitadevi resolved not to drink even water in Ravana’s palace until she was rescued by  Lord Srirama.

RAvana alighted from Pushpaka vimana at Weragantota near Mandodari’s palace in Lanka now known as “Seetha Kotuwa” meaning Sita’s Fort and house arrested mother sita.   

 Seetha Kotuwa  in SriLanka is about 10 kms from Weragantota  located 70 kms east of Kandy near Mahiyangana-( a famous Buddhist site and would take about 1hr 45 minutes to reach).

Weragantota was the runway for Ravana’s aircraft popularly known as “Pushpaka Vimanam”

SEETHA KOTUWA

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SEETHA KOTUWA

            The devas  prompted Indra to  offer payasam to  Sitadevi for HER sustenance as it was very important for Ravana’s defeat  and for the welfare of the world  . Only if Sitadevi was alive, Lord Rama would come to Lanka and kill RAvana.  So , Indra submitted their plea to  Sitadevi requesting to have the heavenly food . After making offering to Lord Rama , Sitadevi just took a morsel of it .   

It may be noted that Sitadevi discarded the food given by RAvana which was scattered around  the hilly regions .  These morsels known as “SITA GOOLI” can be traced in the forests even now to the lucky ones  around Ramboda in Kandy district.

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SITA GOOLI AND ASHOKA LEAVES

We were fortunate to get SITA GOOLI we visited Manikatuther.

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STEPS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF SEETHA KOTUWA

The archeological site  is maintained by Srilankan Government.  They have guest house facility and a restaurant . From this office ,  one needs to walk downwards in the terrains  to approach this place.The thick vegetation and forest like atmosphere with wild  shrubs on either sides makes one wonder how tough it was for mother facing this demon .

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Due to rains, the path we walked  was bit slippery.  At some places, some small rocks have been placed  to  easily step down.  Though the distance from the archeological office to the actual site is only 800 metres, it would take roughly one hour to and fro to traverse the area.  We were accompanied by a guide from the archeological department.  Our cab driver and guide helped us in all ways.  There is no temple.  Only 2 platforms on either sides which are marked as the place occupied by Mother Sita can be seen . On the other side ,we can find steep steps going further down which must have been used by the residents to reach other palaces!!

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Fearing Lord Rama’s reaction ,  RAvana escalated the security and sent spies to Dhandakaranyam to inform him about Srirama’s moves.  He persuaded Mother Sita to fulfill his wish. 

As Sitadevi was reluctant, the  egoistic Ravana who had the habit of always boasting about his achievements and wealth wanted to win Sitadevi by showing the wealth and beauty of his kingdom.

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   He  relocated her from Seetha Kotuwa to Ashoka vanam on his chariot.  Sitadevi was crying inconsolably while being taken in the chariot.  This route taken by RAvana is now known as Chariot Path .  Presently this place is located between RAmboda and Nuwara Eliya. 

At the junction near Blue Field Tea Factory, we have to take an auto and drive for about 10 kms and then start trekking the hilly are for about 10 kms to reach Chariot Path.  There is  no vegetation  in this path .  We have short trees on either sides.  There is a small pond known as “sita Tear Pond”.  As the name implies, Sita’s tears got collected in this pond and this never dries up even during famine as per locals . 

Sita Flowers in the form of Rama’s bow grow only in this place.  It would take one full day to visit this place. 

Mother  was  relocated  to Ashoka vanam now known as Hakgala Botanical Gardens.  Hanumanjee  met  mother sita  under Simshuka tree now known as Sita Eliya  after crossing the ocean  while  winning the rakshasas

 Ashoka vanam was a pleasure garden on a hill station .  RAvana thought that Sitadevi who was used to live in forests would feel pleased being in Ashoka vanam .  As RAvana had a curse that he could not touch any woman without her consent, he was very careful in approaching Sitadevi.   Due to his tamasic nature ,he used to think  Lord Srirama as an inferior person who was exiled and hence  tried to allure  mother Sitadevi  with all the worldly comforts and riches.  Mother Sitadevi considered RAvana and his wealth as mere grass and chastised Ravana for his action.  Angered by  mothers words , He ordered the rakshasis who were guarding her to convince her in succumbing to his wishes or else die in their hands.

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  In  Srimad Ramayanam, it is mentioned that RAvana gave one year time to Sitadevi to succumb to his wishes.  But our poorvacharyas opine that it was the other way as Mother  Sitadevi extended his life span by one year with the hope that he would change for the better and patiently bore all the afflictions on HER.  Such is the compassion of Mother Sita.

