Yoga Rama

Happy Rama Navami!

Today, let us visit a unique temple of Sri Rama, the Yoga Ramaswami temple at Nedungunam.

There is an old road-route from Tiruvannamalai to Chennai, that goes via Chetpet and Vandawasi. [Chetpet is the anglicized version of Chethuppattu, and is the “C” in the name of Sir C.P. Ramaswami Iyer, the great lawyer, administrator, politician].  Coming from Tiruvannamalai, in the Arani route, Chetpet is a little more than hour’s drive. Just past Chetpet, rises a lovely hill, Deerghachalam, a hill with gradual slopes leading to a sharp beak-like peak.

The great Rshi Shuka, son of Vyasa, is said to have been in Deerghachala, absorbed in spiritual contemplation.

Near the Deerghachalam hill is the village of Nedungunam. As you drive down the highway, on the left side, you notice a massive temple tower….

Here it is…


This is the temple of Yoga Ramaswami, perhaps the largest temple of Sri Rama in Tiruvannamalai region.

As per the temple purana, when Lord Rama was returning in Pushpaka Vimana after conquest of Lanka and was passing above this place, he was drawn by the Bhakti of Shuka, who was in meditation at Deerghachala. Rama then came down here, and gave Darshan to Shuka.

So it is that a temple of Lord Rama has been constructed here. The current temple superstructure is said to have been made in the times of Krishna Deva Raya.

Stepping into the temple, one sees the inner tower, also massive, right behind the elegant temple flag-staff.


Here is a view of the temple courtyard…


When we step into the sanctum-sanctorum, we come face-to-face with the unique deity of the temple… Lord Rama, absorbed in Yoga Samadhi… Lord Rama is without his usual bow and arrows. He is seated in Yogasana, absorbed in Self-Abidance, his right hand displaying chinmudra, the symbol of Self-Knowledge. By his side are Sita and Lakshmana.

The scene brings to mind a dhyana shloka from Ramarahasya Upanishad:

कालाभोधरकान्तिकान्तमनिशं विरासनाध्यसितं
मुद्रां ज्ञानमयीं दधानमपरं हस्तांबुजं जानुनि
सीतां पार्श्वगतां सरोरुहकरां विद्युन्निभां राघवं
पश्यन्तं मुकुटाङ्गदादिविविधाकल्पोज्वलाङ्गं भजे

I worship Sri Rama,
Resplendent, Supreme,
Sitting in Veerasana,
Showing Jnana Mudra in one hand,
The other hand resting on his thigh,
With Sita, coming near,
Shining like lightning,
Lotus in hand,
With her eyes on Rama!

Here is an illustration from the temple papers…

As one steps near the sanctum and peers in, one sees Hanuman, almost hidden from view. He sits with a scroll in his hand, and is in the process of getting clarifications from Sri Rama on abstruse matters of spiritual experience.

And that is the very setting in Muktikopanishad…

स्वरूपध्यान निरतं समाधिविरमे हरिं
भक्त्या शुश्रूषया रामं स्तुवन्पप्रच्छ मारुतिः
राम त्वं परमात्मासि सच्चिदानन्द विग्रहः
इदानीं त्वां रघुश्रेष्ट प्रणमामि मुहुर्मुहुः
त्वद्रूपं ज्ञातुमिच्छामि तत्त्वतो राम मुक्तये
अनायासेन येनाहं मुच्यते भवबन्धनात्
कृपया वद मे राम येन मुक्तो भवाम्यहम्

At the break of Samaadhi of Rama
who was delighting in contemplation of His own Self
With great devotion, Hanuman, posed questions to Rama;

“O Rama, you are Supreme-Self,
You are the person of Reality-Consciousness-Bliss,
I bow to you again and again,
I would like to know your reality, your true nature,
so that, without difficulty,  I may be freed from bondage of Creation!
Kindly speak to me O Rama, so that I may be liberated!”….

So proceeds the Upanishad…


Happy Ramanavami once again!


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16 Responses to “Yoga Rama”

  1. Srinivasa Says:

    Nice pictures. Did you go there recently?

    • gkamesh Says:

      Yes. After seeing the Yoga Ramaswami temple at Padavedu, I came to know of the Nedungunam temple. I went there twice this year. Fabulous temple. No crowds. Should go up the deerghachala hill sometime too.

