Located at a distance of 25 km from the town of Kannur, in Kerala, is the abode of Sree Rajarajeshwara in Taliparamba. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the shrine is said to be renovated by Parashurama and the exact date still remains unknown. The temple is one amongst the 108 Shiva Kshethrams to be built by Parashurama and is considered a Shaktipeetham, as it is believed to be the place where the head of Goddess Sati fell off.
Lord Shiva here is known as Rajarajeshwara, the Emperor of Emperors, Perumthrikovilappan, Perumchellurappan or Thampuran. The Shivalingam installed here is considered to be one of the Jyotirlingas which is worshipped here. The temple is well known for its unique rituals and for its pantheon of well-known personalities who have visited this shrine.
The most significant legend associated with the temple says how Parashurama once came across an ancient shrine which had a significant spiritual power lying in ruins, which left him grief-stricken and he wanted to know how this shrine landed in such a neglected state. To know more about the shrine, he called for Narada, who came here and narrated the fall of the temple.
According to the story, a sage named Sanaka and others had churned a disk of the sun to lessen its heat. They had mixed the dust, which arose while churning, with Amrutha, the divine nectar of immortality, and divided it into three parts, which was presented to Brahma, Parvathi and Shiva.
Parvathi handed over the lingams to three kings who were offering her intense prayers to invoke her. One of the three idols was given to the Maandhatha in the Thretha Yuga and the other two to Muchkunda and Shathasoman in the Dwapara Yuga.
Each of them was advised to install the idols in a place where no death of any creature had taken place naturally or any dead body cremated. After a long search, Maandatha found a small place which matched the description and could accommodate only a small plate.
The Origin Of Taliparamba
This region is the present Taliparamba and the king installed the idol here. Along with the passage of time, the Jyotirlinga got buried in the earth, making the place spiritually vibrant and brought the Thretha Yuga to an end. Next in the Dwapara Yuga, Muchkunda received the second lingam and the goddess gave the same instructions to him as well for the installation process. He too got attracted to the same spot where Maandhatha installed the first lingam.
The second lingam also dissolved itself into the earth, yet again making the place even more powerful, next came Shathasoman who also was naturally attracted to the same place and installed his lingam there. While the performing the installation rituals, this idol too began to sink into the earth and the king prayed to Agasthya to offer guidance.
PC: Ajith U
The sage appeared and lit a ghee lamp and prostrated before the lord 12 times. When he began his 13th namaskaram, the lingam got fixed firmly and therefore, the number of prostrations came to be known as 12 and a half. With the installation of the third lingam, the place holds three times the power of visiting a shrine.
The Ever-shining Lamp
After hearing this story, Parashurama decided to renovate the temple for which he called upon Vishwakarma, the celestial architect, to do the needful. During the last stage of the renovation works, Agasthya muni made his appearance and after performing the abhishekam to the idol, he lit a ghee lamp which still remains burning with ghee offerings made by devotees in pitchers made of copper, gold and silver, which is considered as an important offering to the deity here.
The Entry Of Women
The temple has a large number of customs which are followed here without the rationale being questioned. One such custom is the entry of women post the Athazha Pooja or the night worship which happens around 7.15 pm. While men are allowed to enter the shrine during the daytime, women are not allowed for the same, they can enter the sanctum only after the Athazha Pooja is completed.
It is believed that after the Athazha Pooja, Shiva is in a state where he is very pleased and in gracious temper, accompanied by his consort Parvathi. Hence, this is considered to be one of the most auspicious times for women to enter the premises as they would get to worship not only Shiva but also Parvathi Devi.
Many More Specialties
Unlike other Shiva temples, where the Bilva leaves are offered to the lord, here they are not accepted, instead, tulasi or the Holy basil leaves are accepted. The reason behind this is that there are not aspects of Shiva being worshiped here but also Lord Vishnu. Generally Mondays are considered as important days to worship Shiva, but here it is Wednesday.
Unlike other temples in Kerala, where the Kodimaram or flag staff is found, this shrine does not have one along with it. There are no annual festivals held here and the deity is never taken outside the premises of the temple.
Nobody is allowed to prostrate before the lord on the Namaskara Mandapam. According to legends, Rama, on his return to Ayodhya from Lanka, is said to have offered prayers here and prostrated before the lord in the Namaskara Mandapam, as a mark of respect no one has been allowed to prostrate here.
Darshan Timings And Things To Know
The temple opens for worship at 4.00 am in the morning till 12.00 pm in the noon, and opens at 5.00 pm in the evening and closes at 8.30 pm. Women are allowed only after 7.15 pm.
Children below 5 years are not allowed inside the temple. Men are expected to wear dhotis and not allowed to wear shirts or carry them in their hands while entering the shrine. Women are allowed in sarees and salwars only. Handbags or any other bags are also not allowed inside the shrine, one can keep them at the cloakroom located outside the temple complex.