In Valmiki Ramayanam, it is mentioned that RAvana moved Sitadevi from Mandodari’s palace to Ashoka vanam where 700 rakshasis were deputed to take care of her. It doesn’t mention about Sitadevi staying in some other place .

But in Srilanka, few places  like  RAvana caves, Istreepura etc. have been identified as places where Sitadevi  used to be re located by Ravana . As per the locals , after Hanumanjis adventure and attack, Ravana ensured that Sitadevi was shifted from Ashokavanam to various other places so that HER whereabouts were not known to anyone.

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ASHOKA VANAM

Presently, Hakgala Botanical Gardens in Nuwara Eliya is identified as Ashoka Vanam. 

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The Simshuka tree under which Hanuman happened to meet Sitadevi, converse with HER is known as Sita Eliya

This is about 4 kms down the hill from Nuwara Eliya.  There is a beautiful temple known as “SITA AMMAN TEMPLE” which houses 2 sets of Sita,Rama,Lakshmana and Hanuman idols.

In and around the temple precints we can find the altars, Sita stream, Hanuman’s foot prints and the rock on which Sitadevi used to contemplate on Sriram.

 Nuwara Eliya being a hill station is a very cool place and it rains almost every day.

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We can find many  vanaras   at this place minding their own business and not troubling the devotees.  We felt that the lucky vanaras continue to relish the divine pastimes of  Hanumanji here .

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The temple administration  provides a carved picture of Sita Rama Lakshmana and Hanuman in gold plated frames for LKR 2000 (INR 1000). Devotees place these in the altar and take it to their homes as remembrance.

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THIS BOARD IS DISPLAYED IN SITA AMMAN TEMPLE

The  temple priest informed that one set of deities in the temple was installed by the devotees for which regular worship is being done.  ON the right side of this sannidhi , we can find another set of  Lord Sita,Ramar deities along with Lakshmana and Hanuman. 

These deities  reappeared  in the nearby stream known as “SITA STREAM” two hundred years back.  The  deities  of Lord  Rama and Sita are almost of the same size whereas Lakshmana is smaller.

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THE HOLY SITA STREAM BEHIND SITA AMMAN TEMPLE
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200 YEARS OLD VIGRAHAMS WHICH WERE FOUND IN SITA STREAM
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HANUMAN’S FOOTPRINTS

SITA STREAM   AND HANUMAN FOOT PRINTS

  As per Srirama’s orders, Sitadevi had purificatory bath in the nearby stream which is right behind the altar.    Also, when Sitadevi heard about the punishment vented on Hanumanjee by the demon Ravana , she purified HERSELF with the water from the stream and invoked Agni by saying that if she was chaste, the fire lit on Hanumanji’s tail should not harm him. So, this stream is considered very sacred . Next to the stream, we can find a small rock where a sculpted figure of Sitadevi sitting under Simshuka vruksham is seen accepting Srirama’s ring from Hanuman .  Hanuman is greenish in colour and Sitadevi is of golden complexion.  In front of this, we can find two foot prints of Hanumanji- one is very small and the other one very big.  As Hanuman introduced himself to Sitadevi in a miniature form  and later convinced her about his capabilities by taking a huge form, we can find here the two different footprints of Hanuman.  The rain water gets collected in these footprints.

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SITADEVI GIVING CHOODAMANI TO HANUMAN IN SITA AMMAN TEMPLE

IN Balakandam, it is mentioned that Sitadevi was such a delicate personality that even if someone stared at her for few minutes, her complexion would become reddish.  She was so tender. The thought that such a tender princess who was affectionately brought up by King Janaka and taken care by Dasaratha Chakravarthy and  Lord Srirama had to withstand the harsh weather conditions along with the pungent words of the demon  RAvana is heart piercing.

During the war between Lord RAma and RAvana, Ravana had cast a Nagastram which made SRirama and Lakshmana unconscious.  RAvana who thought that he had killed SRirama, summoned the rakshasis in Ashoka vanam to take Sitadevi to the battlefield on Pushpaka vimanam and show Srirama to Sitadevi.  The cruel minded RAvana thought that if he produced an evidence that Srirama was killed, Sitadevi would succumb to his wishes. RAvana’s cruel selfish nature can be assessed by this.  He was not bothered about Sitadevi’s plight.  Sitadevi was totally shattered when SHE saw Srirama lying on the battlefield.  SHE cried inconsolably until Vibhishana’s wife consoled HER pointing to Srirama’s face which was lively adding that only a sumangali can get into Pushpaka vimanam.  in another instance, she advised Sitadevi to offer prayers to SunGod who was their kula deivam.  It may be noted that AGastya rishi advised Srirama to invoke Sun God and taught him “ADITYA HRUDAYAM”.  

