Saturday, November 26, 2011

Malayalappuzha Bhagwathi temple of Pathanamthitta

Malayalappuzha Bhagwathi temple of Pathanamthitta

By
P.R.Ramachander

Malayalapuzha Bhagawathi temple is just outside the Pathanamthitta town The Goddess here is in the fierce form of the Goddess known as Bhadrakali. She is called Malayalapuzha Amma. The temple attracts devotees from all major religions of Kerala. The popular belief is that the Goddess is noted for getting the unmarried girls married, protecting the devotee from enemies, helping businesses flourish, getting employment and in general extending prosperity to all the devotees. There is a popular story about the temple.
Long , long time ago one Namboodiri Brahmin went by walk to the Mookambika temple at Kollur. He spent a lot of time there unable to part with the Goddess Mookambika. When he decided to go back to his native place near Maruthwa Mala, the Goddess appeared in his dream and told him that she will come along with him to his place and entered the Saligramam that he was worshipping. Since this happened at night , she came in the form of Bhadra kali with eight arms and a very fierce looks. The Namboodiri reached along with a SAligramam and an Palm leaf umbrella a palatial home called THombil Kottaram. He stayed and took rest for the few days. But when he wanted to take the Saligramam and Umbrella , they did not move from that place. That night in his dream, the Goddess came and told him that she likes the place and would like to stay there. She also told the Namboodiri, that he will not live very long and would merge with her soon. He died soon and due to that her worship was affected. Bad omens came in large number in that place and the Goddess entered in to a member of the Thombil family and asked them to build a temple for her at that spot. This temple was about 5 km from the present temple . That Goddess was consecrated facing east and nearby a Shiva Linga also has been consecrated . This was in a plateau which is in between five hills. Later according to the wish of the idapally king , the chief of Thombil clan shifted the Goddess to the present location. One story is that the Chief of the clan became very old and was not able to climb the hills and reach the temple. He consecrated the Goddess in a spot on the shores of the south Malayala puzha , and below the Idathattil mountain. It seems that there was a temple of serpents in that place and this was destroyed to accommodate the temple of the Goddess. Even today there is worship in the original temple of the Goddess and lot of devotees gather there on the first of every Malayalam month.
There is another story about the origin of this temple “ This temple was originally situated in a small village called Edathitta ,in Pathanamthitta Dist.This was a full fledged village , ruled by Raja Shaktibhadran, the only Sanskrit south Indian writer.One day a tantrik from Malayalapuzha visited this place ,as he heard a lot about this temple. Malayalpuzha was in drought for many years. So the TANTRIK with his power ,migrated the shakti's of the devi to malayalapuzha.And the place progressed like anything.As the shakti's were taken away from edathitta, the place faced many destructions.And gradually there were no signs of the temple.Then according to the prashnakundali people found out as in when it was migrated and when will it come back,as the power cannot be transferred completely ,it mentioned that it will take 3000 yrs for this shakti to come back. And in 1992,somebody from that village saw a dream that the vigraham,and the pooja utensils were beneath the ground,and people started digging that place , where they found everything mentioned by the person.And the villagers then contributed towards temple. .”

The idol in the present location below the idathattil mountain is very fierce looking . It is made of concentrated Jaggery and is about 5 feet tall and has eight hands, with one leg moved to the front and kept on the Vetala and another stepped back. In spite of the fierce appearance , the devotees only see mercy in her eyes. Since the idol is made of Jaggery, only flower worship is done to it . It seems there was a custom to remove the idol every twelve years and replace it with a new idol got made in Tamilnadu. But once the people were not able to remove the idol from its seat. The Thombil Namboodiri that night saw a dream in which the Goddess told him that she does not want her idol to be removed. And asked him to continue the worship for that idol forever.
Just before entry to the sanctum, there is a small idol of Veera Bhadra and another peculiarity of the temple is the statue of Parvathi , on whose lap is the baby Ganapathi suckling her.
For recovering stolen goods people offer Thoniyari Payasam (Payasam made of 36 ¼ para (Para is approximately 14 kg) of rice
People believe that offer of Payasam made of with 101 Nazhi(120 ml) of rice, coconut milk , jaggery and 101 banana fruits offered to the goddess leads to fulfillment of our desires and success in business.
Ladies offer Manjadi seeds (Adenanthera pavonina Linn.) to the Goddess for increase of breast milk. This same seed , after taking it round their hair is offered by ladies near the flag post for luxurious hair growth.
Offer of arecanut , betel leaves , tobacco and camphor to the Goddess at the sanctum is believe help us fulfill our desires. The sacred ash that you get back from the temple after this offer should be kept in the prayer room. People believe that within a year their desires would be fulfilled. People believe that when we make requests to the Goddess , if a honey bee from outside enters the Sanctum sanctorum and returns back in our presence then our desire would definitely be fulfilled.
There is another very peculiar belief in the temple. It is believed that the soul of the devotees of the Goddess , after death comes and stays in the temple. So their sons/daughters come to the temple along with a piece of sandalwood packed in a red silk, make the soul enter that and take it out . This is called Chavirakkal (removal of death)
Farmers pray that they will give a part of the harvest of their field and take a cloth from the temple, write on it that the produce belongs to the Goddess. People believe that if this is done then theft of the produce from their field is prevented . This is called “Malayalappuzha Thoopu”
People also worship the Brahma Rakshas which is on the east of the temple for getting rid of ghosts , devils and evil magic affecting them. Offering of Mangalya to the Goddess to get married quickly is also done.
Just outside the temple The Naga Raja also is consecrated. Near it is an Konna tree which flowers daily all the year long. Below it a Shiva Linga which Is Swayambu (self made ) is there . People believe that this Shiva linga keeps on growing. People believe that if this Shiva linga is bathed with tender coconut water , immediate rain will result.
There is a temple (half a km away ) for the Yogeeswara grand father who brought the Goddess to this place , This is called Sri Kandeswari Moorthi Kavu. There are also Pancha moorthi idols in this temple. Here toddy , meat, Agar Bhathi, tobacco etc are offered to the grand father statute. People believe that the Goddess would be happy only if we visit this temple first before visiting her.
Unlike other Bhagwathi temples , there is no practice (asked to be discontinued by the Goddess ) of drawing her figure using rice powder, turmeric , saffron etc but the usual singing of her story is done there without it.
Another peculiar custom of the temple is that the procession carrying the deity turns left (ie clockwise) and because of this people called this Goddess Idathattil Bhagwathi( Bhagawathi of the left).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thrichammaresan temple of Thaliparamba

Thrichammaresan temple of Thaliparamba
By
P.R.Ramachander

Thali Parambu loosely translated would mean, a ground of temples. One of these is the temple dedicated to Lord Krishna , called Thrichammaresan. He is also referred as Thrichambaresan. This temple is one of the most important Krishna temples of Kerala. Here Krishna is portrayed in his form immediately after killing the elephant Kuvalayapeetam and rearing to kill Kamsa. This temple is not very far from the Thaliparambu Junction which is about 20 km from Kannur.town. We have to cross a small stream (which is usually dry or having very little water) to reach this temple. It is believed that this temple was established by a sage called Sambaran, The temple maintains a Gosala where large now of cattle are fed and maintained. These cows and bullocks are normally seen around the temple. The temple faces the east. Slightly west to it there is a pond and a temple of Durga.in the middle of it. People believe that she is the sister of Lord Krishna who was born to Yasoda. Slightly south of the temple there is an ilanji tree with a raised platform around it. It seems in ancient days one gentleman with wounds all over his body was lying underneath the tree praying Trichambaresan. It seems the fruits of the tree fell on him causing grievous hurt. Then he prayed Lord to help him by preventing the fruit fall. It seems the falling of fruits immediately stopped and from then on this tree has not borne any fruit. The devotees buy a ring from the temple and deposit it under the tree with a belief that all their desires would be fulfilled.(Mothiram vechu Thozheel). There are lot of technically superior murals all round the temple , which is large considering the temple type of Kerala. The idol of the temple is about four feet high and has a merciful look instead of the expected ferocious angry look.
Another peculiarity of this temple is that elephants are not allowed to come anywhere near the temple , So the usual procession of God on the elephant is not there in this temple. People believe that since Lord Krishna had just killed Kuvalayapeeta the four tusked elephant sent by Kamsa , all elephants would be scared on seeing the lord. It seems once an Islamic merchant rode on an elephant in spite of warnings around the temple. As soon as the elephant came before the gate , it fell down dead.
The annual festival of the temple (Uthsavam ) is held in the month of Kumbham (February-march) on 22nd of that month (approximately march 6th) and continues for 14 days. Lord Balarama who has a temple nearby (Dharmakkulam) visits this temple and every day there is a ceremonial dance (two people carrying Thidambu of Gods Krishna and Balarama ) on the nights of important festival days (27, 28 th of Kumbam and 1,2, 6 of Meenam ) during the festival. Initially the priests go round the temple carrying the Thidambu on their heads and later there is a dance with Gods acting through them. On the last day they move outside the temple and do the dance in the public road in a place called “Pookothunada” to the accompaniment of several drums played by their greatest exponents.. Since the brother gods are going to part after this (Koodi piriyal ) and would be able to see only after a year , there is a frenzy of separation in this dance. This dance is extremely famous in the northern part of Kerala.
“Ayiram appam of Trichambaram Temple, a special kind of sweet offering made in thousands, is quite famous. This is the only temple in Kerala where women from Namboothiri families prepare the offering.”

