Friday, April 11, 2014

Kaladi Trikaladiyappan(Krishna) temple and Sankara temple

Kaladi  Trikaladiyappan(Krishna)  temple and Sankara temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
    Kaladi   previously known as Sasalam   is the birthplace of Adhi Sankara.  It is 7 km from Angamali, 22 km from Aluva and 7 km ftom Cochin airport and iss on the shore of river Poorna called as Periyar in Malayalam.There is an ancient  Krishna temple there as well as a modern temple of Adhi Sankara.
    Adhi Sankara was born to Aryamba and Shivaguru as a result of their prayers  at Vadakkunathan temple at Trichur. Adhi Sankara’s father dies even when he was  in the womb of his mother. This Krishna temple was the deity of his clan. This fact has been mentioned by Adhi Sankara    in verse 243 of his work Prabodha Sudhalkaram It seems when he was a little child, on the way to the periyar river to take bath, Aryamba fainted. The child Sankara not knowing any thing to do prayer Lord Krishna. Lord Krishna told him to draw a line in the earth with his feet and assured that the river would change its course.  The child Sankara drew a line in front of the Krishna temple with his feet    and  the river came to that place , which was very near to home of Sankara. Kaladi in Malayalam means “feet”    and it got its name because the Lord asked Sankara to draw a line with his feet. Fromthen on the Krishna at the temple was being called as TRikaladiappan (The god of holy feet.). It is also believed that Adhi Sankara as a boy composed the  “kanakadhara sthavam”   addressed to Goddess Lakshmi , to help a poor women,  indirectly trying to influence his Kula deivam-Trikaladoyappan. This  ancient temple is being maintained  with thehelp of   Sringeri Sarada peetam   as well   as the thekke Madam of TRichur , both of which were established by   Adhi Sankara. The temple is open from 5,30 Am to 11 Am    and 5.30 PM to  7.30 PM
     Apart from all regular poojas and Homas like all temples in Kerala   , Kanakadhara  sthava Yagnam as well as Sri Vidhya  Rajagopala Yagnam are performed at this temple.  Apart from Akshaya Tritheeya which is celebrated in the temple  , The arattu of Lord Krishna , in which The uthsava idol is dipped in the river is held during January first week.
    Naearby by in the river there   are two Ghats which are connected with the history of Adhi Sankara.  The “Mudala Kadavu”(crocodile Ghat) , is supposed to be the place where the crocodile caught the feet of Adhi Sankara and his mother gave him permission to  undertake SAnyana   and  another Ghat where  the funeral rites of his mother were performed by Adhi Sankara,.
   Near toi this Krishna temple the Jagadguru of SArada peetam Sringeri has built a temple for Adhi SAnkara, Goddess Sarada and Lord Ganapathi  near to the Krishna temple on the banks of Poorna river  in the year 2010. The Samadhi   of ARyambhga, the mother of Adhi Sankara is located at this   temple,.There is also a  SAnkara Sthamba Mandapam(in octoganal shape/built by Kanchi Kmakoti mutt)  And Veda Patasala along with a guest house attached to this temple. SAnkara Jayanthi   and Sarada Navathri festivals are   observed at this temple.
      Apart from these two temples there are several temples in Kaladi and nearby areas. Two km away from Kaladi is the Vellaman thulli Shiva temple , which was supposed to consecrated by Adhi Sankara;s father Shivaguru , The Nayathodu Sankara Narayana temple where Adhi Sankara is supposed to have worshipped Lord Shiva as Lord Vishnu . Karpilly Kavu where Shivaguru , the father of Adhi Sankara was the priest . There is also a Ramakrishna temple in Kalady maintained  by Ramakshna mutt.

     

