Sree Laxi Narasimha Temple, Tellicherry
The deities in Sreekovil
The main deity of the temple is Lord Laxmi Narasimha.
The idol of Lord Venkataramana is used as the Utsava moorthy. The saligrama and Naga devatas are installed on a separate Peetha below the main Simhasana. The Narasimha form is in Soumya form. Many visit this temple to pray to Lord Sri Lakshmi Narasimha for his grace for curing diseases.
The sub shrines
In the outer prakara on the north-east corner Sri Hanuman (sila vigraha) is installed facing west, and on the western side facing north is Sri Lakshmi Devi (sila vigraha and panchaloha vigraha). The shrines of Ganapathy and Vitobha Rukmini are outside the srikovoil along the nalambalam.
To south of the temple complex is situated the sacred temple tank. The Aswatha Katte is situated near this tank. The Siva prathista near the Aswatha Katte was done on 3-10-2002.
This is a temple of festivals. There is hardly a month without at least one festival. The temple follows the Lunar Calander of the Saka Era. Starting with the New-year day in Chaitra-Ugadi, the main festivals are : Ugadi-new-year, Sri Rama Navami, Sri Hanuman Jayanti, Akshya Thritiya, Pratishta Panchami in Vaishaka, Narasimha Jayanthi, Vaishaka Pournami, Vata Savitri Vrita in Jyesta , Ashada Ekadasi, Naga Panchami, Sree Krishna Janmashtami, Sravan Poornima, Vinayaka Chaturthi in Bhadrapada, Anantha Chatirdasi, Navarathri festival (9 days), Deepavali the festival of lights, Karthika pournima festival starting on Karthika, Sudha Ekadasi are some of them. Karthika Pournami festival marks both the end of the Chaturmasya vritha and the Karthika Masa vrita. In the month of Margasira Champa (Manjeswar) Shasti festival is celebrated. In the month of Magha (January-February) comes the main festival of the temple - The Annual Brahma Rathotsava- starting on Magha sudha Tritheeya with the hoisting of the temple flag on the Dwaja, the Rathotsava is on the sapthami day (coinciding with the famous car festival at Sri Venkataramana Temple at Mangalore). On this day the lord graces the Ratha decorated with all the fruits, vegitables and flowers of the season. On the next day the Avabritha snana is performed in the sacred tank of the temple and the flag is lowered from the dwaja. In the last month of the lunar calender, namely Phalguna, comes Kamadahana and Holi.
A small group of GSBs migrated from Goa settled in Tellichery somewhere in the latter half of 17th century and early part of 18th century. They built a a small shrine dedicated to Lord Kodanda Rama, in their locality which is in the heart of the Tellichery town.
In the latter half of the 18th century and early 19th century, there was an immensely rich GSB merchant named Devdas Bhandari in Tellicherry, during the days of British East India Company. He was a trader in spices especially the famous Malabar Pepper. The legend connects origin of the SLN temple with this devout Devdas Bhandari.
One night Bhandari had a dream in which he was told that a Namboothiri (Malyalee Brahmin) would approach him with a divine Idol of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha and a sacred Saligrama, and that he has to accept the same and generously give gifts of gold and jewels to the Namboothiri in return. The same night Nambuthiri at the village of Taliparamba about 50 kms to the north of Tellicherry also had a similar dream. He was instructed to proceed to Telicherry with the Idol of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha and the Saligrama he had found in a well, and hand over them to one Devadas Bhandari. Accordingly, the Nambuthiri started the very next day for Tellicherry with the Idol, and travelling by foot reached there in a few days and gave the Idol to Bhandari who received it and presented the Nambuthiri with rich gifts. Bhandari installed the Idol in his house in the pooja room. At that time there was only a small shrine of Lord Kodanda Rama in Tellicherry - at the site of the present temple, which was used by our community for worship.
