Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tiruvanchikulam Mahadeva temple

Tiruvanchikulam Mahadeva temple

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    Tiruvanchikulam  temple   is located 2 km away  Kodungallore  town in Kerala. This is a very unique Siva temple in Kerala   on three counts.

1.It is the only   temple in Kerala   sung by the Saivaite saints of  Tamil Nadu  called Nayanmar   and is termed as   a” Padal PethaShiva sthalam”.  The great saivite saint  Sundaramurthy  Nayanar has sung about this temple.

2.This temple has the largest number of upadevathas   among all the temples of Kerala. The upadevathas are   Ganapathy  , Lord Subramanya  , Palliyara  Sivan,Dakshinamurthy  , SAndhyavelakkal Sivan,  Parameshwara ,   SAkthi Panchakshari Bhagwathi  , Goddess  Parvathi  ,Goddess Durga  , Goddess  Ganga , Goddess  Varahi , Goddess  Indrani  , God Veerabhadra  Pradosha  nrithya saptha mathas  , Ayyppa, Hanuman  , Nagaraja, Nagayakshi  ,Sundarmurthy Nayanar, Cheraman Perumal    and so on. It is interesting to note that  there  is no temple for Lord Vishnu   in side this great temple.The main lIngam is  having a  scar mark  on its left side.  It is supposed to be caused   by  the  arrow of Arjuna when Lord Shiva as a hunter   attacked him. Kani KOnna  (Indian Labrnum) is the temple tree. This is also one of the four Tali temples of Kodungallore.

3.It is perhaps the  only temple in Kerala with two Thidapllies, where Naivedyams are  prepared to the God  .One Thidapalli is used for Naivedyams   of the forenoon worship and the other for the afternoon worships.

      It  is believed that  this temple is located   in the  old capital city  of the Cheras    which was called  as Mahodhayapuram.  Cheran Senguttuvan was the most famous king   who ruled from this city  .He was also called   as Cheraman Perumal . It was his brother Ilango Adigal   who wrote the great Tamil epic Silappadikaram.  It was he who built the temple    for Kannagi  , the heroine of Silapadikaram in Kodungallore. This temple was completely destroyed both by the Dutch as well as Tipu Sultan  and the present temple  is believed to have been reconstructed  in 1801 by Paliath Achan  of Kochi  kingdom . It is believed that  both Sundara Murethy Nayanar  riding on an elephant  and Cheran Senguttuvan riding on a blue  horse   ascended    to the heaven from this temple  and on the way to heaven, Sundaramurthy Nayanar   sang about this temple   and sent the song back  to this temple,.It is believed that  the Siva Linga   which is consecrated  in this temple   was brought  from Chidambaram.

    It is believed that A Nambudiri Brahmin took away  the serpent Vasuki guarding Mahadeva  in his  Palm leaf Umbrella. Then onwards  , his house became famous as Pambumekkattil Mana, which is about 6 km from this temple    and is  visited by  all people who want to worship  the serpent. It is also believed that sage Parasurama did penance at this temple   to get rid of the sins associated   with following of Marumakka Thayam (the properties go from uncle to nephew)   in Kerala

      One of the major   worship of the temple  is Dampathi Pooja where the  Lord is worshipped along with   Goddess  Uma. Sankabishekam , that is  anointing the  Linga using a conch is also an important form of worship.Daily there are five  poojas in the temple  .” Five poojas and three shribalis are the routine. The day starts with Palliyunarthal (waking up of the lord) at 3.00 a.m., escorting the lord and his consort from Palliyara to Mukhamandapa, changing of Nirmalyam, Abhishekam (ablutions), and leading them to the Moolasthana, Usha pooja, Dhaara to the accompaniment of Rudram, Pantheeradi pooja, Navakam, Panchagavyam, Uchapooja and closing of temple for noon at 11.30 a.m. The sanctum opens again at 5.00 p.m., changing of Nirmalyam followed by Abhisheka, Deeparaadhana, Athazha pooja, escorting the lord and consort to Palliyara and conducting Palliyara pooja (Dampathi pooja).”
The pooja of Palliyara   Sivan is believed to help in  early marriage  .There is an eight day festival in the temple in the month of Kumbam   which is believed to commemorate   the ascending of heaven by king Seran Senguttuvan.

      The nearest railway station is Irinjalakuda and the nearest air port is Cochin airport(35 km) .   There are frequent buses from Trichur to this temple. The temple is open 4.30 Am to 10.30 Am   and 3.30 Pm to  8.30 PM.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Pachalloor Bhadra Kali temple, Trivandrum

