Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Interesting Nalambala temples of Kerala

'Nalambalam'  refers to four temples dedicated to  the sons of King Dasaradha - Lord Rama, Lord Bharata, Lord Lakshmana and Lord Satrughna (of the great epic Ramayna). In the state of Kerala  Nalambala Yatra (pilgrimage ) of the four temples on the same day itself is famous and is  undertaken  during Ramayana Masam  
(Karkkidakam) - July - August. In the past decade this famous yatra has become more popular than ever before. There are four groups of Nalambala yatra shrines, the ones briefly discussed below are commonly visited by the pilgrims. They are all located in Thrissur district and can be accessed from the city as they fall within the radius of 35 to 40 kilo meters. The general belief is going on a pilgrimage to all these shrines is good for the family and its welfare. It is a round trip  starting from Lord Rama, Lord Bharatha - Lord Lakshmana, Lord Sathrukhna and finally back to Lord Rama respectively.
Nalambala yatra, route map. en.wikipedia.org
Thriprayar Temple:
At the Thriprayar Temple  in Thrissur District
, the presiding deity is Sri Rama in a standing posture and the idol in the Garbagraha/ Srikovil is  six feet tall  holding  conch - Shankha', mystical disc- Sudarsanachakra, bow and Garland (Chaturbhuja - four-armed form), facing  east.

The sanctum  is circular  shaped, with sculptures depicting episodes  from the Hindu epic Ramayana. The Namaskara Mandapam facing Sreekovil (sanctum)  has about 24 panels of wood carvings, depicting the Navagrahas (nine planets) and ancient murals. From the inscriptions found here, Triprayar Sree Rama Temple is believed to have been in existence since the 11th century. The idol is in ugraha (fierce) form. He is seen here as the conqueror of demon Khara. His consorts here are Sri Devi and Bhmoomi Devi. 

The other idols worshipped in this temple are Dakshinamurthy,
Triprayar Rama Temple ...Destinations Diary

 Hanuman, Ganapathy and Ayyappan. Like other temples of Kerala, thisone is under the control of Cochin Devaswom Board, an autonomous body.

This temple observes Sethubandhanam - in memory of the building of the stone bridge to go to Srilanka from the Danushkodi Island by the Vanara  (apes), army of Sri Rama.  Every year it falls on the "Thiruvonam" day of Malayalam month "Kanni"and the venue is Chemmappilly which is close to  Thriprayar, As part of the Nalambalam, this is the first temple to begin the darshan of  sri Rama and his brothers. Darshan time: from 3am – 12.30pm and 5pm to 7.30pm . Meenuttu and Vedi are important Vazipadu.
Thriprayar is in the middle of Guruvayoor – Kodungallore route .

Koodalmanikyam Temple, Irinjalakuda:

This is a unique Vaishnava temple and the second temple to visit. Situated 10 km away from Irinjalakuda railway station and 20 km away from  Triprayar, this ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Bharatha, the brother of Sri Rama. Except Kerala, no other Indian state has a temple dedicated to Bharata, the third brother of Sri Rama, son of Kaikeyi. The annual colorful eleven day festival with a pageant of thirteen caparisoned elephants held in April/May attracts a lot of people. The festival in this temple marks the end of the Hindu temple festival season in Kerala.

Built in the 15th century, Koodalmanikyam temple  was once a Jain temple (Bharatheswara saint of Jains) and after the decline of Jainism, this temple became a Hindu temple. Once this temple was located at the the confluence of two rivers, hence the name of the place is Iruchalkkidai and  the lord is referred to as Sangameswara. As the geomorphology of the region changed through vast time, span,  the two rivers (Kurumali river and Chalakudy river) have changed their  course of direction and the town Irinjalakkuda is presently not on the river bank. In order to remind the link between two rivers in the past, Arattu is held to the rivers regularly.
Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Swami Templewww.vaikhari.orghttp:/

koothambalam. Koodalmanikya Swami Templewww.vaikhari.org
Here, though the lord is  Chathurbahu Vishnu with Conch, Chakra, Gada and Japamaala (prayer-garland), the belief is that the presiding lord is none other than Bharata who ruled Kosala as a  ruler on behalf of Rama (who was banished for 14 long years) by keeping his Paduka (sandals) on the throne. As in all Vaishnava temples, Tulasi leaves are offered to the deity and as prasadam to the devotees. An unusual fact is the sprouting of Tulsi seeds on the premises and the absence of Tulasi plants here. Yet another 
odd fact is there is not even a shrine for Ganapati at this temple. A distinctive feature of Koodalmanikyam temple is that there is only one single Prathista. 