Thiruvulla Kavu Dharma Sastha Temple

Thiruvulla Kavu Dharma Sastha Temple

By
P.R.Ramachander

Thiruvullakavu Dharma Sastha temple is in the Peruvanam division of Kerala. This division was supposed to have been created by Lord Parasurama and had very learned Brahmins who were considered as great Vedic Pundits. (Please see the write up of Peruvanam shiva temple) . This is temple is again in the village of Perumbilliseri, near the small town of Cherpu near Trichur. It is believed that the famous saint Vilwamangala saw that the idol of this Sastha was being held in the right hand by Lord Shiva of Peruvanam and later a new temple was consecrated separately for Dharma Sastha on the right of The Shiva temple. It seems he chose to call it as “Thiruvulla Kayyor” But there is a theory that the actual name of the temple is Thiruvalakkavu(Holy temple on the right) . Some people even refer to it as Thiruvellakavu( Holy temple of water) . But any way the present name is Thiruvullakavu. Since the word “Thiru” represents Goddess Lakshmi , this name may mean as “A temple where Lakshmi(wealth) is there.”
It seems in olden times a Varrier who used to go by this way , saw a brilliant powerful light coming from the field where this temple is situated. When he examined the place he saw there the a small stone statue of Sastha . He immediately brought the trustees of Peruvanam temple , who consulted an astrologer , who told them that it is a Sastha (Son of Lord Shiva and Vishnu) idol. They immediately got a temple built up there . In the temple along with Sastha are his wife Prabha on his left and his son Sathyaka on the left. Kindly note that Lord Ayyappa, who was the incarnation of Dharma Sastha was a Brahma Chari. In Some places Sastha is being consecrated with two wives viz Poorna and Pushkala. Some people believe that he had only one wife called Prabha , who had the two forms of Poorna and Pushkala. In front of these stone idols , there is a slightly bigger idol of Sastha with a spear (soola) made of Panchaloha. The morning Abhisheka is done to the Pancha Loha idol and it is kept behind the stone idols later.
This Sastha is considered as one who gives knowledge . This is possibly based on an incident which happened at the temple.
It seems once there was a priest there by the name of Pattathu Vasudeva Bhattathiri. He was of very average intelligence and was assisted in his duties by a young Varasyar. One day the Varasyar left to her home and by the time The Bhattathiri closed his temple torrential beating rain started. Due to this Bhattathiri was not able to leave the temple . Due to this Bhattathiri decided to sleep in the Verandha of the temple without food. Then Sastha came in his dream and asked him to open the temple and eat the Banana fruit which was offered to him and was kept before him. Bhattathiri obeyed the order. Next day early morning the Varasyar came in search of him. She saw there was some transformation in case of Bhattathiri. He had become a great poet. When she asked , as to the turn of events, Bhattathiri related to her all that has happened. Then the Varasyar asked him as to where he had put the Banana peel after eating the fruit. When he showed him the place , she ate all the left over peels. She too was transformed in to a poet called Ikkali Varasyar. Both of them have a great place in Malayalam literature.
Due to this incident , this temple became very famous as the place where you can get knowledge and wisdom. Every Vijayadasami (Tenth day of Navarathri) day thousands of little children learn their first alphabets at this temple. Even on the other days children brought here and are allowed to start their way to education at this temple. The most important offering to this god are Unniyappam (Neyyappam in Tamil) and Kadalippazham(A particular variety of Banana) .The main festival of the temple starts on the Uthram star of the month of Kumbham (February-march) . That day The God is taken round on an elephant. And it ends on the hastham star of the month of Meenam (March-April)

The Darshan timing of the temple as given in the web site of the temple (http://www.thiruvullakkavudevaswom.org/) is as follows:-

Darshan Time
Morning - 5AM - 10:45AM
Evening - 5PM - 8PM

Pooja schedule
Nithyapooja/Nivedhyapooja - 6:30AM - 7AM
Trippuka - 7:30PM - 7:45PM
Thanthripooja - Morning on Muppattu shani days

During mandala maasam
Darshan Time
Morning - 4:30AM - 10:45AM
Evening - 5PM - 8PM

Pooja schedule
Nithyapooja/Nivedhyapooja/Mandalapooja - 6AM - 7AM
Trippuka - 7:30PM - 7:45PM
Thanthripooja - Morning on Muppattu shani days

Ezhuthiniruthal
Every day at morning 5AM - 10:45AM
Except on Mahanavami and Atham naal of Meenam


NB: The Sreekovil nada remains closed during the above mentioned pooja times.
After trippuka, in the evening no offerings can be done at the temple.

Thiruvilwamala Ramabhadra Swamy temple

Thiruvilwamala Ramabhadra Swamy temple

By
P.R.Ramachander

Thiruvilwamala(The sacred mountain of Vilwa) is a small village on the shores Of Bharatha Puzha. The main temple houses two temples. The one in the west is supposed to be a temple dedicated To Sri Rama and the one in the east is dedicated to Lord Lakshmana. But both idols are of the form of Lord Vishnu with four arms holding conch, wheel, mace and lotus flower. Near this temple there are two more rivers viz Cheerakuzhi puzha and Padur puzha. Though in the olden times there were no bridges in any of these rivers, the approach was only through Pazhyannur but now there are bridges in all the three rivers and Thiruvilwamala can be approached from several sides. It is believed that behind the idol of the temple there is deep hole in which there is a golden Vilwa tree. The name of the place comes from this legend. The temple also has idols of Ganapathi, Hanuman and Ayyapan which are consecrated there . There are many stories about this temple.
One of them says that Lord Parasurama after killing all the royal families of India wanted to give salvation to their souls. So he did great penance addressed to Lord Shiva. It seems Lord Shiva appeared before him and gave him an idol of Vishnu. Sage Parasurama liked Thiruvilwamala most because Vilwa trees were growing there. He consecrated the Vishnu idol given to him by Lord Shiva . Then Lord Parasurama summoned the souls of all those killed by him as well as his manes. Most of them got salvation and some of the very bad ones did not. Lord Parasurama chained all of them in a place near by called “Rakshasa Paara”(The stone of the Rakshasa.)
There is another story about the origin of this temple. There was a sage called Amalaka who was the son of Kasyapa Prajapathi. He started doing penance in this place. Indra , under the impression that this sage was doing penance to get his post, sent dancing girls Urvasi and Thilothama to disturb the penance of the sage. When their tricks failed Indra approached Amalaka’s father Kasyapa, who told him that Amalaka was doing penance to get salvation and nothing else. Then Indra stopped harassing the sage. Then the Rakshasa thinking that sage was an agent of Indra started harassing him , by causing rain and throwing stones at the sage. At this when the sage opened his eyes , fire came out of it and burnt all the Rakshasas. The ash of those Rakshasas joined together and became a big rock. This according to the local people is the Rakashasa para. Later it seems Lord Vishnu appeared before the sage and requested him to ask for the boons that he wanted. The sage requested for undying devotion to Lord Vishnu and also requested God to bless all the suffering human beings of the world and requested the Lord to stay there itself to do it. The Lord then became an idol of Lord Vishnu which was consecrated in the west temple of Thiruvilwamala. So people believe that the idol in the western temple is Swayambhu( Not man made). Sage Amalaka liked to chant the holy name of Rama in front of this lord. So slowly the other devotees branded the idol there as that of Lord Rama. Normally it is believed that we have to worship fist Lord Lakshmana and then Lord Rama . There are others who believe to the contrary. Several times both temples have been ravaged by fire but it is a miracle that the idols have never been damaged. The last such reinstallation of the temple took place in the year 1882 by the then king of Cochin. There is another custom in the temple of saluting Pazhani Andavan, Vadakkunathan, Guruvayurappan and Thirunavaya Mukundan in the different places of the temple . Some people believe that the Guruvayur temple can be seen from a particular point of the temple. There is also a story that after the Mahabaratha war the Pandavas came to the Bharatha puzha near here and did oblation to the souls of all those who died in the war. It seems that they built a temple for Lord Krishna called “Ivormadam Sri Krishna swami temple.”.
“It is also said that the pathway inside the cave seen near the peepul tree close to the eastern gateway of the temple had been connected to ‘Tirunelli’ through an underground passage. The story goes that when a priest returning through this passage after worshipping the deity at Tirunelli, the young lady walking in front showing light to the priest got impure and consequently the underground passage behind was sealed forever. Even now a part of this underground passage where extreme darkness prevails is explorable.”

On the northern side of the temple there is a beautiful Kulam (Pond) , known as Bhagavathi Chera and on the north-west side another pond called Raman Chera.

There are many festivals in this temple . The most important one is the Ekadasi on the Vruschiga month(November-December) . It coincides with the Guruvayur Ekadasi.
The Priests who perform the worship in the temple take bath in Bhagavathi Chera
before entering the temple. On that day the men devotees enter a cave called Punarjanee( which is km from the temple) on one side and come out on the other side. The priest of Thiruvilwamala temple , comes there after the main poja and then rolls a gooseberry(Nellikka) in side the cave from one side. It easily emerges from the other side. The cave is about 15 meters long and is of different heights. It starts from the southern side of the mountain. To cross it is difficult because it involves standing , sitting , lying down and crawling. It is believed that if we cross the Punarjanee on that day, we will not have any more births. Nowadays there are men available who, if paid money would cross the cave on our behalf.
Before entry in to the Punarjanee cave , we have to touch the Ganapathi Theertham which is on the northern side of the mountain. Then we have to climb a narrow and steep rock for some distance and reach the Papanasini thertham. People believe that Sage Parasurama has consecrated river Ganges in this Theertha . After crossing this we have to enter the Punarjani cave(Punarjani noozhal) , come out and then again go to the Papanasini theertham and take bath there. Then we have to go to the Pathala Theertha, wash our hands and legs and then go to the Kombu Theertham (Made by dashing of the tusk of Indra’s elephant Iravatha) and visit the Ambutheertham.
The manes are worshipped in this temple during the new moon day in the Karkidaga(July-august) month and other festivals are Niramalai in the month of Kanni (Aug-Sept) and Ashtami vilakku which ends on Ekadasi day in the month of Kumbam (Feb-Mar). Sri Rama Navami also is celebrated in this temple. On the Ekadasi day many people observe fast and do not sleep at night and remain in the temple.