Pachalloor Bhadra Kali  temple, Trivandrum

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      This is a famous  BHadrakali temple situated 7 km from Trivandrum on the  Trivandrum-0Kovalam route. It is also referred to as Pachalloor CHudukadu (cremation ground)  Bhadrakali. It is supposed to be a very ancient temple and  is included in the list of   64  Shaiva holy places  in Vizhinjam.   But there is an interesting story about it. There  was a learned Acharya , who was the head of    the famous Valiya Vila family    which was located  in this area.  One day when he was returning home  he saw two old and tired ladies sitting   in the shade  of the banyan tree .When the gentleman enquired with them, they tld him that they are   from Kodungallore .Seeing that they are very worn out he offered them Tender coconut, Puffed rice and  banana   fruit. When he reached his home he saw one of those old ladies   sitting in the pooja room of his house. But next day morning she had disappeared but  in the place where she was sitting , there was a glowing lamp filled with ghee . The Goddess     from then on used to give  Darsan to   the head of that family once in a while from then on. And that house was later  made in to the temple of Pachalloor . There is also a story that  after Bhadra Kali killed  Dharikan , she   was greatly angry    and no one could pacify her .Lord Shiva who was  her creator pacified her    and made   her to stay  in Pachalloor so that  she could take care  of her devotees.  There  is also a belief that  the old lady from Kodungallore who became goddess  there  is Kannagi herself .During festivals the story of Kannagi is sung at this temple.

      In the temple the Goddess has a peaceful form and  faces north., There are temples of Ganesa, Sastha   nd Nagar(serpents) in the temple compound. There is also a temple for Kanda karnan   below the banyan   tree    in the temple.  He  is believed to be the brother of the Goddess  There is daily worship in the evening.Tuesdays, Fridays and  Sundays are more important.  Tender coconuts , Puffed rice and fruits are generally offered to the Goddess. Kadum Payasam (Very sweet jiggery kheer)  is another important offering. The temple   opens at 12 noon, closes at 2 P.M and again opens   at 5,30 Pm and is open upto 8.30 PM  There is Deeparadhana at 1.30 PM, &.30 PM   and 8 Pm. On every first day of the Malayalam month   the temple is open from 5.30 Am in the morning .

    One of the important  forms of worship of the Goddess  is Nercha thookkam.This consists  of  Devi Dasans  hanging on a bow   carrying a child   and  doing  a round of the temple. There are no restrictions of caste , religion or creed for this form of worship.The web site of the temple says,
“There are many unique features about the customs and pooja rites followed in this temple for years. The poojari (priest) is from the ‘Kolla’ community. The heavy rope for the ‘Nercha Thookka Villu’ comes from a family from the Ezhava community and the ‘Katcha’ comes from the ‘Mannar’ community. Carpenters from the ‘Aasari’community make the ‘Thookka villu’. The ‘Chanam’ is brought by a family from the ‘Araya’ community. The ‘Parikarmi’ are people from the ‘Thattaar’ community before whom ‘Panam’ (cash) is offered on the ‘Pallippalaka’ on the first day of festival. The drums (Chenda) accompanying Devi are played by people from ‘Paanar’ community and people mainly from the ‘Thandaar’ community are the Devidaasas.
When the human race distances itself by building boundaries in the name of caste and religion, people become members of one family in front of the ‘Boon-giver’Pachallooramma. They are devotees, children of Pachallooramma.”

    This ritual is   on the seventh day of the festival of the temple  which starts on the Makeeram day of the  month of Kumbha. The people who offer themselves to the ritual  starts penance  from the first day of festival itself. The devotee is hung by the bow  , while he would be carrying a child  and villu would take one round  of the temple .Several children would be waiting for their turn and would continue   till the next day morning as people believe that once their baby  undergoes nercha thookkal, their future is secure On the eight day the ladies around the temple offer Pongala to the Goddess  The festival   comes to an end with Kuruthi Tharppanam  on the ninth day when Thatta nevedhyam is offered to the Goddess. There  is a you tube video on the temple festival –
You can see  large number of photos of the temple  in

   The temple can be contacted in e mail id . The administration of the temple is looked after   by Nair Service Society , Pachalloor, Trivandrum -27.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Legend of Mazhoor Sri Balarama Temple (Dharmi Kulangara temple)

Legend of Mazhoor Sri Balarama Temple (Dharmi Kulangara  temple)
Ravi Kumar Ambadi

Balarama, the elder brother of Sri Krishna is regarded as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Out of the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu, only the Sri Krishna incarnation is the complete one, while the rests are partial ones (Amsha Avatharas). Some others believe him to be the manifestation of Serpentine Anantha (Anatha Naga) who is quite identified with Lord Vishnu. However, there are a few temples dedicated to him and there are very few devotees worship him. One such temple is there in the Kannur District of Kerala which is located about eight kilometers from Thrichambaram Sri Krishna Temple. (Near  Thaliparamba  town) This  temple   is also called  Dharmi Kulangara  Balarama temple .Three more temples dedicated to Balarama are there  in  Kerala  located in  Aluva  ,Nenmini   and Aranmula.
     Balarama is the first peasant king in our world. He was a king who was very particular about the prosperous of his country and its subjects. At a time, when Vrindavan hit with severe draught, he requested River Kalindi to change her path and provide water to the farmers of Vrindavan, but she did not listen to his words. Furious Balarama, digged the sides of the river with his mighty plough and took the river water to the Vrindavan. Although he has been depicted as a savior of peasants in the epics, it is quite astonishing that there are very few devotees for him in a country which mainly depends on agriculture for revenue.
Anyway, now let us talk about Mazhoor Sri Balarama Temple. You might have read legend behind Thrichambaram Sri Krishna Temple, which has been published in this blog. We have mentioned there that Sage Narada presented two idols, one of Sri Krishna and other is of Balarama for that temple. That idol of Balarama has been brought here and consecrated in this temple.
Puthukkudi Perumthatta Illam was one of the prominent families in that area who had several rights on Thrichambaram Sri Krishna Temple. Once, a person was there in that family who was an ardent devotee of Lord Sri Krishna. He used to visit Thrichambaram Temple daily to worship god. As the time passed he became old and weak. He could not go such a long distance by walk. The fact that he had to stop his temple visit made him sad and depressed. He prayed to god for a solution.

