On the banks of a beautiful river near Thrissur in Kerala almost bordering the trunk road is a big temple dedicated to Sri Rama, which combines attractive location, traditional legend and superb architecture. In the dim past, this river is believed to have skirted the temple on three sides and hence the sacred place is called Thirupuraiyar or most popularly as Triprayar.

The main idol of Sri Rama which is installed and worshipped at this temple is believed to have been originally worshipped by Sri.Krishna at Dwaraka in Sowrashtra coast. When Dwaraka was submerged, the idol of Sri Rama was lying in the sea bed along with the further idols of Lakshmana, Bharata and shaturghna.

After many centuries, when some fishermen went out into the sea for fishing, the idol, of Sri Rama, along with the other idols got entangled in their fishing nets. They brought them ashore and handed over to the local chieftain Vikkal Kaimal. He consulted the astrologers and came to know about the previous history of these idols. At that time, there was a divine ‘asari' who informed him that the idol of Sri Rama should be installed at the place where a peacock would be visible in the sky.

Accordingly, all the preparations were made for the installation of the idol, but even after several days, no peacock was visible. At last, a devotee pilgrim carrying a bunch of peacock feathers came to this spot, followed by a live peacock also. The idol of Sri Rama was installed at that very spot where the peacock feathers and the peacock were found.

The idol is Bharata was installed at Irinjalakuda Koodalnickam. Lakshmana's idol, was installed at Moorikunni village 10 kms. away similarly the idol of Shatrughna was installed at an adjacent place called payamel. The chieftain is said to have constructed the original shrines at all these places for the respective idols. Among all these, the shrine of Bharatha at Irinajalakuda came to prominence as that was the only temple built separately for Bharata in the entire region.

According to the local legend, it is said that the idol of Sri Rama kept on revolving after it was installed until an ascetic did some rituals and prayers and a nail driven at the base. The majestic deity of Sri Rama is worshipped here as Maha Vishnu due to its posture and the attributes. He holds in his two hands the bow and garland and the other two hands hold the discuss (chakra) and conch (Shankha). The chest is adorned with srivatsa and Kaustubham. Some time later, the ‘Saparivara Pratishta” of Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi was also done on the right and left side of the deity.

An outstanding peculiarity of the ‘sanctum sanctorum' si that there are idols of Dakshinamurthy, Ganapathi and a lamp at the back of the deity. The local devotees call the idol as ‘Trimurthy' as it is supposed to represent Brahma also. Hanuman is said to be present at the ‘Namaskara Mandapa' although there is no separate idol for him.

Devotees possessed of evil spirits throng to this place and the cure is miraculous due to the presence of Hanuman. He is supposed to be always running about the temple chanting ‘Drishta Sita, Drishta Sita'. The periodical fireworks conducted here also emanate the same type of sound. As is in the temple of Thrissur , there is no ‘Dhwaja Stambha' in this temple also. Devotees offer prayer first to the‘Namaskara Mandapa' before worshipping Sri Rama.

Located on a picturesque spot on the banks of river Triprayar, the temple occupies a vast area as the main Shiva temple at Thrissur. The ‘garbhagriha' is square in plan, on a massive base, and includes sveral tiers sending in a conical roof. According to an inscription, historically the temple is ascribed to the 11th century. a number of pillars, beautifully carved, uproot the roof of the structure which has a pyramidal roof covered with copper sheets. The Namaskara Mandapam has a treasure of carvings on wood. Mural paintings are found on the walls. The panels have fine carvings depicting the ‘Navagrahas'. Around the Srikovil are carved episodes of Ramayana in the style of sculpture that blend with the architecture of the shrine.

About 3 kms. to the north-east of Thirupuraiyar, there is a place where a bund was supposed to have been erected on the river similar to the ‘Sethu Bhandana' at Dhanushkodi. In the month of Kanni on Thiruvonam star, the deity is taken to that place every year. This place is known as Raman Chitra or the bund of Sri Rama.

The ‘Arattu', something similar to the south Indian temple Brahmotsavam of the deity is celebrated in the Arattu Kadavu, known as Mandarathi Kadavu. An important feature observed here is a kind of drama acting with a single person, known as ‘Kuttu'. The festival lasts for twelve days. The theme is usually episodes from Ramayana such as Hanuman locating Sita in Ashoka vana, presentation of ‘Chudamani' to Sri Rama, etc. Major part of the presentation is the conversation between Hanuman and Sita.

According to the‘Sthala Purana', when Parasurama created Kerala and brought the Brahmins to inherit the area, they complained about the absence of a sacred river for bathing purposes. Thereupon, Parasurama prayed to Brahama for the grant of the sacred River, who sent the seven ‘Kanyas', Ganga, Yamuna, Sindhu, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada and Kaveri to flow here as river triprayer. It is believed that these seven divine ‘Kanyas' come to this river every year on the‘Vrat' day of the deity.

Thirupuraiyar ‘Ekadashi' in ‘Vrischika Krishna Panchami' (Dark fortnight) is a very auspicious day at this ‘Kshetra'. Thousands of pilgrims and devotees flock to this temple to participate in the celebrations. Another important festival is Arathupuzha Pooram, held in March-April attracts a large crowd to witness the fireworks and the elephant procession. Till a generation ago, more than a hundred elephants decorated with glittering howdahs, umbrellas and ornaments used to take part in the procession.

Thirupuraiyar is only 24 kms. form Thrissur railway station. Kochi is the nearest Airport. An excellent road connects this sacred ‘Kshetra' with many important cities in Kerala and Tamilnadu. The State and Public Transport authorities operate in this route in addition to hired taxis nd vans. A moderate choultry is maintained at this ‘Kshetre' by the temple authorities, but Thrissur would be the most convenient place for overnight stay as good lodging facilities are available here.