Irinjalakuda is a Municipal town in Thrissur district, Kerala and is famous for Koodalmanikyam temple. Irinjalakkuda in former days is believed to have the confluence of two rivers; the place name Iruchalkkidai suggests such a conjecture. The Lord at the confluence is thus known as Sangameswara. Though the two rivers (Kurumali River and Chalakudy River) have changed course and Irinjalakuda is no longer on any river bank, Arattu is held alternatively in these two rivers suggesting a previous connection with these rivers.

Koodalmanikyam temple is dedicated to the worship of Bharata, the third brother of Rama. The temple is one of four in Kerala state that form a set called “Nalambalam”, each temple dedicated to one of the four brothers in Ramayana: Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna.

The folklore about how the temple came to be established here say that a local Chieftain, Vakkay Kaimal, had a dream one night in which some mysterious person appeared before him and told him that four idols have been washed ashore and that these idols are to be consecrated at different places.  The Kaimal being an ardent devotee hastened to the sea shore and found that there were four idols as indicated in the dream. They were duly installed in four temples as directed in the dream; Rama at Thriprayar (22 Km North West of Irinjalakuda) Bharata at Irinjalakuda, Lakshmana at Moozhikulam (30 KM south west of Irinjalakuda) and Shatrugna at Payammal (5 KM south of Irinjalakuda)

The lord at Koodalmanikyam is Chathurbahu Vishnu with Conch, Chakra, Gada and Japamaala. The general belief, however, is that the Lord is Bharatha , the brother of Sree Rama.  He anxiously awaited the return of Rama from exile for fourteen years and then learnt from Hanuman that Rama had reached the outskirts of Ayodhya. He was relieved and happy.  Baratha in that mood is worshipped here. Naturally Hanuman is also present at Thidappilly  [the holy kitchen].

“Sangameshwara”(Lord of the Confluence) is another name associated with the deity. Koodalmanickyam is the Malayalam translation of the Sanskrit word Sangameswara. There is a folklore relating to the name Samgameswara. One saintly person belonging to Taliparambu was on a strange mission. His objective was to collect the chaithanya of idols of important temples in Kerala for being transferred to the idol of the temple in his village. This he did by entering the Sanctum Sanctorum of the temples he visited and transferring the Chaithanya on to the conch in his possession. When he did the same in Irinjalakuda he accidentally fell down and the conch was broken instantly transferring the divinity of all idols he had acquired on to the idol at Irinjlakuda. Thus the idol in which merged the divine Chaithanya of several idols came to be known as Sangameswara. The Namboodiri Brahmins associated with the temple still make all their Sevaas in the name of Siva, Vishnu and Devi at Sangamesa Sannidhi itself.

A distinctive feature of Koodalmanikyam temple is that there is only one single Prathista. Even Vigneswara, usually found in all temples dose not find place here.

The temple holds its chief annual festival for ten days each year in the month of Medam (April/May). The first day of the festival is calculated by the appearance of the Uthram asterism and signified by hoisting a ceremonial flag. (The start day falls one day after the famous Thrissur Pooram festival in nearby Thrissur.)

There are four ponds that are located in and around the temple. The largest of the four are Kuttan Kulam, located outside the compound on the eastern side, and Kulipini Theertham, located inside the compound. Kulipini Theertham is believed to be sanctified by the sage Kulipini Maharishi, who held a great ritual sacrifice, a yajna, at the spot. Water from this source is used for rituals and ceremonies within the temple.

The pond outside the compound located at the western side is called “Padinjare Kulam” and the pond outside the compound located at the southern side is called “Thekke Kulam”. These three water bodies constitute a significant area as much as the size of the temple itself. Except “Kulipini Theertham” the other three water bodies are open to the public.



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