Temples of Kerala- Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

The Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple located at 17kms from Ernakulam of Kerala is one of the most celebrated Hindu shrines of Kerala.

The main deity being Rajarajeswari or Adiparasakthi or Durga Bhagavathy or the mother Goddess was brought from Mookambika Temple in Kollur, Karnataka. This deity is worshipped in three different forms as Saraswati in the morning draped in white, as Bhadrakali at noon draped in crimson, and as Durga in the evening decked in blue. The people having mental illness seek refuge in the divine mother, who graciously cures all her devotees.

The main temple has the golden hued idol of Bhagavathy bedecked with flowers, garlands, and jewels. The idol has four arms with the upper right hand holding the disc, the upper left hand bearing the conch, the lower right hand in a boon-conferring pose and the lower left hand indicating the abhaya pose.

The original idol of Bhagavathy facing east is of laterite and is believed to be self-born (swayambhoo). It is called Rudraksha Sila which is irregular in shape, red in colour and is untouched by the human sculptor. This image can be seen only in the wee hours of morning at 4 am when the Nada opens for nirmalyam.

There is an image of Mahavishnu in granite on the same pedestal adjacent to the image of Bhagavathy, to her right. They are together referred to as Lakshminarayana. There are also the idols of Brahma, Siva, Ganapathi (Ganesh), Subramanya and Sastha on the same pedestal.

The idol of the deity in the temple not being fixed to the ground is placed on a pedestal full of loose sand. The water offered during ablution ceremonies percolates underground and joins the tirtha of the Onakkur Bhagawati temple.

There is a shrine of Dharma Sastha along with his consorts, Purna and Pushkala on the north-east side of the main temple. The Shiva shrine is on the south-west and Kizhukkavu, the shrine of Bhadrakali is outside the main temple on the eastern side.

here is a paala tree on the northeastern side of the kizhukkavu shrine, which is covered with long iron nails hammered on by the haunted victims with their foreheads. The famous pooja Valiya Guruthy performed in kizhukkavu on Fridays is said to cure the women of mental abnormalities.

In the temple legend, the place of the temple was once a dense forest inhabited by tribals. Kannappan a ferocious dacoit brought a cow to his home with the intent of slaughtering it. But the cow escaped into the forest and Kannappan was unable to trace it. When he returned home he finds that his daughter was playing with the same cow. He drops the idea of killing the cow and later his daughter dies after few days. He looses interest in everything and starts worshipping the god. He sees the Goddess Bhagawati in his dream and she reveals that she had come to his house in the form of the cow. She also informed him about the presence of her idol and that of Vishnu in the cowshed. Kannappan builds a humble shrine and worshipped these images.

The important festivals of the temple are the Ulsavam, the Makom Thozal, the Navarathri, and the Vrishchicka Mandal Mahotsavam.


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