Sri Kothanda Ramar temple., Ayodhyapattinam, Salem, TN - 200 year old temple chariot is rotting and HR & CE is yet to restore

Wooden chariot, Ramar temple in Ayodhyapattinam., Salem, /

Wooden chariot, Ramar temple in Ayodhyapattinam., Salem,TN

wooden Ther, sri Ramar temple, Ayodhyapattinam.

wooden Ther, sri Ramar temple,

Above images: In ruins is the 200 plus year old wooden temple chariot (rath) of Sri Ramar temple of   Ayodhyapattinam near Salem city, Tamil Nadu. The above images will give you some idea about the pathetic condition of the temple chariot; Reason; Sheer official apathy of the HR & CE Department under the TN government..........

Ayodhyapattinam near Salem city, TN

Among the Hindu temples of Tamil Nadu that bear testimony to the mastery and expertise in the area of temple architecture and  artistic stone and wooden  sculptures  Sri     Ramar Temple of Ayodhya- pattinam,  close to Salem city is a good example.  According to one legend (Sthala Purana), Vibeshna, brother of Ravana, on his way to Lanka,  took a short sojourn  here, then a wooded area and meditated on Sri Rama. Pleased with his dedication, Sri Rama gave him dashan in "Pattabhisheka Kolam''.  Considering it a divine experience, Vibishna had  a  temple built here so that other devotees would get this rare experience and get blessed by Sri Rama. Hence in this temple sanctum / garbhagriha , Sri Rama and his consort Sita appear in  Pattabhisheka Kolam, a rare one in this part.  The sanctum itself is more than 1000 years old.

Ayodhyapattinam- wooden Chariot carved,

What is quite annoying and quite disturbing is the pathetic state of  more than 200 year wooden temple ther (chariot) base  that lies across the temple entrance with missing or broken wooden wheels and axles. The ratha  is nothing but a treasure trove  of finest wood carvings covering various episodes from the Hindu epic Ramayana. Frankly speaking more than 10 to 12 years ago, the wooden ther was in poor shape and its condition has not changed. as of today.

 The dilapidated wooden chariot has been exposed to the vagaries of weather  for years without any proper shelter over it. No tarpaulin or some kind of cover over it to prevent dust formation on the chariot.  Now covered with thick  layers of dust,   the wooden images are barely visible and the outer parts of the chariot look parched with  no periodic upkeep and paint job. Even the wooden primer is not applied on it for decades.  It is surrounded by mounds of trash  and the chariot still remains unrepaired and uncared for despite protests from the local  people from this area and heritage lovers. If the same condition persists, it is difficult to retrieve the heritage aspect of the chariot.

Not in use for a long period, according to experts, only experienced sculptors with dexterous hands could alone handle such delicate carvings on the wooden chariot that impart splendour  to the chariot; now the carvings look drab, dry and dull. 

The negligence is quite appalling on the part of HR & CE, a state government department that controls more than 34000 Hindu temples across the state. Known for financial irregularities, poor temple management and open violation of temple Agama Sastras, no steps, as of today, have been taken to repair this rare old chariot  and make it usable. In 2012, HR & CE carried out major repair work without any proper planning or knowledge of latest conservation work. It was a mere waste of lakhs of rupees with poor upleft. At that point of time no adequate steps were taken by the officials to save the old ratha. 

 The Salem Historical Society was in the forefront and wanted the temple chariot and other damaged parts of the temple properly  preserved without damaging the heritage value. The protests and resentment from the public had no impact of the HR & CE that has a reputation for unethical activities on the temple premises.