Thirunavaya Temple, a 6000-year old temple on the banks of Bharathapuzha River is a popular tourist spot in Kerala for both historic and spiritual reasons. This temple is very popular even in the ancient times because of the Mamangam festival. The place where this shrine is located was used for conducting this festival, which was a grand assembly for the rulers of the state. Thirunavaya Temple is almost 8 kilometers away from Tirur and easy for the pilgrims to reach.
An Alluring Ancient Temple
The Navamukunda Temple, popularly known as the Thirunavaya Temple is one of the oldest Vishu shrines in Kerala. It is believed that this temple dates back even to the last period of the ‘Dwaapara Yuga’. The interior walls of this ancient temple are adorned with beautiful sculptures that narrate the stories of Lord Shiva and Arjuna. Thirunavaya Temple and the surrounding areas were under the rule of ‘Cheraman Perumals’ and later it was under the administration of ‘Vettathu Rajas’.
Presence Of Nava Yogis
This region is also called Nava Mukunda temple because nava (nine) yogis worshipped Lord Vishu at this place. These yogis were Sathuvanathar, Saaloga nathar, Aadhinathar, Arulithanathar, Madhanga Nathar, Macchendira Nathar, Kadayanthira Nathar, Korakkanathar and Kukkudanathar. Since Lord Vishnu gave darshan to these yogis at this place, it is called Thirunavayogi and later changed in to Thirunaavaya.
A Temple Equivalent To Varanasi
Even though this temple is known as Nava Mukunda temple, it is dedicated to Lord Shiva. In fact, it is considered equivalent to Varanasi as this temple has the presence of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva temples. It is believed that Markandeya, a mythological character worshipped Lord Shiva at this place. Lord Shiva gave darshan to him and killed yama at this place. There is a temple in this spot which is known as the Truppangottu Shiva Temple. It is one of the 108 Shivalayams in the state. There are several sub-deities also in the Navamukunda temple such as Lord Ganesha and goddess Lakshmi.
Historical Importance Of Thirunavaya Temple
Located near Ponnani in the Malappuram district, the Thiruvanaya Navamukunda Temple holds immense historical importance. The Mamangam festival, which held once in 12 years conducted at this place. Rulers from different areas of the state reached there for the grand assembly. It was an extravagant festival that was held for the last time in 1755 AD. This temple has been famous not only in Kerala but throughout the country because it was a teaching-centre of the Vedas in the ancient times. However, this teaching center was destroyed by the army of Tipu Sultan but the Zamorin repaired this temple later.
How To Reach Thirunavaya Temple
Many pilgrims reach this temple every year as it is a sacred spot. This temple is believed to be blessed with the presence of Goddess Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvathy, Gayathri, Ganga, Yamuna, Shani and Markandeya. The 10-day annual festival of the temple held in the month of March/April. The nearest airport to reach this shrine is Kozhikode International Airport which is about 30 kilometers away. Travelers can opt for the Shornur-Nilambur track or the Mangalore-Madras track if they travel by train to reach this temple. Since this temple is connected by NH-17, it is easy for travelers to reach by bus or hiring a taxi.