In due course the Idol of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha was handed over to the Mahajans of Tellicherry by the Bandari family. A proper temple was constructed in the place occupied by the Rama shrine and the idol of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha, Lord Rama,Venkaramana with his divine consorts Sri Devi and Bhoomi Devi installed. This prathishta was done by H.H. Srimad Sumatheendra Tirtha Swamiji in 1831 A.D. on Samvatrasra Vaishaka masa Shukla Panchami, Monday, Punarvasu Nakshtra of the Shaka era. H.H.Srimad Sumatheendra Tirtha was the 15th pontiff of Sri Kashi Mutt Samsthan, Varanasi.
In due couse, the Bhandari family lost its glory and has to ultimately sell out his house to a non-saraswat. Even today the pooja room where the idol was kept is kept closed and protected with respect and reverence by the owner, a Navayath Muslim.
After this the Laxi Narasimha Temple could not be looked after properly and was neglected. This was later rennovated and re-installation of the deity was done in 1871 A.D. by the 17th pontiff of Kashi Mutt, Sri Bhuvanendra Tirtha. The first dwaja prathista was done in 1916 AD.
Administration of temple
The temple was for long administered by a Adhikari and two others elected by the Mahajans. In 1934, a dispute arose among the Mahajans, which ultimately resulted in the temple administration being taken over by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Board, then under Madras Govt. The land reforms bill of the 1950s took away much of the landed properties of the temple resulting in drastic drop in income of the temple. Even the poojaris could not be paid their dues. This finally resulted in the sale of temple jewellery to settle their dues. Pained with this sorry state of affairs, some community members started SLN seva samaj in 1975. The samaj collected more than 400 endowments for daily poojas.
In 1990, the mahajans formed an action committee and approached the Hon. HC of Kerala praying that the administration of the temple be handed over to the Board of Trustees elected by the community members. In 1993, the temple administration was handed over back to the community. The temple is now administered by a five member Board of Trustees elected democratically. The first trustee board was in power from 1993 to 2002.
Devaprashna and Renovation
A devaprashna was conducted during April-May 2000 and the renovation of the temple was carried out as per the revelations in the Prashna. A new dwaja sthamba also was installed and prathista done on 30-3-2003.
Tellicherry (Thalassery) is the land of Circus and lies between Mahe and Kannur on the NH 17 along the sea shore with beautiful beaches. The town is about 23 sq km and sanwitched between Arabian sea and rocky terrain.
The town was built in 1683 by the British for the pepper and cardamom trade and was their first settlement on the Malabar Coast. A fort was built there on a rocky hill in 1708 (which is the most important landmark of Tellicherry) and was attacked unsuccessfully by the Hyder Ali of Mysore in 1781. Other important centres at Tellicherry are one church built beneath the walls of the fort with the funds left by the master attendant of British Mr. Edward Brennen. There is a large mosque known as odathil Palli near to Tellicherry Fort. The Juma Masjid situated near the Stadium in the heart of Tellicherry town is one of the most beautiful mosques in the district. It is said to be more than a thousand years old and has been rebuild in the Indo-Saracenic style of architecture.
Tellicherry is still a major port for the export of pepper, coffee, sandal wood and coconuts. It has a thriving furniture industry as well as coffee-curing, rope- and mat-making and baking. Keeleri Kunhikkannan, the father of Indian circus, is from Thalassery. More than 80% of circus artists in major Indian circus companies are from Thalassery. This is also the birth place of cricket in Kerala.
Sree Ramaswami Temple locally known as brass pagoda is dedicated to Sri Rama is situated at Thiruvangad about 1 k.m from Tellicherry town. The famous Sree Jagannath Temple is also located near by. This temple is dedicated to Lord Siva and was consecrated in February 1908 by the great religious reformer Sree Narayana Guru.
Herman Gundert, the German Missionary, who wrote the 1st Malayalam Dictionary was residing in Tellicherry. Gundert Bunglow is situated near to Tellicherry town, on the National Highway at Illikunnu. He lived in this bungalow for 20 years from 1839 and produced the first Malayalam Dictionary and the first Malayalam Newspaper Paschimodayam.