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Thirunavaya Temple

Tirunavaya Temple is a historically significant ancient Hindu temple on the banks of the River Bharata dedicated to Nava Mukundan Vishnu with the other deities like Ganesha, and Lakshmi. It is located near the ancient Hindu pilgrimage centre of Tirunavaya, a village 8 km south of Tirur in the Malappuram district of Kerala state, India. The temple was the traditional venue for the historic ritual of the Mamankam festival, an enactment of traditional martial arts by suicide squads.

From ancient times Thirunavaya was known throughout India as a centre of excellence for Vedic teachings, with Veda Paadda Saalas (Thirunnavaya Otthanmmar Maddom) for teaching the Vedas, Sasthras, Tantric Mantras, performing of rituals and preaching under learned scholars. (Recently these were shifted to Cheru Thirunnavaya, a centre on the South bank of Bharathapuzha).

The Vaishnava sect of Hindus have 108 Thiruppathis (most holy temples) and eleven of them are now in Kerala and Thirunavaya is one among them. It was on the sandy ridges and outskirts of Bharatapuzha that the glorious magnum event MAMANKAM was conducted once in every 12 years.

This temple was constructed about 5000 years back. Though it had undergone periodical renovations, the last and major renovation with the reconstruction of Sanctum Sanctorum was done by the legendary PERUMTHACHAN under the direction of the Vettath Raja about 1300 years back. The reconstruction had the typical ' Perumthachan touch ' making the rays of the rising sun fall on the idol on every Medam First ( in Utharaayana period, ie in April) and on Kanni First,(in Dakshinayana period ie, in October).

This temple, 'The Navamukunda Temple' is one of the oldest Vishnu temples in Kerala. It dates back to the last period of the 'Dwaapara Yuga'.

Thirunavaya was once the capital of Perumpadapu Swaroopam. It is indeed the cradle of culture in northern Kerala. Holding immense historical importance, this is the place where 'Mamangam', a grand assembly of the rulers of Kerala was held once every 12 years, in olden times. This extravagant festival was held for the last time in 1755 AD. The famous and ancient Thirunavaya Temple, known throughout the country as an ancient teaching-centre of the Vedas, was once plundered and destroyed by Tipu Sultan's army. It was the Zamorin who repaired the temple later.

This is the place were Nava yogis (Sathuvanathar, Saaloga nathar, Aadhinathar, Arulithanathar, Madhanga Nathar, Macchendira Nathar, Kadayanthira Nathar, Korakkanathar and Kukkudanathar) worshipped Vishnu. Vishnu gave darsan for Nava yogi. Hence this place is called Thirunavayogi and later changed in to Thirunaavaya.

Location : Thirunavaya Nava Mukunda Temple, Thirunavaya, Malappuram, Kerala, India.

Gods : Lord Vishnu, Ganapathy, Lakshmi

Landmark : Malappuram is well connected to almost all the major cities of Kerala as well as the rest of India by a number of routes of transportation. These include: Nearest Airport : Kozhikode Airport lies at a distance of around 26 Kms away from the district of Malappuram. Nearest Railway Station : Kuttippuram is the nearest railway station to this temple. Malappuram has two important railway tracks running through it. These include the Mangalore-Madras and Nilambur-Shornur tracks both of which are well connected to almost all the other cities of Kerala. Nearest Bus Station : An efficient system of roads connects almost all the different parts of Kerala and neighboring Tamil Nadu with the city of Malappuram. Notable among these is the National Highway-17, which can be said to be the lifeline of the districtís communication system. A number of buses traverse through these roads of which a large number are regulated by the Government of Kerala.

Festivals :

The main Ultsavam (Annual Festival) of this temple is for 10 days in April from the day on which the Festival Flag is hoisted, i.e., on Meda Sankramam. Meda Sankramam is the day on which the Sun moves North and reaches Medam Rasi. There will be all sorts of traditional festival rituals. There will be ceremonial parades with the Idol placed on sacred ornamented seat on elephants with Nettipattam', colourful ceremonial parasols decorated with silver beads, golden spangles, etc and accompanied by renowned artists playing traditional percussion and wind instruments.

There will also be stage performances of religious theatrical arts and other traditional performing arts. The streets and houses will be decorated with hangings of woven tender coconut leaves. Thousands of worshippers and devotees from far and wide, men and women folk with relatives, irrespective of age, come in neat and colourful costumes, with ornaments and flowers and bring offerings making the festival days unforgettable.

Other Hindu religious festivals like the Ekadasi (eleventh day of the fortnight in which the moon waxes) in the Malayalam month Kumbha (Aquarius), known as Navamukunda Ekadasi, Ashtami Rohini (the birthday of Lord Krishna), Navarathri and all other Vaishnava (related to Vishnu) festivals are celebrated in this temple and attract thousands of devotees.

Offerings :

The main daily offerings for worship are Ney Vilakku (lamp lighted with ghee), Thaamara maala ( Lotus garlands) and Paal paayasam (Porridge/Dessert or Kheer made of rice cooked in sweetened milk). For unhindered availability of lotus flowers, one of the Maharajas of Travancore had constructed a vast pond of lotus plants nearby, and donated it to this temple.

Each and every person arriving at the temple during the entire year, is provided with free meals which is known as 'Prasada Oottu' or 'Annadaanam' which is one of the most important Vazhipadu.


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