Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thiruvilwamala Temple And Punarjani Cave

On the banks of Bharathapuzha river,  at Thalappally Taluk in Trissur District
on a serene rocky hill shaded with Peepul trees is situated the famous and ancient 'Thiruvilwamala' Temple.



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This temple is known as 'Vilwadrinatha Temple' and Lord Srirama  and his brother Lord Lakshmana are  enshrined here along with Sri Anjaneya Swami.(Hanuman Swamy).Once the deity of this temple Mahavishnu killed a demon by taking a fierce form and Vilwamangalam Swamikal made him calm by chanting mantras.Thus the temple derived the name 'Vilwadrinath Temple'.
The legend is that this temple was established by Sage Parasurama.After annihilating the 'Kshatriyas' Lord Parasurama performed a penance on this hill
Steps on rock 'Rakshasapara.'
praying Lord Shiva.Lord Shiva appeared before him and presented a Mahavishnu idol which he consecrated at the eastern shrine of this temple.Lord Mahavishnu summoned the wandering souls of the 'Kshatriyas' and asked them to stay at 'Bhoothamala' adjacent to the shrine .By the blessing of 'Vilwadrinath' the souls attained salvation.
The legend about the western shrine is as follows.The son of  'Kasyapa Prajapathi' whose name was   ' Sage Aamalaka' performed a rigorous  penance to propitiate Lord Mahavishnu by consuming only gooseberry in small quantities.After a while  Mahavishnu appeared with Mahalakshmi Devi and Serpent Ananda before him.As per the request of the Sage there formed a 'Swayambhoo idol'(Self formed Idol) of Lord Vishnu which we see in the western shrine at this temple.The devotees suppose the Western shrine idol as 'Sri Rama' and worship him in that form.
People witnessing Punarjani Guha  'Noozhal'
The Eastern Shrine idol is supposed as Lakshmana and worshiped in that manner.
The protector of this temple is  Hanuman Swamy who is consecrated at the eastern side.
The celebrations of this temple includes 'Thriputhari of Malayalam month Chingam,'Niramala'  of Kanni month,'Panchagamyam' of Vrichikam month,Srirama Navami of Meenam month etc.A large mass of devotees who
comes to perform 'Bali' for the departed souls on  'No Moon' day in Thulam month visit this temple to worship 'Vilwadrinath'.
After bowing down to Hanuman Swamy the devotee enters the eastern Shrine
and goes to the western Shrine after visiting Ganapathi also.They worship the Boothanatha deity also and goes round the sacred peepul tree.They go to
Saraswathikundu and bows in remembrance of Amalaka Sage.This routine is followed here.
Punarjani Guha
Two kilometers east of this temple is 'Punarjani Guha' which is a natural cave
tunnel in the rocks  which is 150 meters long.It is believed that the architect
of Semi Gods 'Viswakarma' made this cave   as per the request of Lord Parasurama.The  souls of Kshatriyas blessed  by 'Vilwadrinath' got salvation
by going through it.On the cliff of a large rock is this tunnel existing.One can
go through it with very difficulty by walking a small distance,in some parts they have to sit and move,in many parts they have to crawl.Going through
the cave tunnel from one side to the other is performed by devotees  only
on one day in an year- Guruvayoor Ekadasi Day- in the month of Vrichikam(Nov-Dec).
The crawling through the tunnel is called in Malayalam as 'Noozhal'  and thousands of devotees flock here every year. Devotees perform it to  get relieved their sins and to get  
blessings for liberation of birth and death for one's soul.The souls will attain
'Moksham'(Salvation) with no rebirth again is the belief.In this ritual small
children and women are not allowed to participate but women in large numbers come to witness it.
The devotees touch the Ganapathi Theertham as the beginning of the 'Noozhal'.Then they will go to take bath in 'Papanasini Theertham' and start
this ritual.After coming out of the cave they will again take bath in Papanasini Theertham.They will visit the 'Pathala Theertham'  'Kombu Theertham' and 'Ambu Theertham'. They 
pay worship by taking a little water from them.Kombu Theertham is believed
as made by elephant  of Devendra 'Airavatham' by its tusk where as Ambu Theertham was made by Devandra by his arrow.Papanasini Theertham and Pathala Theertham were made by Lord Parasurama.
Thiruvilwamala Temple and Punarjani Cave  are  situated 20 km from Thrissur
and 22 km from Palakkad.

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