Mother Sita had all the powers to protect HERSELF and curse Ravana.  But the only reason that SHE had surrendered to Srirama and it was HIS duty to protect HER, she endured everything silently .Hanumanjee  lamented when he  saw Sitadevi in the most pitiable condition –having become lean due to lack of food and wearing soiled clothes (he recognised it because Sitadevi had torn a piece of her sari and bundled the jewels in it before throwing.

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RAMAYANA SITES IN SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL SRILANKA

DIVURUMPOLA

  The place where Sitadevi underwent the ordeal of proving HER chastity to the world is located about 15 kms from Sita Eliya on the way to Ella.

After winning the battle,  Lord Srirama  advised  brother  Lakshmana to coronate Vibhishana . 

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LAKSHMANA PERFORMING VIBHISHANA PATABHISHEKAM AT KELANIYA

Srirama ordered Vibhishana to  inform Sitadevi  about his arrival . Accordingly, King Vibhishana submitted  Lord Rama’s wish to Sitadevi for which she replied that she was anxiously waiting to see HER Lord immediately without wasting time.  Mother Sita devi after having a purificatory bath ,  adorning new clothes and jewels was taken in a palanquin.  As the assembled vanaras wanted to have darshan of Sitadevi for whom they had defeated the asuras  ,  our compassionate mother  got down from the palanquin and walked amidst the vanaras so that HER cool grace fell on them. Lord Rama was pleased with the gesture .

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SITADEVI’S AGNI PARIKSHA AT DIVURUMPOLA

Lord Rama  as people’s  representative , being an emperor it was HIS duty to establish dharma and not set a bad example to the subjects  as she was in enemy’s place for a year for no fault . Though the Lord was the Emperor of the entire land, He considered HIMSELF to be “people’s representative” and acted accordingly.

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SITADEVI’S AGNI PRAVESAM WHILE SRIRAMA AND OTHERS SEEN LAMENTING

Sitadevi  ordered Lakshmana to lit a pyre as she decided to end her life for the happenings .   As the fire was lit, Mother Sitadevi  offered obeisances  to Fire God-Agni bhagavan and  always meditating on  Lord Rama,  walked on the pyre.   The moment Sitadevi  walked  into fire, all the 33 crore devas appeared on the scene along with Agnideva and offered their obeisances to the divine Lordships.   

King DAsaratha also appeared and thanked Srirama for fulfilling his  vanavasa wish.  Dasaratha requested Sitadevi to forgive  Srirama for HIS act and asked Rama to seek any boon.  Srirama requested that Dasaratha should accept back Kaikeyi and Bharata. 

When Indra bestowed a boon, Srirama requested that all the vanaras who lost their lives in the war should be alive. After granting Rama’s wishes, DAsaratha and all the devas disappeared from the place.   All these incidents took place at Divurumpola.

Our acharyas have commented on this incident that Agni-the firegod wanted to purify himself as Ravana had polluted agni by offering flesh and other abominable things.  Agnideva wanted to get purified with Sitadevi’s contact and hence this incident took place.  Agnideva who was controlled by Ravana didn’t have the guts to burn Lanka.  It was Sitadevi’s chastity which was used as fire for burning Lanka.

 

Sitadevi’s life incident can be compared to prapannas.  The jivatma who is loitering in the material world gets to know about Paramatma through Acharya who glorifies the Paramatma and gets samasrayanam done for Jivatma. 

The Acharya submits the Jivatma’s plea for reunion with Paramatma . 

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For having a darshan  entrance fee is charged.  There is a Buddhist pagoda at this place.  WE can find 28 buddha statues which is of significance.  The caretaker showed us paintings from RamayAna.

  A small shrine for Sita,Rama,Lakshmana brought from India by a great  Sri Rama bhaktha  is beside the Hanuman statue. 

A diety  of a confident Sitadevi measuring about 7 feet entering into flames is kept in the room and a painting of Rama,Lakshmana,Vibhishana, Hanuman and all the assembled vanaras lamenting over this ordeal will definitely make a person cry.

At the actual place of Agnipariksha which is behind the shrine, a Bodhi tree (Banyan tree) from Gaya has been planted here. 

Devotees do parikrama around this with reverence.  We can also find a small Ashoka tree planted in the temple premises. 

RAVANA CAVES:- Ravana cave is located in Ella between Nuwara Eliya and Kataragama.  It is about  60 kms from Nuwara Eliya and about 90 kms before Kataragama. 

