Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pattazhy Durga Bhagawathi temple (Kottarakkara)

Pattazhy  Durga Bhagawathi temple (Kottarakkara)

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Pattazhy is a small  village in O Pathanapuram Taluq   near KOttarakkara  , The very famous Pattazhy   Devi temple is located  there,There are  few stories about that  temple . It seems there was an Asura called Daruka who was troubling all the  three worlds . All the devas  requested  Lord  Shiva   to  help them. Then fire came out pf his eyes and from  that fire  A very black and ferocious Kali arose. And fought with Daruka for twenty days  and killed him. She had become so ferocious that  several tricks were  tried to pacify her. Sage Narada drew a picyutre  of Kali using several colour powders and this pacified her. This procedure is called Kalamezhuthu  .Lord Shiva asked her  to go and live in any sacred temple  of her  choice. Kali came to this world and decided to stay in Pattazhi.,
   There is one more  story.  The still angry Kali ran towards Pattazhy  . The  nine planets were scared and followed her in the form of children. Seeing  those children Kali got pity and  when she decided to live in Pattazhy, she   decided to give a place   from there. But these   are only spiritually present there  and there are no idols for them in that temple.
  There is a story about how the  temple was built there, .Once  the  head of the Kadiyam thuruthiyil   Keezhe Veedu  a noble family in those parts  , One day when he was walking  in their fields, he saw a very pretty lady apparition wearing   white cloths..When he went near the lady , that  form disappeared. That noble man did not get scared but devotion came to his mind. Suddenly   a well appeared before him..A stone slanb had closed the half part of the well, and   over that   the well was closed with a red silk cloth(Pattu in Malayalam) .When he saw in side the well  through the silk cloth, he found waves , IN consultations with great [people and astrologers   he decided to build a temple for  the goddess there.Since the well used to becalled Azhi and it was covered by silk(Pattu), that temple   was called Pattazhi, Seeing the very powerful presence of Goddess there , they   made a plank of jack wood tree and covered it with silver and  that was consecrated  in the   temple. Though these indicate  that  it is an ancient temple  , it appears to be only  one thousand years old. There are several copper plate records about this temple   which are kept inside the temple., The family of the person  who gave the land   and the Namboodiri family who formalized  the worship procedures have a right  in administration of the temple, apart from that  there are elected representatives of Two Karas(Nair villages) had  also a  role in the administration. After a long time a Man with divine  strength and power arose from these Karais.He was very powerful and took over the administration  of the temple on himself. Various stories of this great  Kambithan are  prevalent in Pattazhi and Kottarakkara.. It was this time  the great Marthanda Verma   was fighting with  kings of the northern sides to expand  his kingdom.  He had lot of problems in the fight with the Kayamkulam  king. At that time Kambithan advised Marthanda verma    to make offerings to  Pattazhi  Amma and start the war. Marthandaverma was  able    to win over Kayamkulam.After the death of Marthanda verma his son is supposed   gave a huge area  of land to the temple,Kambithan received  the land on behalf of the temple,. THirumala Naikan the king who was ruling   the Pandya country   wanted to present two   gold anklets to the goddess  and announced that  it would be handed over  only to the  representative of the gOddess. When Kambithan reached there he refused to give  the anklets., ,It seems he had a severe small pox attack and after  entrusting the ornament to Kambithan he got cured. One queen from Kottarakkara has presented the temple with golden hairs. This is invaluable  and is taken out and worn to the Goddess  only once in a year.The prayer room of Kamithan , has an idol of the Goddess  and is now  sub temple of the main temple
     The Pattazhy   Durga Bhagwathy faces the north..There is a temple tank which is considered  very  sacred by the  devotees.. there are also many small temples for different gods  in the temple compound..tHe temple compound also has Samadhis of two Kambithans who  played a major role in the history of the temple..When you  see in the sanctum , you can only see, two hairs  of the BHagwathy on a wooden plank. tHis wooden plank is kept over a well. But for this there  is no idol there..There is a practice of going nine times  round  the sanctum with the  belief that  the nine planets would get  pleased by that.
  The first of every month, Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays are important days   for the temple.oN the Ayilyam day of the Month of Kanni there is a special worship to The Naga Raja,On Maha Navami day the Goddess is made to wear a golden apparel  and is taken out of the temple.The Kalamezhuthu,  songs and festival(Called Chirappu in these parts) start from the first of Vruschigam and extends up to  the eleventh day   of Dhanu., The powder from the Kalam is distributed as Prasada   during these days and it is believed that  it has medicinal properties,On the  last Sunday of the Makara  month , the ladies assemble  in the temple and prepare Pongala. The five day festival of the temple starts on the Thiruvadira day of Kumbha masam(which is the birthday of the Goddess, There is also a festival of Malakkuda when the eighteen mountains   around the temple are worshipped on the fourth day  of the festival,A hill called Puli Kunnu is worshipped as a representative of all the 18 hills. Lot of tribal people  participate  in this festival.,On the fifth day of the festival there is a war between the Goddess  and Darukan,The Shivarathri day and the the THiruvadira of Meena month which happens   to be the  birth star of Kambithan are   also  celebrated. The festival is known for Kambam (fire works), Aalpindi Vilakku Ezhunnallathu (Procession of small structure made out of plantain kernel and germinating leaves of coconut tree with numerous lamps on it), Ponnin Thirumudi (Devi's idol carved out of pure gold and rare precious stones) Ezhunnallathu
  The temple can be contacted at
Pattazhy Devi Kshethram,
Pattazhy P.O,
Pattazhy, Kollam
Phone:0475 2398421, 0475 2399421

