About the Temple
Karimpuzha Sriramaswamy Temple is situated in the Palakkad district, Ottapalam Taluk near the silently flowing Kunthipuzha River. This is one of the rarest Sreerama idols in India. The idol depicts the ever sacrificing Lord Rama, renunciating on the shores of the Sarayu River before his ascent to heaven. He is accompanied by his ever obedient companion, Hanuman.
During the 13 Century, the Samoothiri with the help of military mobilization, conquered the Valluvanad areas. The Samoothiri families were classified into four as per their hierarchy –
When the Samoothiri conquered Thrikannamathilakam, the Earalppad was entrusted with the governing of Nedunganaadu .Sri Krishnapuram and the neighbouring areas came under the Nedunganadu . Thereby Samoothiri entrusted his brother Earalppad with the governing activities of the temple. So Earalppad made this Temple the centre point and constructed a palace for simplifying his governing activities. Thereby started the revival of the temple.
The Earalppad insisted that the temple follow the same ceremonies and rituals as at the Guruvayur temple - his brother's (Samoothiri) major temple. With the reconstruction of the temple, the Earalppad, brought to Karimpuzha many families for the various temple activities. They were -
Ten Ambalavaasi families made up of – Two Warrier families comprising of Puthiya variam and Pazhaya variam. Two Pisharadi families made of Pazhaya Pisharam & Chakrath Pisharam. Two Nambeesan families made of Padinjare Pushpakam & Kizhakke Pushpakam and the Four Poduval families – Thekkedam, Vadakkedam, Naduvil and Chemmarath.
For the purpose of cleaning the temples he assigned 18 Menon Families. The 13 Menon Families and the other 5 were known as ‘Sadyakkar’ (For preparing Sadya etc) Those families were Nallur, Chalapurath, Arangode, Chenangad, Kongasseri, Kattayat, Vakkayil, Arayangode, Pullare, Kormath, Palat, Kochiyil, Thenkurussi, Padinjare Chunagathe, Vengalil, Matumel and Pottekkat. The palace and near around areas were taken care of by the 4 Nair families. The 2 Chaliyara families who were uprooted from Calicut were responsible for the manufacturing of the dresses. The clothings needed for the temple were handwoven by the Devangana families who were brought here from Hampi, Karnataka. Many other families were also there to do the rest of the work, in and around the temple premises. Like there were Nair families proficient in using Percussion instruments like the Kuzhal, Kombu and the Thakil .The asharis, karuvan, Mushari , Thandan families helped in various effortful tough tasks like the lifing of the palanquin etc . The Vilakkathra Nair were the official barbers while the Veluthedath Nairs were the Official dhobis and were addressed as Mannanmar.
Since the temple activities needed utmost care and attention Earalppad had kept aside land and many assets for these families. He donated agriculture land to the families. For the purpose of fire wood, honey and rest of the wild life commodities, he gave them forest reserves also.
The main diety of the temple, Sri Ramaswamy is sitting facing west. While the other deities are Ganapathy, Shivan, Bhagavathy and Chamravattath Ayyappan & Shasthavu. Hanuman’s presence was felt near the northern side of the Thidappalli. Since 2 years Hanumans diety has been placed in the temple and it has been known as Dakshina Ayodhya or Southern Ayodhya. The old story goes that a Rishi was worshipping a Sree Rama diety nearby with his severe penance and so this place was later known as Arattukadavu Para. It is in memory of this ancient Rishi that even now a lamp is being lit on the eastern end for a banyan tree standing on the northern side of the river.
The fable goes that on the day fixed for the installation of the diety, the old diety was broken while moving it. Time was so short that another diety was not available. Everybody felt that the ceremony will be withheld. The Earalppad was forced to look for another diety. It came to be known that there was a Sri Rama idol in the Kaypedath Nair family. But Nair was not willing to part with the idol since he was doing his daily poojas and offerings at the idol. But the Earalppad did not bother and forcefully took the idol and installed it in the temple. The heavy hearted and insulted Nair went to the diety and prayed with tears saying that if the diety was his , then tomorrow with the rising sun, the diety should face west as against now where the diety was placed by the Earalppad facing east . Lo behold, next morning people saw the diety facing west, as desired by the Nair. Astonished the Earalppad then decided to do many penance as repentation.
This temple is one of the rarest and biggest temples in India. This is the reason why the temple has been ordained the title of Mahakshetra. Eventhough the 1970s, Land Tribunal act adversely effected the progress of the temple. The pilgrims coming to the temple are given sumptuous food from the 2 agrashalas, or kitchen. Of these only 1 has stood the test of time. Every noon there is a namaskara Sadhya for feeding the Brahmins. This has now become one of the main offerings in the temple. It signifies our gratitude for the accomplishment of any of our desire. In the evenings Vaara Sadhya, in the name of Agram is also offered. The temple maintains Panja praakara Pooja and Saparivaara Pooja. Panja Prakara means the five Poojas namely – Usha Pooja in the early dawn, the morning Pooja, Pantheeradi Pooja , the Ucha Pooja and the Athaza Pooja in the night . The 3 shivelis are done in the morning, noon and night. The night Shiveli is followed as in Guruvayur with 11 Lamps & 4 Vadyams. Other than this daily 9 Kalashams are also done. As of now only 3 Poojas are being done. The Kalasham in the temple is done once in 12 years. This is done to set off the lost grandeur of the temple. The loss of small amount of grandeurs or energy or agility of the temple is adjusted with the annual festival of the temple.
The Temple Festival
On the Punartham Nakshatram , in the Kumba Masam , Feb – March , we see the temple flag flying high announcing the arrival of the coming festival . The flag post is made of arecanut wood. Sri Hanuman adorns the flag post. This festival extends for 8 days. On the Palli Vetta day, the temple is engulfed in full grandeur and the pilgrims swarm the temple to be bestowed with the blessings of the lord. With the arratttu, holy bath the festivities come to an end.
Thunjathu Ramanujam Ezuthachan – He stayed in the palace of Earalppad to complete the works of Ramayanam. This is reflected in the 'Malabar Manual' by William Logan.