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It takes about one hour to reach the caves on top of a hillock ascending through steep narrow steps.  There are three caves which have been identified as Sitadevi’s captivity.

 

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Istreepura is a tunnel network  that connects to several places and we didn’t visit this place due to lack of time. 

Shall be updating about the places Lord Rama  and Hanumanjee  purified Sri lanka .

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

Periazhwar as Yashodha with Chinni Krishna


Azhwars often express their love as a mother OR of a daughter OR a lover meaning their own Souls longing for union with the Supreme Lord . Most of his 473 verses in Divya Prabandham, collectively known as “Periazhwar Tirumozhi” speak of the early years of Krishna. Azhwar became the father- in- law of Lord Narayana when his daughter Andal marries the Lord. – – an honor none else could claim.

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Amongst the 12 Azhwars  ,  Vishnuchittar was  glorified  as ” Peria Azhwar” .

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Our poorvacharyars comment that though he  appeared   after  Mudal azhwar, Nammazhwar, Thirumazhisai Azhwar, he was honoured with the title “Peria Azhwar   because while all other azhwars  glorified  Lord as Supreme Personality,  Azhwar had “pongum parivu”( vatsalyabhava).

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  Swamy  Manavala Mamunigal in  ” Upadesa Ratnamala ”  says “Pongum parivaale petraan Periazhwar ennum peyar”   meaning that because of the vatsalya bhaavam  like a mother towards the Lord, he was conferred with this title. Periyazhwar  was  overwhelmed to have darshanam of  the Lord after winning the debate  called by the  Pandyan King  at Madurai few hundred years back .

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Having darshan of  Lord Koodal Azhagar Perumal , along with the Goddess who had come to witness  the  marathon procession honours done by the King to the Azhwar ,   on Garuda Vahanam ,  Periyazhwar  was worried…

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RAMAYANAM IN SRILANKA -AN INTRODUCTION


SRIMATHEY RAMANUJAYA NAMAHA

Srimad Ramayana, the great Indian scripture (Ithihasam) composed by Sage Valmiki, narrates the incidents in the lives of Lord Rama and Mother Sita who were the incarnations of Sriman Narayana (Perumal) and Mahalakshmi (Thayar) elaborately.

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This epic comprising of 24000 slokas has been divided into seven kaandams-Balakandam, Ayodhya Kaandam, Aaranya kaandam, Kishkindha kaandam, Sundara kaandam, Yuddha kaandam and Uttara kaandam.

The purpose of Lord Sriman Narayana incarnating as a human being was to annihilate RAvana- and Kumbakarna –the fierce demons who had acquired invincible powers from Brahma that they would not be killed by any God/demon etc., neglecting humans and monkeys (vanaras) as the egoistic Ravana felt that human beings and vanaras were too insignificant for him.

Having thus obtained boons, RAvana became so powerful and invincible that he started tormenting the sages (rishis), misbehaved with women and killed innumerable beings and finally committed the gravest sin of abducting Mother Sita, the personification of chastity.

RAvana recollects all the misdeeds he committed in Yuddha kandam but doesn’t repent for his deeds. The demigods (devas) appeared as monkeys (vanaras) in large numbers to assist the Lord in this great mission..

To quickly recap Ramayana, Lord Sriman Narayana appeared as the eldest son of King Dasaratha in Ishvaaku dynasty in Surya kulam along with Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatruguna .

Mahavishnu appeared as Lord Rama, Adisesha as Lakshmana,panchajanyam(Vishnu’s conch) as Bharata, and Sudarshana Chakram as Shatruguna. Protected Vishwamitra’s yaga and married Sitadevi-an ayonija, an incarnation of Mahalakshmi –the foster daughter of King Janaka who appeared from the bowels of earth in Chandra vamsam. Srirama was 12 years old and Sitadevi was 6 years old at the time of wedding.

They spent 12 years happily in Ayodhya until Srirama left for forest to spend 14 years in exile to keep up HIS father’s word. Lakshmana and Sitadevi accompanied Srirama. After pacifying and assuring Bharata HIS return after 14 years and giving HIS padhukas to Bharata to rule as HIS representative, Lord moved out of Chitrakoot and went into Dhandakaranya forest. Lord Rama promised the rishis in Dhandakaranyam that he would kill the asuras and resolved to kill Ravana who was terrorising the entire Universe. Surpanaka-Ravana’s sister who was captivated by Rama’s beauty was disfigured by Lakshmana when she tried to harm Sitadevi .

