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Saturday, February 09, 2008


This post came about after I watched amrita TV programme on temples and tradition called pradakshinam .

An excellent very watchable one indeed .
this one was specially intresting as it was about my most favourite temple that of navamukundan in tirunavaya near tirur my fathers place.

About the temple

Navamukundan temple of Tirunavaya is located on the banks of Bharatapuzha river. The presiding deity here is Navamukundan and Malarmangai Naachiyaar thayar. It is one among the Malai Naadu Divyadesam of SriVaishnavas in Kerala state.

Tirunavaya is located in the Chennai-Calicut route of Malappuram district of Kerala, close to Trissur. Edakkulam station is the nearest station to the temple and is located on the Palakkad-Mangalore rail route. The temple is 8 kms from tirur which is 43 kms from Kozhikode. By bus, one can reach Kuttipuram and take another bus to Tirunavaai.Nearest railway station: EdakkulamNearest Airport: Calicut

Specialty of this temple is that thayar has a separate sannadhi as compared to other malai naadu divyadesam in Kerala. Lord Navamukudan can be seen only from the portion above knees. The lord is also called Nava narayanan since it is believed that nine sadhus prayed to Lord Vishnu here and attained moksha. It is considered equal to Varanasi since temples of the three lords- Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva are present here. Maasi Makam is an important festival here.Pushkarni and VimanamThe pushkarni here is full of lotus flowers and hence known as sengamala saras, sengamala meaning lotus.The vimanam here is known as veda vimanam, derived from the vedic knowledge of the nine sadhus who worshipped here.
SannadhisNavamukundan in ninra thirukolamMalarmangai Naachiyaar (Periya Pirattiyar Laxmi)GaneshaBhagavatiSearch TermsTirunavaya, Thirunavaya, Tirunavai, Thirunavai, Tirunavaai, Thirunavaai, Navamukundan, Nava narayan

Though often associated with the emotion of grief as I have visited the temple many times mostly for doing rituals after the death of someone close but even in these occasions when our vision is blurred by remembrance of the departed loved ones one could but not escape from the serenity and beauty of the temple .
The Bharatapuzha curves sinously and laps on gently on the ghat steps which in the mornings are filled with people wet in thier dress and thier hearts doing thier duty for thier lost .
there are several priests and one can buy recipts giving ones preference or by precedence but unlike in benares in the north the priests dont knaw at you for lucre and custom .
after the customary dip and letting go of the physical remains one goes into the temple with a heartful of only memories .
kerala temples have a unique style entirely different from thier southern counterparts they blend so well with the surroundings .
simple in design they give a sense of peace and serenity ,the shantis ,ambalavasis who string the flowers go about thier job in studied silence and sincerity .
an air of cleanliness pervades most of the temples and there is no tinge of commercialism polluting the atmosphere .
in the evenings as temples light up the glow is etheral and divine .
navamukundan temple has a huge banyan tree in front of it facing the river and one could sit here for hours far from the maddening crowd caressed by the winds that sail across the river .
the movie by jayaraj desadanam has lovely composition by kaithaparam damodaran nampoothiri and the song navamukunda hare by manju is a treat to listen .
one can find this in ,malayalam song section ,desadanam.( tried to give a link but not working )

The temple is supposed to have five mystery questions which are enigmas without answers ,

they are

1 which direction does the water in the river nearby flow ,it appears in one direction but it isnt in that .

2 the pazhuppu mandapam is a part of all vaishanvite temples and this is for the utsava moorthy to be placed during ritual processions so that devotees can pray to him ,but the pazhuppu mandapam here looks as if it is outside the wall from inside and inside the wall from outside

3 a particular family has been given rights as kolathiri for ages ,the kolathiri is always the senior member be it a woman or man ,the question is who is the kolathiri now a women or a man ?

4 the banyan tree in front does not have a half where did it disappear ?

