Kuttumuck Shri Mahadeva Temple

कैलास राणा शिव चंद्रमौळी | 
शिव स्तुती मराठी | 
तुजवीण शंभो मज कोण तारी

March 12th 2022 – it was conclusion of the Utsava in the legendary and ancient Devalaya Kuttumuck Shri Mahadeva Kshetram in Thrissur. The Utsava that began on 3rd March (Poorvabhadra Nakshatra, called Pooruruttati in Malayalam) of Kumbha Maasa (month) and concluded on the Arudra Nakshatra (Thiruvathira Nakshatram in Malayalam) with the traditional Aaraattu (bathing of the Deity’s Vigraha in the temple pushkarni or river associated with the Devalaya.

Gratitude – first up

This temple holds a special place in my heart as this was the place we came to rest enroute for a a few hours, during my 1st Pilgrimage to Shabarimala as a 8 year old boy. We brothers had severe motion sickness and were totally dehydrated and a dip in Kadampuzha Bhagavathi Temple Pushkarni did a world of good, freshening up and a localite suggested visiting and praying in this temple in Thrissur too enroute. May Bhagawan Shiva bless this noble localite for ushering us towards this amazing temple (which was not as developed as you in the pictures shared in this article. Waiting for his call to pray here again and wish it happens very soon.

The Temple

The current temple structure built in Kerala Architecture style (very different from with other architectural styles in the rest of India) is believed to be more than 300 years old and the Vigraha which is much older, is believed to have been consecrated by Maharshi Khara.

The Vigraha or the Murti (Idol) – The Legend

Mahadeva Shiva is consecated in the fiece and highly powerful Kiratha form (Hunter form) in this Kshetra. After the Khandava Yuddha (battle), Indra offers all his weapons as a gift to Arjuna for defeating him in battle, the only condition being that Bhagawan Shiva is pleased. Arjuna seeks Bhagawan Shri Krishna’s advice, who asks him to go on tapasya (penance) to please Shiva and attain divine weapons. Arjuna left his brothers for a penance, gets a deeksha mantra from Maharshi Vedavyasa and begins his penance.

Duryodhana upon learning this, sends Mukasura, who takes the form of a wild boar to kill Arjuna and for his Vrata Bhanga (breach of the penance and vows). Bhagawan Shiva as He always does appears in the form of a Hunter accompanied by 4 dogs (4 Vedas) to protect Arjuna. Arjuna shoots and arrow and kills the boar – at the same instant the Hunter also shoots the arrow. There arises a dispute between hunter and Arjuna as to whose arrow downed the boar. They end up in a fierce fight which bow/arrow, then with sword, and then wrestling. Each time brave Arjuna despite being severely injured gets upto fight again. Finally, Arjuna realised that the hunter was Lord Shiva Himself and sought his pardon. Bhagawan Shiva and Maa Parvati thereafter appear in their original form and blessed Arjuna with their darshan and grants the Pashupatastra. The battle between Kiratha and Arjuna is described well in the text, Kiraataarjuneeya.

Upon request of Arjuna and other locals, Bhagawan Shiva continues to be here in the Kiratha form and the Shiva Linga in this temple is quite big (told it was more than 4 feet tall)

The legend also has it that Tippu Sultan, the tyrant King of Mysuru attacked the temple to loot all the riches. None of the locals were prepared for this surprise attack and when they were almost at the temple, suddenly a swarm of wasps emerged and attacked the army, making them beat a hasty retreat.

The main offering in this temple is the Sahasra Kalasha Dhaara (1000 Pot water Abhisheka) to the Shiva Linga.

ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् |
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात् ||

Sharing Videos of the 2022 Utsavam

Ratha Saptami – Light & Enlightenment

ॐ आदित्याय विदमहे दिवाकराय धीमहि तन्नो सूर्यः प्रचोदयत।
Om Adityaya Vidmahe
Diwakaraya Dheemahi
Tanno Surya Prachodayat

In a culture that reveres, celebrates and worship every aspect of creation, Ratha Saptami is an important day. It is observed on the Saptami Tithi (Seventh Day) of Shukla Paksha (Waxing phase of the moon) in the month of Magha (11th month of the Hindu Calendar). It is also called Magha Saptami, Surya Jayanti, Achala Saptami, Arogya Saptami and so on and is dedicated to worship of the Sun – it is believed that Chariot of the Sun is closest to the earth on this day.

Bhagwan Surya is considered the Pratyaksha Devata – Visible God. He is Apauresheya (which means not of Human) and was born to Rishi Kashyapa and Aditi on this day and hence the day also is often called Surya Jayanti.

Bhagawan Surya on His Rath, Charioteered by Half-Brother Aruna

It is on this day that Bhagwan Surya changes direction His Chariot to North-easterly direction and provides life giving and sustaining energy to all creations. He also nourishes and ensures good health. His charioteer is half Brother Aruna and there are interesting aspects to the Chariot itself. It is drawn by 7 horses. According to various beliefs Seven Horses represents Seven Adharmic acts (loosely translated as Sins) or Seven Colors of Rainbow (or components of white Light as modern science discovers much later) or Seven Days of the Week (Vasaras) The Chariot has 12 Wheels to represent Twelve signs of Zodiac or 12 months. Worship of Bhagwan Surya thus ensures mastery or control over all these aspects and help us lead a happy, contented or in other words, Dharmic life. It is on this day that there is a symbolic transition of season (currently 7th day of Shishira) towards Vasanta Ritu which starts on the day of Ugadi.

