Nestled amidst the lush green landscapes of the Ernakulam district in Kerala, India, lies the Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple, a hallowed abode where spirituality, history, and culture converge harmoniously. This ancient temple, with its roots deeply embedded in the annals of Indian mythology and heritage, beckons pilgrims, history enthusiasts, and curious travelers alike to embark on a journey into its sacred precincts. Join us as we embark on a spiritual odyssey through the enchanting world of the Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple, exploring its intriguing legends, rich history, and awe-inspiring architecture.
The Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple is not just a place of worship; it is a repository of ancient legends and myths that add to its mystique.
1. Ramayana Connection: One of the most captivating legends associated with this temple harks back to the epic Ramayana. It is believed that Lakshmana, the loyal brother of Lord Rama, sought refuge and offered worship at this sacred site during their period of exile. What sets this temple apart is the belief that the presiding deity incarnated as Lakshmana, making it a unique and revered place for devotees of Lord Rama.
2. The Origin of the Name: The name “Thirumoozhikulam” carries with it a beautiful legend of reconciliation and brotherly love. It is believed to have originated from the phrase “tiru-mozhi-kalam,” which translates to the “site where sweet words were uttered.” This name stems from the heartwarming incident when Lakshmana and Bharatha, two of Lord Rama’s brothers, came here and resolved their differences through sweet words and devotion.
3. Sage Harita’s Penance: Another fascinating legend tells the story of Sage Harita, who embarked on a rigorous penance on the banks of the Chalakudy River. Lord Vishnu, moved by the sage’s unwavering devotion, appeared before him and granted sacred wisdom, known as “Thiru Mozhi” or ‘Sacred Words.’ This divine encounter led to the renaming of the place as “Thirumoozhikalam.”
The Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple carries with it a rich historical legacy that spans centuries.
1. Antiquity: This temple’s roots reach deep into antiquity, with a history that dates back to ancient times. It is classified as a Divya Desam, one of the 108 holy temples venerated in the Sri Vaishnavism tradition, and one of the 13 Malai Naatu (Kerala/Chera) Divya Desams.
2. Imperial Contributions: Over the ages, various ruling empires have made contributions to the temple, adding to its architectural splendor and spiritual significance. The temple’s construction reflects the traditional Kerala style of architecture.
The architectural marvel of the Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple is a testament to the artistic and spiritual craftsmanship of the past.
1. Kerala Style: The temple is a classic example of traditional Kerala-style architecture, characterized by its eastward orientation. While it doesn’t feature a towering gateway tower, it boasts an elegant entrance arch that welcomes visitors with grace and serenity.
2. Nallambalam: The heart of the temple lies within a rectangular structure known as Nallambalam. This central sanctum houses the main deity, and it is adorned with intricate pillars and corridors, creating a serene ambiance conducive to prayer and contemplation.
3. Divine Idols: The sanctum sanctorum of the temple hosts an exquisite idol of Mahavishnu. The temple complex also features shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Dakshinamurthy, Lord Krishna, Goddess Bhagavathy, and Lord Ayyappa.
Festivals and Worship Practices:
The Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple is not only a place of daily worship but also a vibrant center for festivals and religious practices that connect devotees to their spiritual heritage.
1. Daily Worship Timings: Devotees can experience the divine presence within the temple on a daily basis. The temple opens its doors from 4 am to 10 am in the morning and again from 4 pm to 7 pm in the evening, providing ample opportunities for seekers to offer their prayers and seek blessings.
2. Major Festivals: The temple comes alive during its major festivals, which are celebrated with great fervor and devotion. Two prominent festivals that draw devotees from near and far are Vaikuntha Ekadashi and Thiruvonam. These celebrations offer a unique glimpse into the rich cultural and religious tapestry of Kerala.
3. Annual Festival: The pinnacle of festivity occurs during the main annual festival, which spans ten days and takes place in the month of Medam (April/May). During this period, the temple radiates with spirituality and enthusiasm, as various rituals and ceremonies are performed to honor the presiding deity.
4. Divine Poetry: The Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple holds a special place in the hearts of scholars and devotees alike. It is revered in the Nalayira Divya Prabhandam, a 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by revered saints like Nammalvar and Thirumangai Alvar. This literary connection further solidifies the temple’s significance in the spiritual landscape of the region.
5. Divya Desam: The temple proudly holds the title of “Divya Desam,” signifying its inclusion in the list of 108 Vishnu temples mentioned in sacred texts. This recognition underscores its sanctity and spiritual importance.
The Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple is not just a religious edifice; it is a place steeped in profound beliefs and sacred narratives.
1. The Divine Dream: Another captivating belief associated with this temple harkens back to the end of the Dvapara Yuga. Legend has it that when Dvaraka, Lord Krishna’s city, was swallowed by the sea, four idols of Lord Rama, Bharatha, Lakshmana, and Shathrughna, which Lord Krishna had worshipped, were washed ashore. Local fishermen discovered these precious idols near Thriprayar and presented them to Vakkay Kaimal Naduvazhi.
2. Sacred Installations: In a divine dream, a mysterious figure instructed Vakkay Kaimal Naduvazhi to consecrate these four idols in four different temples, just as directed in the dream. Accordingly, the idols found their homes in four distinct temples: Rama at Thriprayar, Bharata at Irinjalakuda, Lakshmana at Moozhikkulam, and Shathrughna at Payammal. Worshiping at all four temples on the same day is considered particularly meritorious.
3. Nalambalam Yatra: The pilgrimage that takes devotees to all four of these temples, popularly known as the Nalambalam Yatra, is a revered tradition, often observed during the Malayalam month of Karkidakam (15 July to 15 August), known as Ramayana Masam. Thousands of devotees undertake this sacred journey, strengthening their spiritual connection to the divine.
4. Kuttiyattam: In addition to its religious significance, the Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple serves as one of the primary centers for Kuttiyattam, a traditional dance form that is performed within the temple’s Kuttiambalam. This adds a cultural dimension to the temple, enriching the overall experience for visitors.
The temple graciously opens its doors to devotees from 5:00 am to 11:00 am and then again from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. These hours provide ample time for visitors to immerse themselves in the temple’s spiritual ambience, seek blessings, and partake in the rituals.
How to reach Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal Temple
Reaching the Thirumoozhikkulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple is a straightforward journey for those planning to visit this sacred site in Kerala, India. The temple is well-connected by road and is accessible from nearby railway stations and airports. Here’s how to reach the Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal Temple:
Cochin International Airport (COK): The nearest major airport to the temple is Cochin International Airport, located approximately 12 kilometers away. This airport serves both domestic and international flights and is well-connected to major cities across India and the world. After landing at the airport, you can hire a taxi or use other local transportation options to reach the temple.
1. Aluva Railway Station: Aluva is the nearest railway station to the Thirumoozhikkulam Temple, situated at a distance of about 18 kilometers. Aluva is well-connected to various major cities in India through regular train services. Once you reach Aluva, you can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach the temple.
2. Angamaly Railway Station: Another nearby railway station is Angamaly, which is approximately 20 kilometers away from the temple. Angamaly is also well-connected by train services, and you can reach the temple by taxi or bus from Angamaly.
Local Buses and Taxis: Thirumoozhikkulam is accessible by road, and you can hire local taxis or use the extensive network of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) buses to reach the temple. Buses connect various towns and cities in Kerala to Thirumoozhikkulam.