Tuesday Jun 25, 2024

Thiruvangad Sri Ramaswami Temple – Kerala

Address

Thiruvangad Sri Ramaswami Temple Thiruvangad, Thalassery Kerala – 670103.

Diety

Rama

Introduction

Thiruvangad Sri Ramaswami temple is an important temple located in the east part of Thalassery. The temple is generally known as the Brass Pagoda from the copper sheeting of its roof. A part of the temple was damaged by Tipu Sultan’s troops in the 18th century, but the temple itself is believed to have been saved from destruction. It was one of the outposts of the Thalassery fort in the eighteenth century. The temple contains some interesting sculptures and lithic records. The annual festival of temple commences on Vishu day in Medam (April–May) and lasts for seven days. It is one of the five major shrines dedicated to Lord Sri Rama in Kerala. The other four are at Thrinayamkudam (Vaikom), Triprayar, Thiruvilluamala and Kadalur. It is Located on an elevated plot of 2.75 hectares with an adjoining temple tank known as Chira which extends over an area of one hectare, This well maintained temple has excellent wood carvings, terracota art work, mural paintings carved on wooden planks in the ceilings are a repository of art treasure. The big temple tank is a rare one and useful to the devotees.

Puranic Significance

There are no records available to fix the age of this temple except for a few references in Keralolpathi and Malabar Manual. There are, however, several authoritative references and records to suggest that the temple and its premises have witnessed the executions of several historical treaties and invasions. The earliest reference is possibly the inscription on the huge ‘Balikkallu’ in front of the temple denoting the year of reconstruction of the temple as AD 826 The book “Kerala Charithram” refers to the occupation of Thalassery and Thiruvangad by the troops of Kolathu Nadu, Kadathanadu and Kottayam Raja in protest against the British Chief Dorin in 1750. When Hyder Ali of Mysore invaded the Chirakkal Palace of Kolathiri Raja in 1766, Kolathiri Royal family took refuge in this temple. The Seven storeyed ‘Gopuram’ in the front entrance is said to have been destroyed during the invasion of Tipu Sultan. The plinth of these walls and gopuram are still visible today. The origin of this Temple is steeped in mystery. According to Kerala Mahatmyam, this temple was consecrated by Lord Parashurama – one of the incarnations of Vishnu. Yet hearsay evidences point out that this temple is about 2000 years old. According to a legend this temple was consecrated by a sage named Swetharshi. The legend says Agasthya Muni on his way to River for offering his customary ablution was confronted by two demons named Neela and Swetha. Agasthya Muni cursed them. On their request for penance, Agasthya Muni advised them to perform Tapas at two Shiva Temples. The place where Neela performed Tapas came to be known as Neeleswaram. Swetha performed his Tapas at Thiruvangad (Tiru-van-kad, meaning the sacred dense forest). They were later known as Neelarshi and Swetharshi. It is said that Swetharshi consecrated a Shiva temple & Vishnu temple at the place where he performed his Tapas. It is believed that the Shiva installed by Swetharshi was very fierce, hence to calm its fury another Shiva temple was consecrated just opposite. Now the temple complex consists of two Shiva temples facing each other on the north side and the Big Sri Rama temple on the South. There is also a slightly different version of the legend, which says that Shiva Temple was consecrated by Neelarshi – a Shiva Bhakta and Sree Rama temple was consecrated by Swetharshi – a Vishnu Bhakta.

Special Features

The Main deity is that of a standing four armed Lord Vishnu with the concept of Sree Rama, his 7th avatar. The idol carved out in Krishna Shila. Three arms hold Shankha, Chakra, and Mace and the fourth is in the abhaya mudra (sign of blessing and Moksha). It is believed that the deity depicted here is the ‘Poorna Roopa’ (full form) assumed by Sree Rama after annihilating the Khara, Thrisiras and Dooshana along with their fourteen thousand soldiers, thus having a fierce form. The idol is 6 ft tall and is consecrated facing east. The idol of Sri Hanuman is consecrated in front, slightly towards the left of Sri Rama; the pilgrims give equal importance to Sri Hanuman. The idol of Hanuman is made of Metal. The other sub deities are Sree Porkali Devi in the ‘Namaskara Mandapam’, Sree Subramanyan near Thidappally facing West, Sree Ganapathy and Sree Dakshinamoorty in the South Nada, Sree Vanasasthavu in the ‘Pichakathara’, Sree Guruvayurappan (Lord Vishnu) on the north side facing East and various Thevara Moorthies (condemned idols) on the north side facing West.

Festivals

The most important festival is the Vishnu Mahotsavam which commences on Vishnu with the hoisting of the ceremonial flag on Dhwaja Stambha. It lasts for seven days with the daily elephant processions, special poojas and various programs culminating on arattu or bathing the deity, on the last day in the temple tank. Kathakali, Chakyar Koothu, are performed on all days in addition to the temple rituals. Chakyar Koothu is performed in this temple as a part of rituals. Mani Chakyar family traditionally holds the right to perform here. The greatest Chakyar Koothu, Kutiyattam exponent Legendary Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar used to perform Chakyar Koothu here for decades. Pattathanam is another important function celebrated on the Thiruvonam day in the Malayalam calendar month of Makaram. Main and popular vazhipadu is Kalabham Charthal. Valiavattala payasam, avil nivedyam are also important.

Century/Period/Age

2000 years old

Managed By

Travancore Devaswom Board.

Nearest Bus Station

Thiruvalangadu

Nearest Railway Station

Thalassery

Nearest Airport

Kannur

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