The belief has it that worshiping all the four deities on a single day provides salvation. Know more about these temples
1) SREE RAMA SWAMI TEMPLE AT THRIPRAYAR It is the most important of the four and stands on the bank of the Theevra river, also called River Purayar, between Kodungalloor and Guruvayoor. There is an interesting tale associated with the origin of this river. Lord Vishnu, during his incarnation as Vamana, wished to cleanse his legs with water when he visited this place. However, the land being arid and bone dry, he used the water from his kamandal for the purpose. Miraculously, the water from the kamandal kept flowing, giving rise to the river which thus came to be called Thriprayar or the ‘river of divine source’.
The image of Rama resembles the Chaturbhuja Vishnu form, with four arms bearing a conch, a disc, a bow and a garland respectively. The original idol is sheathed in Panchdhaatu, an alloy of five metals – brass, bronze, copper, gold and silver. The copperplated namaskara mandapa is the most ornate structure, bedecked with a profusion of sculptures displaying 24 wooden panels of carvings. Its walls are further embellished with murals.
While there are smaller shrines dedicated to other gods, there is no separate idol for Hanuman, Rama’s greatest devotee. However, his presence is believed to be eternal at the namaskara mandapa. Before entering the sanctum sanctorum, devotees generally offer their obeisance to Hanuman with flattened rice.
Pujas are conducted five times in the day for Rama who is the presiding deity of the Arattupuzha Pooram, one of Kerala’s most important festivals. Anguliyangam, a thematic dance drama portraying Hanuman’s meeting with Sita at Ashoka Vatika in Lanka and subsequently going back to Rama with the good tidings, is a much sought-after annual event at the temple complex. On Ekadasi day that falls between November and December, the idol of Rama is taken in procession with as many as 21 elephants.
2) BHARATA’S KOODALMANIKYAM TEMPLE Built in the 15th century in the town of Irinjalkuda, it depicts Bharat offering prayers to Lord Rama. Myths abound on the idol which is believed to have radiated luminosity that excelled manikyam, a priceless precious stone. When a manikyam belonging to the king’s palace was brought to compare its brilliance vis-a-vis the idol of Bharat, it miraculously merged into the idol! Thus the name Koodalmanikyam, meaning ‘merging of the manikyam’.
The fine wall murals and sculptural intricacy define the temple which also serves as an important centre that nurtures Temple Arts like kathakali, koothu, koodiyattom and thullal. Contrary to the customary five daily pujas, here there are only three. The garlands offered to the deity consist only of the basil or Tulsi leaves, lotus and chethi flowers. Garlands made from full lotuses is an important offering to the deity and is believed to be wish-fulfilling. Worshiping the deity is believed to be a cure-all for ailments, especially those related to the abdomen.
3) THE MOOZHIKKULAM TEMPLE OF LAKSHMANA The temple on the eastern banks of Chalakudy River enjoys its status as being the only one among the four temples that belongs to the 108 Divya Desams of the Vaishnavite faith, praised by Azhwars. Further, it is claimed that this is the only temple where Lakshmana is seen along with his wife Urmila. The east-facing temple houses a 6-foot tall Lakshmana in standing posture, holding the conch, Sudarshan Chakra, mace and lotus.
4) SHATRUGHNA’S PAYAMMAL TEMPLE The Payammal temple is one of the few shrines having Shatrughna, the youngest of the brothers, as the main deity and is the last on the circuit. According to legends, Shatrughna is considered to be the reincarnation of the Sudarshan Chakra held by Vishnu. Unlike the other three temples that have their circular structures, the temple of Shatrughna, the smallest of the four, is rectangular in shape.