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pandalam Valia Koikkal Dharma Sastha temple

Pandalam Valia Koikkal  Dharma Sastha   temple

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Pandalam  is a small town  about 13 km from Chengannur town of Kerala.  Lord Ayyappa    was  brought up by the king Raja Sekara   who was at that  time ruling over Pandalam. King Raja Sekara wanted to crown Lord Ayyappan is the  junior king of Pandalam but   his queen was reluctant  ,She feigned a head ache and the doctor  was  deputed by a cunning minister  said that she needed Tiger to get cured.Lord Ayyappa went to the forest and brought   a huge flock of she tigers to the Palace. The queen realized   her mistake and requested  Lord Ayyappa to accept the post of Yuva Raja. Then Lord Ayyappa   told his parents but who he is and requested them to build a temple in Sabari Mala . They agreed but were sad. Then Lord Ayyappa told them that  the ornaments that  he was wearing would be kept in Pandalam palace   and every year  before the Sughting  of Makara  Jyothi , the king or his representative should bring them  to Sabari Mala for him to wear. He also told that the next day he would   give a Private Darsan to  the king of Pandalam,.

      After the departure of Lord Ayyappa   to Sabari mala, the pandalam royal family built a  private  hall of worship for the members  of the Pandalam Royal family  .  This  temple located in the big palace (.. Valia Koyikkal)  of Pandalam was later  opened to the public also. This small prayer hall in the compound of the palace faces east and has only two rooms.One of them is where Lord Dharma Sastha is consecrated and the other  is the place   for devotees  to sit..There are no decorations to this very ancient prayer room , except a few paintings  on  its walls..There is no idol of Ayyappa in this temple but   a Salagrama  stone representing Lord Ayyappa.,Whenever any member of the Pandalam royal family dies, since Lord Ayyappan belongs to the family, the temple is closed  for sixteen  daya and there  is no worship here  in this prayer room at that time. Since it is only a prayer room of the palace there   are no festivals associated   with this temple . On the last day of Mandala period,(!1th day of Dhanu month)  there   are some special worship practices in this temple. Durind Mandala Pooja  The Ayyappa  is taken out on a elephant to a Banyan tree  called Manikandanal.. There is a small temple of Lord Ayyappa below that banyan tree ,At that time a cewlebration called” Nayattu vili(hunter’s call)” is celebrated  in that   temple ..Hunter songs , people miming the  animal sounds  etc are a part of this small festival.Another  important day  in the temple is  the twenty eighth day  of the month of Dhanu  when the  huge group  of People go as a profession from this temple to  Sabari mala  carrying Lord yypaan’s ornaments . The king(eldest member of the royal family of Pandalam gives  his sword  to his representative and tells him, “Safely go and see  our son and return.” Lord Ayyappa’s birthday is on Uthram star  of Kumbham  month . That  day the Salagrama  is decorated .. On the Vishu day , the Ornament box is brought out of the temple   for the devotees to see. The temple would be a  sea of devotees during the Mandala kalam of Ayyappa. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Mavelikkara Kandiyur Madeva temple