One night in his dream, Lord Sri Krishna came and told him that the next day morning he could see the calf with the name Dharmi near his house. The place where she put cow dung should be dug and there he will get a Salagramam (a holy stone which is believed to have divine powers). Further, Sri Krishna insisted him to dig a pond at that place and keep the salagramam inside it. He asked the devotee to consecrate an idol of his elder brother near the pond and start worshipping.
The very next day, the man saw the calf Dharmi near his house and followed the instructions of Lord Krishna. He took out the Salagrama first and then dug a pond there and kept the holy rock inside it. Then he brought the idol of Balarama from Thrichambaram Temple, which has been presented by Sage Narada and consecrated near the pond after constructing a temple.
In the beginning we told you the story of Balarama, changing the route of Kalindi. That is told in Maha Bhagavatham. Almost similar incident happened at Mazhoor also. Once, Mazhoor experienced severe draught as experienced by the people at Vrindavan. There was no rain and the crops have been destroyed due to the lack of proper watering. Entire village suffered a lot due to this. Then head of the Puthukudi Perumthtta Illam family got touched with the miseries of his fellow villagers. He went to the Balarama Temple and shouted at the deity.
Can’t you see people suffering from drought? Why are you holding the plough in your hands? That is a weapon for farming and not a decorative piece. If you cannot help us, then what is the point in calling you the Peasant King?

Once the shouting is over, the man got repented. He thought that he did a wrong thing by calling the lord with such words. Then he consoled himself that the lord can understand his agony and will forgive him. Yes, the Lord Balarama not only forgave the devotee, but blessed him too with lot of showers. The very same night Mazhoor experienced heavy rain. 
     Balarama  of this temple visits  Thrichammaresan  temple near by   and the brothers have a walk together   and this is called  Pookothu Nada during  an annual festival  held in  month of march,..A  very unique dance called THidambu nrutham is held   at that time  (see write up of Trichamaresan temple) , The address and telephone number   of the temple  is 

Sri dharmikulangara balabhadra swami seva samithi
Ph: 94950 04205, 0460 2203057, 0460 2203236

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thiruvallam Parasurama temple

Thiruvallam Parasurama Temple

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         The only temple dedicated to Lord Parsurama, the creator of Kerala and a major Avathar  of Lord Vishnu   is lovated in Thiruvallam in Trivandrum town. It is about 6 km  from the Trivandrum station. People believe that the temple is very ancient . Even the present day g historians believe   that is about 1000   year old.
      Lord Parasurama, the 6th incarnation of Maha Vishnu   is considered as a Chiranjeebvi (that is a person   who does not have death)  .The Temple   due to its ancient nature   is a protewcted monument.The temple is located  in the triveni Sangamam of three small rivers Karamana , killi and Parvathiputhanar..It is believed that  when Vilvamangalathu SAmiyar came in serach of the Padmanabha SWamy temple , He saw a huge idol of Padmanabha   , with his head in Thiruvallam and feet   in THirupappur.The saint was awe struck and prayed the God to reduce g his size and the God did to the present form which is consecrated in   Ananthapadmanabha swami temple  .Devotees believe that   their pilgrimage   to Trivandrum would be complete only if the visit the  Three temples of located in east fort (padmanabha swamy)  , Thiruvallanm and Thirupappur in the same day.
      Apart from the main temple of Parasurama , the temple also has sub temples for Lord Shiva as well as Lord Brahma. There is also the feet   print of the God , worshipped by  Parasurama , which was  consecrated and  worshipped by ASwathama  , the disciple  of Parasurama, The temple  of Parasurama with an axe    and separate trimurthy temples    as sub temples in the temple, which are believed to be consecrated by Lord Parasurama  himself. There is also a shrine for Veda Vyasa in side the temple , where students come and pray   for getting good results in the examinations.
      Devotees believe that Adhi Sankara performed the Bali for his mother at this temple after her death. Because of this Pithru Tharpanam  performed at this temple is considered   as special. On the new moon day(Amavasya)  of the month of Karkidaga(July –august)    very large number  of   devotees visit the temple to give Bali to their ancestors. Similarly the Amavasya day   of month of Makara(January-February )  is  also considered important for this purpose.Parasurama Jayanthi also   celebrated  in the temple  in a grand scale.

    The temple is open   from 5 AM to 11 Am   and 4 PM to  7 PM.  The telephone number of the temple is  0471-2380706.