Madurantakam is a small town in Tamilnadu which has one of the oldest temples dedicated to Lord Sri Rama constructed by the Chola kings. There is also a huge lake or tank measuring 13 square miles and 21 feet deep also built by the Chola kings. From 1795-1799, a British officer by name Colonel Lionel Blaze was the collector who was in charge of Madurantakam. During this time he saw the tank breach twice and create havoc. He therefore decided to camp at Madurantakam and construct a strong bund to the lake to save the people and the agricultural land.
Lionel Blaze saw a large number of granite stones near the temple and decided to use them for the tank bund. But the priests of the temple told him that they were for the extension of the temple complex. He ridiculed them saying that it was much better to use the stones for the bund rather than for the temple. He asked them, “Will your Rama come and protect the tank from breaching?” He had made up his mind that the granite stones would be used for protecting the tank.
One night it rained very heavily. The waters in the tank were continuously rising. When Lionel Blaze was apprised of the grave situation, he immediately went and camped near the tank praying and hoping that the tank would not breach. But the waters were continuously rising. At that moment, in utter desperation, he surrendered to the Lord and prayed that if the Lord saved the tank from breaching, he himself would build a temple for the Lord. He looked up to the skies helplessly. There in the lightning-flash he saw two handsome and charming youngsters with bow and arrows standing on the tank bund guarding the tank! The rains mysteriously subsided. The tank was full and almost overflowing, but it did not breach! The people and the fields were saved. Lionel was sure that the two youngsters who were on guard were none other than Lord Rama and Lakshmana.
As a mark of his gratitude and as he had promised, Collector Lionel Blaze constructed the temple. The Collector’s name is inscribed as a benefactor in the temple and the Lord is known as ERI KATHA RAMA – “Rama who saved the tank!”
Madurantakam is also the sacred place where Sri Ramanujacharya was initiated by his Guru Periya Nambi. It also houses one of the most well known Sri Ahobila Math Sanskrita Patasala.
“Sri Ramaya Tubhyam Namaha!”
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