Monday, April 7, 2014

Chirayinkeezh Sarkara Devi temple

Chirayinkeezh Sarkara   Devi temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
       This very famous  temple of Goddess  BHadrakali is located   near    Chiyankeezh railway station and is near both Athingal and Varkala  and is 34 km from Trivandrum. Sarkara   is the name for Jaggery   in Malayalam. It seems once upon a time   some merchants from Ambalapuzha  who were selling Jaggery reached this place   at night fall.  They kept all their pots of jiggery in a place and slept. Next day when the wanted to go, they were not able to move one pot of Jaggery. They left it there and went away. Next day an old woman of the place    , located it and splitting open the pot saw the form of Goddess Bhadrakali in it.   The villagers then constructed  a temple around the idol  there. They also consecrated Ganapathi and Nagaraja idols in    subtemples within this temple.
      There is another story aboput   the origin of the temple. It seems the Vilwamangalath Samiyar who     was responsible in finding Lord Padmanabha in Ananthankad in Trivandrum , it seems saw Lord Vishnu siting on a branch of a tree and Goddess Kali in the form of a girl was playing   in the tree shade  . On seeing the SAmiyar the girl ran away    and joined the Pulaya settlement nearby in a place called  Chakkiamma ground. On the ground it seems some Jaggery merchants had camped     and kept their jars of jiggery there.   The goddess entered one of those jars and hid there. When the merchants  were not able to lift one jar, sage Vilwamangalam recognized    that  jar  had  Bhadrakali in it. He persuaded the goddess to stay there and built a temple for there.
 In this temple there is a very peculiar worship ritual called  Kaliyootu.   It was it seems started by    The king  Marthanda verma who was   going on a mission to conquer the nearby Kaymkulam kingdom.  Though the king had several times tried  to conquer this kingdom, he   was not able to do so. Once on his journey  of conquest he struck  camp  near the Sarkara devi temple.    The priests of this temple who had come and settled there from Malabar   suggested to the king to perform a Kaliyoootu to Bhagwathi. The king agreed    and he was able to annex the Kayamkulam kingdom that time. From that time    the Kaliyootu festival was being celebrated annually in this temple. Kaliyootu festival is celebrated in the month of February-march for 9 days at the temple. The first seven days there are dramas , dances and narration of the story of Kali and Dharika ,. On 8th day  the Bhadrakali from the temple goes in search of Daruka. But returns back at the end of the day without finding that dreaded Asura.  On the ninth day a ceremony called Nilathil Poru(War on earth) takes place and Kali exterminates Dharika.  The memembers of Kannara families  put on the costumes of Dharika and Kali and the war is enacted. There is one more important festival at this temple celebrated    in the month of Meenam called Menathu Bharani. This is celebrated on the birth day of the Goddess. The  festival starts with flag hoisting and ends with Arattu( Anointing  of the goddess   in the nearby river.)
      The Goddess  is so popular that people call her “Sarkara Ponnamachi “ ( The golden Sarkara  mother.) Recently they have  also started a pongala festival  in this temple. It would be held on the first day of Kumbam month.



Athingal Bhairavi temple

Athingal Bhairavi temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
Athingal is a small town about 34 km  away from Trivandrum.  This was earlier a small independent  principality .   A lady called Avani amma thamburatti  who was the last member of the  royal family there. She adopted the king of Tranvancore at the time  and requested him to take over the rule of this kingdom  and also adopt a  girl child who would look after the kingdom under his direction. After her death, the themn king adopted two girls belonging to the Chirakkal Royal family of Northern Malabar and made them in charge of   the principality. He also made them independent and gave lot of land to them . These princesses brought with them an idol of Goddess from their native place . There is a story about this Goddess. It seems in the THaliparambu Rajarajeswara temple there was a fierce goddess. One day the Velichapadu  (oracle)   said that he  would throw a burning  fire wood. The temple of the Goddess  was to be built in that  place where the fire wood falls. . The fire wood fell in a forest little away from there  and a part of  forest was burnt.   The temple of Goddess was built there.  . This new temple was called THiru virago Kattiya Kavu or Madayi Bhagwathi temple .  The princesses  along with them  the  Uthsava idol    of this temple and c also large number of people including priests to worship this goddess  .
   Initially the  idol was  worshipped   in the palace itself and so it  was called as “Palliyara Bhagawathi.” And later it was consecrated in a new temple built near the Palace  on the top of a small hill.   This new temple was called as “Thiru virago kattiya Kavu” as well as :Puthan Kavu.”.You have to climb several steps to reach the temple..It was initially maintained by the king of Travancore and later on handed over to the Travancore Devaswam board. On the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum there are two lady gurards called   Sumukhi and Sundari.  To the south of the  sanctum , Vera Bhadra , Ganesa and the Saptha mathas have been consecrated. People believe that the Goddess is in the sanctum is powerful and is in an angry mood.. The statue has been made  using the alloy of five metals(Pancha loha) . There are also small temples for KIratha, Sastha and Ganesa  in this temple. There is also a temple for Naga Yakshi and a Shiva Linga with reddish tinge., On the northern side there is a temple for Brahma Raksas.

         The worship is done by the priests who have been brought from Malabar. The annual festival is in the month of Vruschigam..There are festivals in thew month of Makara as well as  anine day festival  in the month of Meenam . Ariyittu Vazcha which is very peculiar ritual which was brought from the original Malabar is observed  on the 9th day Makaram month. It  is normally attended by the royal family members of the Travancore family. If the king is not able to attend for some reason, he is supposed to give the temple an elephant as fine. The Sword of the temple is worshipped using red rice before the king .Later this rice is taken inside the temple  and used to anoint the Bhagawathy idol, by taking the rice with a conch. The goddess is referred to as Bhairavi and keepos on blessing the people all around Athingal.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tripuliyur Mahavishnu temple

