Nalambalam pilgrimage is gaining more and more popularity today. Nalambala Darsanam is an annual pilgrimage to four well-known temples in central Kerala during the Malayalam month of Karkkidakam (July 17 to August 16). Nalambala Darsanam involves offering prayers at the Triprayar Sree Rama Temple, Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam Temple, Moozhikkulam Lakshmana Temple, and Payammal Shathrughna Temple, which are dedicated to Lord Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana and Shathrughna respectively, on a single day. Karkkidakam is the last month of Malayalam Era. Salient feature of Karkkidakam is that it is period of famine and illness. To overcome sufferings people resort to medical treatment and spiritual enrichment. A special way of living and worship of Rama is the general trend of the period. Chanting of Ramamantra and recitation of Adyatma Ramayanam Kilippattu written by Thunchathu Ezhuthachan echoes in each and every house. To get rid of the difficulties of this month, people of Thrissur region started the Nalambalm pilgrimage centuries ago. It’s origin was at a time when vehicles were not available and pilgrimage to these four temples – as a ritual it had to be completed within one day between daybreak and noon was an ardent task, yet devotees did it right out of their deep devotion. Great pains earned them great gains. Now these four temples are well connected with roads. It has become very easy now to visit these temples in a single day. Tens of thousands of pilgrims from different parts of the State will visit these temples every year during Karkkidakam. These temples also attract devotees from neighbouring States.
Nalambalam T emples
- Triprayar Sree Rama Swami Temple
- Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Swami Temple
- Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal Temple
- Payammal Shathrughna Swami Temple
Rule to follow during the Nalambalam Yatra
The first temple to be attended is the Triprayar Sree Rama Temple. After the Nirmalyam at 3am there, proceed to Irinjalakkuda to attend the Usha pooja at the Koodalmanikya Swami Temple. From Irinjalakkuda then proceed to Moozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal Temple to attend Utcha pooja. Devottees must reach the Payammal Shathrughna Temple in the evening to attend Deeparadhana and Athazha puooja there. Devotees must also vist the Hanuman Temple near Chandanakkavu in this yatra.
Triprayar Sree Rama Swami Temple
Triprayar Temple, located in Thrissur district is one of the important temples dedicated to Lord Rama. Triprayar temple is located 22 kms south west of Thrissur in between Kodungalloor and Guruvayoor in the mid landmass of Chettuva. The temple is situated on the bank of river Theevra. Theevra river is also called Purayar. Hence this place got the name Thirupurayar (sacred river) and later became Triprayar. There is an interesting legend about the origin of this river. Lord Mahavishnu during his Vamana incarnation visited this place while going to Thrikkakkara and he found no water to wash his legs as the whole place was dry and desolate. Vamana took the water from his kamandalu (a small round vessel used by hindu sages to carry water) and poured the water to wash his legs, that source of water never went dry but kept on flowing as the Thiru Purayar or the Thriprayar (river of divine source) as it is called now. Purayar is also called Nandiyar.
Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Swami Temple
Koodalmanikyam Temple is situated at Irinjalakuda in Thrissur District. Irinjalakuda is 18 Km west of Chalakudy in NH 47 and 9 Km East of Moonnupeedika in NH 17. It is 23 Km south of Thrissur and 16 Km north of Kodungallur. This is one of the most well known temples in Kerala built before the 15th century. It has uniqueness as the deity here is Lord Bharatha or Lord Sangameswara.
As a temple with Lord Bhartha as deity is a rarity, there are arguments that once this temple belonged to the Jains (Bharatheswara saint of Jains) and with the descent of Jainism this temple was taken over by Hindus.
Thripputhari on the Thiruvonam day in the month of Thulam (October-November) is another important occasion in the Temple. It is a day of feasting when the newly harvested rice is first cooked and offered to diety and then is partaken of by the devotees. The day after the feast, there is a special offering called Mukkudi, which is considered to be a divine medicine for all ailments. Mukkudi is an Ayurvedic mixture, the formula of which being prescribed by Kuttancherry Mooss, one of the Ashtavaidyas.
Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal Temple
In pasurams of Nammalvar and Thirumangaialwar, Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal is refered as Moozhikkalattappan and Tayar (Mahalakshmi) as Madhuraveni Naachiyaar.
Thirumoozhikkulam temple is located in between Angamaly in Ernakulam district and Mala in Thrissur district. Thirumoozhikkulam is one among the 32 Brahmin gramams in Kerala. This is the place where Hareetha muni the son of Vishwamithra worshipped Vishnu.
The mythology behind the name of this place goes like this. Hareetha Maharshi did penance and meditation on the banks of river Poorna(Periyar). Lord Mahavishnu got impressed by the dedication of the Maharshi and appeared before him on the beginning of the Kali yuga. Lord Vishnu gave some advices to Hareetha Maharshi to overcome the difficulties in Kali yuga. These advices are called thiru mozhi meaning sacred words. And there after this place got its name as thirumozhi kalam – kalam means place. Later Thirumozhikkalam became Thirumoozhikkulam.
Payammal Shathrughna Swami Temple
Sathrughna Swami The Payammal temple, 6 km from Vellankallur along the Irinjalakuda-Kodungallur route, is one of the few Shathrughna shrines in the State. The Payammal temple is about seven kilometers from Iringalakuda Koodalmanikya temple in the Iringalakuda Mathilakam route. Shathrukhna is considered to be the reincarnation of the Sudarsana Chakra(disc) in the hands of Mahavishnu. This is the smallest temple among Nalambalams. Of the four idols retrieved from the sea by the fishermen this idol is the smallest. All the other three temples have circular sreekovils but here sreekovil is in rectangular shape.
Sudarsana Pushpajali and submission of Sudarsana chakram offered at this temple are considered to boost the prosperity of the family members. The five day long temple festival starts at Pooyam star of the month of Kumbha. The Ramayana month is celebrated with gaiety in the month of Karkkidaka.
Nalambalam Yathra ends with the visit to Payammal Sree Shathrughna Temple. People usually visit a temple of Lord Krishna named Elambalakkattu at Edakkulam while going to the Shathrughna temple.
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