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Sangameswara temple at Irinjalakuda
Temples of Kerala

Irinjalakuda located south of Thrissur, bears a temple to Bharata, brother of Rama. Associated closely with this temple are temples dedicated to Lakshmana at Tirumoozhikkalam (which is one of the 108 Vaishnava Divya Desam temples), Rama at Triprayar and to Satrugna at Payammel. Bharata is also referred to as Sangameswara, given the belief that Irinjalakuda was located at the confluence of two rivers - the Chalakudi and Kurumali rivers (sangamam), which have now changed course.

Legend has it that four images of the heroic brothers Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Satrugna were washed ashore and were discovered by a local chieftan Vakkey Kaimal and were installed at the sites mentioned above. All of these four images are those of Vishnu, but are referred to as Rama, Lakshmanaperumaal, Bharata and Satrugna.  Offering worship at each of these four shrines on a given day, is considered auspicious.

Legend also has it that the area where the temple sits now was once an area dominated by rishis engaged in the worship of Vishnu. It is believed that Vishnu consented to please the worshippers, by signifying his presence there through the image currently held in worship at the temple.

It is also believed that the rishis brought in the waters of the celestial Ganga to sanctify the space. The temple tank, Kulipini theertham is named after one of the rishis. The Kulipini tank is filled with fish, but apparently has no other form of aquatic life such as frogs or snakes.

The Kootalmanikkam legend: Legend has it that the image of Bharata (Vishnu) radiated with dazzling brilliance and that devotees brought in a gem (manikkam) to compare the brilliance. The gem is said to have merged (koodal) with the image and henace the name Koodal maanikkam.

Deities:   The only deity installed in this temple is Bharata - Sangameswara. There are no other shrines in this temple. Worship is offered in the name of Shiva, Vishnu and Devi to the presiding deity.

Sangameswara is installed as a magnificient chaturbhuja Vishnu bearing a conch, discus, a mace and a rosary respectively.

Architecture: As in the Triprayar Rama temple, the sanctum is a circular one with a conical copper plated roof. The temple has murals as well as wood carvings and friezes on the sanctum walls.

History: The Triprayar temple was originally under the domain of the Zamorin rulers of Kerala. It later came under the posession of the Dutch, the Mysore sultans and the rulers of Cochin.

Daily worship services: Three worship services are carried out each day - (   etirthu, panthirati and athazha). Only the lotus, tulasi and the techhi flower are offered to the deity. Brinjals are considered to be a special offering here.

Festivals :  The annual festival is a 11 day event concluding on the Tiruvonam asterism in the month of Aries. Triputtiri - six months after the Tiruvonam aaraattu in Medom - in the Malayala month of Thulaam witnesses a great feast when newly harvested rice is cooked and offered first to the deity. The next day witnesses the offering of a proprietory Ayurvedic preparation known as Mukkidi, which is considered to be a miraculous cure for stomach ailments.