The Thirumoozhikulam Sree Lakshmanaperumal Temple is the other temple amongst the 108 Divya Desam situated in the Eranakulam area. The 108 Divya Desams as the reader would know are temples that have been praised by the Tamil Sri Vaishnava saints or Azhwars. The other temple Thikkakara or Thirukakarai has already been described in my previous post. These two fall under the Malainadu Divya Desams. The drive from Thrikkakara to Thirumoozhikulam is about 25 kilometres which takes about 35 minutes.
The place gets its name from a legend, which goes like this. This region was a forested area and Haritha Maharishi, chose this to do his meditation and penances by the river Poorna (now called Periyar). Lord Vishnu was pleased with his devotion and austerities and advised him on how one could deal with the challenges of Kali Yuga. Hence, the place got its name from ‘Thirumozhi’ which means ‘divine words’ and ‘kalam’ which means place.
Thirumoozhikulam also forms part of the Nalambalam Yathra, which consists of four temples dedicated to the four brothers of the Ikshavaku dynasty. It is believed that during the end of Dwapara Yuga, the four idols of the brothers, namely, Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna that was worshipped by Lord Krishna became submerged in the sea. Much later these idols were found by some fishermen in Thriprayar near Thrissur. A chieftain called Vakkayil Kaimal, installed the idol of Lakshmana in Moozhikulam.
This temple is also associated with another legend. When Sri Rama was sent into exile, his brother Bharata as we know is very upset and comes to invite him back and take charge of his kingdom. When Lakshmana sees Bharata approach them with an army, he is angry as he misunderstands Bharata’s intentions and thinks that he is out to kill them. However, when Lakshmana understands Bharata’s innocence, they both pay their respects together to Rama and Sita at this holy spot. The Lord is worshipped in Lakshamana’s form in this temple and holds the Shankha (conch), Chakra (discus), Gadha (mace) and a Lotus in his four arms. Nammazhwar in his composition ‘Periya Thiruvanthadi ’ and Thirumangaialwar are amongst the azhwars who have sung the Lord’s praises. In their paasurams, Thirumoozhikkulam Lakshmana Perumal is referred as Thirumoozhikkalattappan and Thayar (Mahalakshmi) as Madhuraveni Naachiyaar. The presiding deity’s image was damaged during Tipu Sultan’s invasion.
Inscriptions from the 11th century CE (Bhaskara Ravivarman) are seen in this temple.
There are also shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva as Dakshinamurthy, Lord Krishna, Goddess Bhagavathy and Lord Ayappa. There is also the shrine for Urmila Devi, who was Lakshmana’s wife. Her worship is known to bless women with ‘mangalya sowbhagyam’ or longevity of their husbands. Unlike other temples, no music is played in this temple during worship. The temple also has inscriptions from the 11th century CE of Bhaskara Ravivarman – from the lineage of the Chera dynasty.
Festivals: In the month of Medam (April- May), there is an annual festival for 15 days.