Srirama single handedly killed 14000 rakshasas including Kara,Dooshana who came to fight Srirama. The humiliated Surpanaka influenced Ravana by describing about them emphasising more on Sitadevi’s beauty kindling lustful desire saying that she was fit for Ravana. Having heard about Rama’s valour, RAvana deceitfully planned to abduct Sitadevi in Rama’s absence and with the help of Mareecha who was disguised as golden deer separated Rama and Lakshmana from Sitadevi thus paving way for the shameful ghastly deed. RAvana disguised as sanyasi approached Sitadevi for alms and enquired about her presence in the forest. Sitadevi replied to him enumerating all the incidents adding that they have completed 13 years and were undergoing the last year of vanavaasam after which they would return to Ayodhya.

When she queried about him, Ravana revealed his true form ,boasted about his achievements and expressed his desire of making her as his queen. When Sitadevi rebuked him, he got angry and abducted her in Pushpaka vimanam and proceeded southwards towards his country, Lanka

(Our poorvacharyars opine that Mother Sita underwent all these troubles for our sake as SHE being Jaganmatha wanted to protect Ravana. Whenever Mother Sita encountered RAvana, SHE chastised him for his ghastly act, advised him to return HER back and not get punished. She enumerated Srirama’s qualities and advised him to surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord. That is Jaganmatha’s compassion. Though she could protect HERSELF, she waited patiently for Srirama’s arrival as SHE had surrendered to HIM.)

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Jatayu –the eagle bird fought valiantly to rescue Sitadevi from his clutches and in the battle that pursued, he sacrificed his life after informing Rama about Sitadevi’s abduction. Srirama performed last rites to the eagle-the privilege which even his own father Dasaratha didn’t get. Later, after killing Kabandhan and granting moksha to Sabari, Rama and Lakshmana met Hanuman and Sugreeva who presented the jewels thrown by a distraught lady while travelling on an aerial car southwards. Lord Rama recognized Sitadevi’s jewels and became inconsolable. Rama accepted Sugreeva as his friend, killed Vali and made Sugreeva the vanara king.

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In turn, Sugreeva deputed the entire vanara army to search for Sita throughout the universe giving them 2 months’ time. The vanaras headed by Angadha, supported by Hanuman and Jambavan went southwards until they reached the ocean. Unable to trace Sitadevi, the distressed vanaras decided to end up their lives by jumping into fire. Sampaathi- the eagle bird who was in an immovable condition heard Angadha lamenting about Sitadevi’s abduction , Jatayu’s death and their unsuccessful attempt in tracing her and being unable to face their king , decided to end up their lives. Sampaathi with his sharp eyesight spotted Sitadevi in Lanka and informed them that she was in Lanka but was unable to mention the correct location.

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Having helped in Rama kainkaryam, Sampaathi got its wings and flew away. All the vanaras became joyful and started contemplating as to who would go to Lanka. Each vanara expressed his capability to cross the ocean while Hanuman sat silently. The aged Jambavan approached Hanuman-Vayus’ son , praised him about his capabilities and strength and influenced Hanuman to take up the yeomen task of finding Sitadevi. Hanuman had a curse because of which he would know his capabilities only when he is reminded of.

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Thus starts Sundarakandam-the most beautiful heart rendering acts of Hanuman who saved Sita Devi and Rama’s lives . In Srivaishnava sampradayam,Lord Hanuman is depicted as Acharya who goes in search of Jivatma-Mother Sita, gives her the holy ring containing the Lord’s name (samasrayanam) , consoles the Jivatma , advises the mind which is the controller of senses to surrender to Lord, burns Lanka which is considered as the human body and cause for all troubles , submits the Jivatma’s plea to Paramatma(Sri Rama) and ensures unification of Jivatma with Paramathma.

RAMAAAAAAAAA
FULL RAMAYANAM IN PICTORIAL FORM

It is normal practice in Srivaishnava wedding to present a copy of Sundarakandam to the bridegroom as the mere presence in the house would bring all auspiciousness and the couple would live happily.

Reading Sundarakandam is considered as reading the entire Ramayanam because (1) Hanuman narrates to Sitadevi by singing the praise of Srirama. He describes in detail Lord’s appearance, HIS marriage, happy life in Ayodhya, exile, killing of rakshasas in Dhandakaranyam, Ravana’s foul play, Sugreeva’s friendship, search for Sitadevi. When Sitadevi queried about their friendship, Hanuman submits that because of HER anugraham by throwing HER jewels, Rama trusted them and entered into friendship with Sugriva.

