Kerala has more than 10,000 temples, but very few are dedicated to Lord Rama. Out of the dedicated Ram temples in the state, the Triprayar Sree Ramaswamy Temple in Thrissur, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited on Wednesday, is considered a significant pilgrimage site for a variety of reasons. From the rare idol in the sanctum sanctorum, its architectural beauty to fireworks offered to the deity, there are many things unique about the temple:
The four-armed Rama
The idol worshipped here is that of the four-armed Sri Rama. The countenance of the idol is that of Rama who had just eliminated the man-eater demon Khara, and with all the powers of the trimurtis (trinity) manifest in him. It is believed that the conch and chakra on the idol denote Vishnu, the bow Shiva, and the garland Brahma. Devotees say that the idol here was installed by Rama himself and was also worshipped by Lord Krishna. As per legends, after the idol got immersed in the ocean at Dwaraka, the local fishermen of Chettuva found it and handed it over to the local ruler, who constructed the temple.
In the sanctum sanctorum, installed facing the south is Dakshinamurti. Outside the main temple are idols of Ganesha, Shastha, and Gopalakrishnan. Devotees believe that the darshan of Rama should be done only after paying respects to Hanuman, supposed to be present at the mandapa in the front. It is also believed that Chathan Swamy is at the temple, in service to Rama.
Fireworks as offering
Triprayar is one of the few Vaishnava temples where fireworks are allowed as an offering to the god. These barrel crackers are one of the main offerings here. The offering reminds me of the time when Hanuman, who had gone in search of Sita, came back and shouted out to Rama about how he had located her; his voice reverberated across the three worlds. Another legend is that during Tipu's invasion, the crackers were thrown into the river but they exploded in the waters.
Festival without flag-hoisting
It is also one of the very few temples where the festival is held without the ritual flag-hoisting. The rituals during the period from Makayira star in Meenam till the day of Uthram lights are also important for devotees.
The ancient architectural beauty of the temple, rich with wood carvings, is something the pilgrimage centre is known for. Its circular 'sreekovil' with copper-covered conical roof with many sculptural representations from Ramayana, the golden 'thazhikakkudam,' walls filled with mural paintings and a copper plated namaskara mandapa, among others make it a favourite spot of architecture enthusiasts too.
How to reach
The temple is about 22 km east of Thrissur city. Thrissur Railway Station is its nearest railway station and Kochi international airport at Nedumbassery, which is 58 km away, is the nearest airport. It can also be reached via road from all nearby areas.