SRI HANUMAN AND SRI RAMA TEMPLE, TRIPRAYAR, KERALA....
sri m p sekharan, thrichur
Thirupuraiyar is a lovely and sacred place situated about twenty four kilometers from Thrissur and popularly known as Triprayar. The place gets its name as this temple is surrounded by river on three sides [Tri-Three, pura- Side, arru-River thus Thirupuraiyar colloquially Triprayar]. It is interesting to note that the river itself is known as Thirupuraiyar. As the legend has it that the river Thirupuraiyar [Triprayar] was sent by Lord Brahma as amalgamation of seven rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada and Kaveri. There is another version which describes that when celestials washed the feet of MahaVishnu, the water flowed as Theevra [Triprayar] in the land created by Parasurama.
The place is famous for the magnificent temple of Sri Rama. The temple is surrounded by vast and pure village atmosphere and surroundings. The sacred river Triprayar River flows gently along the front side of the temple. Alongside are the lush green coconut trees carrying tender coconuts. The sight of the temple from a distance is a scenic beauty. The sign board Sri Rama invites you to this kshetra.
There were fine idols of Shree Raman, Bharathan, Lakshmanan and Shatrughnan which were installed and worshipped in Dwarka by Shree Krishnan. After the swargarohana of Sri Krishna the city of Dwarka was engulfed in the sea and these idols got submerged in the sea water. Till the beginning of the Kaliyuga, these idols were lying like that in sea.
One day during fishing by a group of fisherman in the sea, the idols were caught in the net of the fishermen. They had seen a flash of light [Divya Thejus] emanating from the idols and were astonished to see that. The chief of the fishermen and some other had gone to the nearby ancestors of the 'Vakkayt Kaimal' and informed of the incident.
Those who heard about the incident gathered in large numbers there. 'Kaimal' and other chiefs of the locality arrived at the site of the idols. Famous 'thantries' and astrologers were summoned. They all discussed in details about the 'Vigraha Mahatmya' and about the ideal and sacred place and location for the installation of the idols. It was decided after prasnam that the idol of Sri Rama was to be installed at Triprayar, Sri Bharathan at Irinjalakkuda, Sri Lakshmana's idol at Moozhikkulam and idol of Sri Shatrughna at an adjacent place called Payammel.
At that time an 'ashareeri' was heard pronouncing that a golden peacock will be seen crouching in the sky and the holy idol of Sri Rama is to be installed just below that place.
The peacock legend
On the appointed auspicious day all were waiting at Triprayar for sighting of the divine peacock. At that time a man having an extraordinary look [Thejas] appeared in the crowd, holding a bundle of 'Mayilpeeli' [peacock feathers]. He had diverted the people for the pujas and shown the spot for the installation of the Sri Rama idol. The idol of Sri Rama was installed at the place thus selected.
Later the peacock appeared actually at another spot. Prasnam was conducted for the error made and it was decided to have a balikkallu at the spot where actually the peacock appeared. It is said that the ballikkallu kept spinning on its axis until a saint stabilized it by hammering a nail through it amidst the chanting of mantras. It is said that saint Naranath Brandan had performed this. Images of Sridevi and Bhudevi were also installed on either side of the main deity of Sri Rama. The western doors of the temple were also closed.
Nalambala Darshana Mahatmyam [obeisance at four temples]
It has been believed since ages that Lord Mahavishnu's presence is manifested in four temples of Triprayar, Irinjalakkuda, Moozhikkulam and Payammel. The four temples are:-
i. Sri Mahavishnu temple Triprayar the presence of bow in the hand of the idol and absence an idol
for Garuda indicate that the temple is of Sri Rama as the incarnation of Maha Vishnu
ii. Sri Bharathan temple of Irinjalakkuda
iii. Sri Lakshmana temple of Moozhikkulam and
iv. Sri Shatrughna temple at Payammal.
The darshan of these four temples during Karkadaka -malayalam month-called the Ramayana masam is considered very auspicious. In olden days people visited these temples on the same day in the order of:-
Triprayar - Nirmalya darshanam
Irinjalakkuda - Usha pooja
Moozhikkulam - Uchcha pooja
Payammel- Aththazha pooja
Even now devotees visit these temples in one day to seek the blessings of the Sri Rama parivar.
Sri Rama of this kshetra
The garbhagriham of this temple has a square base and conical roof. It has several sculptures where in scenes from Ramayanam could be found. The magnificent idol of this kshetra has four arms, one holding discuss [Chakkram], the other a conch [Sangu], third holding bow [Kothandam], fourth holding garland [Akshamala]. The chest of the deity adorns Srivatsa and Kaustubham. Though the posture and the attributes denote that the deity is in form of Sri MahaVishnu, since bow is present He is worshipped Sri MahaVishnu incarnate-Sri Rama. The garland in the hand of the idol is considered as the aspect of Sri Brahma. There is idol of Dakshinamurthy facing south. Therefore local devotees worship the deity as Trimurthy.
Sri Hanuman of this kshetra
It is believed that Sri Hanuman is ubiquitous [present everywhere] and due to the fact that His presence is felt in this temple the temple does not have any separate idol for Sri Hanuman. It is believed that Sri Hanuman is always present in the Namaskara Mandapam, located just opposite to the garbhagriham. It is also said that it here in this spot that Sri Hanuman had given the message and news of Sri Sita to Sri Rama who was longing to know about Her. It is believed that Sri Hanuman is present in this temple chanting 'Drishta Sita, Drishta Sita'. The Namaskara Mandapam has a treasure of carvings on wood numbering to twenty four. Mural paintings are found on the walls. Sri Ganapathy is worshipped in the south-west corner in the inner prakaram. There is a sannidhanam for Sri Saasta in south, a sannidhanam for Gosalakrishna in north of Chuttambalam in the outer prakaram.
Offerings at this kshetra
The Vedi [bursting of gun-powder from a small but strong iron barrel) is an offering to Lord Hanuman. The sound from the barrel resembles the words 'Drishta Sita, Drishta Sita'. At fifty metres from compound wall of the temple there are steps leading to the river. The Meenoottu [feeding to fish] is done in the river water standing in the steps. Aval [flatted rice flacks] and Kadalipazham [red coloured banana] are the materials used for Meenoottu.
The local theater group performs a musical form of art known as 'Angya Koottu' in this temple in the Virchika month [karthikai-Tamil]. The episodes involving Sri Hanuman meeting Sri Sita in Lanka and bringing the news about Sri Sita [at Lanka] to Sri Rama is performed with devotion. The conversation between Sri Sita and Sri Hanuman keeps the audience mesmerized. On dasami of this month Saasta is taken out in procession and the on Ekadashi Sri Rama is taken out on procession in a grand manner with herd of elephants ornamented richly. The twelve day celebration is an annual function at the temple.
During the month of Meenam [pankuni-Tamil] seven day festival is celebrated with gaiety. Fireworks and procession of elephants adoring rich ornaments are the high on the concluding day - Pooram star.
Five worship services are carried out each day - (usha, etirthu, panthirati, uccha, athazha). A processional image of the deity is carried around the temple three times a day.
Let us visit this kshetra where the omnipotent Lord Hanuman is worshiped without vigraha. The ubiquitous present Lord Hanuman, who had melted the sorrow of Sri Rama with 'Drishta Sita' words, is waiting to melt away our sorrows.
[Ed. December 2008
new photos added March 2017