He further informed about Vali’s death, Jatayu’s death, search expedition undertaken by them. For consoling HER, Hanuman assured HER that Rama would kill Ravana, rescue HER, would go back to Ayodhya and rule over the entire world. Thus, all the incidents pertaining to Ramayana are covered in Sundarakandam.

Ramayana at Sri lanka

Sundarakandam is of the shortest tenure but the most important incidents took place. Hanuman is the main character. Starting from his flight from Mahendragiri, his encounters with Mynaaka parvatham , Surasa,Simhika, Lankini, search for Sitadevi, rescuing Sitadevi by singing Lord Rama’s praise when she attempted to commit suicide, updating her with the developments in HER absence, assuring her of Lord Rama’s arrival to rescue HER, handing over the ring given by Lord Rama , accepting Choodamani to be handed over to Srirama as identification, destroying Ravana’s one-fourth army, representing as Rama’s messenger, He advised RAvana to return Mother Sita or face dire consequences and finally burning Lanka with the fire lit on his tail by Ravana, and after ensuring Mother Sita’s safety returns to Lord Rama to convey the good news about Mother Sita’s welfare and Lord Rama embracing Hanuman as a token of gratitude. All these incidents except meeting Lord Rama took place in and around Srilanka and these places have been identified which is mentioned in the later part of the post.

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Likewise, most of the incidents mentioned in Yuddha kaandam except Rama’s return to Ayodhya via Kishkinda, Bharadwaja ashram, Nandigramam took place in Srilanka. Most of the places have been identified and an attempt was made by Divyadampathigal’s grace to visit the Ramayana sites in Srilanka.

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In Srilanka, Buddhism is widely followed and we can find stupas in almost all the places. Likewise there are many temples for Murugan and Shiva and these places are identified with Ramayanam. People of this beautiful country respect all religions. There are few places identified with Ramayana but which does not bear any reference in Valmiki Ramayana. Few incidents not mentioned in Valmiki Ramayanam which is considered as the “moolam-source” are identified with these places. To mention a few, Muneeswaram,Manawari, Koneswaram,Sanjeevini drops which fell at 5 places, Ravana caves , Istreepura are not mentioned in Valmiki Ramayanam.

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The Ramayanam sites in Srilanka can be classified as

Holy places associated with Mother Sita
Weragantota,Sitakotuwa,Ashokavanam,SitaEliya, Divurumpola, Sitawaka.

(All these locations can be found near Central Srilanka and NuwaraEliya-the hill station towards south ).

  • Holy Places visited by Lord Rama from north-west- . Lord started from Thirupullani near Rameswaram on the south-western part of India, built the Ramsethu bridge from Pamban island to Thalaimannar near Mannar located on the north-western part of Srilanka..Other places are : Nilavarai near Jaffna, place near Keerimalai Varadarajar temple, Ramboda,Dunuvila, Rattota (all these are located around Kandy)Divurumpola , Muneeswaram, Manawari. Lord entered Srilanka from the north-western part moved along the west coast and finally reached the central highlands around Kandy .These places are located around Kandy and one has to drive through hilly roads
  • Holy places visited by Hanumanji :- Hanumanji traversed through the country three times. First time,from southern tip of India to central srilanka when he came in search of Sitadevi. He flew from Mahendragiri –the southern tip of India and landed on Suvela parvatham (Ramboda) after encountering Surasa at Nagadeepa(presently this is near the north-western part of Srilanka). Further, came down and killed Simhika-the rakshasi –the place now identified as Thiruketeeswaramnear Anuradhapura and then landed on Suvela parvatham (Ramboda). Encountered Lankini-the guardian rakshasa on the western side and then entered Ravana kingdom
  • (Sigiriya-central part), searched for Sita in Mandodari palace too (now known as Sita Kotuwa), worried and prayed to HER sitting on a rock known as Manikatuther( near Ramboda), spotted AshokaVanam(Hakgala Botanical garden-a hill station in the Central highlands) ,found Jaganmatha in a distressed position under Simshukavruksham (Sita Eliya Sita amman temple), consoled her, conveyed Srirama’s message. Hanumanji conversed with Mother Sita assuming a tiny form. As he wanted to get Sitadevi’s grace , he assumed a giant form in her presence thus convincing her about his capabilities to assume any form and obtain HER cool grace on the huge form. WE can find Hanuman Footprints(huge and small) near Sita Eliya After accepting “choodamani” from her, he destroyed Ashokavanam and challenged the asuras , vanquished one-fourth of the army killing many rakshasas including 80000 kinnaras, 5 army commanders and a vast army, Jambumaali, Akshakumaran-ravana’s son,and finally voluntarily got bound by Indrajit’s brahmastram with the intention to meet and advise Ravana to return Sitadevi. As Srirama’s messenger, he enumerated Srirama’s valour citing Vali’s death and advised him to return Sitadevi else face dire consequences. The furious Ravana ordered his tail to be burnt and accordingly Hanumanji’s tail was wrapped with cotton and dipped in oil and fire was lit to his tail. Due to Sitadevi’s prayers, the fire didn’t burn him. He set the whole Lanka into flames except the Simshuka tree which sheltered Sitadevi and dipped his burning tail at the southern most part of the country known as Ussangoda which was one of the aircraft centres of Ravana. Hanuman ensured that the safety precautions like moots etc. were damaged, hiding places for the Ravana’s army for attacking enemies were destroyed, RAvana’s aircraft centres were destroyed thus curtailing his movement out of Lanka.

