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.
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)