Thirunavaya Nava Mukundan

Thirunavaya Nava Mukundan
By
P.R.Ramachander
This temple of Lakshmi Narayana which is situated on the banks of Bharatha Puzha(Also called Neela Nadhi) is one of the most ancient temples of Kerala replete with history and several stories about it, This temple is situated 8 km away from Tirur town on the way from Shoranur to Kozhikode. On the opposite shore of the temple of Vishnu, there are temples of Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. There is also a celebrated school of Vedas to the Namboodiris adjacent to the Brahma temple , which it is believed was consecrated by Lord Parasurama. So the devotes consider this place as equivalent to Varanasi (Benares) , The river near the temple also is considered extremely important to do Pithru Karmas(Worship of manes) especially in the months of Thulam(October-november) and Karkidagam( July-august) It is not clear whether the idol of the temple is made of metal or stone even to those who touch and worship it.
The temple was supposed to have been established by the nine occult yogis viz. Sathuvanathar, Saaloga nathar, Aadhinathar, Arulithanathar, Madhanga Nathar, Macchendira Nathar, Kadayanthira Nathar, Korakkanathar and Kukkudanathar. It seems the idol of Mukunda was consecrated by one of these yogis and as per the custom, the temple was shut for seven days. But when they opened the temple after seven days , there was no trace of the idol. Then the second yogi did the consecration. The same story was repeated till the eighth yogi. So when the ninth yogi consecrated the yogis did not wait for the stipulated seven days but opened the temple after three days. They were surprised to see that the idol has already sunk up to the knee. They immediately used occult manthras and stopped the further sinking of the idols. So even today , you can see the idol sunk up to the knee. It is believed that in spite of it the idol is sinking and when it has completely sunk, Kali Yuga will come to an end the final deluge will take place then . In course of time the first eight yogis attained salvation but the ninth yogi , prayed God and wanted him to send those great yogis back to the temple , The god replied to him that the eight yogis were still there worshipping the God and showed them to him, The ninth yogi also wanted to join them. The God fulfilled his wish and it is believed that al the nine yogis are always there worshipping the god.
It seems there is a bottomless pit behind the present idol and once upon a time a priest wanted to measure its depth. He tied his ring to a very , very long thread and slowly introduced it in side the pit . But in spite of keeping on adding fresh threads, the ring seemed not to touch the bottom. Hurriedly he withdrew the thread and was surprised to find that the ring was missing.
The Great yogis and Thanthris do not stand on their foot in this temple but kneel down before the deity in the belief that underneath the entire floor several God’s idol (which were lost) lay buried.
Just behind the temple there is a lotus pond and it seems the great devotee of Vishnu Gajendra( king of elephants) and goddess Lakshmi used to pluck the lotus flowers from the tank and offer it to Lord Mukunda. At one particular time the lotus flowers were about to be over and the upset Gajendra petitioned the Lord. To solve his problem, Lord Vishnu drew Goddess Lakshmi inside his temple and gave her a separate sanctum inside the temple compound and requested her to make the place prosperous.
Another story is about the connection of sage Markandeya to this temple. It seems when Markandeya attained the age of 16, Yama , the God of death started chasing him. Markandeya ran in side the Nava Mukunda temple. It seems then the God gave him one handful of mud and instructed him to rush through the west door to the Shiva temple at Thirprangode , make a shiva linga out of the mud given to him and worship it. As soon as Markandeya crossed the west entrance, Lord Vishnu closed it by putting a big stone there.(Even to this day , that door is blocked). Markandeya did as instructed and was saved by Lord Shiva, who killed , Yama , the God of death.
Apart from the main temples of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi there is also a temple dedicated to Ganesa in this temple.
The rituals to the manes (Pithru Kriya ) is supposed to be very propitious, if done on the Amavasya of Karkidaga month(July-august) and if it is done at this temple because , it is believed that on that day Goddess Saraswathi, Gayathri , Lakshmi, Parvathi , Planet Shani, sage Markandeya and rivers Ganga and Jamuna are supposed to assemble at this temple .
Mahamaham (Maha magma) used to be celebrated in this temple during olden times. The Zamorin (Samudiri) of Calicut used to come along with his army by the side of the temple. Warriors of the king used to take a vow of fight un to death and march against the zamorin. They were called Chaveru pada(Suicide squad) and were killed by the warriors of Samudiri and thrown in the big well there . Though this well still exists , this aspect of the Mahamaham festival has been discontinued..
. The annual festival of this temple falls on the month of ‘Meenam’ (March-April), lasts 10 days. The festival starts with the ‘Kodiyettam’ ceremony (Flag of) and ends with ‘Arattu’ (bathing of the idol).
. The worshiping time here are from 5.00 am to 11.00 am and from 5.00 pm to 7.00 pm.
Another very interesting aspect of the temple is the puzzles in this temple. Some of them are
1. It is not possible to say whether the river flows from north to south or from South to North.
2. The outside Pazhukka Mandapam of the temple is so made that it is not possible to tell whether it is inside or the outside the temple.
3. The leafs of the banyan tree in the temple look the same on both sides and after picking it is not possible to tell which is the top or bottom of the leaf.
4. It is not possible to tell whether the Krishna idol of the temple is made of stone or metal.

Rajadhi Raja Temple Of Thaliparambu

Rajadhi Raja Temple Of Thaliparambu

By
P.R.Ramachander

(I have used the material given in Wikepedia in writing about the temple with modifications in several places)



The Rajarajeswara temple is a Shiva temple located at Thaliparmba of Kannur districh of Kerala. This temple is also called Thiruchellur and god as Chellur nadhan.The deity is also called Rajadhi Rajan.
The temple is regarded as one of the existing 108 ancient Shiva Temples of Kerala. It also has a prominent place amongst the numerous Shiva temples in South India. It is as famous as the Siva temples at Vaikom, Ettumanur and Vadakkunnathan temple at Trichur.. It had the tallest shikhara amongst the temples of its time. The Rajadhi Raja temple has a top a stone of about 90 tonnes. If any problem is encountered in any other temples of Kerala , the devotees seek a solution in this Temple through a prasna, a traditional method of astrological decision making .The prasna is conducted on a peedha (a raised platform) situated outside the temple.
It is believed that when Goddess Sati devi self immolated herself in the sacrificial fire of her father Daksha Prajapathi. The furious Shiva took her body and started dancing as if it was deluge. Understanding that things will go out of hand , Lord Vishnu cut her body in to pieces and it is believed that her head fell in Thaliparambu , and this temple was supposed to commemorate that event.
There are also other stories about the origin of the temple. It seems king Mandatha did great penance to please Lord Shiva and when Lord Shiva came in front of him, he presented the lking with a great Shiva Linga and ordered him to consecrate it in a place where there was no cremation ground. After great search, king Mandatha located Thaliparambu and consecrated there and after his death that Shiva LInga was covered by earth. Later King Muchukunda did penance to please Lord Shiva and at the end Lord Shiva gave him a Shiva linga with the same condition that was imposed on Mandatha. He also consecrated it in Thaliparamba and after his salvation that Shiva Linga also vanished. Later a royal sage called Satha soma also pleased Lord Shiva by penance , and Lord Shiva blessed him saying that the Shiva Linga with the same instructions. As per the earlier practice when this idol was also sinking in earth, Sathasoman lit a lap of Ghee and then the God stood firm. Due to this the most important offering to God in this temple is a pot of Ghee. This pot could be earthern or made of silver or gold. The ghee has to be left on the steps of the sanctum sanctorum and is used to keep burning the ghee lamp before the Lord..This is the idol which is being worshipped in Rajadhi Raja Temple of Thaliparamba.
A major legend about this temple begins with the visit of the Puranic sage Parashurama, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Seeing there an ancient shrine of vibrant spiritual power in a dilapidated condition, the sage was grief-stricken and wanted to know its history. Thereupon, sage Narada appeared there and related to him the story of the temple. According to it, sage Sanaka and others, the sons of the creator Lord Brahma, churned the disk of the Sun to lessen its fierce heat. They mixed the dust, which was formed while churning, with the divine nectar of immortality, Amrita, and out of it gave shape to three spiritually to Lord Brahma presented them to Goddess Parvathi, the consort of Lord Shiva. And these were the ones that were given by Lord Shiva to the three kings.
And so the temple was built by Sage Parashurama long before the Kali yuga commenced., the architect being Viswa Karma, the architect of the devas. It is believed that sage Agasthya was the one who consecrated this temple. . It was renovated in the eleventh centaury and was renovated later by the the Kolathiri Dynasty Kings. The quadrangular sanctum has a two tiered pyramidal roof, in front of the sanctum is the namaskara mandapam but the temple has no kodi maram (flagstaff), unlike other temples in Kerala.