jai sree ram
During his second visit to Lanka, Hanumanji was part of Rama’s army. Hanuman carried Rama on his shoulders while crossing the ocean and also during the war. Likewise, Angadha carried Lakshmana on his shoulders while crossing the sea.

Hanumanji played a vital role in the war that ensued between Rama and RAvana. Hanuman traversed through Lanka for the third time when he flew twice to fetch Mruthasanjeevini herbs to revive Lakshmana and Rama. AT that time he must have flown from the north and reached Himalayasenroute stopping at the Himalayan ranges near the present KuluManali in Himachal Pradesh which is slightly located on the north-eastern part of Ayodhya. He was advised by a rishi meditating there that sanjeeviniparvath which lies between Mount Kailash and Mount Rishaba was far away from that place and requested Hanuman to accept his services. As Hanuman was running short of time, he explained the situation to the rishi assuring him to visit again. Hanumanji later appeared as a small swayambhu idol to the rishi meditating on the hill near Kullu. This incident is displayed in the famous Hanuman temple in Kullu. A huge statue of Hanuman greets the visitors.

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Dronagiriparvath-another mountain range in the northern India volunteered to do Rama kainkaryam. Hanuman pleased with the mountain’s gesture blessed it saying that it would get rewarded by the Lord Himself in future.(This hill is the famous Goverdhanagiri parvath located near Vrindavan and Lord Krishna blessed it by placing it on his little finger for seven days and blessed that the Lord and Goverdhan were synonymous. Goverdhanagiri is very close to Lord Krishna’s heart.!! We considered ourselves very fortunate to carry a part of Goverdhan being worshipped as “Giriraj” in our altar to Srilanka. )

While returning to Lanka carrying the Sanjeeviniparvath, as it was getting late, Hanuman flew through Ayodhya, Nandigramam(there is a shrine in Nandigramam for Hanuman known as “Lagey Hanuman” as he got injured by Bharata’s arrow. Due to lack of time, Hanuman didn’t retaliate at Bharata and proceeded southwards ), crossing over Arakonda near Chittoor and reached Lanka as he had to be there before sunrise. (Arakonda located about 3 hours drive from Tirupati has been identified as Sanjeevini drop place in India .)

As per the research done in Srilanka, they have identified 5 mountains as Sanjeevini drops . The medicinal plants which grow in the cool hilly regions of Himalayas grow on these mountains situated in the tropical regions of Srilanka. They are (1) Thalladi near Mannar, (2) Kachiteevu island near Jafffna, (3) Ritigala mountain 84 kms from Anurdadhapura towards Central part of Northern Srilanka on Anuradhapura-Habarana road near Sigiriya, (4) Dolukonda near Kurunegala, (5) Rumasalla in Unawatuna near Galle in the southern most tip of Srilanka. IN Valmiki Ramayana, it is mentioned that when Hanuman flew across the sky carrying Sanjeevini , the injured and dead vanaras were revived due to the medicinal power. Hanumanji flew back to replace the Sanjeevini parvath at the same place in Himalayas. So, we can assess that Hanumanji flew to and fro through Lanka atleast 3 times.

With the blessings of Asmath Acharyar and Elders we could have darshan of all the holy places during 2010 which is briefed as SriRama Anu yatra travelogue

Part (1)
https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2011/01/26/piligrim-diary-to-sri-rama-holy-abodes/

Part (2)
https://kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/sri-rama-anu-yatirai-part-2/

The inert desire of visiting the holy places in Srilanka fructified this August 2018 After obtaining Asmathacharyar’s blessings ,and with the grace of our Kula deivam-KazhiyurAdikesava Perumal and Lord Srinivasa, we undertook this yatra.

