|Architectural styles||Traditional Kerala style|
Koodalmanikyam Temple or Kudal Manikkam Temple is a Hindu temple which is situated in Irinjalakuda, Trissur district, Kerala state, India. The temple comprises the main structure, walled compound with citadels, four ponds around the main structure where in one of the ponds is situated within the walled structure.
Koodalmanikyam Temple is the only temple in India dedicated to the worship of Bharata, the third brother of Rama. Today, the presiding deity of Koodalmanikyam Temple near Irinjalakuda is Bharata, the brother of Ram. 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The earliest historical reference to Koodalmanikyam Temple is found on a stone inscription attributed to the Chera king Stanu Ravi Varman dated 854 A.D, donating vast extents of land for the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.
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 Deeparadhana.
Sticks and camphor are not used for the pooja. The floral offerings to the deity consist of lotus, tulasi (ocimum sanctum) and thechi (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.
- "Koodalmanikyam Irinjalakkuda". Manorama Online (The-week.com). November 29, 2005. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Nalambala darsanam from July 17". The Hindu. 2007-07-15. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- Girish Menon (2010-04-05). "Recovery of temple lands bogged down". The Hindu. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
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