5 the idol is only from the knee ,the rest of it is below the ground .

most of the priests in the area have all built good houses in the road leading to the temple ,as huge crowds throng to the temple every day in the mornings .

good for them as many of the temples in kerala and the employees are ill paid by the government which strangely continues to have a stronghold on hindu temples and dare not try it with churches or mosques ,this is the reason for the dilapidated state of many heritage sites and lack of facilities for devotess though millions of rupees fill the government coffers from temples like sabarimala and guruvayoor ,one really wishes the kings were still ruling us instead of theses selfish politicians .

legend has it that Markandeyan escaped from Yama and came to Navamukundan for protection ,the lord opened his backdoor and asked him to run to Shiva across the bank as only he could sabe him and also promptly closed the door after markandeya left so yama could not follow him .
The mammankam of the Samoothiri took place once in 12 years very close to this temple ,it was where a chance was given to the velathirs who was given the right to rule when the perumals departed but usurped by the samoothiri,the samoothiri would give a nilapadu once in twelve years to the velathiris to avenge him if possible a band of marital panikker families well versed in kalaripayyitu called chevers like our present suicide bombers would make thier way through the huge army of the samorin ,
one uncle and his young nephew manged to cut thier way to the samorin almost ,at that time the uncle fell to a sword attack by the samoothiris men and called out to his nephew

" thavazhide mannathe katholanne monne ! "

" njan nokkikolam ammama "said the brave young man as he swished his sword on the samorin ,who cried out "narayana ! ",the nephew hesitated hearing the name of the lord which gave enough time for the samorins men to cut him into pieces and thus the samorin escaped death that day .

after this in 1775 the samorin never tried out mamankam .
there is an excellent book on kerala temples called thulasimala written by the trivandrum maharani which goes on to describe each temple so intrestingly .
my dream is to visit all those temples one day .


Maddy said...

very interesting collection of facts on the area - did u know that gandhiji's ashes were consigned to the bharatapuzha at tirunavaya? As for me i have been there only for some 'kriyas'

Maddy said...

very interesting collection of facts on the area - did u know that gandhiji's ashes were consigned to the bharatapuzha at tirunavaya? As for me i have been there only for some 'kriyas'

Maddy said...

very interesting collection of facts on the area - did u know that gandhiji's ashes were consigned to the bharatapuzha at tirunavaya? As for me i have been there only for some 'kriyas'

Anonymous said...

We have a treasure trove waiting to be expierienced and discovered.We still try to ape the foreigners and the piece was really an eye opener

harimohan said...

tks maddy for the fact on gandhijis ashes

raj said...

Excellent blog on Tirunavaya by the son of the soil, dr.hari!
Being a ‘Tirurian’ let me thank him for his effort
The trio of ‘bhakthi stream’ of literature in Malayalam, Thunjathu ezhuthachan (the father of Malayalam language), Melppathoor Narayana Bhattathiri (who penned narayaneeyam) and Poonthanam Namboothiri (creator of Njanappana) all lived in Malappuram District; Ezhuthachan was the native of Tirur while Melppathur lived in Tirunavaya and Poonthanam in Perinthalmanna.
One of the three pillars of Modern Malayalam poetry, Vallathol Narayana Menon,(the others- Kumaranasan & Ulloor S Parameswara Iyer)who was the founder of Kerala Kala Mandalam,was also the son of Tirur (Mangalam, his native place only 5 kilometres away from dr.harimohan’s ancestral home at Trikkandiyoor,Tirur)
The nearest railway station to Tirunavaya is not Edakkulam, but Tirunavaya itself; Edakkulam is only a small village near Tirunavaya.
However the major station near to the temple is Tirur!

Dr. Prasanth Pillai said...

Very interesting and informative narration, Dr. Hari... keep it up.


harimohan said...

tks rajutta for those valuable inputs and tks prasanth

Naveen said...

my amma will love this article ... she studied on the banks of bharatapuzha at cheruthuruthi ...the story of the samoothiri & samarin was great...& thanx for the information on the temple ....a "must visit" it sounds ..

raj said...

hi naveen, the other 'must visit' temples in tirur:

1.Chammravattom Ayyappa Temple which stands in the middle of bharatha puzha (four side water)

2.Triprangodu Shiva Temple;it was here Shiva killed Yama in order to protect Markendaya who was sent to the temple by Navamukunda

3.Aalathiyoor Hanuman Kavu: one of the very few hanuman temples in kerala; jayalalitha's favourite place of worship

4.Poozhikkunnu Garudan Kavu: again a rare temple for Garuda

5.Trikkandiyoor Shiva Temple: two huge ponds (chira) on both sides of the temple

sai kumar menon said...

Very informative! This book on Kerala temples you mentioned - is there an English translation as well?

Flowergirl said...

I crossed this region on my travel to Malappuram this last vist. I traveled till Tirur by train. I wanted to capture Bharathapuzha in my video, unfortunately, I couldn't. All in my family have gone to this place for kriyas at different time. I was the one left out. Mom always tells lots of stories on Bharatha Puzha. Lots of information ..thanks for sharing

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