Mavelikkara  Kandiyur Madeva temple

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One of the very famous temples  of Lord Shiva is the Kandiyur Mahadeva  temple which is near Mavelikkara.It is considered as one of the great 108 temples of  Shiva in the world   and is called Dakshina kasi (the Benares of the south.) .There are two old  stories about the temple.One of them is about Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu  trying to find the head and feet of Lord Shjiva respectively.lOrd Vishnu  agreed that he had failed but Lord Brahma told a lie that  he had found out the head of Lord Shiva and the Thazham poo(pandanus flower) stood false witness this. The enraged Lord Shiva cut off one of the five heads ofd Lord Brahma  .It seems this head  struck to his hand.It seems as per the advice of Lord  Vishnu, Lord Shiva  created  a sacred water and take bath in it . It seems the head  of Brahma got detached from hands of Lord Shiva. Because of this Lord Shiva got the name  Sri Kanta  and this temple was named after him. Kandiyur has the pond  where Lord Shiva made and got  rid of his problem..There is yet  another  story. It seems  that once when sage Mrukandu the father  of Markandeya    was taking bath oin Ganges, he got an idol of  Lord Shiva.It seems he was worshipping it for a long timr and that  Idol consecrated in Kandiyur    .It is believed that two years before the start of Kollamandu(AD 823)  , a new year system called Kandiyur Abdham was started in Kandiyur  as it was a capital of a dynasty  in Travancore.and later  it fell in to disuse because  Kollamandu became more popular. It is believed that the temple was built in 823 AD by  Cheraman Perumal Nayanar also called as  Rajaseskara Varman  who was ruling from Tiruvanchikulam as capital. The worship of the  temple  was being done by Tarananallor  Namboodiri at  that  time.They are still  continuing as priests   of the temple. It seems that area after  a long time was ruled by  the Kayamkulam kings .It seems once the Kayamkulamn king was defeated by Venattu kings and at that time the  Ruling Kayamkulam king escaped through the western   door cloing it after him and till to date that  western gate of the temple has never been opened..There are several carvings in Tamil vattezhuthu in the temple..iN that there is a reference that  the temple was renovated  in 1217-1218 Ad.

   The temple is in a six acre compound which is surrounded by a huge compound wall..People believe that  the entire compound was  built within  a night by  Bhootha Ganas of Lord Shiva. Apart from the main temple   the compound has  eleven other  sub temples as well as a Naga(serpent) prathishta,.These temples are  the temple of Lord Vishnu, Pradosha Shiva, Sastha, Gosala Krishna, Annapurneswari , SAnikaranSubrahmanyan, Brahma Rakshas   Vadakum nadha and so on . The following Poojas are daily  performed at the temple, Usha pooja 05:45 to 07:00 Am Sree Bali 07:30 Am Panthiradi Pooja 08:30 Am Mrithyunjaya Homam 09:30 Am Navakam Kalasha Pooja 10:00 Am Ucha Pooja 10:30 Am Nada Adakunna Samayam 11:00 Am Vaaikittu Nada Thurakunna Samayam 05:00 Pm Deeparadhana 06:30 to 07:00 Pm Athazha Pooja 07:30 Pm Sree Bali(Nada Adaykkunu) 07:45 Pm. The temple has a ten day festival in the Dhanu month   and Aarattu during Thiruvadira.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Poonjar Dharma Sastha temple or Kattunel Kavu

