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Punarjani Guha

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Punarjani Guha, a natural tunnel in rocky cliff is 2 kms away from the Thiruvalla Temple; the deity of the temple is Sri Raman which is believed to be ‘Swayambhu‘ (Born on its own), and its abode is on the western side. On can reach this spot on foot trekking through the rugged hills. The narrow tunnel is about 15 meters long. People have a belief that if one crawls on the tunnel he is relived of sins and gifted with rebirth. Only men can crawl here, women are allowed once a year on Ekadeshi Day.The main attraction in the temple is the ‘Punarjani Guha’ (cave). The “punarjani” cave is in between the Vilwamala and the Bhoothamala. The Punarajani cave is a natural 15-meter long tunnel in the rocky cliff. It is believed that by crawling through the tunnel from one end to the other, one washes away all his sins and thus attains rebirth. The ritual is known as ‘Punarjani noozhal’. Once we enter the Punarjani cave it takes about three-quarters of an hour to reach the exit.The movement through the cave demands all kinds of bodily postures like standing, sitting, creeping, crawling etc. Only men are allowed to perform this ritual, while women can only visit the cave. The ritual is practiced only in one day in an year, the Guruvayur Ekadasi day in ‘Vrischikam’ (November-December).Theerthams :1. Before starting to Punarjani we have to touch the “Ganapathi theertham” (which never gets dried up) on the northern side of the mountain about quarter of a mile eastwards from the temple.2. Next we can reach a steep rock about seventy feet high on travelling about one and a half miles over the mountain. The broad “Papanasini Theertham” is seen if we proceed a little further in the southwest direction over the narrow projection on the rock. This was made by Parasurama and the presence of Ganga has been brought in this Theertha. Railings have been provided here for the devotees to walk easily without fear of falling down from the narrow projection of the rock.3. After making the Punarjani noozhal, custom is to go to papanasini again to purify the body and then go to the entrance once again. Next the devotees have to bathe or wash their hands, feet and face in the “Pathala Theertha” on the west at a distance of about thirty feet. It is believed that Parasurama who had brought the presence of the purified water of “Brahmakamandalu” here made this also.4. The next step is to take holy water in our hands from the “Kombutheertha“, which was formed when Indra’s elephant Iravatha struck his tusk on the rock.5. Nearby lies the “Ambutheertha” from which water has to be taken out using some stick or anything like that. People believe that one “Janma” or span of life is reduced from the cycle of births and deaths if we go through the punarjani cave once.

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