Thursday, December 27, 2012
Going by the antiquity of Chennai's temples, this one is quite new. Supposedly around 150 years old, the Kodanda Ramar temple was established by a group of ascetics from Bhadrachalam in current day Andhra Pradesh. They set up the temple the way they knew how: similar to the temple of Sri Rama in their hometown. In that representation, it is Lord Rama's coronation - and that grand event was depicted in the main shrine of this temple.
However, the temple fell into disrepair rather quickly. The power of the deity was yet considered formidable; so much so that a resident of the neighbourhood was advised to pray to Him as the last resort. Venkayalu Kuppiah Chettiar was tormented by a disease that doctors of early 20th-century Madras could not find a cure for. All seemed lost, until Kuppiah, an avowed atheist, heeded his friends' advise and reached out to Lord Rama of West Mambalam, his neighbourhood. In return for the miraculous cure that was effected, Kuppiah Chettiar renovated the temple, and installed an idol of Sri Rama with his bow, the Kodandam. With that installation in the late 1920s, the temple came to be known by its current name.
The street is named after the temple; also nearby is the street named after Venkayalu Kuppiah Chettiar - although with changing social mores, it is now listed merely as Kuppiah (Ch) Street!