Poonjar Dharma Sastha temple  or Kattunel Kavu

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Poonjar ia slightly big village  in the Meechil Taluq  of Kottayam district of Kerala. It seems this was being troubled greatly by a dacoit called  Udayanan.   Ayyappan  was the prince of Pandalam at that time  .At that time a pandya  king called Mana Vikrama Raja   arrived there   from Madurai.He decided to put down Udayanan. AT that time an old divine man  met Mana Vikraman and gave him  an elephant a goad   and  a hook to control the  elephants and also tols him how  to suppress  Udayana.A per the instruction Mana Vikrama Raja fought with Udhayana    and  suppressed him.Later that Pandya king opurchaesed that area  and wanted to build a temple to ayyappan as he could easily understand that  the old man who helped him was  lord Ayyappan himself. One day when the king went to take   bath in the river  , he kept his umbrella made of palm leaf    and went to take bath, Butwhen he came back he was not able to move that  umbrella at all. Understanding that the God wanted to  have temple there itself he started building the temple(History says that  the temple was built in  1165 ad).  Employing architects  and arists from Madurai and Kerala. The temple thiough small is very artistic, The entire Kirtharjuneeyam   story  has been sculpted  on the  outer walls of the temple. This temple is also known as “ Kattunel Kavu”
     The  Saastha statue of the temple is  made  of black stne.Lord Ayyappa is  is   made in such a way   that it  appears   to be teaching the third Pada  of  Gayathri Manthra with open book of Veda in his hand , which is resting on his knee.

     In the month of Makaram there  is a Kodiyettu festival   for eight   days.. The procession of the God on the elephant daily goes out at night with lots of burning light .On the first six days the goes round five times . Before the God takes bath  on the eighth day  , the God visits the Poonjar palace.There  takes rest in the Lord Krishna temple  in the palace  and later he would go round the Madhuai Meenakshi  which is on the way to the river and he goes take a dip in Meenachil  river and goes back to his temple , On the Mahanavami day there is a festival called Varam when all visitors are   fed by the  palace .During the Mandala time in Sabari Malai ,  very large number  of pilgrims going to Sabari Malai  c visit this temple on their way.On those days daily there  is a function called Kalamezhuthu and Pattu . It is intereting to know that the priests of this temple from   Thazhaman family which also   does worship in Sabari Mala temple..This temple is still the control of POonjar royal family,The temple can be reached   from Kottayam via Pala  , Erattupetta    and Panachipara , 

Thuravoor Ugra Narasimha Morthy and Sudarasana temple

Thuravoor  Ugra Narasimha Morthy and Sudarasana temple 
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  Thurvaoor  ins located by the side of NH47 , 25 km south of   the city of cochin .This temple has two ancient temples within it. One is that of Maha Sudarsana Moorthy  , believed to be 1300 years old and athe Ugra Narasimha Murthy might have been built   in the 7th centuary Ad. Nothing much is known about the origin of  the sudarshana temple   but there  is interesting story about the Ugra Narasimhamoorthy temple . It seems  there was a king called Keralendra   belonging to the Chera dynasty, His Guru was a great savant called Mutingottu adigal. Once when Adikal  was participating in a fuction to worship ancestors  , he realized that  he would soon die and be born as a dog. He instructed the king to protect him  when he is born  as a dog from doing  evil acts. The king agreed and he saw his Guru was born as a  dog  .He was taking care of it but one day he was forced   to kill the Dog. The sin of killing his Guru fell on him. To get rid of that , he consecrated a Lakshmi Narayana   temple near Angamali in a place called Naya thottam(Dog’s garden) . The Namboodiri who conducted the function told the king that  he would take his fees after  returning from his Kasi pilgrimage  . While in Kasi, A huge flame of light  appeared and told that , it would lead him to a place where an idol of Lord Narasimha  lay buried. It wanted to him to consecrate  that statue near a Sudarshana   temple. Then the light took him to a place  near Thuravoor. When he dug there, the Statute of Lord Vishnu  came out from there.With the money given by the king  , that Nambudiri built a temple in the compound of the Sudarshana temple itself.. There is a belief that  this place has very many temples and in ancient  days it was called  Surapuri..The King Brought  five  Brahmin families from THulu Nadu and settled them there.There is a peculiar practice in this temple regarding priests.  .Every two years, the chief priest (mesanthi)   would become assistant priest(Keezgh santhi)   and the assistant  priest become the chief priest. This is because the Chief priest should not leave the temple, should observe celibacy .
     The temple of Lord Narasimha   moorthy  is built in a very grand scale with lot of sculptures and paintings. The Sudashana temple has  an   idol has  four hands holding conch, wheel , mace and  the lotus flower. Unlike other Sudarshana temples , inside  it there is no Vishnu temple , which  is separate temple in the same compound. However the well  for both temples are shared with each  other. Though called Ugra Nasimha murthy  , the idol is that  of a standing Lord Vishnu. There is also small temples of Lord Ganapathi, Lord Shiva, Sastha, Nagas and BHagawathi  in the compound of the temple. The temples observe several festivals. The most important is the nine day festival   in the month of Thulam. There is a grand Palli Vetta festival   in Medam month . The Konkani Brahmins attend this festival in very large numbers.On Deepavali day  there is a festival called Valiya Vilakku.Ashtami Rohini. On pathamudayam day the  Gods are taken out for a procession outside. The temple is open from  3am  to 11 Am and then from   5,20 Pm to 7,30 Pm. Big gun like crackers (Vedi) are burst in the temple as the offering to gOds, because it seems when the Narasimhamurthy came out of the earth, it made that type of  sound.