Tripuliyur Mahavishnu temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
(Built by Bheema near Chenganoor   and a Divya Sthala of  Vaishnavites.)
   This temple is beloved to have been built   by Bheemasena    near Chenganoor (Please read    about Arunmula Parthasarathy temple and Trichithattu Maha Vishnu temple for more particulars).Thirumangai Azhvar and Nammazhvar has sung about this temple and because of that it has been included in the 108 Divya Kshetrams of Vaishnavites of Tamil nadu.
 Possibly when the temple was built there were large number of  tigers in this village as indicated by its name  Puliyur.  There lot of caves belonging to old stone age in this area.  There is a temple of Duryodhana , who is the greatest enemy of Bheema  in a place called Malanada   in Kollam district. So  the people of Puliyur village are banned from visiting   the Malanada village and worshipping    the God there  . The is temple is situated on a top of the hill called  Kari Manikkathu Mala. We have to climb eighteen steps to reach this temple. The sanctum of the temple is a very tall building and has a copper plated roof. The idol is that of Mahavishnu   with four arms, three arms holding conch , lotus flower and wheel and the fourth arm resting on his thigh. It stands on a  20 inch high platform and is in a standing posture its height being   three feet ten inches, The idol faces the east and the sanctum has  doors leading to all four directions. Ganapathi is a wall idol of the temple and there are sub temples for  Lord Shiva and Lord Sastha. There is also a Yakshi  in the form of a mirror    and also a Brahma Rakshas  worshipped at this temple.  It seems that once a Brahmin priest along with several Brahmins were killed in the sanctum sanctorum of this temple by a ruling family called Varayanna family. It seems some of the Brahmins went and hugged the Shiva idol but they were also killed. This incident is supposed to have happened in  end of 4th centaury AD. Because of this the temple was not  maintained properly for another 200 years. Then the patrons of the temple   did all rituals necessary to remove the effect of the sin committed inside this temple.  The Brahma Rakshas represents the Brhamin who was killed , when he was hugging the idol. These  rituals were  done  by The Samiyar Madam of Trichur (Adhi Sankara is supposed to have established this madam.)  Some rights of the temple were also given to the chief of the Samiyar Madam. There is also a corner of the temple set apart for tribals of that surrounding forests to offer worship. There is also a four foot high pillara with a platform outside the temple believed to be the base of the stow Bheema used to cook his food.
  History records  of an offering in this temple called Mabharatha pattathanam (Possibly Dhanam to the Brahmins of Maha Bharatha,). The major offering nowadays to the temple is “Chathusatham” which is a sweetened rice, . The requirements for making this offering is  about 25 kg of rice, 101 coconuts , one and a half liters of ghee and 40kg Jaggery. Pal Payasam  and also Kadum Payasam are also offered  . There is a temple festival in the month of Makaram. Possibly because the tragedy that happened here, just before God is taken in procession, one employee asks three times “Is there any body here from Varayannakudi family?’ and the God is brought out only if there is firm no for answer, There is a kavadi yattam festival on the first of Makaram month, which was started about 30 years back. This Kavadi is brought from Pazhayathu devi temple  till this temple.
   Possibly because Bheema   who was a very huge size built it, the temple is very tall. Old   books about this temple mention that the Idol of Mahavishnu also has the power of Lord Narasimha murthy   instilled in him and because of this the Idol appears to be angry.   Mondays and Thursdays are considered as auspicious in this temple. The temple opens at 5.30 Am and is kept open   till 11 Am.and it again opens at 5.30 Pm and remains open till 8PM.



