Vontimitta Kothanda Rama Swamy Temple is ascribed to Lord Rama and Sri Seetha Devi. The temple is in Rajampet Taluk, Vontimitta Town in Cudappah at Andhra Pradesh.
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Vontimitta Kothanda Rama Swamy Temple – Origin
The temple has been built in Vijayanagara style of architecture. It is said to be in existence since 16th Century A.D. The Chola and Vijayanagara Kings were the patrons of this temple. The temple is now under the auspices of Archeological Survey of India (ASI).
Vontimitta Kothanda Rama Swamy Temple – Legends
There are several legends associated with the temple.
Vontudu and Mittudu
As per the legend, the temple was originally constructed on a single day by two men named ‘Vontudu’ and ‘Mittudu’. They were initially robbers. Later they transformed as the devotees of Sri Rama. After completing the construction, they had given their lives and became statues there.
The temple is said to be associated with the events of Ramayana.
As per the legend, it is believed that Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Sri Lakshmana had stayed here for a brief period during their vanvas days. When Sri Sita was feeling thirsty, Sri Rama had shot an arrow in the earth from where sweet water gushed out.
This perennial water spring later became two tanks known as Rama Tirtha and Lakshmana Tirtha in the precincts of the temple.
It is believed that Kishkinda kanda of Sri Ramayana had occurred in this region.
Sri Vavilakolanu Subba Rao, who was known as ‘Andhra Valmiki’ had spent his time at the temple premises when he translated Sri Valmiki’s Ramayana in Telugu.
Saint-poet Sri Annamacharya (Annamayya) had visited this temple. He had composed poems in praise of Sri Rama.
Sri Bammera Potana had composed Maha Bhagavatham in Telugu and dedicated it to Sri Kothanda Rama Swamy here.
Sri Bhavanasi Mala Obanna, an ardent devotee of Sri Ram had composed Kirtans in Telugu in praise of Sri Rama in the temple. This is depicted near the east gopuram.
It is also believed that Telugu scholars such as Ayyaluraju Tripurantaka and Ayyaluraju Ramabhadra were also associated with this temple.
Vontimitta Kothanda Rama Swamy Temple – structure
The temple is very elegant, serene and impressive. It is the largest in the Region, built in Sandhara order, i.e within a rectangular yard enclosed by walls.
It has three Gopurams with many sculptures. The five-tiered entrance Gopuram faces the east. It can be reached after mounting a few stone steps.
The other two Gopurams are in north and south sides.
On entering the main Gopuram, one can see the Ranga Mandapam through which only the inner Sanctum can be reached.
The Mandapam, also known as Madhya Ranga Mandapam (Central Hall) has 32 pillars with exquisite sculptures.
The columns in the Centre display the carvings of many Deities.
Sri Ganesha is depicted in the dancing pose. Sri Krishna is depicted as Govardhan Giridhar lifting the hill with a few cows by His side.
Sri Rama is depicted with kundals (ear-rings), hara (garland) and yagnopavita (sacred thread). He is armed with bow in right hand and arrow in left hand. Sri Lakshmana has His right hand free and has a bow in his left hand. He is wearing conical crown, waist band and sacred thread.
The corner columns have the sculptures of Apsarars, the divine dancer. The roof of the Mandapam has multiple carvings and designs.
The sanctum can be approached through the inner chamber named Antraalayam. It is also laden with intricate sculptures.
It is believed that, Sri Jambavatha had carved out the composite vigraha of Sri Rama, Sri Sita and Sri Lakshmana out of a single rock and placed it here at the sanctum.
It is also said that the sanctum itself had been carved out of a single block. The main vigraha does not have Sri Hanuman. However, a separate temple for Sri Hanuman exists in the place.
Near the vicinity of the temple, the Vontimitta lake created during Vijayanagara rule also exists.
Sri Rama Navami is celebrated in the temple in a grand manner. Sita Rama Kalyanam is also celebrated.
The temple is open from 06.00 A.M to 01.00 P.M and 2.00 P.M to 8.00 P.M. During special occasions, the timing may vary.
How to reach
The temple can be reached from Cudappah town. Local buses are available. Taxis can also be booked. Ideally, the pilgrims returning from Ahobilam visit this temple.