The Tiruvangad Rama
temple located in Telicheri, north of Kozhikkode in Northern Kerala is
one of the three well known Rama temples in the state, the other two being Triprayar and Tiruvilvamala.
This temple differs from the other two in that it has a prominent flagstaff used in annual
festivals, while the other two do not.
The sanskritized name for this site is Swetaranyam - or the white forest,
as in TiruveNkadu in Tamilnadu.
Swetaranyam in Tamilnadu houses the famous Shivastalam
dedicated to Swetaranyeswarar, Nataraja and Aghora Virabhadrar and the
Legends: The name Swetaranyam comes from the legend that Sweta
Muni - an ascetic offered worship to Rama at this site. Swetamuni
and his counterpart Neelamuni were two ascetics, who in their previous
lives had been hunters cursed by Agastya muni. The site where Swetamuni
performed his austerities came to be known as Swetavanam. In here, are images of Shiva
and Rama said to have been installed by this ascetic.
A slight variation of this legend states that Neelamuni installed the Shivalingam while
Swetamuni installed the Rama shrine.
The deity: As in Triprayar
and Tiruvilvamala (and Tirumoozhikkalam and Irinjalakkuda), an image bearing the
attributes of Vishnu is considered to be Rama. Rama worshipped here is
conceived of as the destroyer of the demons Khara and Dhooshana. A
similar belief holds at Triprayar. Rama, here is known as Tiruvangad Perumaal.
This caturbhuja Vishnu image bears a conch, a discus and a mace.
There is a shrine to Hanuman to the left of the sanctum. There is a
shrine to Ganapati and Subramanya (said to have been brought here from Peralasseri during
the invasion of Tipu Sultan). The two Shiva shrines in the northern part of the temple
face each other.
The temple: The fortress like temple complex has a tank located in front
of it. The sanctum is rectangular in shape and it has a two storeyed copper roof. Carvings
depicting episodes from the puranas adorn the walls of the sanctum. In front of the
sanctum is a decorated mukhamandapam bearing carvings depicting scenes from the Ramayana.
Also seen in the circumambulatory path are murals depicting scenes from the Ramayana.
Inscriptions from as early as the 9th century CE are seen in this temple. The massive
outer walls of the temple are said to have been rebuilt by the British in the 19th
Festivals: The 7 day annual festival here is celebrated in the month of Aries,
commencing on the Malayalam new years day itself.