SRI MOOLA RAMA DEVARU
( Brief history )
Chaturmukha (four-faced) Brahma delights in constantly worshipping the Lord in various forms and manners. He once got the divine sculptor Vishvakarma to prepare an authentic icon of Lord Rama in accordance with scriptures. He worshipped this for a long time and then handed it over to another celestial for worshipping. This continued for a long time and eventually, in the course of time, the icon landed in the Sun dynasty (Surya Vamsha). Dasharatha, one of the emperors in this dynasty, performed Putra Kameshti Yaga (a sacrifice performed to obtain offspring) and had 4 sons. The eldest amongst these was the Lord Himself. Dashratha named his first son as Ramachandra, in honor of the icon that his family had traditionally worshipped. From then on, the word ‘Rama’ was used to identify Dasharatha’s son , and the icon got a new name ‘Moola Rama’.
The Moola Rama icon was reverently worshipped by Sita, Sri Hanumanta, and others. During the Dwapara Yuga the icon ended up in the Moon Dynasty (Chandra Vamsha) and was worshipped by Bhimasena. With the course of time, it kept changing hands until it reached the Orissa kingdom. From there, it finally reached the hands of Sri Madhvacharya. He worshipped it with great reverence and devotion. Thus all the three incarnations of Vayu, and Brahma, have worshipped this icon. After Sri Madhvacharya, the icon was in turn worshipped by Sri Padmanabha teertha, Sri Narahari teertha, Sri Madhava teertha and Sri Akshobhya teertha, and by Sri Jaya teertha (Teeka Rayaru) and other saints who adorned this glorious lineage. This is the history of the Moola Rama icon that is today resplendent in the Rayara Matha, acting as the cynosure of all eyes.
This glorious history has been beautifully captured in a moving Suladi (form of poetry) by the great savant Sri Vijaya dasaru. Sri Raghavendra Vijaya (a stirring poem that documents the life history of Sri Raghavendra Swamiji) stipulates that only celestials, born as humans, can worship this icon. It also says worship of the icon blesses the surrounding regions with good fortune, wealth and well-being. Another great savant, Helavanakatte Giriyamma, personally witnessed the glory of Lord Rama, when Sri Sumateendra teertha was worshipping the icon.
— courtesy of srsmutt.org site