A detailed plan was chalked out which would normally take 14 days. But due to official constraints, we had to cut short the trip to 9 days .

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Initially, we had decided to book the accommodation on our own and arrange for transportation by contacting service providers in Srilanka . But the hanuman logo of Ramayan Tours attracted us and we decided to go with them for our tour. Later, during our visit, we learnt that all tour operators in Srilanka have to get themselves registered with the government by which they can get concessional rates in hotel accommodation. If we book through online hotel accommodation sites like booking.com/agoda etc., the rates quoted by them are higher. If we go directly , we are considered as “foreigners” and the rates are different. Also, few bookings online were cancelled by the hoteliers citing some reason. So, it is better to plan through reliable tour operators like “Ramayana Tours” for a hassle-free trip. They had offerd us 10 seater A/c Luxury model High end vehicle for our trip, Family A/c room at all places, Jain breakfast and dinner. Coffee addicts may have to make their own arrangements as we don’t get south Indian coffee there especially in the southern and central parts. Cost of living is on the higher side compared to us. You get fresh vegetables,fresh fruits and curd everywhere.

Our customized itinerary covering Ramayana places on daily basis was shared with M/s Ramayan Tours ,srilanka (also known as Flywing Tours) who ensured that we have a comfortable trip. Mr.Kingsly-the chairman of the company with whom we were negotiating assured us excellent service and stood by his word. In Srilanka, there is a restriction on speed limit and night driving–the vehicles cannot exceed 50 KMPH . In our case, the travel agent risked the two restrictions. Usually the guide and chauffeur don’t provide service after 7 P.M. So, he deputed his son who is the Managing Director of 3 travel companies to guide us and also arranged for a young reliable person who drove beyond the stipulated time. We used to travel for about 10-12 hours daily at 80-100 KMPH and usually reach the hotel for night stay after 9 p.m. only. WE visited two sanjeevini drops but could not view Ramasethu due to government restrictions .

After taking leave of our Aathu Perumal, myself along with my wife and 2 daughters carrying our yatradieties-(Sita Lakshmana hanumathsametha Sri Ramachandran, laddugopal, giriraj, srimurthis, dwarakasalagramam, swamyramanujar and our acharyars pic ) left Thiruvengadam and took the night flight to Colombo via Chennai on 10th august ,2018 reached Colombo at 3 A.M.on 11 th August, 2018. The flight was delayed by an hour . WE were warmly welcomed by Mr.Kingsly and his son,Mr.Ishaara whose Office address and phone numbers are mentioned for devotees to take up similar yatra .

Drove us to Hotel Crown Plaza in Katunayake which is about 5 kms from the airport and retired for the night.

In this article, a brief account about the location ,actual distance etc. is given for quick reference. WE started from west (Colombo) and proceeded down south, moved towards central srilanka, north-east, north and ended along the west coast.

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WE traveled for about 2300 kms in 8 days but didn’t get strained at all due to the smooth drive on the lovely well maintained roads(no bumps/speed breakers) surrounding greenery was a feast to the eyes, the weather was cool with average max.temperature around 22 degrees , no noise pollution. The places around Kandy are on the hilly region and the driving time would be more compared to other places. The travel operator provided a brand new Nissan High Roof A/c vehicle .

The details and importance of the above holy places would be shared soon in the coming blog posts

Adiyen Ramanuja dasan

JAI SITA RAM

“Aho Veeryam ….Aho Souryam AhoBahu parakramah…… Naarasimham Param Daivam Ahobilam Aho Balam


It was during this time the great King Prataapa Rudrudu was ruling Andhra pradesh. Once while returning from Srisailam after his worship to Paramasivan , Prataparudra stopped and camped at Ahobilam .

kazhiyur varadan's blog

 The most sacred shrine of Lord Narasimhar  at Ahobilam is located in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh in the hills of the eastern ghat. 

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The temple consists of nine shrines to Lord Narisimha located around a 5 KM circle. The shtala Purana states that  PakshiRajar Garuda prayed  for a vision of Lord Narisimha .  Garuda commended his penance near to Srisaila Kshetra .

After long years of penance  Lord manifested Himself in the cave of a mountain. 

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Few miles to the north east of the holy mountains where Garuda was performing penance  a vision of HIS manifestation was granted to Garuda………………..

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who  after obtaining as sign of  location of the mountain cave gladly traveled to the holy spot and was blessed to be graced by Satswaroopa , Mahapurusha , Lord Jwala Narasimhar not easy accessible to common people those days

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Garuda worshipped the Lord and glorified LORD as Ahobilam  is…

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