Trikodithanam Maha Vishnu temple

Trikodithanam Maha Vishnu temple

Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
(Temple consecrated by Sahadeva, the last of the Pandavas and a Divya desam)
    This is a temple built by Sahadeva , the last brother of the Pandavas.  Unlike the other four Pandava temples which are in Changanoor , this temple is inside the town of Changanaserry.(4 km from Changanasrry Railway station)  Ghatikas were centre of learning of ancient times. The devotees believe that   This place was called   Thiru Gatika Sthanam and there was a Gatika attached to the temple. Nammazhvar has visited this temple      and has sung the praises of the lord. The God here is alled Arpudha Narayana, There are only two Gadika temples of Vaishnnavism. They were located in Sholingur in Tamilnadu and Deva Priya in North India.Devotees believe that if a devotee stays in these gadika temples for 24 minutes(Kadika) , they would attain salvation. The inscriptions mention that this temple was located in Nandrulai nadu(Land of farmers)
       It is believed that when the Pandavas  each decided to consecrate their private idol in a temple, Sahadeva did not have any idol. So he decided to jump in to the fire when the time comes. When he was about to do it, the Arpudha Narayana it seems came out of the fire. People also believe that this was the place where Lord Vishnu appeared before his great devotee Rukhmangadha who was observing the Ekadasi penance in a very strict manner.
    The huge boundary wall (possibly built in seventh centaury)  around the temple supposed to be built by   the ghosts within a night attracts every one. It is a wonder of wonders that the stones for building the wall are simply arranged on each other and not pated by lime mixture  as  it is usually done. The main idol of Vidhnu is facing the east. Near the temple is the sacred  temple tank which gets its waters from five different springs. Each spring has a different colour of water and they all join together o make this tank, which is called Panchatheertham. Just outside the temple within its compound there is a hall   where people are addressed regarding religious matters.. There is an unusual statue adjoining it. The statue is of a man wearing a sacred thread lying  in a balanced form on a pillar. Only the hips rest on the pillar and he holds a conch  on his right hand. No body is clear as to who he is and what is the significance of this statue. The common belief is that he has committed a great sin and his atoning   for it. There are lot of statues and inscriptions in this temple. There are also wall paintings.
      There are many idols in the sanctum sanctorum. The main is that of Vishnu (adbutha Narayana) standing with four hands and holding conch, wheel, lotus flower and mace. This statue is made  in a black stone.tHere is Uthsava statue and another statue of God for regular worship. There is another stautue of Bhama Narayanan or Radha Narayanan also, In the sanctum itself there are statues of Ganesa, Lord shiva and Lord Dakshinamurthy. Since there is no separate door for these idols, they can be viewed through a window like opening on the wall..There is also a separate temple for Lord Narasimha murthy inside the sanctum itself.  Outside the sanctum there   are separate temples for Lord Sastha and Lord Ganapathi. In the compound there is also a very old jack fruit tree , with very many  bents. People believe that the Adbutha Narayana came out in this place. There is a separate statue of Nirmalya Murthy believed to be Lord Vishvaksena.
     There is a ten day festival     in the month of Vruschigam in this temple. On the ninth day a huge lamp constructed by banana stem and arecanu leaf sheath. The lamp when lighted burns the entire night. While some people believe that this represents Lord Shiva who came there in the form of fire on Karthiga day , other believe that it represents the fire from which sahadeva got his statue.Ashtami  Rohini, the birth day of Lord Krishna is also celebrated in this temple. The temple is open from 5 Am to 11 Am and 5 Pm to 11 Pm.

 Childless couple  who are offer prayers at this temple are believed to be blessed with children.This is followed by organization of a Kathakali program. There is also another prayer where God is offered 12000  Banana fruits , half of which are distributed to the devotees. Every Saturday is an important day at the temple.

Trichattu Maha Vishnu temple

Trichattu Maha Vishnu temple
(Consecrated by  Yudhishtra, the eldest of Pandavas)
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
      TRichithattu Maha Vishnu temple is sitauated 2 km aaway from Changannur in the Chengannur-Pandanadu road.  People believe that it was a temple  consecrated by Yudhishtra    , the eldest of the Pandavas.  It seems  After Parikshith, the son of Abhimanyu   was made the king,   The Pandavas decided to take  up Vanaprashtha  and came to    Kerala. They were greatly attracted   by the  divine atmosphere at that place.  After dpoing penance there , when they decided   to   go to the other world, . Yudhishtra who had to tell  unwillingly a lie   about Aswathama’s death , was greatly worried about the sin that   he did and wanted to consecrate    The MahaVishnu idol he was  worshipping in some place in Chengannoor. He it seems  consecrated that  statue  in Trichattu.
   Nammalavar a great Vaishnavite saint    of Tamil Nadu had visited this  place and has  sung about this God and because of that this temple is  included as one of the  108  Divya Desams .
   The God in the temple faces  east and adjoining the wall is the tank known as  Trichitharu(Holy stream) or Shanku Theertham. .The temple has a high walled enclosure , which has dorrs on all the four sides. Except for some statues made of wood in the Namaskara Mandap . , the temple has a very simple architecture. But the sanctum sanctorum  is built by granite stone.. The God in this temple is in a standing pose and has been chiseled out of granite   stone.  The peculiarity of the Lord is that only in this temple   the Lord holds  the conch in his right   hand instead of the wheel .The learned people are of the opinion that this indicates that the God  is not  in a position to destroy but to look after  the world.The lord holds the wheel on the left hand and the lotus flower on the lower   right  hand. The temple also has two subsidiary temples , one for God Sastha and the  God Gosala Krishnan.

   This temple was also    the place where the caste court of Namboodiri Brahmins  of Kerala were situated. There used to be one great Namboodiri having a title of Smarthan.  He was the  judge who used to enquire and punish several ladies for the lack of their virtue. This process in the Namboodiri families  were  called   Smartha Vicharam. Thousands of innocent women   under suspicion of having lost    their virtue have been punished    in this place.. The familes of these clans are now almost lost for ever and this great temple which was once great  had lost all its glory. On 18th may 1996, some miscreatnts broke open the door of the sanctum sanctorum and broke   the original idol. When next day this was noticed, the great thanthric Thazhamon Namboodiri, got out the God’s spirit in that idol and placed  it  on the  Uthsava idol.. Omn 19th may 1997  a new idol was consecrated     at this temple. Now the temple is again regaining  its pristine glory.