It is believed that when Sri Rama after killing Ravana was returning back to Ayodhya in the Pushpaka Vimana, his plane stopped just above the Thaliparamba temple , Relising the presence of a divine power Sri Rama got down and did Sashtanga Namaskaram to Lord Shiva in the Namaskara Mandapam of the temple. So no one including Brahmins are permitted to climb up this Namaskara Mandapam.,
Another interesesting story of the temple is that about the visit of Udhanda Sastrigal to this temple. This learned man from Tamil Nadu did not fold his hands in salute before any God because he was a strict follower of Advaitha. But when he visited the Raja raja temple, seeing the great power oozing out of the God, involuntarily , his hands folded in salute .
Here Lord Shiva worshipped in this sacred temple is known as Rajadhi Raja or Sree Rajarajeswara, which means the Emperor of Emperors or the Lord Supreme. The name signifies the supreme transcendental power in the background of mysterious drama of the boundless universe. That power is invoked here as Lord Rajarajeshwara. Devotees address the lord with such royal appellations as Perumthrikovilappan, Perum-chelloorappan and Thampuraan Perumthrikkovilappan.
Another great practice of this temple is recognizing great writers and scholars and presenting them with a gold armlet. Because of this the temple has been encouraging the litereary giants of Kerala for several centuaries.
taken place naturally he also came to the same spot where Maandhatha had installed the first Shivalingam. He installed his Shivalingam at the same spot. This Shivalingam was also eventually dissolved into the earth again reinforcing the spot spiritually. Then came king Shathasoman, the one who received the third Shivalingam. He was also naturally attracted to the same spot and installed his Shivalingam there. While installing, this Lingam also began sinking into the earth. King Shathasoman there upon prayed for Sage Agasthya's help. The sage appeared and after lighting a ghee lamp prostrated before the Shivalingam twelve times and when he begun the thirteenth prostration, the Lingam got firmly fixed on the earth therefore the number of prostration the Sage Agasthya performed for his purpose came to be known as twelve and a half. Thus with the installation of the third Shivalingam has sacred spot became spiritually vibrant threefold.
According to the traditional system of visiting this temple the devotee first worship Lord Krishna at the shrine of Vasudevapuram located at the southern bank of the vast temple tank known as Aashraamath-chira, where there is a beautiful idol of Krishna playing the flute. The sweet melody from Krishna's flute symbolizes the supreme spiritual harmony that prevails in the background of the universe of diversities, which one can experience by spiritually elevating oneself. Worship of lord Krishna before entering the great temple of lord Shiva symbolizes the essential unity of lord Vishnu and lord Shiva as two aspects of the supreme reality. There are other special features also in this temple that highlight this unity. It is believed that there was an Aashram of sage Agasthya on the bank of this temple tank. The tank was reconstructed in the present stage, it is said about 460 years ago by a devotee, Chittoor Namboodiripad.
Then, proceeding towards Sree Rajarajeswara temple one worship at the shrine of Sree Bhoothanatha (Kumbhodhara), who is the chief lieutenant of lord Shiva. Kumbhodhara is also known as Aravathappan. The two deities mentioned above, Sri Krishna and Sri Bhoothanatha, are considered as the accompanying deities of lord Rajarajeswara.
Sree Rajarajeswara temple is located in the centre of very spacious compound of about six acres surrounded by a compound wall with two Gopurams, located on the eastern and western sides. The ancient compound wall itself is a wondrous architectural marvel built of huge cut stones just placed one above the other without any cementing mortar, board at the base and tapering towards the top.
The main gate is on the east before one enters the temple one turns eastwards and offers prayers to lord Vaidyanatha (kanhirangaatt-appan), an aspect of lord Shiva worshipped as the lord of physicians, enshrined in temple about 6 km from Rajarajeswara temple.
On entering the eastern gate the devotee makes a circumambulation of the whole central shrine before stepping inside the shrine. Towards the northern side there is a small shrine of a guardian deity called Yakshi. Usually a Yakshi is considered to be a female spirit with malevolent propensities, but the Yakshi installed here represents a prosperity-giving and benevolent spiritual power. The figure is a life size wooden sculpture of unique charm. The Yakshi is represented as one who is intently into a mirror.
After worshipping this guardian deity the devotee, proceeds towards the front of the central shrine and worships the Rishabha, the bull – mount of lord Shiva out side the central shrine facing the lord. Near Rishabha is the Balikkallu of huge proportions, made of granite with many figurines and intricate carvings. Because of its great antiquity it calls for replacing it with a new one, maintaining its exact proportions and carving.
While circumambulating the Naalambalam (the outer structure around Sree Kovil, the sanctum sanctorum), one walk towards the left side and from the Nirarithikonam (south-west corner) worships Goddess Annapoorneshwari of the famous shrine in Cherukunnu, a few kilometer away, and standing on the west one worships Goddess Bhadrakaali enshrined in another renowned shrine of divine mother in Maadaayikkavu. Originally, it is said, that goddess Bhadrakaali was worshipped in the western Gopuram of Sri Rajarajeswara temple and later the idol was taken and installed in the shrine at Maadaayikkavu.
After making the circumambulation outside the Nalambalam the devotee enters the inner space around the sanctum sanctorum to worship lord Rajarajeswara's Jyothirlingam. As usual in the temples of lord Shiva, the circumambulation is performed only up to the theertha-channel and it is completed with a reverse circumambulation up to the channel.
As the custom, only men enter the Naalambalam during the day time, while women standing outside. Women can enter the Naalambalm all days after the Athazha pooja is over in the evening. It is assumed that after Athazha pooja the lord is in an aspect of a very pleased and gracious disposition accompanied by his consort goddess Parvathi and this is considered to be the most auspicious time for women to enter the Naalambalam as they get the occasion to worship the divine couple.
Inside the Naalambalam
The sanctum sanctorum with its majestic proportions is a fine example of the temple architectural style of Kerala. The two-tiered sanctum sanctorum is rectangular in shape with copper sheets laid on the roof. The roof tapers to culminate in a beautiful gold Kalasham.
The sanctum sanctorum has four doors, one on each side. The doors on the east and south only are opened. The eastern doors opens to the presence of lord Rajarajeshwara, represented by the majestic Jyothirlingam. An array of ghee lamps dangle on both sides of the Jyothirlingam. The Bhadradeepam, a ghee lamp lighted by sage Agasthya, the most auspicious lamp with a conspicuous flame is seen on the left side of the Jyothirlingam. On the floor there are rows of silver nilavilakku the ghee lamps, on both sides of the Jyothirlingam.
Most of the time the Jyothirlingam is decorated with the insignia of lord Shiva – the thrinethrams –the three eyes, the crescent moon and the Nagaphanam. In the background is a golden Prabha and above is a Vyaalimukham, the face of a mythical being. A Balibimbam or Uthsavamoorthi, which represents the Jyothirlingam, and taken out for worship during special ceremonies, is placed in front. Both these are jointly decorated with an embossed golden sheet, ornaments and with a Navarathna pendant of precious stones.
Only on two occasions every day one can have the direct sight of the Jyothirlingam. In the early morning, at 5.30, during Nirmalyam, when the decorations of the previous day are removed for the first abhishekam, the devotee can have the direct darshanam of the Jyothirlingam which is covered on the top with a golden cup called Golaka. The base of the Jyothirlingam is also covered with a gold sheet. This Nirmalya darshanam is known as Kani, which is very auspicious. One can also directly see the Jyothirlingam again at 9.30 AM when the decorations are removed again after the third pooja of the day for the Navakaabhishekam, also knows as kalashaabhishekam.
The door on the southern side of the sanctum sanctorum is also opened. At this seat is lord Shiva is worshipped as Sri Dakshinamoorthi, the first preceptor. There is no idol here, but only a mural painting of Sri Dakshinamoorthi.
On the west of the sanctum sanctorum is the seat of divine mother Pravathi, the consort of lord Shiva. The door here is permanently closed. There is a symbolic legend regarding the permanent closure of this door. This legend is related to the active presence of both Shiva and Vishnu aspects of reality in this shrine.
Like many a temple legend this aspect is also symbolized by a very personalized legend relating to lord Shiva and lord Vishnu through an interesting story. According to it, once Goddess Mahalakshmi, consort of lord Vishnu, came to the shrine to pay obeisance to lord Rajarajeshwara. On seeing the arrival of Mahalakshmi, the lord decided that there should be her prosperity-bestowing presence also in the shrine. Therefore, the lord immediately assumed the form of Mahavishnu and goddess Mahalakshmi entered the sanctum sanctorum presuming that it was her lord and seated beside him. And only when lord Shiva assumed his original form did Mahalakshmi realize the mistake. After paying her respects to the lord, she was about to make a hurried exit through the back door when lord Shiva ordered his attendants, the Bhoothaganas, to permanentely close the door on western side at the seat of goddess Parvathi so that the aspect of material prosperity which goddess Mahalakshmi represented should also be vibrant in the shrine for the benefit of the worshippers.
Later, when lord Vishnu arrived at the temple in search of his consort, lord Shiva's attendants prayed to him to allow the presence of goddess Lakshmi also in the temple for the benefit of the devotees, which lord Vishnu gladly conceded to before taking his consort along with him.
The legend thus signifies in a way interesting to the common people the special message that the spiritual presence in the shrine benefits the devotees for their material and spiritual well being. Signifying this combination of the Shaiva and Vaishnava aspects in the shrine, twice a year, during Shivaratri and Vishnu, the Uthsavamoorthi of the nearby renowned Srikrishna temple of Trichambaram is ceremoniously brought to Sri Rajarajeshwara temple.
The place Taliparamba is also known as Lakshmipuram and it is believed that the name is related to this legend. In some hymns to lord Rajarajeshwara the lord is also addressed as the Aishwarya prabhu, the lord of prosperity and Lakshmi Puraadheeshwaran the lord of Lakshmipuram.
The Uniqueness
According to Hindu philosophy, Lord Vishnu symbolizes the aspect of maintenance of the universe and lord Shiva its dissolution. Both these aspects are represented in the Jyothirlingam in this shrine and therefore the lord is called Rajarajeshwara, the lord supreme.
Because of the combination of these aspects there are deviations in the mode of worship of lord Shiva here. Here the lord is worshipped in the most transcendental aspect of Shiva known as Sadaashiva. Unlike in other Shiva temple where the Bilwa leaf is an important item for worship, it is not used here for the poojas, instead the Tulsi leaf is used. The Rudrabhishekam, which is common in most of the Shiva temples is not performed here. Insead of Monday, Wednesday is the important day of worship here. Unlike in other Shiva temples pradosham is not observed with special significance here. There is no dhaara, the constant pouring of holy water, for the lingam here in other Shiva temple. Some of the other distinctive features of this shrine are there is no Dwajasthambha here and there is no annual festival or ritualistic annual bath. The deity is never taken outside of the precincts of the temple.
On the northern side of the sanctum sanctorum is the sea of sage Parashurama. The door here also remains always closed. Daily five poojas are performed in this temple as in all Mahaakshetras. Early morning at 5.30 the floral decorations of the previous day are removed and Abhishekam takes place with the sacred water ceremoniously brought from a well-guarded sacred temple tank considered to be the Ganga theertham, specially maintained for this purpose. After the Abhishekam around 6 am the deity is adorned with flower garlands. This is locally known as the poochaarthal. The first pooja called natravat is around 7.30 am. The next pooja called pantheeradi pooja is around 9 am. After this, the decorations are removed and the Kalashaabhishekam with sanctified water is performed before the next pooja called Navaka pooja. The Navaka pooja is performed at the Mandapam, in front of the Srikovil. In most of the major temples this second Abhishekam and Navaka pooja are performed only on special auspicious days. In this temple these rituals are conducted every day. The next pooja, the Uchha pooja is performed at 10am and the Mahaa Naivedyam is offered.
Devotees offer Nai-amrithu and Nai-vilakku and pattrom all these poojas. Ponnumkudam and Vellikkudam, filled with ghee are offered from Natravat pooja onwards. Special prostrations known as Yaamanamaskaaram and Ashwamedha namaskaaram with appropriate manthras from Rigveda are very important offering for the lord. However, prostrations to the lord are not made at the namaskara mandapam. According to a legend, Sri Rama on his return from Lanka to Ayodhya prayed at this temple and offered prostrations to the lord at this namaskara mandapam and to commemorate this great event thereafter no one made prostrations in the mandapam. Devotee receive Thulasi and Vibudhi as the prasaadam. Thaali, the wedding pendant, is an important offering for goddess Pravathi. Turmeric powder is the prasaadam of the goddess.
With Uchha pooja, the morning poojas are over and the temple will be closed at 12 AM The temple opens again at 5 PM. The Deepaaraadhana is performed at 6.30 PM the last pooja, the Athazha pooja takes place at 8 PM.
There are four Thanthris belonging to four Illams such as Poonthottathil Pudayoor Mana, Eruvesi Pudayoor Mana Edavalath Pudayoor Mana and Naduvath Pudayoor Mana. The present Thatris are Brahmasri P.P.Vasudevan Namboodiri, Brahmasri P.P.Pandurangan Namboodiri, Brahmasri E.P.Harijayandan Namboodiri, Brahmasri E.P.Kuberan Namboodiripad and Brahmasri N.P.Narayanan Namboodiri
Shivarathri is the important and auspicious day celebrated with festivities. Several special poojas are performed on this occasion and the Balibimbam is carried on a caparisoned elephant and taken around the temple premises with the accompaniment of instrumental music and the recital of hymns. The Uthsava Bimbam of lord Krishna of the Trichambaram Sri Krishna temple will also be brought here and the Sankaranaarayana pooja, the worship of a combined from of lord Shiva and lord Vishnu will be performed.
Vishnu, the auspicious day, which is considered to be the beginning of the original Malayalam year, will be, celebrated from the previous evening, and at the night the presence of lord Krisnha of Thrichabaram temple will also be there for a few hours. Seeing the Vishnukani is very auspicious, which will have a protective influence for the whole year.
Puthari, a festival of the harvesting season, Karkadaka Sankramam (July) and Nira are other important days are specially celebrated in the temple.
The Rajas of Chirakkal in Kannur and the Zamorins of Kozhikode have been pious devotee of Sri Rajarajeshwara and some touching incidents are told relating to the intensity of their devotion. The Maharajas of Travancore used to make an offering of an elephant to the temple before ascending the throne.
A revealing incident is told about the celebrated logician of the 15 century, Uddhanda, Shastrikal, who considering himself as the worshipper of the attributeless reality, Nirguna Brahmam only, never used to fold his hands in salutations to any deity, a personalized representation of reality. When he happened to come to this temple and stood before the sanctum sanctorum, unknowingly as if by magic his arms folded and the palms closed together in obeisance to the lord, which in his own words "like a lotus flower closes itself on seeing the moon."
The temple has a tradition of bestowing honours by giving a golden wrist-band and title by the chief priest to outstanding people in their respective fields of work. Many persons in various fields have been awarded such honours.
Today, to this great shrine of lord Rajarajeshwara arrive many people the world over to worship the lord and to seek his blessings in their endeavours and professions and for the spiritual fulfillment of life.
The place is considered as most sacred for performing koodiyattam and Chakyar Koothu Whenever a new Koodiyattam is being directed, it is first performed at this temple. Only the "Mani (Māni)" family of Chakyars solely possess the right of performing Koodiyattam here. Legendary Koodiyattam & Chakyar koothu maestro, One of the greatest appreciation or award that an artist/scholar can get is the "Veerashringhala" (Vīrasringhala)- Golden Bracelet, from the temple, given by the unanimous approval of the scholar body of the temple. Guru Mani Madava Chakyar is the youngest and last person to get the Vīrasringhala from here. Ghee in small pots are offered to the presiding deity Shiva and are placed on steps leading to the sanctum. These are called Neyyamrithu in Malayalam anguage. Men are allowed to enter the shrine at any time, but woman are allowed only after 8 PM.
Though it is not practised as widely as it was in the earlier days, it is still a religious custom among many local Hindu women to visit three prominent temples in Taliparamba when they are pregnant. Apart from Rajarajeshwara temple, the other two temples are Sri Krishna at Trichambaramand another temple of Vaidyanastha in KanjirakkaD WHICH IS about 6 km from Taliparamba. It is believed that Shiva at Rajarajeshwara temple assures the child a high status, Sri Krishna of Trichambaram bestows it with good nature and mental qualities and the deity at Kanjirangad temple gives the child long life.
The Temple also had an ancient and large seven storey Gopuram (tower) that was destroyed by Tipu Sultan in the late Eighteenth Century.[4] The relics of this Gopuram is seen today lying all around the Eastern Entrance in the form of debris. Astrologers in nearby town of payyanur like Shri.Chithrabhanu k Poduval always finds this demolition in the horescopes/rashi charts of the people living in surrounding areas of this temple. It is believed that a snake bit the commander of the army who was about to destroy the temple, and following this, the temple was spared from destruction. However, several namboodiri families left Taliparamba and settled in Travancore.
Controversy
In July 2006, Malayalam actress Meera Jasmine was found to have visited the temple despite the fact that non-Hindus are banned from entry. She was made to pay Rs.10,000 to cover the costs of the resulting purification pujas.

