Spreading Swamy Ramanuja’s glory in the Nilgiri Hills en route to Melkote
It is prevalent that Swami Ramanuja left for ThiruNarayanaPuram from Srirangam and resurrected the “Gnana Mandapam”. “Aarayirapadi Paneerrayapadi Guru Parampara Prabhavam” mentions that Swami Ramanuja went through “Paalai Malai (Nilgiri Hill Range)” and Kollegal to reach ThiruNarayanaPuram from Srirangam.
Kari Varadan Kainkarya Sabha, Srirangam, with the help of learned scholars, volunteers and a legend prevailing in “Thirukkannamboor Kshetram (Kanakampalayam)”, has been working on spreading the glory of Swami Ramanuja in the Nilgiri Hills for the first time. Based on this work, it has been established that Swami Ramanuja passed through Kanakampalayam and “Ekkarai Malai (Ramanujar Medu)” adjoining it.
Sri Kari Varadaraja Perumal, KanakamPalayam
Kanakampalayam is the abode of Sri Kari Varadaraja Perumal and Sri Perundevi Thayar. Kanakampalayam is at the foothills of Nilgiri hills and the temple has a history of 400+ years at the present spot. The temple was patronized by Mysore Maharaja who had established an Agrahara comprising 100 families. It was washed away by flash floods about 250 years ago. The 34th Jeer of SriRanga Narayana Jeer Madam, Srirangam hailed from the Kanakampalayam Komandur family (One of the 74 Simhasanadhipadhis established by Swami Ramanuja). During Vaikuntha Ekadesi and Thiru Karthikai, the temple attracts large number of visitors from the surrounding areas. The village is close to “Mount Ekkarai (Ramanujar Medu)” treaded by Bhagavad Ramanuja en route from Srirangam to ThiruNarayanaPuram little over 900 years ago.
According to Guru Parampara, Swami Ramanuja was offered “Thaen” (honey) and “Thinai Maavu” by natives of Paali Hills as Swami and his disciples had travelled for 6 days from Srirangam without food. During the 6th day of Avathara Utsavam at Srirangam, Swami Ramanuja is offered Thaen and Thinai Maavu. Also, during the 6th day of Avathara Utsavam at Sri Perumbudhur, Swami Ramanuja is adorned in “Whites”. The utsavams are a rememberance of Swami’s travel to Melkote and Swami Kuratazhwan’s sacrifice.
Sri Perundevi Thayar
Path Taken By Swami Ramanuja To Reach ThiruNarayanaPuram From Srirangam
Recently (April 2012), an expedition was carried out by Sri Vaishnava volunteers dedicated to the cause of Emberumanar Darisanam to the top of Mount Ekkarai (Ramanujar Medu). A summary of the experience by members of the expedition team is below:
“With only five more years to go for his thousandth appearance day celebrations, efforts are being undertaken to spread the message of the great Acharya, whose grace and association is required for the attainment of the Lord, as endorsed by the doctrine of the Vedas and Vedanta, and the divine expressions of the Azhwars.
Bhagavad Ramanuja passed through the Niligiri Hills en route to Melkote, also known as Thirunarayanapuram. This land of forests, mountains, and wild elephants is home to an abode of Lord Varadaraja, who goes by the name of Kari Varadan. The temple of Kari Varadan is situated in a small village called Kanakkampalayam (previously known as Thirukkannamboor), a peripheral settlement along the forest route treaded by Swami Ramanuja a thousand years ago. Inside the forest that borders this village, atop a 1440 meter high peak called Mount Ekkarai, there stands another Varadaraja Perumal, facing the direction that Ramanuja followed through the forests and into the land of the Vijayanagar Kings.
According to a tradition dating back to antiquity, the locals of the area, numbering in thousands, hike up the dangerous mountain route to pay their respects to the forest god, every year during Chittirai Pournami, falling in late April or early May. They recount hazy remembrances, passed down by their forbears, of a great being who had once passed through these lands”.
Sri Varadaraja Perumal (VethantaChalapati) at Ekkarai Malai
Sri Vaishnavas all over are preparing to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of Swami’s Thiru Avatharam. It is an earnest desire of Kari Varadan Kainkarya Sabha that Ramanuja Sambandhis visit Ramanujar Medu and KanakamPalayam to seek the blessings of “Ekkarai Perumal” (VethantaChalapati) and “Kari Varadar Perumal”.
At present, there is no day-to-day activities performed for Varadaraja Perumal at Ekkarai Malai (Ramanujar Medu). Certain activities are planned to spread the awareness of Swami Ramanuja in the region, particularly among the locals. If you would like to be associated with this pioneering effort, we request you to visit theTemple ofLord Kari Varadan in Kanakkampalayam, and experience the forest land which was graced by Swami Ramanuja.
The current activities that are being carried out in the region include:
- Installation of an icon of Swami Ramanuja alongside the icon of Lord Varadaraja atopMountEkkarai.
- Installation of a speaker system and amplifier at Kanakampalayam Kari Vardar Temple in order to facilitate the playing of devotional songs, etc, for the benefit of the local people. (Now Complete)
- Erecting permanent signposts along the route with information regarding the passage of Swami Ramanuja through the area.(Temporary signposts have already been provided)
- Printing and distribution of pamphlets containing lucid accounts of Swami Ramanuja’s life, in the Tamil dialect that is peculiar to the region. (First set of pamphlets have been distributed)
- Identifying the complete route from Kankkampalayam through the forests of Sathyamangalam towards Kollegal, the next point in Swami Ramanuja’s route to Melkote.
Sri V. Narasimhan, S/o Late Sri. U. Ve. R. Varadaraja Iyengar (first post graduate from Kanakampalayam, Retd. Under Seceratary to Govt. of India), is a descendant of the Komandur lineage of illustrious Sri Vaishnavas who hail from the region. Today, the sole representative of Sat-Sampradaya in the region, he has been single-handedly managing day-to-day activities of theKariVaradarajarTempleat Kanakampalayam.
A request is put forward to willing Sri Vaishnavas to contribute their mite to support the activities of spreading awareness of Swami Ramanuja in this area.
Kanaka Vimanam of Kari VaradarTempleat KanakamPalayam
The following are some more photographs of the temple and the deities…
Sri V. Narasimhan
G.F.G Vignesh Nivedha, 92/100,Gandhi Road,
Srirangam, Trichy – 620006.
Mobile: +91-94449-11440 / +91-98452-42532
email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Beneficiary Name: Kari Varadan Kainkarya Sabha
Bank Name: Canara Bank
Account #: 2640101003897
Account Type: Savings
Branch Name: SAVINGS BRANCH,SRIRANGAM
IFSC Code: CNRB0002640
- “Aarayirapadi Paneerrayapadi Guru Parampara Prabhavam”, Page 362 – 363, published in 1928, by Poo Magal Vilasam Achakam, Chennai.
- “The path trekked by Srimad Ramanuja in whites, 900 years ago travelling from Srirangam to Mysore State”, published in 2011, by Kari Varadan Kainkarya Sabha, Srirangam.
- “Ramanujar 1000, Volume 2”, Page 560 – 561, 727, published in 2012, by Sri Vaishnava Sri, Srirangam.
Courtesy: Sri V. R. Sathyanarayanan