Thiru van vandoor Mahavishnu temple

Thiru van vandoor  Mahavishnu temple
(Built by Nakula the fourth Pandava brother and one of the 108 Divya Kshetrams)
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander

       This temple is situated 7km from Chenganoor and is believed to have been built by Nakula, the fourth brother among the Pancha pandavas. The God is also called Pambanai appan(Lord who sleeps on serpent) or Kamalanathan ,. People believe that Panchali the wife of Pandavas got the Akshya Pathra   in this temple and in memory of this daily anna dhanam is carried out in this temple. Some people are of the opinion that  this   place was called “ Thiru Pandava oor”      and this name became over years as  Thiru van vandoor. Others believe that due to heavy population of   Bees(Vandu in Malayalam) which make sound  around  this place. But one of the old inscriptopna call this place as Thiru van Mandur.
     This temple has been mentioned in Narada Purana. It seems once Narada was cursed by Lord Brahma who was his father and that sage came to this place and did penance addressing LKord Vishnu. It seems Lord Vishnu came  and gave him the boon of wisdom and as a result sage Narada wrote the Narada Purana  consisting of 25000  verses in this place. It seems sage Narada also wrote a book detailing the worship procedures   at this temple. Devotees also believe that sage Markandeya was able to see Lord Shiva in Thiruvandur. Nammalvar one of the great Azhvar saints has written poem with eleven stanzas extolling the greatness of the God here. Because of this  Thirvandoor is one of the 108 Divya Kshethram of Vaishnavas.,
     The Lord Vishnu is consecrated here facing the west unlike the other four Pandava temples in Kerala. In a inscription by king Vallabha kodha, this God is addressed as  “Thiruvan mandur Pattara”. Here also the God Vishnu is in the standing posture with four hands holding conch, wheel, Lotus and mace. Near Lord Vishnu , statues of Lord Ganapathi    and Lord Dakshinamurthy   is specially  consecrated.. At the entrance of the sanctum sanctorum , there are two huge Dwara Palakas and on the , over the door , There is a statue  of Lord Vishnu sleeping on the snake . This possibly musyt have lead   to the name Pambanai appan.  There are sub temples of Sastha, Shiva and Ganapathy out side the main temple. There is another remarkable Krishna temple in the temple compound. Here Lord Krishna is in his baby form   standing on two folded legs and one hand and showing the left  hand containing curd rice..He is seen holding the   rice with two of his fingers .  It seems in the year 1325, the king of Ambalapuzha send his  emissaries to bring this Krishna statue to the temple at Ambalapuzha  as there was some defect in the statue there. ,. Jnazhapalli Nambudiri   who was priest of Thiruvanvandur did not want to happen  and threw the statue in the river flowing on the east of the temple and disappeared. In 1960  One Damodaran who was an art teacher in the local school  saw a dream , in which he was told that this statue   was in the temple pond of Thiruvanvandur.  He was instructed to recover the statue and consecrate it.Damodaran with the cooperation of local people dug the pond for 47 days but still could not find it. A Christian family   whose house would be affected if the digging continued    warned Damodaran and others to stop the digging next day. The next day they found this great pretty idol of Balakrishna. It was  again consecrated in a very grand manner  . In memory of this the local people started a festival lasting for 51 days. On the fifty first day , a huge   procession starts from Thiruchithat temple   and reaches here. A feat in which about 1000 kg of rice is cooked   greets the devotees on that day.

    In the month of Kumbham there is a eleven  day Ashtami Rohini festival in this temple. The temple is open from 5 Am to 11.320 Am and  5 Pm to 8 pm. 

Kariyam devi temple of Sri Karyam, Trivandrum

Kariyam devi temple of Sri Karyam,  Trivandrum
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
   This temple of Goddess Durga is situated   near the Sri Karyam junction in the Trivandrum city, the capital of Kerala state . Her devotees consider as SArvabheeshta Pradhayini  . There is a story about the origin of this temple.
       People believe that the Goddess came here from KOdungallore    through   a  back water canal in a boat. Her security called Madan c also came along with her  sitting on the top most crest of the boat.  He is called Vallathala Madan  and  was given a position in the neighboring paddy field belonging to  the Panchal family. Along with her Nagaraja(serpant god) also  came  in the boat and he was worshipped in Kariyathu Kavu and the Goddess was worshipped in Keezhe  Karuam.
     Another legend says that there was a  devotee of Goddess Durga who had a ghouse at this place. It seems, one day he received three guests , one lady and two men, who wanted to stay in his house for one night. He was very hospitable and gave them sumptuous food. It seems that night all the three of them vanished and there was a great divine luster  in his house.A mysterious voice informed him that his guests were   Goddess Durga , Madan and Nagaraja   and they wanted to stay at that place., The voice also ordered him to build a Ambatheeradi Elankam(A huge divie v building). It seems though he consecrated them, he was not able to build a temple as ordered, . The task of building a temple was completed by his family later. In the main temple Durga and Ganesa idols were installed.  From the day the installation day used to be celebrated  every three years    for seven days. But due to quarrel in the family   this festival was discontinued and the temple became dilapidated. Again after forty years the devotees consecrated Vana Durga,  Shanthi Durga and Kali in that temple. In the eighties  tHe temple was rebuilt again and   regular festival in the Bharani  star of the Khumbam month.
     The temple is open from 5 Am  to 9 AM and 5.30 PM to 7.30 PM


