Basic information about the temple
|Moolavar:||Ramar Padam||Ambal / Thayar:||–|
|Timing:||to & to||Parikaram:|
|Sung by:||Temple set:|
|City / town:||Idayanvayal||District:||Pudukkottai|
|Maps from (click):||Current location||Karaikudi (54 km)||Ramanathapuram (74 km)|
|Pudukkottai (83 km)||Thanjavur (130 km)|
Sthala puranam and temple information
This temple is located just off the main road from Theerthandathanam towards Thondi, on the east (ie, the side of the beach), and is signposted on the road (but only from this direction). This place is connected to the Ramayanam.
In all of Tamil Nadu, there are three places called Ramar Padam, where the footprints of Rama are said to be preserved. From north to south, these are (1) near Vedaranyam very close to Kodiakkarai, (2) this place near Theerthandathanam, and (3) at Rameswaram, on a hillock that is reckoned as the Gandamadhana hill.
The shrine of Ramar Padam itself is a single-mandapam structure with an outer perimeter wall. The entrance to the mandapam is through a break in the outer wall, which serves as the entrance.
Outside the entrance is a fairly large vigraham of Garuda, and the entrance itself has a decorative gopuram-like structure over it. Inside is the mandapam in which is a pedestal with the carved image of Rama’s feet. Between the outer wall and the inner mandapam is a gap that serves as the circumambulatory passage. On either side are two short pillars, and a human figure in prayer is engraved on each of them.
This area is replete with stories connected to the Ramayanam. The nearby village of Teerthandathanam is where Rama stopped for water, and the sthala puranam there also involves a reference to the nearby Tiruppunavasal Vriddhapureeswarar temple. Similarly, further south on the coastline are Thondi, followed by Uppur and Devipattinam, both of which are also connected with Rama’s journey to Rameswaram on His way to Lanka.
A few meters away from this Ramar Padam shrine, is a structure which lies in a dilapidated state today. The locals initially informed us that it was a mutt (matham) in the past, but the architectural evidence indicates it is was more likely to have been a temple (but an unusual one at that; read below).
This temple has some subordinate shrines as well, including an east-facing Vinayakar shrine (complete with its own bali peetham and mooshikam), and a west-facing shrine that houses what might be a flat Lingam, or a bali peetham.
The main structure here has a frontage of thatched roof that is crumbling, resting on wooden pillars – this part of the structure is clearly of more recent origin. The rest is a square mandapam-like structure, with four pillars that bear classic medieval Chola design, and a room – presumably a garbhagriham, given that above the entrance is a toranam on which the bas relief of Gajalakshmi is engraved.
Let’s now look at the significant difference in view amongst experts on the subject. The presence of what clearly seems to be a Jain temple, has led some to believe that this shrine that is called Ramar Padam, is actually a shrine for a Jain Teerthankara, and so the set of monuments here are all part of what used to be a Jain temple complex.
The other view is the Ramar Padam view (though this does not answer the question of why there should be a Jain temple, or at least a Hindu temple whose design is highly out of sync with typical Hindu temple architecture). This is supported by the abundance of Rama and Ramayanam related stories in this region.
For now, the place is sign-posted as Ramar Padam, and is usually recognised as such, so we will leave it at that!