Thursday, July 11, 2013

NALAMBALA DARSHANAM (FOUR TEMPLE PILGRIMAGE)

During the last month of Malayalam Calendar, 'Karkadakam'  which falls from mid July to mid August, the Hindus of Kerala State in India and pilgrims from other states of India  performs a pilgrimage to the most famous  temples dedicated to Sree Rama,Bharatha,Lakshmana and Shatrughna in Kerala on   a single day.There are altogether four sets of temples dedicated to these'Ramayana Heroes' in Kerala, but out of these the most visited temples in a single day are 'Thripayar Sree Rama Temple,Koodalmanikyam Bharatha Temple,Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Temple and Payammal Shatrughna Temple.This pilgrimage is known as 'Nalambala Darsanam'.
The month of Karkadakam is known as 'Ramayana Masam'(The month of Ramayana) during which in most of Hindu homes the elder member of the family recites the holy poetry text 'Ramayana' (translated version written by
'Thunchathu Ezhuthachan) part by part every day  so that the whole book will be finished by the end of the month.When the book is read aloud by the elder member of the family, all others will listen to it devotionally.This is an old tradition and might have started by people in fear because Karkadakam was a month of famine and epidemics  very long ago.People used to spend that month  spiritually  reciting Ramayana and praying Lord Rama who is believed to eradicate all evil forces and bring in prosperity.Visiting these temples during that month on a single particular day is considered auspicious.
When there was no proper transportation facilities this was indeed a difficult task to finish in a single day  because they used to cover the distance by walking.At present people use vehicles and this is not at all a difficult pilgrimage.
People follows the traditional system by which they have to visit Sree Rama Temple first, then they have to go to Koodalmanikyam temple,and afterwards to visit Lakshmana temple before 'Ucha Pooja'(The special pooja at Noon).The pilgrims has to visit the last temple of 'Shatrughna' situated at Payammal for the 'Deparadhana' which is the  'Aarati Pooja' (Special pooja around 6.30 P.M).The number of devotees performing 'Nalambala Darsanam' during Karkadakam month are increasing every year.

THRIPAYAR SREE RAMA TEMPLE

The most famous Sree Rama temple in Kerala is 'Thripayar Sree Rama Temple'. There is a river flowing adjacent to the temple which is known as 'Theevra'.It is also known as 'Thripadayar' since it flows near the holy feet of the Lord.The temple name derived from the name 'Thripadayar'.
It is believed that Lord Shiva's presence is also in this temple as 'Dakshina Moorthy' and he is a Universal teacher who bless devotees to acquire knowledge.He cures chronic diseases too.There is special Pooja held for Lord Sastha in this temple.'Hanuman Swamy's presence is also here.There is a shrine of 'Gosala Krishnan' also.
The deity of this temple  controls  the world famous 'Arattupuzha Pooram' which started earlier than  'Thrissur Pooram'.There is no annual festival in this temple but festivals like 'Ekadasi' are celebrated in a grand manner.

IRINJALAKKUDA KOODALMANIKYAM TEMPLE

Koodalmanikyam temple which is situated at 'Irinjalakuda' of Trichur District in Kerala State is rare in this category and a very famous  temple in India dedicated to 'Bharata', younger brother of Sree Rama.Sree Rama is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and the deities of these four brothers are revered as 'Lord Vishnu' itself.
The deity of Koodalmanikyam temple comprehends the powers of all Gods is a belief.Once a Brahmin pilgrim from 'Thaliparmba' in Kerala who had tantric knowledge  sought to have a temple in his village with a deity having powers of all Gods.He visited many temples and enclosed a small portion of the powers of the  deity in each temple in a conch with his tantric knowledge.When he came to Koodalmanikyam temple his Conch fell on the ground and broke.All the God's powers which he enclosed in his conch from different temples entered in to the deity of Koodalmanikyam temple.Thus the deity of this temple  became 'Sangameswaran'.
Lotus flowers are mainly used in this temple and there is restriction for certain kinds of flowers for usage here.Devotees offer lotus garland for the Lord.Camphor and agarbathy (incense stick) are not used in this temple.Basil plant does not grow in the temple yard.In the temple pond no other creatures other than fish will not survive and are not found.
Koodalmanikyam temple deity also cures diseases of devotees.'Vazhuthana Nivedyam(A dish made from Brinjal) cures chronic stomach ailments.For curing chronic lung diseases and breathing difficulties devotees give food for the fishes in the temple pond.There are some other poojas and offerings to get cure diseases.

THIRUMOOZHIKULAM LAKSHMANA TEMPLE


This temple is situated in the northern side of Ernakukulam District between 'Aluva'  and 'Mala'  at 'Moozhikulam.
This temple is one among the ancient   historic 108 Mahavishnu temples in India.
'Dakshinamoorthy' is also consecrated in this temple facing to the south.There are presence of Ganapathy,Seetha,Hanuman,Sastha,Bhagawathy etc in this temple.The main offerings include 'Ottayappam' for Ganapathy,Astabhishekam,Palpayasam(Milk porridge),Neerajanam,Karukamala,Vennanivedyam(offering butter).
Offering Silk,Silver,Turmeric powder and Palpayasam to 'Urmila Devi' and praying to her is performed for 'Mangalya Bhagyam'(obtain a suitable match and getting married).





PAYAMMAL SHATRUGHNA TEMPLE

From Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam temple the place 'Arippalam' is situated 6km away.From there travelling one km to west will reach 'Payammal temple'.Shatrughna is believed as the incarnation of 'Sudarshana Chakra' of Lord Vishnu.In the Ramayana story he was not depicted as a big hero but one who assisted brother Bharata.Shatrughna but was an able warrior who saved the Kingdom from the attack of Lavanasura.

The important offering of this temple is 'Sudarsana Puspanjali'.This is conducted by devotees to end difficulties caused by enemies and to get prosperity.Another offering is to provide 'Sudarsana Chakra' to the temple.This will also please the Lord and the devotee will be blessed to have good family relationship and prosperity.
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The legend is that these four idols were in possession of  Lord Sree Krishna and was worshiped  by him at Dwaraka.When Dwaraka was immersed in the sea, these idols did not sink but floated on the water and reached  the coast of Kerala.A person from Ponnani Taluk, by name 'Vakkayil Kaimal' had a vision in his dream about the floating idols in the sea.He brought them to the shore with the help of fishermen.He consecrated the idols to these four places after consulting astrologers.