Legends and History
Origin of Place Name and Theevra River
Triprayar temple is situated on the bank of river Theevra. Theevra river is also called Purayar. Hence this place got the name Thirupurayar (sacred river) and later became Triprayar. There is an interesting legend about the origin of this river. Lord Mahavishnu during his Vamana incarnation visited this place while going to Thrikkakkara and he found no water to wash his legs as the whole place was dry and desolate. Vamana took the water from his kamandalu (a small round vessel used by hindu sages to carry water) and poured the water to wash his legs, that source of water never went dry but kept on flowing as the Thiru Purayar or the Thriprayar (river of divine source) as it is called now. Purayar is also called Sreepriya river and Nandiyar.
Sree Rama Vigraha(Idol) Prathishta and Naranathu Bhranthan
Out of the four idols discovered by fisher men, the Sree Rama idol was the most important. Vakkayil Kaimal decided to install it in Triprayar. It is said that when the image of Rama was discovered and was about to be consecrated, it was divinely ordained that a peacock would appear and mark the exact time for installation. Kaimal and his men waited for a long time for the peacock but it didn't appeared. Apparently the Tanthri (chief priest) installed the idol when a devotee bearing peacock feathers appeared. Soon after the installation the peacock appeared in front of the Sreekovil. It is said that the priests and Kaimal regretted their decision later and to make up for this deficiency the sacrificial stone or the valiya balikkallu was installed at the spot marked by the peacock. Hence the balikkal is said to have the same importance as the deity itself. But this sacrificial stone showed a tendency to spin on its axis. It was Naranathu Bhranthan who fixed it at the spot by hammering a nail through it amidst the chanting of mantras. A mark of a nail can still be seen gives credence to this belief.
In order to prevent any decline in the power of the idol on account of the change in its location Naranathu Bhranthan also arranged to install two goddesses on either side of the deity-Sree Devi on the right and Bhumi Devi on the left.
Vilwamangalam Swamiyar's Role
Another legend says that it was Vilwamangalm Swamiyar, who is associated with several temples of Kerala, installed the Sree Devi and Bhumi Devi images and shut the Western doors of the temple. One day Swamiyar reached this temple and offered prayers to Lord Rama. During his pooja he noticed that Sree Devi and Bhumi Devi were entering the temple from the western gateway to offer prayers to the Lord. In order to set right the fault in location of the idol he requested them to stay inside the sreekovil. The Goddesses agreed and later Swamiyar installed Sree Devi and Bhumi Devi idols on either side of Rama. He then closed the western doors and left the temple. The western doors of the temple remain shut even today.
Tipu Sultan's Attack
Tipu Sultan did not spare Triprayar Thevar also. To test the divinity of the idol he struck at one of the hands. Blood started oozing. He repented his action and developed faith and devotion to the god. To make amends he donated to the temple some of the landed property he had annexed.