Raghavapuram Hanuman temple

Raghavapuram Hanuman temple

By
P.R.Ramachander

This is possibly the most important temple of Hanuman in the Malabar area of Kerala. It is situated in the Cheruthazham village of Payyannur opposite the hills called Ezhimala. It can be approached from Kannur through Pazhavangadi. Though the main deity of the temple is Sri Rama , Hanuman is consecrated on the Vayu kon( North west corner) . It seems the form of Sri Rama is in the form after his killing Ravana. So since the temple is facing the east , the people who were having homes on the eastern side began to suffer. So after a prasnam(astrological query) to find out why it was happening, the eastern door was completely closed and a new door opened on the western side and apart from the Lord in the same pedestal , the idol of the Goddess and that of his younger brother Lord Lakshmana was also installed. From the western door we can see the Ezhimala which is supposed to be the mrutha Sanjeevini mountain that Lord Hanuman brought to wake up Lord Lakshmana killed in the war by Indrajit.
Though the main temple is of Rama, it is believed that Hanuman temple is more important and it is generally believed that Praying and worshipping Hanuman would only please Lord Rama, Due to this the temple is called “Hanumarambalam(Temple of Hanuman) . Just outside the temple of Lord Rama, there are separate temples for Lord Shiva and Lord Durga, It is believed that these temples were built by Kings of Mooshika dynasty long, long ago. In the eighth centaury the temple was renovated by a king called Sri Udayavarma Kolathiri. It is also believed that this king brought 237 families of Brahmin scholars, from a place north of Gokarnam and settled them around the temple. Most of them left that place during the conquest of Malabar by Tippu Sultan to a place near Thiruvalla ,
The temple festival is celebrated in the month of Makaram(January-February). During the festivals , the idols of Sri Rama, Sita , Hanuman. Lord Shiva and Duga are carried by Brahmins on their head and they perform a very special dance called “Thidambu Nrutham”.
Offering of Avil (Beaten rice) to Lord Hanuman between 4Pm and the evening Pooja is believed to make Lord Hanuman hear our prayers during that time and inform about them to Lord Rama. The temple is open between 5.30 Am and 10 Am and between 5.30 PM and 7 PM.

Tripunithura Poornathrayeesa temple

Tripunithura Poornathrayeesa temple

By
P.R.Ramachander

Tripunithura is a temple town which is 6 km from Cochin and 20 km from Cochin air port. The palace of the erstwhile king of Cochin is situated in this town. Poornathrayeesa (Lord Vishnu) is the family deity of the cochin kings. The name actually means the “Complete God of the three Vedas”. It could also mean , “Complete God of the holy trinity , Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.”. People believe that the temple is nearly 5000 years old.

The God in the temple is believed to be Santhana Gopala Murthy . It is believed that Arjuna during the Mahabaratha days promised a Brahmin to prevent the death of the yet to be born child of a Brahmin and promised to him that if he was not able to do it , he will commit suicide. When he was not able to do it, Lord Krishna helped him to recover the soul of the baby from the clutches of God of death. After this Lord Krishna gave him his idol in the form of “Santhana Gopala Murthy” . When he neared his death Arjuna gave the idol to Lord Ganapathy and requested him to find a suitable place and consecrate it. Lord Ganapathi came across the “Poorna Veda Puram” and liked it so much that he himself sat there. It seems Arjuna hearing this pushed Lord Ganapathy away and consecrated the idol of the “Santhana Gopala Murthy there”. Due to the push the Ganapathy’s idol fell facing south and even today in this unique Ganapathi temple, the idol faces the southern direction.
Later a temple got built and the Cochin kings adopted it as their family deity . It seems the temple caught fire in the year 1920 and all buildings except the west Gopuram was destroyed. The main idol was saved by covering it with big earthern vessels. All the other idols as well as the main idol were later shifted to “Puthen Bunglavu(New Bungalow) and then Cochin king rebuilt the entire temple with modern building materials under the advice of the great architect Sri Eachara Warrier,. The west Gopuram believed to have been built by divine beings was left as such. It has idols with very unique beauty in a very ancient pristine form.
The Idol of Sanathana Goipalan is again unique. Here Lord Vishnu instead of reclining on Adhisesha is sitting on him, with Adhisesha holding his five faces like an umbrella over his head. The sanctum sanctorum (Garbha Griham) is fashioned after a horse drawn chariot. His devotees believe that he can help us beget children and also help us protect our children from all problems. The Ganapathi idol is kept in a temple near the Palace (Poonithura Kottaram) .Lord Purnathrayeesa is believed to be the elder brother of The Chothanikkara Bhagwathy. He is also believed to have married A numboodiri lady called “Nangema” belonging to the Vadakkedathu Mana.
There are several festivals which are held at this temple. Some of them are:-

Moosari Uthsavam
On the first 8 days of the Malayalam month of Chingam(August septemer ) there is festival commemorating the great one who sculpted the idol of Poornathrayeesa(Moosari is the metal smith in Malayalam)

Atha Chamayam
This is an annual festival celebrated during the onam festival in the month of Chingam (August-September) . Large number of devotees gather here, Apart from the processions there is also Pulikkali(Tiger dance)

Onbathathi Uthsavam
This commemorates the bringing back of the idol from Puthan Bugalavu , where the idol was shifted after the fire. This is celebrated on the 9th of the Malayalam month of Thulam (October-November).Onbathanthi means on date 9th.

Vruschigothsavam
This is the most important festival of the temple and it is celebrated in the month of Vruschigam (November-December) for a period of eight days. Apart from the AAna Seeveli( procession of God on elephants) a golden pot is also kept on a raised platform. People who make offerings to the pot are supposed to become lucky .Large number of programmes involving folk arts of Kerala and classical arts of South India are arranged during this festival. On the fouth day of the festival called “thrikketta purappadu” , it is belived that God himself is in the procession and not inside the temple.

Sankara Narayana Vilakku
This is a festival celebrated in the month of Dhanu(December-January) on the festival day of Thiruvathira. The God Shiva of the nearby “Perumthrikovil” visits the Poornathrayesa during the day.

Para Uthsavam
This is eight day long festival in the month of Kumbham(February-March) , where the god is received by the householders with one (Para –a measuring tin) full of materials which is offered to the God.

Uthram Vilakku
This also is celebrated in the month of Kumbham (February-March) and is considered as the birthday of the God. On this day , Goddess Lakshmi from the nearby temple of Pishari Kovil visits Purnathrayeesa and there is a joint procession.