Kulathoopuzha Dharma Sastha temple

Kulathoopuzha Dharma Sastha temple
Compiled by
P.R.RAmachander
   Kulathoopuzha is situated in the Trivandrum- Chankottai road .  The temple is built on a river island.  The deity is temple is called  Manikandan. People believe the original temple was built by the Pandya king  who was  the foster   father of Ayyappan. The peculiarity of this temple is that    seven  stones enclosed in a metal jacket  is worshipped as God here.  
     It seems one Bragmin devotee was returning from Rameswaram Pilgrimage   and happen to take rest near the river bank here.  It seems he ordered  his serbvants to prepare food for him,. With an intention of making a make shift stow  , those servants first spotted a big stone and collected two stones   to make a Stow.  But the fixed stone was taller than their gathered stones. So they kept those two stones on two other stones. But to  their surprise, the fixed stone grew further tall.  Then  thinking of fixing it, They hit the fixed stone with one of those gathered stone. It seems immediately blood started flowing from the big stone. They summoned their master .That Brahmin sprinkled the sacred waters   collected from Rameswaram on that stone  and the bleeding stopped. It seems then Lord Ayyappa appeared before the Brahmin in the form of a child and requested    him to build a temple for him there.    The king of KOttarajara under whose jurisdiction , that spot fell arranged  to build a temple there  .The devotees worship the God as  the boy Manikandan.
   Feeding the fishes   in the river   is the most important form of worship at this temple. It seems a girl lost her golden ring  in the river. The fishermen could recover the ring from the fish in the river  surrounding the temple and so fish feeding became a popular form of worship.   There is a Nagraja consecrated at this temple. Couples with children come and worship this Nagaraja and pray for child birth.

    The festival of Vishnu in the medam month and the following four    days are celebrated as a festival   in this temple.

Erumeli Dharma Sastha temple

Erumeli Dharma Sastha temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
     Erumeli  is 65 km from Kottayam town. The way to trek to the Sabari Mala starts  there in a place called  KOttapadi. In this temple Dharma SAsthra is   in the hunter(kiratha form).  This seems to be appropriate since in the olden times  the way to Sabari malai was filled with wild animals  and the help and blessing of a hunter is needed  to reach there. In Erumeli  there is also a Mosque dedicated to Vavar  the muslim friend of Lord Ayyappan and a Ganapathi temple in Kottapadi. Pilgrims  offer worship at the Maha Ganapathi  temple  at KOttapadi, dress and paint themselves as hunters,  Worship at the mosque of Vavar  and reach the Erumeli temple. There they dance before the deity. This dance is called Petta  THullal.  The devotees believe that Lord Ayyappa also would be  along with them when they do Petta Thullal.

    On or around  January 12th every tyear two teams one from Ambalapuzha and another from Alangad   reach Erumeli to do Petta Thullal.This would be preceded  by carrying of Chandana Kudam(sandal pot)   to Vavar;s mosque.The tem of Ambalapuzha   team  would   start their Petta thullal    from the Kiratha Sastha temple lead by their leader(Periyon)    and  they would reach the Muslim mosque  dancing. There they would be honoured by the priests of   the Mosque. There is a tradition that they would start dancing only after seeing the Krishna Parunthu  (Brahamani eagle)   flying in the sky. The Alangad team  would arrive in the afternoon and would start their dance only after sighting the star in the after noon sky. From there both teams would proceed to Pamba and participate in a grand feast there.

Aryankavu Dharma Sastha

Aryankavu Dharma Sastha
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
     Aryan Kavu  is 31 km from Punalur.. The temple is  built 35 feet below the  road level. The God is supposed to have married Pushkala   at this temple and  has this consort on his left side.  Pushkala is  supposed to belong to the Saurashtran   community who have occupied parts of Madurai.   They are supposed to have migrated from SAurashtra,   The devotees of this  temple believe that   The God Ayyappa was brought up by the  king of Madurai  and Pushkala who was a SAurashtran girl   fell in love with him. Another story says that Pushkala who was only ten years  old at that time, accompanied her father to Trivandrum and on the way they happened to stay in Aryankavu temple. The girl     fell in love with the God. And on the way back, she merged with the God. Lord Sastha informed this  to the priest of the temple and requested him to honor Pushkala’s father.
   The two main festivals in this village   are the  Madala pooja and the Thirukalyanam festival both celebrated in the month of DEcember.Invitation to the marriage is sent every year by the Travancore Devasvam board to  the Saurashtran community in Madurai    Every year the marriage is  celebrated   following the rituals of  the Saurashtran community in a grand  way  .  Large number of Saurashtra community members attend this festival bringing with them gift    to the bride.

