Taliparamba Rajarajeswara Temple
Lord Sree Rajarajeswara
The main deity in Taliparamba Rajarajeswara Temple (which is situated at Taliparamba Muncipality, 25 km away from Kannur in Kerala State) is famous as Rajarajeswara Perumal. Rajarajeswara is one of the names of Lord Shiva. The name means "The Lord(Iswara) of Rajaraja(Chakravarthi or the king of kings)".
The Glory of Taliparamba (Perumchelloor, Lakshmipuram) Rajarajeswara Temple
Taliparamba or Perumchelloor(Perinchalloor) or Chelloor(Chellur) was one among the 64 brahminical settlements(gramam) established by Parasurama in ancient Kerala. The old name of Taliparamba was 'Lakshmipura' as this place was considered as an abode of prosperity. All the fame and prosperity to Perinchelloor Gramam is because of the presence of Sree Raja Rajeswara temple and the blessings of Perum Thrikkovilappan. Perinchelloor Gramam has been referred in the Tamil book "Pathittupathu",Chelloor Nadhodaym Chambu (Sanskrit), Kerala Pazhama, Kerala Mahatmyam, Jambukolpathi, Kokila Sandesam, Keralolpathi and many more. Between A.D.216 and 333 Perinchelloor was the capital of Chera Kingdom ruled by Cheraman Perumals as referred in "Pathittupath".
This temple has a prominent place amongst the numerous Shiva temples in South India. If any problem is encountered in temples of South India, the final solution is sought in this Temple through a prasna, a traditional method of astrological decision making. The prasna is conducted on a peedha (a raised platform) situated outside the temple. Taliparamba is one among 108 Shiva Temples in Kerala(ancient Kerala from Gokarnam to Kanyakumari) created by Lord Parasurama. Among these temples 12 are considered as most important and called Dwadasa Shivalayas(12 shiva temples). They are Gokarnam Mahabaleswara Temple(now in Karnataka), Taliparamba Rajarajeswara Temple, Kottiyoor Perumal Temple, Thrissur Vadakkunnatha Temple, Peruvanam Mahadeva Temple, Kodungalloor Thiruvanchikkulam Mahadeva Temple, Vaikom Mahadeva Temple, Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kaduthuruthy Mahadeva Temple, Chengannur Mahadeva Temple, Kandiyoor Mahadeva Temple and Suchindram Sthanumalaya Perumal Temple(for more details about these temples visit 108 Shivalya page).
Taliparamba is regarded as one of the ancient Shakti Peethams. Legend has it that the head of Sati fell here after Shiva's tandavam following Sati's self-immolation. So this temple is also popularly known as Rajarajeswari Temple. Siro Peetham or Sirassu(head) is the other names given for Rajarajeswari Temple in some ancient documents. Interestingly Taliparamba Rajarajeswari Temple is also included in the list of 108 Durga Temples created by Lord Parasurama. In the list Taliparamba is mentioned as "Sirassilum".
Taliparamba temple is also one among the 18 Tali temples in Kerala. In the past, the entire Kerala was split up into temple states with village or gramam as the administrative unit and these all temple states were under 18 Tali temples. The gramam was administered by Kazhakam-an advisory Board with an officer called Taliatiri. These villages were called Talis. Among such 18 tali temples, Taliparamba was one and it was very famous at it. The presiding deity of the Tali was the head and every thing was done in his name. The territory enjoying the Lord's administration was called Sanketam. The Talitris were carrying on many philanthropic activities including running of Vedapathasalas.
The quadrangular sanctum has a two tiered pyramidal roof. In front of the sanctum is the namaskara mandapam. The temple has no kodi maram (flagstaff) as opposed to other temples in Kerala. The balikkal has no roof but is embellished by a mysterious figure with a peculiar face. In front of the balikkal is a small rectangular building with a pyramidal roof, which is not usually found anywhere else. An inscription on the structure of the temple tank (which is a little away from the temple on the north side) indicates that the temple and the tank were renovated in 1524 A.D.
Glory of Namaskaramandapa
The Namaskara Mandapa (mukha mandapa) infront of the Sreekovil(sanctum sanctorum) is the place where Lord Sree Rama (on his way back to Ayodhya from Lanka after defeating Ravana) prostrated before Raja Rajeswara. As a respect to Sree Rama no one is allowed into this namaskara mandapa and offer prayers, which is permitted in other temples for Brahmins.
Sub Deities - Upadevathas
Rulers and Rajarajeswara
In the past, Kerala was divided into many small kingdoms and there were many kings/rulers. They all considered Lord Rajarajeswara as their Chakaravarthy (Rajarajeswara or King of Kings). The Taliparamba region was ruled by Zamorins(Samoothiri) of Kozhikkod(Calicut) and they were devotees of Lord Rajarajeswara. One of the Zamorins was an ardent devotee of the Lord of Taliparamba. After years of intense worship he is said to have entered the sanctum sanctorum and merged with the Lord. Even today, when the elder Zamorin dies, the information should be given to the temple authorities and the Lord is supposed to observe mourning. Even the distant Travancore kings paid obeisance to the deity by offering an elephant whenever a ruler is crowned or visited the temple.
The Taliparamba temple also was subject to attack by Tipu Sultan. One finds relics of the old gigantic gopuram at the entrance, which was demolished by Tipu's army. The story goes that when the temple was under siege, the head priest was inside the sanctum sanctorum and prayed ceaselessly day and night. it is further said that a black snake bit the commander of the army and a hooded serpent appeared before every soldier thus immobilizing the army and saving the temple from total destruction.
J.Jayalalitha, the former Chief Minister of Tamilnadu visited Sri Rajarajeshwara Temple at Taliparamba in 2001. Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa offered worship at Rajarajeswara Temple many times and in November 2008, he had offered an elephant. He worshipped Lord Rajarajeswara amid the political crisis faced by his government following the decision by 19 MLAs to withdraw support to the BJP government and he survived from the crisis. But even today none of the ministers of Kerala have the courage to enter the temple of Lord Rajarajeswara.
The place is considered as most sacred for performing Koodiyattam and Chakyar Koothu. Whenever a new Koodiyattam is being directed, first it is usually performed at this temple. However only the 'Maani' family of Chakyars solely posses the right of performing Koodiyattam here. Legendary Koodiyattam and Chakyar koothu maestro, Natyaachaarya Vidushakaratnam Padma Shri Maani Madhava Chakyaar had performed here for many decades. The title 'Vidushakaratnam' was awarded to him from this temple. One of the greatest appreciation or award that an artist/scholar can get, is the 'Veerashringhala'- Golden Bracelet, from the temple, given by the unanimous approval of the scholar body of the temple. Guru Mani Madhava Chakyaar is the youngest and last person to get the Veerashringhala from here.
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