Koodalmanikyam temple is a perfect example of Kerala - style architecture. The temple has dwajastambha  and pancha pakaras with other features like Anakkottil in the east and western entrances, koothambalam, Vilakkumadam, Nalambalam/
Valiyambalam, Namaskara mandapam and sreekovil. All these places have beautiful sculptures of amazing beauty and designs. The striking features are golden thazhikakkudams, golden dwajastambha (flag staff), copper plated Garbagraha -Srikovil or sanctum and Namaskara mantap (where devotees prostrate before God). There is no balipeetam (balikkalppura) here.

Temple Arts like Kathakali, Koothu, Koodiyattom and Thullal are performed here, thus promoting ancient arts unique to Kerala. The local Chakyar families keep the ancient temple tradition alive.

 Darsan Timing : Morning 3:00AM - 1:00PM, Evening : 5:00PM - 8:20PM.  Important Offerings are Thamaramala , Brinjal Nivedyam  Vedi , Gheelamp , Meeunttu.


Moozhikkulam Temple:

Lord Lakshmana Temple at MoozhikulamIndia Forums

Moozhikkulam Temple is the third one  to visit and is dedicated to Lakshmana  and is about  21.5 Kms from Irinjalakuda. The presiding deity in standing posture  is six feet tall, holding  conch (shankha) mystical disc (Sudarsana chakra), and Lotus. It is the only temple among the Nalambam temples considered as one among the  108 Divya Desams, praised by Tamil Vaishnava saints - Azhwars. The  idol in the Srikovil is  facing east. Tamil Vaishnava poet/saint Nammazhwar in many of his Pasurams mentioned the name of this temple.
The famous Annamanada Mahadeva temple  is nearby on the Irinjalakuda route to Kodungallore.

 Darsan Timing : Morning 5:00AM - 1:00PM, Evening : 5:00PM - 8:30PM
Payammal Sree Shathruknha swamy Temple:


Payammal Sree Shathruknha swamy temple. Kerala Travel - Manoramaonline
Payammal Sree Shathruknha swamy temple which is close to Aripalam.is  a small temple with a small presiding deity. But the idol is very much similar to the one at Triprayar. Starting with Hanuman, the pilgrims worship Rama at Triprayar during his nirmalyadarsanam, then proceed to pray at   Bharata at Koodalmanikyam and Lakshmana at Moozhikkulam temples during Ushakala Poojas. The worship of Shatrughna temple at Payammal  comes during Uchakala  Pooja.
 Payammal Sree Sathrughna Swami Temple,www.sathrughnatemple.com
 Important Vazhipadu is Sudarshana dedication or Sudarshana Pushpanjali. Here, Sree Shathruknha swamy is believed to be an avatar of Sudarsanachakra of Sri Vishnu. Attending the night puja is recommended. Shathruknha, in the Ramayana, was entrusted with the job of slaying Lankeswara who received  from God Shiva a special mystical lance  which made him invincible. The five day festival starting on the Pooyam day in the month of Kumbha is famous. 
 Payammal Sree Sathrughna Swami Temple. Discovering India.Net

A strange custom is followed here. Devotees submit their daily income-expenses account' book  before the deity in the evening puja for his forgiveness if errors are committed unwittingly by them!

Darshan time: morning 5:00 AM to 10:30 AM and evening 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Here, during the month of Karkidakam alone the darshan timings are changed as 5:00 AM to 1:30 PM in the morning and 4:30 PM to 8:00 PM in the evenings.

Payammel is 8 km away from Irinjalakuda, 4 km away from Mathilakm by rroad. . By Rail: Irinjalakuda 15 km By Air: Kochi 45 km. To complete the Nalambala Yatra, the pilgrims have to go to the Thriprayar Sri Rama temple where they started their holy trip.
Ref:

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nalambalam