navamukundha temple , thirunavaya / thiroor ; kerala divya desam
thirunavaya temple , an ancient hindu temple ornated in the 108 divya desam vishnu temple list , is located at thirunavaya, 12 km south of tirur in malappuram district of kerala state, india.
it is situated on the shores of bharathapuzha river.
thirunavaya has been a center of vedic teachings for a long time. it is known for pithru karyams meaning a place for performing rituals for forefathers.
nearby town : kuttippuram , thiroor
railway station : thiroor
contact details : +91 494 260 3747
architecture and temple layout
a medium sized temple with a central sanctorum where the beautiful main deity nava mukunda faces east.
then are steps leading to the bharathapuzha river.
temple legend aka sthalapuranam ( text copied from www.thirunavayatemple.org )
one of the 108 temples sung by aarvars ( alwars ) , thirunavaya is a very old temple dating back to dhwapara yuga.
the nine spiritually enlightened sons of ‘hrishabha’, the king of ayodhya, known as ‘navayogis’ (nine ascetics), were constant travelers. during their sojourn, they reached the confluence of the rivers ‘bagmathi’ and ‘gantaki’ ( in present day nepal ) from where the eldest son, kavi, got a salagrama of vishnu.
salagramas are stones found in the gantaki river basin in nepal, with special marks like spirals, chakras, thread, etc. formed on them and considered as sacred with the presence of god vishnu.
“install this salagrama at the most holy place for the welfare of mankind”, kavi heard an ‘asareeri’ ( the divine prompting voice).
kavi travelled all over india in search of the befitting place for the installation of the salagrama and placed it on the north bank of bharatappuzha at thirunavaya, where vishnu himself, whom the salagrama represented, had stayed during a ‘yaga’ conducted by brahma on the south bank.
kavi left the place complacent that his duty was over, but the salagrama sank into the earth. then his seven brothers brought other salagramas of vishnu and repeated the process and these also sank deep into the earth.
at last, the youngest of the brothers, karabhajanan, came to the same place and knew of the futile attempts of his brothers. he knew that this happened because, the proper rituals that should have been performed at the time of the installation were not performed. he installed the salagrama, as mukunda bestowing ‘moksha’ to the departed souls with all necessary rituals. this time the installation was successful.
later these nine brothers (navayogis) came to this place and performed a ‘yaga’ (or ‘yajna’, meaning ‘ritual of sacrifice’) for the appeasement of the gods and the welfare of the people. the place was thus known as ‘tirunavayogi’, in memory of the nine brothers, and the word transformed, as time passed, to the present form ‘thirunavaya’.
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’.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.
rituals for the dead
there are five ‘yajna’s which are sacred to the hindus and one of them is pithrutharpana (oblation), the prayers for the souls of the departed and rituals involving offering of food and water to the departed.
parasurama (one of the incarnations of vishnu) is believed to have come here to perform tharpanam (ritual offerings for the dead) for the souls of the thousands of kshatriyas he had killed. because of this, tirunavaya is considered as one of the most sacred place for conducting rituals for the dead .
temple is open from 5 to 10.15 am and then from 5 to 7.15 pm