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
The inert desire of visiting the holy places in Srilanka fructified this August 2018. Our Thirumaligai deities accompanied us all through ..
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 ..
The Introduction is appended in the below URL
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.
Lord Srirama along with Sitadevi and Lakshmana were living in the paransaala (hermitage) constructed by Lakshmana in Panchavati near Nasik.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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”
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.
We were fortunate to get SITA GOOLI we visited Manikatuther.
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 .
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!!
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.
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.
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.
Presently, Hakgala Botanical Gardens in Nuwara Eliya is identified as Ashoka Vanam.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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 .
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.
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 .
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.
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.
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