Ayodhya is one of the seven Mokshapuris. There is no doubt that
the incarnation of Dasaratha’s son Sri Rama took place at Ayodhya.
Sri Rama had traversed all the way from Ayodhya up to Sri Lanka.
We are happy to learn that Dr. Sitharam Gurumurthi, after doing
certain amount of research regarding the route taken by Sri Rama
from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka on the basis of the names of the places,
available historical evidence and the events which are reported to
have taken place, has brought out the book Ramayana Temples along
with a number of photographs. The story of Sri Rama is like an
ocean. As it is not possible to fathom all the nature and nuances of
the ocean, it is equally not possible to bring out the ocean of
Ramayana in full. We give our blessings to the continued success of
The Ramayana is not history or biography. It is a part of
Hindu mythology. We cannot understand Greek life and
Greek civilisation without knowing all about Zeus, Apollo,
Hercules, Venus, Hector, Priam, Achilles, Ulysses and
others. So also one cannot understand Hindu dharma
unless one knows Rama and Seeta, Bharata, Lakshmana,
Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Hanuman. Mythology cannot
be dispensed with. Philosophy alone or rituals alone or
mythology alone cannot be sufficient. These are the three
stands of all ancient religions. The attitude towards things
spiritual which belongs to a particular people cannot be
grasped or preserved or conveyed unless we have all these
three. Even an iconoclast like Bernard Shaw has
acknowledged the essentiality of myths.
The inspiration to write this book came when, in the early eighties, I served as the
Collector of the composite Ramanathapuram district in Tamilnadu comprising the
present day districts of Virudhunagar, Sivagangai and Ramanathapuram. I was struck
by noticing that several ancient temples and monuments associated with Ramayana
are located in various parts of the present day districts of Ramanathapuram and
Sivagangai. When I once went to Devipattinam, a small town near Ramanathapuram
for selecting a site for a noon meal centre, I had the opportunity of visiting
Navapashanam where the Navagrahaas well within the sea waters had been worshipped
by Rama before starting constructing a bridge across the sea to Sri Lanka. Further
research by way of enquiries and some reading made me realize that there are several
ancient temples spread over the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu (other districts) and Uttar Pradesh as well as the countries of
Nepal and Sri Lanka and the locations of these temples roughly correspond to the
route which possibly could have been taken by Rama from Ayodhya to Lanka. The
very existence of these temples in highly remote areas like Bhadrachalam in Andhra
Pradesh which are not easily accessible even today and the age of these temples bear
eloquent testimony to the fact that the story of Rama could not have been a myth and
that it should have some historical basis.
While a great deal of research has gone into this subject and there are several theories
about the location of various places mentioned in Ramayana, my intention is not to
either confirm or contradict any of these theories. While the great poet Kalidasa
refers to several places while describing the return journey of Rama from Sri Lanka
to Ayodhya in his Raghu Vamsam as if he had actually seen them, in a well-researched
book Ramayana and Lanka published in 1940, Mr. Paramasiva Iyer held that Ceylon
(Sri Lanka) could not have possibly been the Lanka of the Ramayana and he preferred
locating Lanka on the Indrana hill situated fifteen miles north of Jabalpore in Madhya
Pradesh. In his view, "Ceylon was faked into Lanka and Adam’s bridge into Nalasethu
during the period (1000-1100) of unquestioned Chola supremacy in South India.
As the book was published in 1940 and copies of the book are not easily available, I
have added the Preface to Ramayana and Lanka as Appendix.
This book is a humble effort on my part to present under one roof, details of temples
and. places associated with Ramayana starting from Ayodhya in the state of Uttar Pradesh
to Sri Lanka in order to appreciate the fact that notwithstanding the mythological and
theological associations with the hero of the epic, Ramayana, Rama should have been
a real life character who led an exemplary life and whom the posterity has tried to
preserve, protect and immortalize by building temples in the route traversed by him
from one end of the sub-continent to the other.
In all humility, I would like to point out that this is no original piece of work on my
part but just a collection of details of various temples spread across the length and
breadth of India as well as a few neighbouring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka. It
would not have been possible to complete the book without the active cooperation of
several individuals and institutions. The names of all those individuals and institutions
who have assisted me and made completion of this book possible have been given in
Appendix III. I am highly grateful to the most respected Jagatguru Shri Jayendra
Saraswathi Sankaracharya Swamigal and Jagatguru Shri Vijayendra Saraswathi
Sankaracharya Swamigal of Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam and His Excellency Mr. R.
Venkataraman, former President of India for their advice and guidance in this endeavour.
I have also drawn guidance from the research of Professor G.B. Kanuga on a related
subject as detailed in his book, Immortal Love of RAMA.
In writing this book, it has not been my objective to establish that Rama did visit all
the locations mentioned in the following pages as I have neither undertaken the type
of research by the late Paramasiva Iyer nor was ever my intention to do so. At best, this
book could be expected to serve as source material for further research in this area. In
writing this book, I have tried to give details of locations of the temples to help those
interested in visiting them. Though I have tried to give the photographs of the temples,
it has not been possible to secure the photos for several of them. It is also likely that I
might have missed several of the temples associated with Ramayana. | request the
readers to kindly write to me about such omissions. Similarly, if some of the readers
could help me with photographs of some of those temples about which only mention
has been made, I would only be too happy to incorporate all those in a subsequent
edition. The readers may appreciate the fact that it has taken me more than nineteen
years to complete this book.
I am highly grateful to Dr. J Jayalalithaa, Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
for all the encouragement and support for this project and giving me permission under
the All India Services Conduct Rules to publish the book.
I wish to express my profound sense of gratitude to Shri Chandrasekarendra Saraswathi
Viswa Maha Vidyalaya (Deemed University), Enathur, Kancheepuram District for
sponsoring this book.
I would like to thank Shri PSanthadurai, Shrimathi V.Mala and Shrimathi N.Prabavathi,
who have been of great help in sifting the material and bringing out this book in its
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