Sree Ramaswami Temple

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Sree Rama Swamy Temple
Front view of Thiruvangad temple, Thalassery
Front view of Thiruvangad temple, Thalassery
Sree Rama Swamy Temple is located in Kerala
Sree Rama Swamy Temple
Sree Rama Swamy Temple
Location in Kerala
Name
Other names Thiruvangad
Proper name Sree Rama Swamy Temple
Geography
Coordinates 11°44′43″N 75°30′12″E / 11.74528°N 75.50333°E / 11.74528; 75.50333Coordinates: 11°44′43″N 75°30′12″E / 11.74528°N 75.50333°E / 11.74528; 75.50333
Country India
State Kerala
Location Thalassery
Culture
Primary deity Sree Rama Swamy (Sree Rama)

Sree Ramaswami temple (Malayalam: ശ്രീ രാമസ്വാമി ക്ഷേത്രം) or commonly known as Thiruvangad temple, dedicated to the Hindu god Sree Rama, is an important temple located in the east part of Thalassery.[1][2] 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. In its precincts were held many conferences between the officials of the East India Company and local leaders, at which political treaties and agreements were signed. 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.[3]

It is one of the five major shrines dedicated to Lord Sree 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. sathram, guesthouses for stay and kalyana mandapam are also well maintained.

Legends and History[edit]

The origin of this Temple is steeped in mystery. There are no records available to fix the age of this temple except for a few references in Keralolpathi and Malabar Manual. 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.

There are 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. East India Company and the British were keen to protect the interest of this temple as evidenced in the references in the Logan's Malabar Manual. The "Brass pagoda" referred by William Logan is this temple. The inscription on the compound wall on the eastern side reads "the wall around this pagoda was constructed under the supervision of T.H. Baber Esq. in 1815". Baber, the then Sub Collector of Malabar was an ardent devotee and daily visitor to the temple premises who evinced immense interest in the affairs of the temple.[citation needed]

Main Shrine[edit]

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). The Mace is, however, held upside down, which is a peculiarity. 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 Sree Hanuman is consecrated in front, slightly towards the left of Sree Rama; the pilgrims give equal importance to Sree 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. It is said that the idols of some of these minor deities might have been transferred from the neighbouring temples for safe custody during Tipu Sultan’s invasion. The same may be the case of recent additions of Vana Sastavu, Guruvayoorappan and Thevara Moorthis.

The temple has some unique characteristics of architecture and is a treasure house of sculpture and paintings. The srikoil is rectangular in shape with two storeys, which are coppered roofed. The front portion is vertical and the rear and sides are sloped. There are three gold-plated stupis on the top ridge in the longitudinal direction at the entrance. The walls around the srikoil are embellished with images of Gods and Puranic figures.

The administration of this Temple under the direct control of Malabar Devaswom Board governed by The Government Of Kerala.[citation needed]

Main festivals[edit]

The most important festival is the Vishu Mahotsavam which commences on Vishu 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.[4][5]

Guru Mani Madhava Chakyar performing Chakyar Koothu

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.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]