The Malayalam month of Karkkidakam (July 16-August 15) will usher in a period of physical and spiritual rejuvenation for pilgrims who wish to visit the temples dedicated to Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Shatrughna. The ‘Nalambala Theerthayathra’, an annual pilgrimage to the four temples in Central Kerala, will begin here on Monday.
The authorities of the Thriprayar Sree Rama Temple, Irinjalakuda Koodalmanikyam Temple, Moozhikulam Lakshmana Perumal Temple and Payammal Shatrughna Temple, and various government departments and agencies have made arrangements in this regard.
Prayers will be offered on the same day at all the four temples, all within a 35-km radius. Pilgrims will first visit the Thriprayar Temple and conclude their journey at the Shatrughna Temple.
According to legend, Vakkayil Kaimal, a minister with the Ayirur Kovilakam of Ponnani, had dreamt that the four idols of Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana and Sathrughna, which were originally worshipped at Dwaraka, were subemerged by the sea at the end of ‘Dwapara Yuga’.
They had been floating together, and it was instructed that they should be installed at designated places. When Kaimal went to the seashore, fishermen had found the idols and handed them over to him. Astrologers directed Kaimal to install them at four specified locations, thus establishing the four temples. The Thriprayar shrine depicts Lord Rama as the protector of the universe. Thriprayar Thevar is the presiding deity of the Arattupuzha Pooram, a significant festival of Central Kerala. The temple at Irinjalakuda depicts Lord Bharata offering prayers to Lord Rama. The Moozhikulam temple, a rare shrine dedicated to Lord Lakshmana, is situated on the banks of Chalakudy River. Moozhikulam has been mentioned in the 10 slokas or ‘Pasura’ by Tamil poet Nammazhwar. The Payammal temple, six km from Irinjalakuda, is also a rare shrine dedicated to Shathrughna. The KSRTC will operate special services on this route during the festival period.