Peruvanam Shiva Temple

Peruvanam Shiva Temple.
BY
Sri Ganapathi Iyer
( I am reproducing a remarkable and very informative account Of Peruvanam Shiva temple as found in http://www.ola.in/articles/peruvanam/article_tcr_peruvanam.html.. My acknowledgements to that web site. P.R.Ramachander)
Profile
The Peruvanam temple is at Cherpu comprised in Oorakam village of Thrissur taluk in Thrissur District. It is located about 10km south of Thrissur town on the Thrprayar route, near Thayamkulangara bus stop, at a distance of 100 meters south.
Temple Layout, Structure and Architecture
The temple stands on a sprawling 7 acre ground surrounded by a tall and hefty compound wall. The mathilakam (the bounding enclosure) is very extensive and has two dvarasalas, at west and east, the latter in ruins. Some 10-15 Aswatha trees punctuate the temple grounds with their wide spreading canopies.
As one enters the western dvarasala, the make-shift Koothambalam on an old foundation is seen in front of the Naalambalam. There are two Balikkals (of 2 mt height) in front of the naalambalam coinciding with the axis of the two shrikovils, that of Eratttayappan on the north and that of Maadathilappan on the south. Of these the Erattayappan shrine is raised on a circular base (14.33 mt diameter). It is an ekatala vimana built on a granite adhishtana. The superstructure (bhithi) is made of laterite blocks, duly plastered and decorated with Kudya stambhas, niches etc. A recessed mukhamandapa exists, at the top of the flight of steps in the Sopana, with a free-standing pillar facade and shrine door proper at the rear wall. The Sopana is having lateral steps meeting at a common landing, screened by a carved phalaka in front of the western entrance to the Shrikovil.
There are two dvarapalakas on either side of the Shrikovil entry, standing on the coils of a snake. One of the legs entwines the club and the other rests on the hood of the snake. The coil of the snake in turn is placed on a lotus seat. The garbha-grha is square in shape enclosed by the circular shrikovil. Two rows of pillars - the inner row having twelve and the outer row sixteen - have been arranged around the square sanctum. The idol consists of two lingas, contributing to the concept of Erattayappan, the lord in the double, signifying Ardhanareeswara to some and Shankaranarayana to others. The pratishta is also considered as that of Shiva in the role of Thripuradahanan as per some early references.
There are three functional openings and a ghanadvara (dummy door) in the circular ground plan. Apart from the Shrikovil entry on the west, those in the south and east accommodate Dakshinamoorthy and Parvathy respectively. The ghanadvara is on the north, just above the pranala, which is supported on a bhuta-gana figure in the pose of drinking lustral water from a bowl.
There is a spacious namaskara mandapa in front of the circular Shrikovil, built on a square plan. As in all traditional swastika mandapas, there are twelve pillars along the periphery with four numbers larger ornamented pillars inside the mandapa. Its pyramidal roof, like the conical roof of the main shrine, is covered with copper sheets. Beautiful wood carvings adorn the mandapa ceiling as well as the pillars.
The southern side of the shrikovil has Kiratham katha engraved in wood, starting from Parvathi's shrine. Another woodwork which is worth mentioning is that of Garuda swallowing Jeemoothavahana and that of Dakshinamoorthy.
To the south of the Erattayappan shrine is the Maadathilappan shrine, facing west. It is a tri-tala-vimana (one of the earliest in Kerala, the others being the ruined one at Uliyannur and the one at Parambu Tali) built on a high podium and approached by long flight of steps. Two lateral flights of nine steps (one each in the north and south direction) meet at a common mid landing from where ascends the middle flight of fifteen steps in an easterly direction towards the shrikovil. The ground tala (floor) constitutes the plinth with the shrine on the upper tala (first floor). The ground as well as the upper tala are plastered over with pilasters and panjaras. Wall decorations include ghanadvaras in the centre, kudyastambhas (ornamental pilasters) and false niches with panjaras. Pilasters are tetragonal in the lower half and octogonal in the upper with potikas or bevelled projections on top. The pranala at the first floor level is a plain one without any ornamentation and issues out on the northern side.
Axially, the plan of the first tala consists of a square shrine integrated with a narrow, pillared mukhamandapa in front. The garbha-grha, which is circular inside has a domical roof. Above the first story of the shrikovil, rise in succession the dvitala and tri-tala parts of the vimana. But for the octagonal shikhara with copper roofing, all the floors are made of tiles; in the upper talas, wood has been used profusely with shukanasa projections. There is no namaskara mandapa in front of the maadathilappan shrine. A small Nandi is seen placed on the midlanding.
These two main shrines apart, there exists a flat roofed stone vault like structure, in between the shrine of Erattayappan and Maadathilappan, comparable to the Ganapathy shrine of the Vadakkunnathan temple complex; it used to serve as the treasure chest of the temple, according to local people. The temple complex is surrounded by a nalambalam which houses the shrines of Raktesvari and Manikantan in the north, Ganapathy and Pooru Maharshi both facing east on the north-west and south-west portions of the Valiambalam. There is a separate shrine of Vishnu on the northern side of the naalambalam
Traditions
According to legends, of the 64 gramams which Parasurama created, Peruvanam remained the greatest for centuries. Four Shasthas - Akamala in North (beyond Wadakkancherry), Kutiran in East (midway between Thrissur and Palakkad), Edathuruthy in the West (2 kms east of Edamuttom Junction in Kodungallur-Thrprayar route) and Uzhathu Kavu in south (near Kodungallur) guarded the boundaries of its domain, roughly that part of central Kerala between Bharathapuzha in the north and Periyar in the south.
In a Brahmanippattu current in the locality, Peruvanathappan (Lord of Peruvanam) is described as the annihilator of the Thripuras. In a shloka attributed to Vilvamangalathu swamiyar, the pratishta is supposed to be of Ardhanareeswara.
"ardhanareeswaram devam
poorunancha pratishtitham
mateswaram mahadevam
parvatheencha ganeswaram"
Certain others claim that the two swayambhulingas reperesent Shankara and Narayana, a pointer to the amalgamation of Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Like in the Vadakkunnatha temple here also a certain order is followed in worshipping the deities (pradakshina krama), which is Erattayappan, Shri Parvathy, Dakshinamoorthy, Erattayappan, Maadathilappan, Pooru maharshi, Ganapathy and Erattayappan.
Historicity
Peruvanam does have some historic references. Peruvanam Kottam, the abode of the Lord of Peruvanam, figures along with nearby Oorakam in the Thrkkakkara inscription of Ko Indu Kothai Varman (No. 37, TAS - Vol III, Part II, p 173) of tenth century A.D.
The earliest historical reference to Peruvanam occurs in A.D. 583 ("Ayathu Shivalokam Nah" - kalivakyam denoting the starting of Peruvanam pooram as per Peruvanam Granthavari) which is also the first record of the oldest pooram festival. 108 temples coming under the Peruvanam Kshetra sanketham, which extended from Bharathapuzha in the north to Periyar in the south, used to assemble at Arattupuzha Shastha temple which was the venue of the gala pooram gathering. This was known as Peruvanam pooram or Peruvanam Pallivetta. Due to the detachment of the various temple participants later for various reasons, the pooram festival faltered some five hundred years back. Later, the now famous Thrissur pooram was started by Shakthan Thampuran of Cochin, in eighteenth century overshadowing the Peruvanam pooram which is now a tame affair comprising of only 23 temples.
The temple administration was vested in local Namboodiri chieftains with an elected Yogiyathiri from among them who had his Avarodha as the representative of the Lord in the presence of the ruler of the state (Cochin). The King of Cochin had only nominal control over the temple. One pooja in a day used to be conducted by the Yogiyathiri himself. The general administration were looked after by a council of 21 brahmins of Peruvanam village and 21 brahmins from 21 other villages. Administration of the temple affairs under a Yogiyathiri was the order in the nearby Vadakkunnathan temple also.
The temple suffered extensive damage during the invasions of Tippu Sultan. For about 6 years from AD 1756, the temple property came under the overlordship of the zamorin of Calicut when he annexed these lands from Cochin. The Zamorin's representative renovated the Maadathilappan shrine as per an inscription seen on its basement. The Cochin ruler defeated Zamorin later with the help of the King of Travancore and consequently Travancore King got some control (of Uchcha pooja) over the administration of the temple. Later due to prolonged disputes with Cochin, Travancore state renounced its rights. The temple is controlled at present by the Cochin Devaswom Board.
Rituals and Festivals
Five poojas constitute the daily ritual in this mahakshetra. Special poojas such as Navakom, Niraputhari, Vishukkani, Pradosha pooja etc. were being conducted in the by-gone days. Vaaram (veda parayana) and Oottu (meals) were a regularily feature. The temple had lands yielding 4 lakh paras of paddy annually and a 29 day festival used to be celebrated with its culminating Arat in Arattupuzha - the mother of all poorams, with an array of about 108 caparisoned elephants carrying Bhagavathies and Shasthas of all the temples falling within the extensive Peruvanam gramom of yore. Ardra asterism in Dhanu and Shivarathri in Kumbham are the other important days in this temple. The tantries of the temple are Kunnathur Patinjaredathu Bhattathiri and Kizhakkedathu.
Highlights
The maadathilappan shrine is one of the most outstanding temple structures of Kerala. This type of tri-tala-vimana is known as Meru Mandhara Prasaada which uses the whole bhumi of the ground floor for plinth and placing the shrine proper in the upper bhumi or second tala. The octogonal griva and the shikhara resting on it with beautiful shukanasas on all the eight sides constitutes the most ornate and unique pinnacle found in Kerala temple vimanas.
The temple is also monumental by the presence of exquisite pieces of plastic arts. The bracket figures associated with each tala of the temple are examples of fine artistic tradition. These elegantly executed pieces represent various deities in interesting iconographic forms. Scenes from Kiratarjuneeyam form the core material for the figures around the Erattayappan shrine. On the three sides of the sanctum of Maadathilappan, above the ghanadvara portion, the upper tala displays wooden images of Shiva and Parvathy on the south side, Brahma on the east and Vishnu on Anantha on the north side.
The temple had been one of the sheet anchors for the growth of performing arts. In the old days, Koothu was one of the religious offerings to God with the involvement of the presiding lord in every aspect of the pantomime; right from the lighting of the lamp in Kootharangu aniyara with the lamp provided from within the shrikovil, blessing the dress etc. and even reserving one seat for the lord or his representative (Moothathu) in the Koothambalam.
Forty one days' Koothu from Karkitaka sankramam (mid July) was the routine. Manthrankom koothu was traditionally played at Peruvanam. Two chakyar families Mekkattu and Kuttancherri had the right of conducting koothu at Peruvanam temple. Later Mani chakyar family of Kolathunadu got this right after repeated dissents from a section of the Uraymas. Subsequently the earlier sthani families became extinct and Mani chakyar family is now the sole sthani.
Photographs
Peruvanam - Photo Gallery
Peruvanam - View from north-east corner
Peruvanam - View from west and Koothambalam
Peruvanam - View from east
Naalamabalam - Peruvanam (view 1)
Naalamabalam - Peruvanam (view 2)
Dvarapaalaka - Erattayappan Temple
Erattayapan Temple - Sopanam (view 1)
Erattayapan Temple - Sopanam (view 2)
Pranala - Erattayappan Temple
Maadathilappan Temple Entrance
Maadathilappan Temple - Side view
Maadathilappan Temple Entrance - another view
Pranala - Maadathilappan Temple
Maadathilappan Temple - Shikhara
Maadathilappan Temple - Mid range view
Kiratarjuneeyam 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Woodwork 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
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History of the Temple
Legend has it that the Saint Parashurama established 64 Gramams or sections after reclaiming Keralam from sea and Peruvanam Gramam is the 1st and most important among them. It is said that the temple was created by ‘Pooru Maharshi’, the son of the Hasthinapura King Yayathy after propitiating the Load Shiva with rigorous penance and the name of the place derived from the word “POORU VANAM”. Further it is believed that while transporting a beautiful, big Shivalinga received from a lake near Badarinath to this place, it happened to stuck in the branch of a tree and the present Madathilappan Temple has been constructed at this place. Shiva in dual linga form is the main feature of the temple and Lord is called “IRATTAYAPPAN” which denote the duality. The Sricovil of Madathilappan is considered to be the tallest Sricovil in South India. Four Sastha temples at Akmala, Kuthiran, Edathiruthy and Oozath are located on the boundaries of Peruvanam Gramam and Thiruvullakkavu Sastha Temple is located at the centre of the Gramam. Irattayappan is the ‘Gramadhipathi’ and Thiruvullakkavu Sastha is considered the ‘Gramaraskhakan’.
Now the temple is under the joint administration of Cochin Devaswom Board and Travancore Devaswom Board. There is a vast area of land and an office called ‘Cherikalam’ are existed near the south ‘Gopuram’ of this temple. It is important and rare that the Maharaja of Travancore had interest in this temple and therefore, the expenses for ‘Utcha Pooja’, ‘Prodhosha Nivedhyam’, ‘Nira Puthiri’, ‘Koothu’ are borne by him. It still continues.
Darshana Kramam
There are two approaches to the inner courtyard (Chuttampalam) of the Peruvanam temple, from the west and east sides. The main entrance is from the east.
As you enter from the east you are facing Sreeparvathy, the Goddess who is the consort of Irattayappan. You may start the Darshanam there, but, have to come back later. There you are in front of a large circular sanctum sanctorum (Sreekovil) of Irattayappan facing west. It is the custom to start the worship with Irattayappan.
Next, you go behind in an anticlockwise direction (Apradakshinam ) and pray to Sreeparvathy facing east. There is a taboo all over Kerala in crossing the imaginary ray (Soma Rekha) emanating from Siva and going north. Hence, one does not make a complete perambulation in the inner courtyard of Siva temples.
Most devotees at the Peruvanam temple go round the Bilva tree to the north and return clockwise to the south side where there is a shrine of Ganapathy and Dakshinamoorthy. You, then, go back to the west and worship Irattayappan once again.
There is an independent, large, Sreekovil of another Siva, the Matatthilappan, on the south. It is a three storeyed structure and you reach the shrine of Matatthilappan after ascending a flight of over twenty steps. You will find a huge Sivalinga at the back of a large Mukhamandapam (hall). It is believed that the Sivalingam worshipped by sage Puru for long years is beneath that.
The sage, himself, has been enshrined to the south west corner of the inner courtyard (Chuttampalam). After getting down the stairs of Matatthilappan you pay obeisance to the sage.
If you keep to the western border of the courtyard and walk to the north you reach the shrine of another Ganapathy, with his trunk twisted right. You pray to him for the ultimate goal in human life, for salvation and turn to the north side. There you get to the front of the last of the shrines inside the inner courtyard. Two deities are housed there, Raktheswary and Manikantha. The former is a form of Bhadrakali and the latter a form of Lord Siva.
You must worship Irattayappan once again before coming out of the inner courtyard, through the same entrance you got in. There is a shrine, of Gosalakrishna, outside the main structure (Chuttampalam) of Irattayappan on the north side. This is Lord Krishna in the company of his dear cattle. You go in a clockwise fashion to worship Him. That ends the Darshana Kramam at the Peruvanam temple.