     Though the temple’s land belonged to  Cochin state  , due to political reasons it was managed by Travancore kings under a condition that  when the Travancore king steps in to the temple, the temple would be transferred   to Cochin, It seems after  independence that last Travancore  king came to this temple but walked only on  carpets spread inside the temple .

Aroor Sri Karthyayani temple

Aroor Sri Karthyayani temple

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Aroor is a  big village in   the  border  of  the kingdom of Travancore and Cocin of the olden stays situated near NH 47. It is about  22 km away from Alappuzha town.  There is a belief its earlier name was Athiroor(The village near the border). It is believed   that Vilavangalthu Samiyar was returning from   Trivandrum to Guruvayur and happened to take rest below a huge tree. Suddenly he could see the presence of Goddess  there .By his wisdom he understood that   it was Karthyayani devi and built a temple for her. It  seems he stayed there for some time   worshipping the Goddess  and later entrusted the management of that  temple  to various Nambudiri families. There is also a mention that  it was one of the 108 devi temples which was consecrated by Parasurama   all over Kerala and this place was called “Kattil Pisharam”
    During the march of Tippu Sultan   through Kerala people believe that   he broke  the stattue of Goddess  Karthyayani  ,Later the temple fell in to disuse    for several years. It is believed   that  seven Nayar families  settled here ,They are believed to have  repaired the temple   and  got made a new idol of Karthyayani and consecrated  her here. In those families there was a  very great man called  Kannam kulangara  kaimal .  A thought occurred to him that  the power of this great temple was getting reduced and he felt because of the prosperity  of  the families of the families who have settled in the village   also would diminish.One day he happened to see  the goddess in person  looking very famished and tired .Kaimal  realized that  it was the Goddess. He told her to take rest and promised her , he would bring a tender coconut for her. He requested her to wait till then . He then went  to his home and committed suicide by hanging. ThE goddess  remembering his words waited for him for some time and  later   went in to the sanctorum. The Soul of   Kaimal  who committed  became a spirit   and started wandering here   and there and at that  time the prosperity of the temple further   reduced. The Soul of Kaimal stated living in a Palmyra tree    to the south of the Aroor temple.People  started liking this spirit and started calling him “Aru kola Ammavan (Uncle who faced bad death).”   As they found  the spirit was helping them a lot.Later this temple management was taken over by the Travacore  kings. Thorough repair was done to the temple by Ayilyam Thirunal king who lived between 1860-1880. And today it is one of the  important temple under Travancore DEvaswam board.. The temple is a small one and faces east..The idol of the Goddess is made  using black stone and has four hands.Statutes of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapathi , Naga devathas  and  Arukola(the spirit of the Kaimal who committed suicide)  are found in side this small temple .Below a Branyan tree  a Brahma Rakshas and Yakshi have also been consecrated, . The templke does not have any carvings or paintings .

YThe temple has a grand festival for eight days in the  month of Meenam   ending in Uthram  star. The Last three days of the Mandala time is celebrated as Thalapoli. Several  devotees have felt the greatness of the Goddess  as she used  to solve  their problems without fail..Let her also bless   all those who read  this compilation. 

