Tirunavaya Temple is a historically significant ancient Hindu temple on the banks of the River Bharata dedicated to Nava Mukundan Vishnu with the other deities like Ganesha, and Lakshmi. It is located near the ancient Hindu pilgrimage centre of Tirunavaya, a village 8 km south of Tirur in the Malappuram district of Kerala state, India. The temple was the traditional venue for the historic ritual of the Mamankam festival, an enactment of traditional martial arts by suicide squads.The temple was attacked first during Tipu Sultan’s invasion in 18th century and later in 1921 during the Moplah rebellion.
According to the local legends, goddess Lakshmi and Gajendra, the king of the elephants, worshiped god Vishnu here with lotus flowers from a lake nearby; with the two devotees using flowers from the same source, its supply dwindled, and Gajendra appealed to Vishnu, who took Lakshmi by his side on the same throne and accepted worship offered by Gajendra.
There is another legend associated with the Tirunavaya Temple. The deity is called “Nava Mukundan” as it is believed that the idol was the ninth one to be installed in the shrine by a group of Hindu saints known as “Navayogis”. The first eight idols disappeared as soon as they were placed there and the ninth sank to its knees before it was forcibly stopped. It is interesting that the image of Nava Mukundan is portrayed only from above the knee, the rest of the image being concealed within the ground. There is believed to be a bottomless unexplored pit behind the image in the sanctum.