There is a verse (Sloka) describing this order of worship, as follows:
“Poorvan Pooruvane janais savinayam dwithwaasrayas sankaro
Vandyah, caatha gireendrajaa, punaratas sanyaasayogee kramaal
Yugmesasca, mahalayoparivasan maateswaro anantaram
Yogeendrasca, gajaananah, punarato yugmeswarasca kramaal.”

Meaning:
First, at Peruvanam, Siva in dual form is to be worshipped humbly by the devotees.
Then, Sreeparvathy and then the Lord in meditation (to be worshipped).
Then, Ganapathy and then the Lord occupying a high abode (to be worshipped).
Next the sage, Ganapathy and finally Irattayappan (are to be worshipped)
We note here that the order of Ganapathy and Dakshinamoorthy is reversed and praying to Irattayappan after this is omitted. The omission of Raktheswary, Manikanthan and Gosalakrishnan must be as they have been enshrined in a later period.

Panayannar Kavu Bhagawathi

Panayannar Kavu Bhagawathi
By
P.R.Ramachander
Among the great Bhagawathi temples of Kerala , three are considered most important. They are Kodungalloor, Thirmandhankunnu And Panayannar kavu. While the first two are very ancient, there are some controversies as to when the great temple of Panayannar Kavu was established. Panayannar Kavu is definitely very old and is situared near Parumala and is surrounded a tributary of Pampa river . It is very near Mannar village which is 1 km from Parumala junction of Thiruvalla-Mavelikkara road. The temple houses a Shiva temple also and is one of the listed 108 temples of Lord Shiva in Kerala , supposed to be consecrated by Lord Parasurama. The temple has the prathishta of the Saptha Mathas , the most prominent among being Chamundi and though it is a Shiva temple , lot more importance is given to Bhagawathi. It seems a prince of Chirvayil dynasty went and prayed in a “Panayannur temple” , situated some where else. When the Goddess asked him what he wanted, he told her that she has to come with him and live in a near by temple. The Goddess agreed and asked him to perform “Bhagwathi Seva” for 12 days in the Panayannur Kavu Shiva temple. On the twelvth day the prince as well his people saw a luminous ball descending inside the temple. The assembled people assumed it was the Bhagawathi and consecrated on the southern side of the Shiva temple. bUt after this the people felt that ghosts and devils were surrounding the temple . They saw that many people were dying without any reason. Then the king changed the position of the goddess and made her face the north. He also consecrated the Saptha Mathas, Veera Bhadran and Ganapathi. With constant and systematic worship the power of the Goddess increased. Festivals in her temple was started and lot of wealth was given to the temple. But then the problems around the temple increased further and people were finding it difficult even to stir out of their homes at night. When they consulted the oracle , the Goddess told them that long with her , ner army had also come and they are hungry. When the people asked what they can do , she told them that during the Mandala period daily many animals should be sacrificed on the eastern gate on the temple and on the last day of the mandalam, a unmarried girl should be sacrificed. People agreed and this was going on for several years . The unmarried girl was chosen from the families around the temple. During one year , it was the poor girl who was a great devotees of the mother. When her head was about to be cut that girl told the Goddess that she was only happy to give her life to the mother. Suddenly from the temple the mother told, discontinue all these sacrifices and close the eastern door for ever. The family of the devout girl whom the Goddess spared (called Adissas) became the main priests of the temple. The area prospered but as of these priestly are quarrelling within themselves, they were removed from their chieftainship by the great king Marthanda Verma of Travancore. But still they continued the duties of the priests and got the complete income of the temple. Some time back due to civil suits filed over each other they have been removed even from these duties
In order to reduce the power of the Goddess Kali of the main central sanctum, a meru (srichakra - meru) pratishta was also done and now all the rituals to goddess kali of the central sanctum are performed in front of the meru. Now nobody has the courage even to go near the main sanctum and even the poojaris or brahmins of the temple go only to the meru and come back.

The king had given the ownership of the temple to the girl who was behind all these, and now her family is called as 'adissans'; who are the present owners of the temple. Their family building is near to the temple and ther is also another diety ( which is the moolasthanam); where the karanavar ( most aged man of the family) daily perform a secret puja (ritual ) to the goddess in Kaula saktheya sampradaya. (rurujith vidhanam). They were experts and famous in astrology and also mantra vada and tantra.
Mandalam is observed in this temple also.There is Guruthi everyday.People believe that during Mandalam, if we daily take bath and worship at the temple is considered as extremely good. Very few people also observe Bhajanam.(Worshipping at the temple and only eating the Naivedyam there.) On the 41st day with Niramala and Nila Vilakku the temple loks great.. That evening the priest walks round the temple carrying along the golden idol of the Goddess. The day of Vishu is celebrated in a great way in this temple. In the olden days, the sacrifice of human beings used to be done on this day. In memory of that a man who has done penance walks round the temple with a hook driven in to his back, with a back ground music of songs and drums.. This is called kuthiyottam. The Ayilyam stat of the month of Thulam (October-november) is also celebrated.
Near the temple there is a consecration of Parumala Yakshi, She sits on raised platform in an orchard with several trees. What is consecrated is a one foot tall bronze sculpture of the form of a hand held mirror. Some astrologers are of the opinion that it is the vana Durga who is sitting there. The expenses of worship and lamp is borne by the Panayannur kavu temple. People believe that this Yakshi by taking a bewitching form used to attract men and kill them. The famous Christian priest and Magician who was walking this way is supposed to have overpowered her by his magical powers and consecrated her here. It is believed that she still haunts and dwells in this kavu (forest), invisible to the human eye ,but at times she has been cited by many people on several occasions, especially " Karuthavavu" and on Fridays .These sightings are described by the local people as an extremely beautiful woman or as a flying pillar of fire
There are several stories describing the great magical powers of the Goddess of the Panayannurkavu.

Ananteswar temple of Manjeswar

Ananteswar temple of Manjeswar


By
P.R.Ramachander

Manjeswar is a small town on the sea shore in the northern extremity of Kerala . It houses one of the most important temples of the gowda Saraswath Brahmins who migrated from Goa to various places in the west coast.. The temple houses three Gods, Anantha(Or Adhi Sesha) , Iswara( Shiva) and Narasimha. It is believed that the siva temple was existing there for thousands of years and was consecrated there by sage Virupaksha. Over years due to natural happenings the building of the temple got completely broken down. At that time a Gowda Saraswath Brahmin called Ranga Sarma was travelling south from Goa along with a statue of Anantha. He accidentally came across this temple , and stayed there and rebuilt it. He also consecrated the statue of Adhi sesha along with Lord Shiva , making it an Anantheswara temple. It is believed that Lord Shiva himself consecrated the idol of Narasimha in the temple. Lord Mukhyaprana, Lord Rudra, Devi Laxmi, Lord MahaGanapathy and Lord Garuda are the other deities in the Temple.
An image of Lord Subrahmanya also has been installed in the temple in a place in a slightly lower elevation but with lot of serpent holes.
Just behind the idols in the sanctum sanctorum, there is an ant hill made of white mud. Mud from this hill is taken and distributed as Prasada in the temple. This is supposed to have curative properties and in spite of centuries of distribution , the mud does not seem to get exhausted.
There is a small pond in the temple called Sesha Theertham. Devotees believe that by taking bath in its waters skin diseases would be completely cured. The descendents of Ranga Sarma used to act as oracles of the temple and used to give predictions and answer the queries of the devotees. This practice has been discontinued after 1935. It is also believed that Shiva Ganas surround the temple. The chief of them called Jogi Gana is consecrated on the North eastern corner of the temple. People offer Coconuts to Jogi Gana. When things are misplaced or lost , they come to the temple of Jogi Gana and promise to make offerings of coconuts once the property is recovered.
On the sixth phase of moon(Sashti ) in the waxing phase a chariot festival is held in the temple. This coincides with Skanda Sashti.

Maha Sastha temple of Chamravattom

Maha Sastha temple of Chamravattom

By

P.R.Ramachander

This is a famous temple of Sastha which is about 12-15 km from Thirur , in Malabar on the shores of Bharatha Puzha(Nila river) The temple can also be reached by a country boat from Ponnani village , The temple is that of Sastha and is believed to be built by the legendary Perum Thachan. Sastha was the son of Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu and has two wives. These wives are called Poorna and Pushkala in some parts and Prabha and Sathyaka in other parts. Lord Ayyappa who is an incarnation of Sastha was the prince of Pandalam and remained Unmarried. Apart from Kerala there are many Sastha temples in Thirunel Veli district of Tamil Nadu.
In Chamravattom temple the God is consecrated at the level of the river though the temple is in slightly higher grounds. During rainy season , the flood water enters the temple and sub merges the idol. There are several stories which describe the power of this God. People believe that worshipping God Sastha in Chamravattom on Saturdays would help them get rid of the evil effects of the bad times caused by the planet Saturn.
People believe that the Thamarakulangara Sastha temple near Tripunithura is an extension of this temple.

