History of Tirunavaya Temple
Thirunavaya earlier served as the capital of Perumpadapu Swaroopam. Previously, 'Mamangam', an assembly of the rulers of Kerala was held once every 12 years. In 1755 A.D. the festival was held for the last time. Thirunavaya Temple earlier served as the centre of ancient teaching of the Vedas. This is the place were Nava yogis Saaloga nathar, Kadayanthira Nathar, Sathuvanathar, Aadhinathar, Arulithanathar, Macchendira Nathar, Madhanga Nathar, Kukkudanathar and Korakkanathar worshipped Lord Vishnu.
Legends of Tirunavaya Temple
According to a legend, once Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and Gajendra, the king of the elephants adorned and worshipped Lord Vishnu with lotus gathered from a nearby lake. As both the devotees plucked flower from the same lake, the supply of the flower diminished. Gajendra requested Lord Vishnu to Lakshmi accept her and offer her a place on the throne. He also accepted the worship of Gajendra.
As per another legend the idol of the deity of Tirunavaya Temple is the ninth one established in the temple by Navayogis, a group of Hindu saints. It is for this reason that the deity is known as 'Nava Mukundan.' It is said that the first eight statues had disappeared when they were installed. The ninth idol was also on the verge of sinking when it was stopped by force. The image of Nava Mukundan is thus, depicted from above the knees while the rest of the body is hidden below.
Tirunavaya Temple earlier paid host to the traditional practice of the Mamankam festival that organised the performance of martial arts by suicide squads. Pilgrims flock the temple on Karkkidaka vavu day to execute the pithrukriya rites.