Bhaskararajapuram has a ShakthiPeetam with Meru as the main focus of worship.On special occasions such as AkhandaLalithaSahasranamaParayanam,a huge congregation descends on the village.The placid village acquires a new personality with the series of festivities.
On the 3rd of September,theKothandaramaswamy temple also in this village had its Kumbhabhisekam after a lapse of 20 years.This is a small temple.The main deity is Lord Rama with Sita and Lakshmana in Panchalohaand this was a gift from the Maharaja of Mysore to Sri Venkanna,the ancestor of the leading mirasdar family of the village Sri G.SrinivasaIyer.A senior family member Mrs.Saraswathi who Is well into her nineties,narrated the legend of the installation of Lord Rama.The family ancestor Sri Venkanna served as the Diwan of the Mysore Maharaja.He decided to return to his home base at Bhaskararajapuram and at the time of his departure was gifted the idol of Lord Rama.The image was carried in a Palanquin and was installed in a little garden.Lord Rama is said to have appeared in a dream and asked Venkanna why he had been abandoned in the forest.Contrite Venkanna immediately got the present temple constructed nearly 300 years ago,The childless Venkanna was subsequently blessed with a child and his family established roots in the village and spread like a banyan tree far and wide.
The Kumbhabhisekam rites were performed by Vaishnava priests according to the VaikhanasaAgama,The entire village was reverberating with Vedic chants creating an out of the world atmosphere.
Every time a PoornaAhuthi was performed,bursting of crackers sent out a call to the residents of surrounding villages to join the poojas.What was very significant was the wholehearted participation of all sections of the population in the village and surrounding villages as well.Sumptuous food was served to all .
My next visit was to Govindapuram,a small village now famous for its PandarinathTemple,itsgoshala,old people’s home and last but not the least the Akhanda Rama nama Mandapam.The temple was truly amazing, located in the farmlands on the Kaveri delta.Its gopuram built in the North Indian shikara style stood out, tall and graceful.Inside the sprawling complex the elevated temple had to be reached after a climb of about 50 steps all well spread out.Pandarinath and Rukmayi in black marble beckon you with a smile.Thegoshala cares for nearly 300 to 400 cows in three colours,black,white and brown.A team of North Indian volunteers and workers take care of the temple,goshala and all its annexes.National integration comes through these acts of service.TheAkhanadaRamanamamandapam was constructed at the spot where Swami Bodhendral heard the Ramanama being recited from under the ground.Namasankeertanam as the easiest and the best form of worship finds expression in this place.
I returned to Chennai with happy memories and the trip gave me opportunities to renew my ties with my mother’s family.One cannot but help comparing our villages of Tamilnadu with Kalpathy,a village in Palghat which has been declared a heritage site.Many people who have lived in other parts of India and abroad return home and actively promote cultural and social activities in Kalpathy. Good infrastructure and a conducive atmosphere encourage such returnees.The Kalpathy Car festival draws thousands of people from all over the world and the event is much acclaimed.It does a great deal for the pride of the residents who vie with one another to ensure the continuity of traditions andthus the tourist potential of Kalpathyis fully exploited.We, in Tamilnadu, must also wake up to the potential of our little diamonds like Bhaskararajapuram and Govindapuram and help preserve our heritage and protect our villages which are the repository of our culture and tradition.
Dr Indira Ramanathan
AN APPEAL:TheKothandaramaswamy temple in Bhaskararajapuram stands without a gopuram due to paucity of funds.The residents and other devotees appeal to all for contributions to provide a gopuram for the temple.Benefactors may contact Sri S.KalyanaramaIyer,Treasurer,BhaskararajapuramAsthikaSamajam No.295,Agraharam,Bhaskararajapuram,Thiruvalangadu Post,Pin-609810.Mobile No.7598174863