Navagrahas with Bhagwan Surya in the Centre

Being central to all the Life forces required for creation He is depicted as the central figure among the Navagrahas which also goes on to prove that our ancient Rishis were well aware that all planets revolve around the Sun and also that the number of planets are Nine (though in Hindu belief system, two of them, Rahu and Ketu are Shadow planets )

How is the day Observed

Devotees wake up before sunrise and finish their ablutions and have a ritualistic bath with Arka Leaves (see picture) placed on 7 parts of our body along with Akshate (Rice and Turmeric). 1 leaf on the head, 2 on the shoulders, 2 on the knees and 2 on the feet. In some families, the practice is for Men to bathe without Turmeric (only Arka leaves and Rice). It is also significant to know that Arka also means Sun Rays.

Arka Leaves (Calotropis porcera)

After ritualistic bath, it is time for Arghya pradhana to Sun. Offering water from the Kalasha facing the Sun chanting the following mantra

Namah Suryaya Shantaya Sarvaroga Nivaarine 
Ayu rarogya maisvairyam dehi devah jagatpate

I bow to you Bhagwan Surya, the ruler of the Universe, the one whose energy that is curative, Bless us with long life, good health and prosperity

After offering Arghya, light a lamp and agarbati (incense sticks), offer flowers (red colored one), and perform Karpoor (Camphor) Arathi.

Other Gayatris and mantras for Surya

Om Bhaskaray Vidmahe
Mahadutyathikaraya Dheemahi
Tanno Surya Prachodayat

Om Bhagwan Surya I meditate upon you, The one who showers the Universe with light and remove darkness and Seek your eternal blessings

Om Sapt Turagay Vidhmahe
Sahasra Kirnay Dheemahi
Tanno Ravi Prachodyat

I meditate upon you, The one who rides a Seven Horsed Chariot, the one who blesses the earth with thousands of rays and seek your eternal blessings

After the above prayers, we perform Sun Salutations or now popular Surya Namaskar. It is interesting to note that Surya Namaskar is also 12 postured asanas performed in smooth transition and performed under early morning rays of the sun, which is proven to have great benefits to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being of humans.

The ritual ends with Chanting Shri Suryashtakam (This is from Samba Puranam and recited by Samba, son of Lord Sri Krishna and Jambavati and as name indicates, it consists of 8 paragraphs of texts). Sharing link to a You Tube link available at the time of writing this with Kannada Lyrics

MAY BHAGWAN SURYA DESTROY ALL PLANETARY DOSHAS, MAY THE CHILDLESS BE BLESSED WITH HEALTHY PROGENY AND POOR BE BLESSED WITH ABUNDANT WEALTH
RATHA SAPTAMI GREETINGS TO ALL

Koodal Manikyam – Where Two Rubies Merged

Koodal Manikyam Temple – Main Entrance Tower
Koodal Manikyam – Temple

Located in Irinjalakuda (Thrissur Distrcit) of #Kerala, an ancient temple dedicated to Shri Bharatha, brother of Bhagwan Shri Rama. Though I have visited this Devalaya many times before, it was different this time, with specific focus on learning about the Sthala Purana and also to fulfill a personal vow.

Etymology of name – Koodalmanikyam or Sanghameshwara
According the legend briefed by Melshanti and a representative of the Tantri family (Shri Kaimal) the name of the place Koodalmanikyam is derived from two words, Koodal (meaning merging) and manikyam (ruby) – merging of two rubies. Hence the Deity here is also known as Shri Sangameshwara

Legend has it that one morning, Bhaktas noticed that there was a very birth red light radiating from the Agnya Chakra (forehead) of the Moorthi surprising everyone there. Precious stones during those days were only in the possession of the royals and Bhaktas approached then King of Kayamkulam to request him to bring his Ruby for comparison of this bright light. During this process, the ruby from King’s hand slipped and fell down and merged with the gem stone present on the moorthi and hence the name Koodalmanikyam or Sanghameshwaran. The lore also has it that it again happened during early 1900s. It is also believed that Irinjalakuda got its name as it was confluence or Sangamam of two rivers Chalakudi and Kurumali and hence the Deity is called Sanghameshwaran.

The Pushkarini – Kulipini Theertham

Lord Vishnu is present here eternally in accordance with the boon granted to severe penance carried out by Maharshi Kulpini. The present Kulpini theertham was the homa kundam where the yagnas were performed by the Maharshi and believed to have Holy Ganga, Yamuna and SaraswaTi

There are certain distinctive features about the Koodalmanikyam temple. It is the only ancient temple (dates back to 9 century) dedicated to Bharata (Rama’s younger brother) in the whole of India. Even today, it is believed that Hanuman lives in the temple kitchen. Brinjal naivedyam is another important offering made to Bharata. It is considered to be a prime medicine to cure stomach ailments.

Devotees pray here to prevent raining on any special celebration day in the family like marriages or other such functions. We visited here to fulfill our vow having prayed for a rainless day on our daughter’s wedding (during peak rainy season in Bengaluru)

Only three flowers are offered to the Deity here – Lotus, Tulsi and Chethi (Ixora) Unlike other temples of Kerala, only 3 poojas are performed (as against 5) and 3 Seevelis (ceremonial procession of the Moorthi on caprisoned elephants)