Mannar Kurathikadu Pattambalam

Mannar  Kurathikadu Pattambalam
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(Most of the material is from the web site  of the temple - . My grateful acknowledgement to them.)
    The goddess Pattamalathilamma   has a  temple in Kurattikadu Pattambalam   is situated in mannar  which is near Kayamkulam  and is 11 km from Mavelikkara  Railway   station .This place is 130 km from Cochin air port.Here the Hoddess BHavaneswari one of the Dasa Maha Vidhyas is  consecrated  ,She is generally referred as  “Valia Amma” (great mother) .Along with her , there are temples    for BHadra, Ganapathi and Krishna  in the temple Her devotees   take permission from her to buy property, build a house  , celebrate the first  rice food for the baby  etc. They  wear  new cloths  or  first attend school or join in their  first job. .They start a journey after   lighting a lamp  before her .Her devotees believe that she is the daughter of Panayannarkavu Bhagawathi whose temple can be reached only after  crossing river Pampa. Once in a  year  the festival called  Anpoli  areepara Mahothsavam  which is celebrated from Medam 10th to 27th .Daily the Valia Amma visits the homes of her devotees in different villages. She is received by them with great fan fare .The procession everyday returns to the temple at 12  noon.   On Medam 13th the Goddess  starts her journey to her mothers house. .All her devotees including the  members and president of  her temple  line up  on the  shore of the Pampa river not allowing the Godess   to cross  the Pampa river. This is done because they are afraid that once she goes to her mother’s house    she may  not return.On Medam 15th Amma   goes to the CHangayil house and collects  , One Para(14 litres) of paddy from that house and goes to other houses. But she again returns   to Changayil house to collect  and colled five more measures of paddy  , as promised  by one of the lady ancestors of the family .Then only she gives blessings to the family and go back to the temple  .This  is called  Changayil ottam.On  24th Medam the Ama receives the  offerings from Harijans in the form of harvested paddy.A para is not insisted because  , they were considered poor .Now many of them offer the Para to the goddess
I   am quoting in extensor from the web site of the temple about this great festival called “Anpoli areepara  Mahothsavam

    Anpoli Areeppara is the most important event of our temple. It is the annual temple festival of 18 days from Medam 10th to 27th. On these days our mother visited her people at their doorsteps to receive their offerings as Paras and to bless them in person. Early in the morning Her Highness is brought out from the sanctum sanctorum with royal gaiety and drums in the Holy Jeevatha embedded with the Moolabimbam and is royally placed on the peetha. To receive two Anpoli Paras everyday. A customary rhythmic dance of the priest shouldering the Jeevatha is followed along with the special Poojas in the Seva Panthal. Then the Holy procession sets off.
          Every household , cleaned and decorated await eagerly for the farbound sounds of Her procession reaching their door. Amma is welcomed with fireworks and vaikuravas and offerings of flowers, paddy,fruits ,aval, malar in the form of para are offered. The accompanying crowd is treated everywhere with fruits, feast and pleasantries. The process goes on uninterrupted until late night and at about 12’o clock the procession returns to the temple and then the daily ritualistic ‘poojas’ and ‘nivedyams’ are offered in the presence of a huge crowd. After this, Amma is once again ritually brought out accompanied by royal drum beats and ‘vaikuravas’ to perform the Anpoli at the zero hours and in most cases in the early hours.
         ‘Anpoli panthal’ which is considered as a temporary temple is already erected to the north of ‘Elanjithara’ and an ‘Anpoli Kalam’ decorated with divine ritual drawings and fragrant flowers is kept in purity and lighted with Nilavilakku is there in front of the Anpoli Panthal. The rhythmic ritual dance of the shouldering priest in tune to the royal drum beats, come out of the Mathilkettu after 3 rounds around the temple, slowly approaches the Anpoli kalam in ritual steps. Large crowds follow and vaikuravas and fire crackers resounds through out the night. Amma mount in the Jeevatha on the shoulders of the priest ritually dancing on their steps, slowly awakened in this high concentration of dance, music, vaikuravas and the fire crackers. All of a sudden enters the Anpoli Kalam in the dense forest of light and oil lamps, and performs her own divine dance revelation. The priest becomes unconscious, faints and falls. Great fire works follows. Offerings there are distributed as prasadams to crowds of devotees thronging there and dakshinas are given. Amma is brought back to the SreeKovil. The process is to begin early morning next day   The temple is also running  a school in the village   called Bhuvaneswari  Higher secondary school..