   Nearby this Sastha temple is the Mampazhathurai BHagwathy temple . The Goddess is in a fierce form  at this temple . There are various theories about this temple. Some people believe that   the marriage of Pushkala and Sastha did not take place and    with great anger Pushkala and went to Mampazhathurai      and sat there. Another view is that    Mampazhathurai     is only an Yakshi temple  . This appears as more plausible   because    the people in Tamil Nadu believe that  Pushkala is  married to Dharma Sastha.

Achan Koil Dharma Sastha

Achan Koil Dharma Sastha
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander

    Achan koil is a place which is  30 km from Shenkotta and 40 km from Punalur and is one most important five important  temples of Lord Ayyappa , consecrated by sage Parasurama   himself  in Kerala. The place is also in the junction between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  The Dharma Sastha here   is with his two wives Poorna and Pushkala.    The God is addressed as SAtsha or Arshan or Andavan.Here women are given free entry in to the temple unlike Sabari Mala.
    Along with  the Dharma Sastha , the temple also has   other gods. The most important is the Achan koil karuppan who is the security guard of Ayyappa.  There  are two important festivals in this temple. One is  wo days prior to the Mandalabhishegam day , when a car festival is held at the temple. There is a story of a golden sword    which was sent by Lord Ayyappa of Kantha Malai to this temple. That golden sword is exhibited during the car festival. The other festival is to honour Swami Krishnaji who has done great service to the temple. There is also a ten day festival   in the month of Dhanu.This   is celebarated on the Revathi star  in the month of Thai.  The temple is  in the middle of the forest and is not easily approachable to the Kerala Pilgrims but relatively better approachable from Tamil Nadu.
    The water in the temple well as well as the sandal paste  from the left hand of Sastha   idol are supposed to  be very powerful antidotes for   snake poison.




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Udayanapuram Subrahmanyaswamy temple

Udayanapuram   Subrahmanyaswamy temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
   This very famous temple is very near the famous  Vaikom Mahadeva temple  and the Kumaranallor Bhagwathi temple  . Devotes believe that a  visit to The Mahadeva temple is only complete after    visiting  Udayanapuram temple . The devotees of Palani Subramanya belonging to Kerala consider that a visit   to Udayanapuram is equivalent  to going on a pilgrimage to Palaani.
        There is a very peculiar story about the origin of the temple. It seems the  temple in Kumaranallore was built with an idea of making it a Subrahmnya temple and  Undayanapuramtemple , then known as  Udayanayaki puram was intened to house  the Bhagawathi(Goddess)  .But The Goddess BHagawathi wanted to stay in Kumaranallur  and the  temple  of Subrahmanya was   shifted to  Udayanapuram.  The temple town of Bhagathi was then onwards called Kunaran alla nallore(The good place where Subrahmanya is not there.)
    The God Subrahmanya in this temple has four arms and neither 12 nor two which are very common. The temple has   very large number of carvings ,  paintings  and statues carved of wood and stone.
   The Thaipoosam festival is celebrated in a very big way   at this temple.  Similar to Palani temple , large number of Kavadis are carried to this temple.  On the last day of the Brahmothsavam of the Vaikom temple. Vaikathappan comes to Udayana puram to see   his son., This is celebrated in a very grand way at this temple.  Skanda sashti   and Panguni uthram are also  celebrated  at this temple.
     On the Vaikathu Ashtami day Lord Subrahmanya from this temple goes in a grand procession to Vaikom ,
   This temple is only 2 km from Vaikom Mahadeva temple.


Perunna Murugan temple

Perunna  Murugan  temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
     Perunna murugan temple is located in the small town of Kerala called Changanaserry  which is 23 km from  Kottayam town.
       The Form of Subrahmanaya is   that of furious Deva SEnathipathi.  The idol looks furious and holds his spear pointing downwards . People believe that this form was assumed immediately after the  Lord Subrhamana killed Tharakasura. The  idol is five fewet tall and is consecrated on a lotus platform. .It is made in black stone.
  There is a story behind this temple.  It seems in  a village called Uppizhi in Kerala    there was a great Subrahmanya devotee called  Kumaran Namboosdiri. Like all  other Keralaites he was a great devotee of Palani Murugan. Once when he went to the Palalni temple, it seems he felt home sick. It seems Lord Muruga came in his dream and told him that  “You can find my statue in the river Kodumthurai. You recover that and consecrate it in Perunna”. Kumar Namudiri obeyed the order of God    and the Perunna temple was established. The idiol was consecrated in the year 753 AD in the tenth  day of  Meenam month. It seems that as soon as the idol was consecrated,  it was completely covered in Sun light. Every year this day is celebrated as the Consecration day . Every year the same miracle of Sun covering the statue happens.
      There is huge tank in this temple which is believed to contain large number of Saigrama satones.  Five Edangazhi(A measure of Kerala)   rice is cooked every day   and is offered to the God. Tuesday is considered as a special day to worship God  here.  The God is worshipped five times a day. Karthika I festival,  Thai poosam  , Skanda SAshti  , Soora SAmharam etc are celebrated in this temple. During Kartiga festival   which is celebrated  for thirteen days. The God is anointed with milk every day. Aravanai Payasam   is offered to the God.