      • Raj Kuppusami Says:

        Please join the crowd on Kanum Pongal (third day of the Pongal festival – 16th Jan or 17th Jan in leap years) to climb up the hill. Lots of people from Nedungunam and sorrounding villages scale the hill on this day. Few people climb on KArthigai Deepam day to lit a deepam. There is a cool water sunai on top of the hill which you might like and a Murugar temple halfway thru.

      • gkamesh Says:

        Thanks Raj for all the info.

        The Dinamalar link that you have given refers to the village as Nedunkunram. Which is perhaps the original name that has now become colloquialized as Nedungunam. (Nedunkunram is the Tamil equivalent of Deeghachalam)


  2. NR Says:

    Thanx Kammo!

  3. Shival Says:

    Thank you so much, Kameshji for this Gem post. Very Happy Ram Navami to you and your family.

  4. Padmini Says:

    Another idyllic setting. Thanks for showing me wonderful sites I probably might never see.

    Jai Sri Ram.

    – Padmini

    PS: You might enjoy listening to one of my favourites: Jagadapi Rama sung by Mysore Raja Iyengar. Your previous post on MKT for some reason had reminded me of him.

  5. Ashu Says:

    Beautiful. I did not know abt this Ram rahasya upanishad. विरासनाध्यसितं reminds me of ram raksha by budha-kaushik, there they picture rama as, “baddh padmaasanastham” . Quite a yogi, Shri Ramchandra.


  6. GLN Murthy Says:

    Dear sir, thank u for the greetings with nice photos of Rama Temple.The first photo attracted me and thought that there is a connection between parrot and this hill.Whwn I started reading I am surprised to see ur first sentence wherein u have rightly said that the great sage SUKA was here contemplating.Then I looked up at the photo again,yes it looks like great AFRICAN Parrot.Thanks for ur translations fo sanskrit verses,as well.I will try to visit this temple when during my next visit to Thiruvannamalai-Murthy

  7. krajendiran Says:

    Thank you.Very nice pictures. If you are closer to Nedungunam (which is 25 kms from Vandavasi 50 kms from Mel Marauvathur, 30 Kms from Arni, 25 kms from Gingee, 30 kms from Polur, 50 kms from Thiruvannamalai), visit now. Yearly Bramothsam started on Sri Rama Navami and grand Ratham is on 7th day Monday 29/03/10 day time. Swami goes on veethi ula on different vaganam every other nights.
    Day-1 to Day-8 Swami veethi ula is on Raja Veethis (East, South, West and Raja Strees) and on day-9 and Day-10 veethi ula are on Maada veethi (East and West Mada streets adjoining the temple. Legend is that Swami change Raja Veethi route to Mada Vethi route as he was robbed on day-8.
    Day-1: Amsa
    Day-2: Simha
    Day-3: Hanuman (Siriya Thiruvadi)
    Day-4: Naga
    Day-5: Thiru Kalyanam in the evening followed by veethi ula on Karuda (Priya Thiruvadi)
    Day-6: Gajendra, White Elephant
    Day-7: Grand Ratham (day time)
    Day-8: Horse (Also Sri Rama is robbed while he goes on Veethi ula)
    Day-9: Low-key veethi ula during the day due to the previous night event.
    Day-10: Indra Vimanam or Puspa pallkku – This is very grand.

    Also see the Dinamalar web site for more details and pictures.

  8. krajendiran Says:

    Please see this Blog for more pictures and details….

  9. Srinivasa Says:

    Rajendiran, This is wonderful information. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to visit the temple duriing one of my Chennai trips. Thanks. Srini

  10. krajendiran Says:


    You are right. The Village is known as Nedunkunram; The name is perhaps colloquilised by English rulers during colonial period.

  11. Srinivasa Says:

    Per a former professor of Tamil, it’s an autonomous process of sound change in Tamil which is responsible. Please check out:

    I reproduce the relevant paragraph: ஆர்க்காட்டு நாட்டில் குன்றம் என்பது குணம் என மருவி வழங்கும். நெற்குன்றம், நெடுங்குன்றம், பூங்குன்றம் என்னும் பெயர்கள் முறையே நெற்குணம், நெடுங் குணம், பூங்குணம் என மருவி உள்ளன.

    He says that in Arcot, ‘kunram’ gets changed to ‘kunam’. Nerkunram, Nedunkunram and Poonkunram get changed to Nerkunam, Nedunkunam and Poongunam respectively.

    Hope this helps.

  12. rajagopal sukumar Says:

    Nice post Kamesh. Looks like an unique temple of Rama. I have never seen Rama without bows/arrows. The discussion on Nedunganam and Nedunkunram is very interesting.

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