The ancient Koodalmanikyam temple holds a unique position among the temples of Kerala. Located in a serene green pocket, the surrounding trees and ponds give the temple a sacred aura which inspires tranquility and at the same time, awe at its amazing architecture.
It is the only temple in India dedicated to Lord Bharatha, also known as Lord Sangameswara, the brother of Sree Rama. It is believed that the temple belonged to the Jains but with the decline of Jainism, it was taken over by the Hindus. The earliest recorded reference to this temple is in stone inscriptions relating to the Chera king Stanu Ravi Varma dating back to 854 AD. It mentions the donation of a vast tract of land by the king to the temple. By this it can be inferred that the temple existed before this time and was of significance even in those days.
There is an interesting folklore existing about the idol in this temple. It’s believed that the idols’ forehead began to shine brightly one day. A piece of quartz (manikyam) owned by the raja of Kayamkulam was brought to compare the brightness emanating from the idol’s head. In the process, the quartz slipped and fell, merging with the brightness of the idols’ forehead. A similar brightness was again manifested in the idol hundreds of years later in 1907.
Another strange fact about this temple is that there is only one deity here – unlike all other temples where at least Lord Vigneshwara can be found. The deity here is believed to have such strong powers that even fatal diseases of the faithful devotees can be cured. And interestingly enough, there is no Thulasi growing in this temple – unlike other temples.
The temple itself is a thing of great architectural beauty, belonging to another world with its ancient mural paintings which still glow with color. The four large ponds in the sprawling 10-acre plot further add to its magnificence.
The eastern ‘Gopuram’ (gateway) of the temple is a grand imposing structure graced with numerous paintings and carving on the walls. There are two more imposing Gopurams on the western and southern sides. The architecture is typical Kerala style with white-washed walls and tiled roofing. The round-shaped inner sanctum sanctorum of the temple is covered with copper plates, adding to its glorious look. There is a six foot-high ‘Thaazhikakunda’, adding to the grace and magnificence of the temple. The impressive carvings in wood and stone here attract historians and art lovers alike.
Located on the outskirts of Thrissur, this is a must-see location for everyone.