  In the year 1936, for the first time in Kerala , this temple was opened for all the devotees by the Travancore king. Hearing this , it seems Mahathma Gandhi visited this temple and offered worship here.

Perumkulam south village Sri Krishna temple

Perumkulam  south village Sri Krishna temple
Compiled by
P.R,Ramachander
  Perumkulam is an aghraharam of Tamil Brahmins 23 km away from Palakkad in the Palakkad-Guruvayur route. The Sri Krishna temple there is being maintained by the Tamil Brahmins.
    There is interesting story about this temple. It seems there was a Namboodidiry family called Varikkasery Mana near by.  Their family deity was Lord Krishna. Once one hand of the deity was broken. The chief of the family   thought he should replace the broken idol and arranged a new idol  to be prepared. But once he was ready for consecration, he had a dream  in which Lord Krishna asked him, whether he would throw away his son  if his hand is broken. Then it seems The Nambooddiri asked the God what  to do with a new idol It seems God told him that some people would approach him and request for the new idol. At that time a prominent person in Perumkulam had a dream in which the Lord instructed him to approach  the Varikkaserry Mana for getting the new idol for the temple they were planning.  The present idol  is the one they got   From that Mana. There is als a Ganapathi shrine in the village in the same temple. The temples re open from 5.30 Am to 9 Am and  5PM to 9 PM.

   The temple celebrates a Brahmothsavam from  15th February to 15th march , every year.

Malliyur Maha Ganapathi temple

Malliyur Maha Ganapathi temple
Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
     Malliyur is a small village  23 km for Kottayam .The nearest railway station is Kuruppanthra  in the ERnakulam –Kottayam route.
   The form of Ganapathi  consecrated here is known as Bheeja Ganapathi , trunk  carrying a lemon twisted  towards right  and holding in his arms Axe, Horn, rope and Laddu and keeping baby Sri Krishna on his lap. Because of this he is also termed as Vaishnava Ganapathi.
   CEntuaries back  a saintly Namboodiri is supposed to have brought this  idol from North  India and consecrated here. Intially the temple had only a thatched roof. A YYakshi and Anthimahakalan (Hunter form of Lord Shiva) also have been consecrated   at this temple, as they were the family deities of this Namboodiri. The temple was administered by two Namboodiri families-Aryappally and Vadekkadam.  Though  these families flourished initially they became to poor and  unable to manage this great temple. Once more some other family tried to rebuild the temple but their  effort to maintain the temple ended up in a failure. Again about 50 years back another Nambudirui family  tried to rebuild it.  Again failure was  peeping at them . Then Deva Prasanam was done and they found that The Goddess Durga also wanted to be consecrated  in the same temple. Brahmasrio SAnkaran Namboodiri who was trying to rebuild the temple at that stage  Started readsing Bhagawatham in front of the deity. When this was done they realized that sacredness was getting infused at the temple. Apart from the already existing Gods , he also consecrated a Brahma Rakshas and Sastha in that temple.
    The temple remains open from 5 Am to 11,30 Am and then  from 5.30 P.M to 8 PM. Vinayaka CHathurthy , Makara Vilakku Chirappu(festival)  and a ten day  uthsavam in the Meena   masam ending on Vishu are celebrated at the temple. On second Sundays of Malayalam month there is a Bhagavatha Parayanam. The temple also conducts a  two month long music festival , starting on first of Vruschigam every year.


Elakunnampuzha Subrahmanya temple

Elakunnampuzha Subrahmanya  temple

Compiled by
P.R.Ramachander
    This subrahmanya temple is located 22 km from Parur(BVadakkan Parur) , a village near Alwaye town. Devotees believe that The Lord Subrahmanya of Thiruchendur has been consecrated here ,
    It seems long time ago the idol of  THiruchenduyr was damaged. As per the custom, the idol which had four hands   was put in the sea and a new idsol was consecrated there. It seems this idol  washed by the ocean  reached an island near  Elakunnam puzha. A   wood cutter lady who went there started sharpening her knife on this idol. It seems blood started oozing out  and she lost her conscience When she woke  up it seems, she ordered   the people , under influence of the God,   to shoot four arrows in the four directions of the idol.. They were  also  told that land  enclosed by the points where these arrows strike would belong to the temple. Finally she  told  them to shoot the fifth arrow to find out where the temple has to be consecrated. But when those versed in Agamas examined the statue ,m, they found that itt was damaged below the hip.  On appealing to God they were told  to retain the stone idol till the hip and build the portion below the hip with Pancha lohas. Initially small temple was built which was expanded  the Cochin kings and the rich people of that area.
     The people of Kerala believe that this is Thiruchendur temple itself. Here in this temple  Skanda Sashti , Thaipoosam, and Vaikasi Vishakam  are celebrated  in a grands fashion.