The essence of Thiruvilwamala is in the surrounding 18 hills, the Vilwadrinatha Temple, and the Bharathapuzha river running along with it. When you cross the swell of the river and enter Thiruvilwamala, the attractions of the countryside become clear. The view along the route is of sprawling paddy fields, thatched houses, and tea stalls right up to the walls of the Vilwadrinatha Temple, the pride of simple life abounds.
Bhoothamala is located on the east bank of the river Bharathapuzha. Thiruvilwamala consists of
Vilvamala and Marikunnu hills which are adjacent to it. Punarjani Cave is a rock formation
located at the confluence of Bhoothamala and Vilvamalai. Thiruvilwamala is rich in legends, one
such legend says Parasurama and the Pandavas came here to atone for the sin of killing the
Kshatriyas. The stories that begin with Parasurama are based on forgiveness and rebirth.
Punarjani was created by the gods at the request of Parasurama to liberate the ghosts. Cave
pilgrimage is traditionally done on White Ekadashi (Guruvayoor Ekadashi) day in the month of
Vrishchikam. On this day, thousands of people come to Thiruvilwamala to seek forgiveness and the
The cave can be reached by walking half an hour through the forest from the temple. There is a stream on the slope of the hill - Ganapati Theertham. If you take a dip in the Ganapati Theertham, which is full of water all year round, and walk to the south-eastern part of the hill, you will reach the Papanashini Theertham. It is believed that water from the river Ganga flows in this stream.
Iron handrails have been installed at the banks of Papanashini for pilgrims to walk on. After
bathing in Papanashini, you can walk a short distance to reach Punarjani. You can bend down and
walk some distance towards the entrance of the cave. After that, sit down and relax. If you go a
little further, you can only move by lying down. Everyone finds their way by holding on to the
limbs of plant roots around. The only guide is the beams of light coming from the cave entrance.
The journey from there is the hardest. You have to go up through one or two circular holes. The
journey to this place is known as the Virtue of Punarjani. It takes about three and a half hours
to sneak out of the cave.
On Ekadashi day in Vrishchikam, the priest and his group will arrive at Punarjani at 3.30 am from the Vilwadrinatha temple with a musical parade. After the poojas at the entrance of the cave, a gooseberry is placed in the cave. The view of the gooseberry coming out through the other entrance of the cave is amazing. People may climb the forest of Thiruvilwamala only on the 100th day of Punarjani. Access to the forest is restricted by the Forest Department on other days.
Thiruvilwamala is located in Thalappilly taluk on the border of Palakkad in Thrissur district.
The century-old temple has three reservoirs on each side - Ramanchira, Bhagavathichira, and
Vaikkattirichira. In the past, pilgrims used to go around the hills near Thiruvilwamala, this
pilgrimage was known as Giri Pradakshinam.
The legend says Advaita Acharya Adi Shankara did the Giri Pradakshinam which involves hiking around Bhoothamala, Vilvamala, and Marikunnu. On the way back to the village market of Thiruvilwamala, which is 16 km away, you can see many amazing sights. Pradakshinam route is at Kakkakundu, Pampady, Kollaikal, Naduvathu Para, Maleshamangalam, and Chungam.
The Puranas of Thiruvilwamala are of old stories and legends derived from legends. It is believed that sage Narada was the first traveler to reach Thiruvilwamala. Narada told the world that there was a cave at the bottom of the temple and that there was a golden bow inside it. The Vilwadrinatha Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Lakshmana, was thus known as the Temple of Miracles. Thirty days in the month of Karnataka are special darshan days at the temple, which is believed to be the abode of Lord Vishnu, Lord Rama, and Lord Lakshmana.
Vilwadrinatha Temple is located on a cliff. Standing on the top of the cliff is a marvelous
sight. Rare lizards can be found here if you are lucky. According to the ancients, the Guruvayur
Shree Krishna Temple can be reached by air from the altar. The Ayyappa Temple can be reached by
descending the steps from the South Gate. In the devotion to Saraswati, one can lay stones and
pray for exaltation.
During the months of Kanni and Meenam, the sun shines directly on the idols inside the Vilwadrinatha temple. It is a beautiful sight to see the rays of the morning sun falling on the idol on the east side. At sunset, the idol on the west side glows golden with sunlight.
The construction of the temple is a testament to the ancient art of wood carving. Narayana
ornaments and wooden chains are some of the attractions of the area. The lighthouse is near the
wall and the perimeter path. The enclosure is after the courtyard of the lighthouse. The altar
stone here is considered to be Swayambhuva. The views around the sanctum sanctorum include the
east porch, the porch, the darkroom, and the north porch. There are two shrines to the east and
west. Legend has it that the idol to the east was erected by Parasurama.
The Hanuman Temple at Thiruvilwamala is famous. The idol facing the devotees is on the east side of the temple. Apart from the Vetilamala and Aval Nivedyam, garlands inscribed with the name of Lord Rama are also offered to Hanuman. It is believed that the girls visiting here will be blessed.
As you walk through the alleys with those folk tales in mind, all the attachments in your mind dissolve. Everyone realizes that all the experiences in life until yesterday are just memories. In a way, isn't that reincarnation?