Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikya Swami Temple
Lord Koodalmanikya Swami (Sangameswara)
Koodalmanikyam Temple is one of the most well known temples in Kerala built before the 15th century. It has uniqueness as the deity here is Lord Bharatha or Lord Sangameswara. As a temple with Lord Bhartha as deity is a rarity, there are arguments that once this temple belonged to the Jains (Bharatheswara saint of Jains) and with the descent of Jainism this temple was taken over by Hindus.
Irinjalakkuda in former days is believed to have the confluence of two rivers, the place name Iruchalkkidai suggests such a conjecture. The Lord at the confluence is thus known as Sangameswara. Though the two rivers (Kurumali river and Chalakudy river) have changed course and Irinjalakuda is no longer on any river bank, Arattu is held alternatively in these two rivers suggesting a previous connection with these rivers.
The lord at Koodalmanikyam is Chathurbahu Vishnu with Conch, Chakra, Gada and Japamaala. The general belief, however, is that the Lord is Bharatha the brother of Sree Rama. A distinctive feature of Koodalmanikyam temple is that there is only one single Prathista. Even Vigneswara, usually found in all temples dose not find place here. Usually when Thulasi leaves are offered to the diety, its seeds invariably sprouts in the premises. How this has not at any time happened in this temple is a mystery. One explanation is that Thulasi plant being sacred; it is worshipped wherever it is found. Probably it is to forbid even such an object of secondary worship in the temple precincts that Thulasi is not allowed to grow by some unforeseen power.
The architecture of this temple is a perfect example of Kerala Vasthuvidya. Koodalmanikya Temple is a maha kshethra with golden dwaja and pancha prakaras including Gopuram and compound wall, Anakkottil in east and west entrances, koothambalam, Vilakkumadam, Nalambalam/Valiyambalam, Namaskara mandapam and sreekovil. The eastern gopuram, anakkottil, koothambalam, sreekovil and namaskaramandapam are embedded with beautiful sculptures. The copper covered Sreekovil and namaskaramandapm with golden thazhikakkudams and the golden flag staff indicates the glory of this temple. There is no balikkalppura in this temple.
The Temple had also been an important centre of nourishment of the Temple Arts like Kathakali, Koothu, Koodiyattom and Thullal. Koothambalam stage had the rare fortune to witness historic stage shows by the masteros of Ammannoor Chakyar family.