Tiruvannamalai, Ramanashramam, Flora – 4

There are some trees and flowers that are as ancient as time, and one of them that is associated squarely with the Indian subcontinent is the ‘Indian Laburnum’, also known as the Golden Shower tree. It is the state flower of Kerala, and the national flower of Thailand. Tamils, one and all, would know it by the name that has remained with them since thousands of years – konRai…

Reference to konRai can be found right from ancient sangam literature. In the Tamizh classic, silappadikaaram, Lord Krishna is described as playing a flute made of the pod of konRai…

But konRai is best known in Tamizh lore as the flower that adorns Lord Siva. And what better place for a konRai tree to blossom, than at the feet of Shiva, foothills of Tiruvannamalai… Here it is.. A konRai tree at Ramanashramam… This is the month of May, the season when the tree flowers…



Tevaaram songs of Tamizh saints have countless references to the bright konRai flowers decorating the lightning like locks of siva…

Arunachala Himself has been sung by Appar (Tirunaavukkarasar) and Sundarar, as the konRai adorned lord.

Here are a couple of those songs, along with free translations that I have attempted …

The first song is by Appar.

பண்டனை வென்ற வின்சொற் பாவையோர் பங்க நீல
கண்டனே கார்கொள் கொன்றைக் கடவுளே கமல பாதா
அண்டனே யமரர் கோவே யணியணா மலை யுளானே
தொண்டனே னுன்னை யல்லாற் சொல்லுமா சொல்லி லேனே

O Shiva
Who is part
of the maid
with voice
to the melody of song!

O Blue throated Lord,
adorned with Konrai
the monsoon flower!

O Lord
Of Lotus feet
O Lord of all deities,
Who abides
In beautiful Annamalai!

How can I,
Your servitor,
Speak a word else
Other than about your glory?


Next is a song by Sundarar

தேனைக் காவல் கொண்டு விண்ட
         கொன்றைச் செழுந்தாராய்
வானைக் காவல் கொண்டு நின்றார்
         அறியா நெறியானே
ஆனைக் காவில் அரனே பரனே
         அண்ணா மலையானே
ஊனைக் காவல் கைவிட் டுன்னை
         உகப்பார் உணர்வாரே 

Adorned with strings of Konrai
         that carefully guards honey within;
You, who can not be known,
         even by celestials who guard heaven;
O Subduer Supreme
         guarded by the elephant at Anaikkaa
O Being of Annamalai!

Those who drop their guard 
         of “I”-body-notion-attachment
And seek your refuge,
         They, indeed,
Become Aware (Realize the Supreme).


So, while Arunachala is the Subduer-supreme, the vanquisher of the disease of death, his flower konRai is called ‘aragvadha’, which, in Sanskrit means  “killer of physical disease”. It has all kinds of applications in Ayurveda.

Let us conclude this post with the invocatory verse of the Tamil classic ‘konRai vEntan’, the classic composed by Avvaiyar, the wise old lady of Tamizh…

கொன்றை வேந்தன் செல்வன் அடியினை
என்றும் ஏத்தித் தொழுவோம் யாமே

Let us ever glorify and offer worship to the feet of the beloved konRai King, Siva!

              ** to be contd **


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4 Responses to “Tiruvannamalai, Ramanashramam, Flora – 4”

  1. Srinivasa Says:

    This is a beautiful post. Nice verses, great translation. Can you please write some on the konRai flowers before you move on to other flora of Ramanasramam?

  2. Srinivasa Says:

    I meant ‘Can you please write some more on the konRai flowers before you move on to other flora of Ramanasramam?’.

  3. Ravi Chandramowly Says:

    very beautiful – don’t know about ayurvedic applications- suffice that it will rid one of the more difficult disease of I – body association. clearly mother of all medicines. am now looking for konrai all over here in ca.


  4. Rajagoapala Sarma S Says:

    Thevaram also mentions as below:

    Ponnar meniyane Puli Tholai Araikisaithu Minnar sen Chaide mel kondrai aninthavne,

    which means

    With a body shining like glittering Gold, and adorning a dress below the waist made of Tiger skin and above all in the red coloured uncombed hair is the flower Kondrai.

    This is a simple description of Lord Siva who is called PITHAN (insane fellow)

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