Madhur Anatheswara Ganapathi temple

Madhur Anatheswara Ganapathi temple

By
P.R.Ramachander

This temple is located 7 km away from the northern most important town of Kerala called Kasargode. The main temple in this complex is that of Lord Shiva. It seems in ancient times , a lady belonging to Madura caste ( Dalit) saw a place around which fire was burning. She informed the Meppadsi king about it and he found that there was a Shiva idol there and he called The God as Anantheswara and built a temple for him. But the present temple is a well built modern structure. It seems that once the people of that area wanted to perform a Yaga at the temple but they were not able to do it. So they consulted the astrologer who told them that they were not able to do it because they have not done Poooja to Lord Ganapathy. So they installed a separate Ganapathy statue and built an enclosure for it. Later it seems they found the idol was growing in size. One old Woman devotee was worried that the statue will grow so big that it will break the roof. So she kept her hand on the head of the Ganapathy statue and requested the God to grow side ways and not in height. Anyway the result is a very huge statue of Ganapathi. Though the temple is that of Shiva, great importance is given to this Ganapathi. ( Another story says that the son of a temple priest , once drew a picture of Lord Ganapathi on the temple wall and this started growing and is the present statue.)
The most important offering to Lord Ganapatrhiu is Udayasthamana Appam ( a sweet dish made of rice and jaggery fried in oil) . Offering 1000 appams is one very important form of worship. The other offering is to cover the huge Ganapathi statue with appam called Appam moodal. This is only conducted in a community scale that too not regularly , in view of the huge cost involved.
Vishnu Jathre and Darasana Bali are important festivals of the temple. During the rainy season , a river adjoining the temple overflows and spills in to the temple and so it is not the most suitable time to visit the temple. The temple is busier on Sundays . Poojas are performed daily at 8 AM , 12.30 Noon and at 8 PM

Madayi Kavu Bhagawathi

Madayi Kavu Bhagawathi

By
P.R.Ramachander
This temple is one of the most important Bhadra Kali Temples of Malabar . It is situated near Payyannur railway station of Kannur district. The Goddess is also called “Thiruvar kadu Bhagawathi”. People mainly worship her to get the effects of black magic removed. Unlike other Bhagawathi temples , Meat is offered as Naivedyam at this temple.Marco Polo the Italian traveler has mentioned about this temple in his memoirs. Historians believe that this temple is very ancient and at least one thousand years old. There is a belief that this Goddess was created by Lord Shiva to kill an asura called Dharuka and after killing the asura along with the Saptha Mathrukas , this Goddess wanted to stay in that place . Shiva granted her wish and even today she is considered as a daughter of Lord Shiva. Another story tells that this Goddess was initially consecrated in Thaliparamba Raja Rajeswara temple . But since the Goddess wanted Meat to be offered to her during worship, a separate temple was built in Madayi and the idol shifted there
The idol of the goddess is made of Concentrated Jaggery (Kadu Sarkara) and so the Abhisheka(Ritual bath) is given to a metal idol , sanctified in the temple. The Goddess has an extremely fierce look with four hands and face resembling the fire at deluge. The priests worshipping the metal idol are the Namboodiri Brahmins. The priests of the Statute of Madayi Bhagawathi are called Moosads or Moothad or Pidara . They are Brahmins who are non vegetarian by nature. They offer Thanthric worship to the Goddess. It seems one upon a time the priests were not Brahmins but over years when people were not able to bear the fierce nature of the Goddess , the Brahmin worship was introduced. Nowadays The goddess is offered Ash Gourd instead of meat and fish and Tender coconut water instead of toddy.
As soon as you enter the temple you would see a Shiva temple , There over a Peeta covered with silk , a sword called Nandakam representing the Bhagawathi is kept.. The main temple of Bhagawathi which is a few yards south of the Shiva temple faces the west. Towards the left of her temple the idols of the Saptha Mathrukas( The seven mothers) who accompanied her in the war with Dharuka can be seen. In the front in a an enclosure the metal idol is consecrated .
Though initially there were four annual festivals in the temple, as of now the major festivals which are celebrated are Pooram in the month of Meenam(March-April) and kalasam in the month of Medam. The pooram festival is celebrated for seven days and the Kalasam festival only lasts for a few hours. It is believed that all annual festivals of Northern Kerala end for the year with the celebration of Kalasam at this temple.
The Kalasa Uthsavam was so being called as Perum Kaliyattam(Big play of Kali) or Kalioyattam is observed in the festival . The main rituals are in the afternoon when eight people who dress up as the forms of Goddesses like Kalariyil Bhagawathi, Chuzhali Bhagawathi , Someswari, Padi Kutthi along with the main form of goddess “Veera Chamundi’. These Goddess forms go round the Kalasa(Sacred pot) and offer worship three times to it . Then there is a sport called Kalasa Thallu( The physical fight of the Kalasa , done with bare hands.)
Another important ritual in this temple is a fishing in a near by river which is called “Kavu Pidi”( catch of the temple). The first of month of Edavam (May-june) and the previous day of the Kalasam are considered more propitious for Kavu Pidi. People believe that fishes caught are the Prasada ( ritual gifts) of the Goddess and buy them at huge cost..
The article in Wikipedia about the temple says in conclusion“The temple was spared from destruction by Tipu Sultan (whose followers destroyed the nearby Vadukunnu Temple). The Madayi Kavu temple was saved from destruction by a Nair warrior, Vengayil Chathukutty Nayanar, who received the title of Nayanar from the temple authorities for his bravery (Sthanaperu). Till this day members of the Vengayil Nayanar family are held in high esteem at the temple.”

Lokanar Kavu Bhagawathi

Lokanar Kavu Bhagawathi

By

P.R.Ramachander

This is famous temple of the Goddess Durga situated in a place called Meemunda which is about 5 km from Badagara town (87 km from Calicut airport) . The name is derived from loka malayar Kavu ( Indicating that it is a situated near a mountain and river and is one of this earth). The temple is specially famous for it being the temple where the Very famous Hero of Kerala, Sri Thacholi Othenan worshipped. Due to this the temple is mentioned in most of the Vadakkan Pattu verses( Ballad of heroism of the northern part) . Even today those people who get trained in “Kalari Payithu”(Martial art form of Kerala) come to this temple after the completion of their training to worship here. Most of the devotees believe that the temple is about 1500 years old. There are several stories relating to its origin.
One of them is that it was found by a group of 500 Aryan Brahmins who migrated to this place .These Brahmins were traders and slowly adapted the customs of Nayars of this place. It is believed that the goddess followed these Aryans from the previous place of stay. Slowly this community got in to marital ties with the local nairs and became one of them.
The other story is that there was a quarrel among the family members of the Zamorin royal family about a thousand years back and one part of the family crossed the river and settled in Badagara(northern shore) . They brought along with them an idol of the Goddess and established a temple for her . They chose a place which was near the already existing temples of Shiva and Vishnu.
Yet another story is that a group of merchants of Kollam , belonging to caste of Ravari Nayars (see the write up on Pisharikkavu) migrated to Malabar and brought with them the idol of this Goddess. It seems they wanted to settle in a place , where people are truthful. Wherever they went they gave a pot of Sugar for safe keeping in a house. Inside the sugar , they hid a bar of gold. Wherever they gave this, the people stole the gold bar and returned the vessel to them. But in Badagara , a family called “Puthu panathu”, returned the gold along with the sugar. It seems these Ravari nayars settled down in that place and built a temple for their goddess in Lokanar Kovil. It seems later this group of people had a quarrel with the local population and shifted to a place called Nada Puram. It is also believed that this entire community was converted in to Islam after the conquest by Tipu Sultan.
There is one yearly pooram festival in the month of Meenam (March-April) and It is celebrated for a period of eight days On the fifth and sixth day there is a dance by Theyyambadi kurup which attracts a large crowd. On the eighth day there is arattu( Ceremonial bath of the deity in the river). On this day the Goddess is taken to the nearby Shiva temple and the story of the Goddess is sung there (Poora Pattu).There is also performance of a dance form resembling Kalari Payithu called “Poora Kali”
The month of Vruschigam (October-Novamber ) is celebrated as “Mandala Vilakku” . The Three thousand oil lamps which are there in the outer walls of the temple are lit during this time.



By

P.R.Ramachander

This is famous temple of the Goddess Durga situated in a place called Meemunda which is about 5 km from Badagara town (87 km from Calicut airport) . The name is derived from loka malayar Kavu ( Indicating that it is a situated near a mountain and river and is one of this earth). The temple is specially famous for it being the temple where the Very famous Hero of Kerala, Sri Thacholi Othenan worshipped. Due to this the temple is mentioned in most of the Vadakkan Pattu verses( Ballad of heroism of the northern part) . Even today those people who get trained in “Kalari Payithu”(Martial art form of Kerala) come to this temple after the completion of their training to worship here. Most of the devotees believe that the temple is about 1500 years old. There are several stories relating to its origin.
One of them is that it was found by a group of 500 Aryan Brahmins who migrated to this place .These Brahmins were traders and slowly adapted the customs of Nayars of this place. It is believed that the goddess followed these Aryans from the previous place of stay. Slowly this community got in to marital ties with the local nairs and became one of them.
The other story is that there was a quarrel among the family members of the Zamorin royal family about a thousand years back and one part of the family crossed the river and settled in Badagara(northern shore) . They brought along with them an idol of the Goddess and established a temple for her . They chose a place which was near the already existing temples of Shiva and Vishnu.
Yet another story is that a group of merchants of Kollam , belonging to caste of Ravari Nayars (see the write up on Pisharikkavu) migrated to Malabar and brought with them the idol of this Goddess. It seems they wanted to settle in a place , where people are truthful. Wherever they went they gave a pot of Sugar for safe keeping in a house. Inside the sugar , they hid a bar of gold. Wherever they gave this, the people stole the gold bar and returned the vessel to them. But in Badagara , a family called “Puthu panathu”, returned the gold along with the sugar. It seems these Ravari nayars settled down in that place and built a temple for their goddess in Lokanar Kovil. It seems later this group of people had a quarrel with the local population and shifted to a place called Nada Puram. It is also believed that this entire community was converted in to Islam after the conquest by Tipu Sultan.
There is one yearly pooram festival in the month of Meenam (March-April) and It is celebrated for a period of eight days On the fifth and sixth day there is a dance by Theyyambadi kurup which attracts a large crowd. On the eighth day there is arattu( Ceremonial bath of the deity in the river). On this day the Goddess is taken to the nearby Shiva temple and the story of the Goddess is sung there (Poora Pattu).There is also performance of a dance form resembling Kalari Payithu called “Poora Kali”
The month of Vruschigam (October-Novamber ) is celebrated as “Mandala Vilakku” . The Three thousand oil lamps which are there in the outer walls of the temple are lit during this time.