This is the one of the most important temple for Sri Hanuman in Kerala. The temple is loacted in the Cheruthazham village of the Payyannur opposite the hills called Ezhimala. Though the temple had been named as Sri Raghavapuram, it is popularly known as ‘Hanumarambalm’ which is one of the most ancient and famous Vaishnava temples of northern Kerala. It is a popular belief that this temple got its name Hanumarambalam, in order to express the love of Sri Rama and Sita Devi towards Sri Hanuman and also to denote the divine love, Sri Hanuman had for Sri Rama and Sita Devi. It is also said that the pooja performed for Sri Hanuman shall be considered as the pooja performed for Sri Rama himself. Therefore it is relevant that the poojas performed to Sri Hanuman is pleasing to Sri Rama Swami also.
The original temple is believed to have been built by Mooshaka dynasty, centuries ago and later Sri Udaya Varma Kolathiri during his rule had renovated the temple in the 8th century. He had brought 237 Brahman scholar families from Gokarna kshethra(present Tulu speaking area) under Karnataka. These scholars were settled in five villages including Cheruthazham, Kunnaru, Arathil, Puracheri, Kullapuram etc. Then the main temple where idol of Sri Ramachandra was originally installed was east facing. As per the ancient annotation, the original idol of Sri Ramachandra was depicting the mood of the Lord as was during the battle (Rama-Ravana yudha). It was felt during that time, that people residing on the eastern side of the temple were experiencing lot of hardships. On conducting ‘prashnam’ it was decided to open a doorway for the temple on the western side facing ‘Ezhimala’, and to shut the doorway facing eastern side and also to reinstall (punapradishta) Sri Rama with Sita Devi along with Sri Lakshmana. Accordingly the eastern doorway is even now closed, and Sri Rama along with his consort was installed. In the ‘prashnam’, it was seen that the ‘Devasannithyam’ (the presense of the Deva) of the temple dates back to the ‘threthayugam’. It is believed that during the Rama-Ravana yudham at Lanka, when Sri Hanuman carried the ‘Aushadha Shailam’ (mountain with Mridhasanjeevani) to Lanka for giving life to Lakshmana, a piece of the mountain broke and fell down from His hands at this place and thus the ‘Ezhimala’ was formed. Since then, the presence of Sri Hanuman and Sri Rama was felt and experienced here.
The temple is the abode of Sri Rama with Sita Devi. With Sri Rama and Sita Devi as the main deity of the temple, the devoted brother Lakshmana is also seen. Normally Sri Lakshma is not seen in same pedestal with Lord Rama, but the uniqueness of this temple is that all these three are on the same pedestal. The sanctum sanctorum of Sri Hanuman is located inside the ‘Naalambalam’ at the ‘Vaayu mula’ (northwest corner) of the main sanctum sanctorum (Sri Kovil) of the temple. The unique feature of this temple is the presence of a sanctum sanctorum for Lord Shiva just outside the Nalambalam. Lord is facing west, and ‘Shanta Shiva Prathishta’ is the importance of the idol. On he western side of Lord Shiva, there is a sanctum sanctorum for Sri Durga Devi. Earlier there was no idol for Sri Durga (Bhimba pratishta) and there was only ‘Peeta pradishta’ for her.
During the festival the idols (uthsavamoorthi) of Sri Rama, Sree Hanuman, Sri Parameshwara, Sri Durga are carried on the heads of ‘Brahmana shreshtas’ at a time and the special dance is performed. This deva vigraha dance known, as ‘Thidambu Nrithyam’ with 4 idols is not seen in any other temple. Here every year Karkidakamasam is celebrated as Ramayanamasam with Maha Ganapathi Homam, Ramayana Sapthaham etc., Navarathri is celebrated with different programmes. Shivarathri is also celebrated. The offering of “Avil” (rice flake) to Lord Hanuman is famous in this temple.
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