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Located in the famous city of Trissur, Irinjalakuda town, Kerala, the temple for King Bharata welcomes Lord Rama devotees from far and wide. King Bharata is widely appreciated for his sense of fair play and justice and the immaculate feeling of brotherhood that he displayed towards Lord Rama throughout his life.
Bharata was an ideal brother who renounced his throne because it rightfully belonged to Rama but by the deceit of Kaikeyi, Bharata's mother, who passed on the kingdom to Bharata and forced King Dasharatha to send Lord Rama into exile for 14 years. Outraged by the audacity and unethical conduct of his mother, Bharata offered the kingdom back to Lord Rama who refused it in order to stay true to the promise he had given to his father. Bharatha lived like a hermit for 14 years till Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya from exile. He was devoted to Lord Rama's padukas through which he symbolically ruled Ayodhya till Lord Ramas return back to the kingdom.
Once the forehead displayed a glaring light on the Bharata idol. A devotee took a ruby that belonged to the king of Kayankulam and held it near the deity's forehead to compare the brightness. But the ruby disappeared inside the forehead of the deity. So the deity is fondly addressed Koodal Manickam. Manickam stands for ruby and Koodal is the name of the temple. Kulipini teertham is the temple tanks name and it does not have frogs or snakes. Only fishes are to be seen here and they are fed by devotees. This procedure of feeding the fish is called meenottu. Cosmetic items are not used in pujas only flowers are used.
Vakke Kaimal the head of the village in Kerala dreamed of god asking him to get the idols of Rama and his brothers from the seashore. As per the commands, the chieftain found it on the sea shore, all of the vigrahas looked like mirror images of Vishnu with mace. Club, conch and discus. Rama idol was installed in tiruparayar, bharatha in irinjalakuda., Lakshmana in Mozhikulam and shatrughna in Payamma temple. All these four temples are very close by and in one day the darshan of all four idols in the temple can be completed.
Sage Kapilini was doing penance here at Irinjalakuda and pleased with his penance god appeared. The rishi conveyed to him that he did not want any worldly pleasures to be granted to him. But he asked for a boon that allowed all the righteous people to have a good darshan of the lord here and that Lord should make this place his residence and bless the devotees. The temple is 3000 years old and has a temple tank Kulipini teertham named after the Rishi who penanced here.
At Bharata temple, the grandest festival that is celebrated is the Chittirai Brahmotsavam in April-May every year. This temple is frequently visited for offering prayers for wedding boons without delay or obstacles from Bharata. A special mala made of 101 lotus beads are offered for this same purpose by devotees. Devotees also offer Tirumanjanam and Tulasi Archanas to Lord Bharata who is known as Koodal Manickam God in Kerala literature and folklore. Bharata is regarded as one of the Alwars and is addressed as Bharatalwar. It was in recognition of his selfless service to Shri Rama Padukas which he had respectfully placed on the throne. The opening timings are between 3 am to 11.30 am in the morning and in the evening from 5 pm to 8.30 pm.
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