There is only one River which bears the name of Bharata.
It is Bharathapuzha in Kerala.
Considered to be a Holy river on par with the Ganges, this river boasts of a rare Vishnu Temple where Nine Yogis worshiped Lord Vishnu.
In pasurams of Tirumangaialwar and Nammalwar, Thirunavaya is refered as Thirunavai, Lord Vishnu as Sree Nava Mukunda Perumal and Thayar (Mahalakshmi) as Malar Mangai Naachiyaar or Sirudevi.
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’ 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 spiral, 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.’
Besides the Navamukunda (Vishnu) which is the main deity of the temple, there are two other deities in the Temple: Aadi Ganesa and Sree Mahalakshmi..
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 .
There are several rituals prescribed for the dead. Adiyanthiram, which falls on the 11th day, 16th day or 41st day of death, Sraardham (death anniversary) and Kshethrapindam in which a silver idol into which the soul of the dead is made to enter is brought to the temple as offering after the first anniversary of death, etc are some of the rituals. ‘Bali tharpanam’ is usually performed with Darbha (a type of long grass), Pavithram (ring made of Darbha grass), Ellu (sesame), cooked Rice, Flowers, Sandal paste, Water, etc placed on Banana leaves. An elderly person who knows rituals or a priest leads the ceremonies. Most Hindus of Kerala perform this on the Vavu (no-moon day) in the month of Karkidakam (Zodiac Sign of Cancer) as an ancestral worship or as offering of prayers for the departed souls of their ancestors.
The Pithru tharpanam on Karkkidaka Vaavu is considered as most sacred and important as this Vaavu is very near to the starting period of ‘Dakshinayanam’ (‘going South’ or the starting of the movement of the sun in the southward direction).
Thirunavaya Nava Mukunda Temple
Malappuram District, Kerala, India
PIN : 676 301
Phone : 0494 – 2603747
91 – 9446631453E-mail : email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Railway Station. Tirur.