|Architecture and culture|
|Architectural styles:||Traditional Kerala style|
Koodalmanikyam Temple is the only temple in India dedicated to the worship of Bharata, the second 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.
On the temple website, the Koodalmanikyam Devaswom clarifies that though the deity worshipped is generally believed to be Bharata, the idol in the sanctum sanctorum is that of Vishnu. "Sangameshwara"(Lord of the Confluence) is another name associated with the deity at Koodalmanikyam.
The earliest historical reference to Koodalmanikyam Temple is found on a stone inscription attributed to the Chera king Stanu Ravi Varman dated 854 A.D, donating vast extents of land for the temple. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the temple must have been in existence for quite some time before this date and that even then Koodalmanikyam occupied a place of importance among temples of Kerala.
Koodalmanikyam temple plays a key role in the history of Irinjalakuda as most land in and around the region belonged to the Koodalmanikyam Temple. The Devaswom allotted land to accommodate government institutions, Christ College, and for public use to facilitate development activities in the region. Much land that belonged to Koodalmanikyam was subjected to encroachment.
The government appointed a special tahsildar under the Kerala Land Conservancy Act to recover encroached land for the Kochi Devaswom Board, and a tahsildar and a surveyor for the Koodalmanikyam Devaswom. The temple attracts devotees and tourists, a source of revenue for the Irinjalakuda. Origin of Jainism in Kerala
Jainism came to Kerala in the third century BC soon after Chandragupta Maurya (B.C. 321-297), accompanied by the Jain monk Bhadrabahu, travelled to Shravanabelagola near Mysore (in present day Karnataka). Their followers are believed to have journeyed further south, into present day Kerala and Tamil Nadu, in search of suitable places for meditation. By the start of the Christian era, Jainism was well established in Kerala. Ilango Adigal, author of the Tamil epic Silappadikaram, was among the notable royal patrons of the Jain religion in Kerala. He lived in Trikkanaa-Mathilakam which attained fame as a centre of Jain culture and learning.
Jainism started its decline in Kerala during the 8th century resurgence of the Saivite and Vaishnavite movements, and by the 16th century it had almost disappeared. Some Jain shrines from these times still remain, notably in Jainamedu, near Vadakkanthara, Palghat, and in Sultan Battery in Wynad. Many Jain temples also got demolished during Tipu Sultan's raid.
There were many Jain temples spread over Kerala in ancient times. The temple at Koodalmanikyam in Irinjalakuda is believed to have been among them. The belief is that it was dedicated to Bharatheswara, a Digambar Jain monk (his statue can be seen in Shravanabelagola). Jainism declined in popularity in Kerala during the Saivite and Vaishnavite resurgence, and many Jain shrines, among them Koodalmanikkyam, became Hindu temples. The temple at Kallil, in Perumbavoor, was believed to have been a Jain shrine to Parsvanath, Mahaviran, and Padmavathi Devi. Now it is a Hindu shrine dedicated to Devi, but Jain pilgrims also come to pray at the shrine.
The temple architecture of Kerala owes much to Jain Vaasthu Silpa. Main Temples
Rituals and annual festival 
The custom in most of the temples in Kerala is to have five poojas and three sivelis a day. But in Koodalmanikyam there are only three poojas and no siveli. There is no Usha Puja and Pantheeradi Puja at this shrine. The deity is taken out for ceremonial procession only during the annual festival. There is no deeparadhana. There are plans to start deeparadhana here. This is the only temple without it.
Sticks and camphor are not used for the pooja. The floral offerings to the deity consist of lotus, tulasi (ocimum sanctum) and chethi (ixora). But they are not grown in the temple compound. No other flower is taken for pooja or for making garlands. Lotus garland is an important offering to the deity. A garland will be offered to the deity which does have not less than 101 lotus flowers.
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.)
Each day of the festival, a seeveli (procession of caparisoned temple elephants) is held twice, once in the morning and once at night, to the accompaniment of Panchari melam (sacred music). Seventeen elephants take part. Two features of the seeveli are unique to the Koodalmanikyam Temple: first that two baby elephants are included in the procession, one standing on each side of the elephant carrying the deity. Second, while the headdresses ('Netti pattam' in Malayalam) of seven elephants are made of pure gold, the rest are made of pure silver. The last two days of the festival feature Panchavadyam (sacred music from an orchestra of five instruments), and the festival ends at the Thiruvonam asterism.
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 Maharshi, who held a great ritual sacrifice, a yajna, at the spot. Water from this source is used for rituals and ceremonies within the temple.
Priests are allowed to take part in the ceremonies after clensing themselves at the "Kuttan Kulam" outside the temple and then have to take a dip in "Kulipini Theertham" before entering Sanctum Sanctorum. 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.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Koodalmanikyam Temple|