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Kodungallur Bhagavathi Devi Temple

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The beginning of the temple is shrouded in antiquity. The temple was built to commemorate the martyrdom of Kannakis in the Sangam age. During the reign of Kulasekhara dynasty, Kodungallur was the capital of Kerala and one of the most important parts of the region. It is said that sixth avatar of Vishnu, Sage Parasurama has built this temple for the prosperity of the people. According to the old chronicles, this was the Bhagavathi temple created in the heart of the towe many centuries ago to serve a special purpose

Legend says that after the creation of Kerala by Parasurama, he was harassed by a demon called Daruka. In order to kill this evil demon, Parasurama prayed to Lord Shiva for help. As advised by Shiva, Parasurama constructed the shrine and installed the Shakti Devi as Bhagavathi. The deity in the temple, it is believed, is Parashakthi herself. According to legends, it was Bhadrakali who killed the evil demon Daruka. According to popular beliefs, the temple in the olden days was a Buddhist monastery. But according to Kerala historians, Kodunganallore, Trikkanamthikam and the neighboring areas were Buddhist and Jain centres during the Chera period. Legends say that Palliband Perumal, a ruler from that area embraced Buddhism and as a result of which, he had to abandon the Perumalship owing to severe opposition from the Hindu community.

 

According to another belief, the temple was built by Charan Chenguttavan. Elango Adigal, younger brother of Chenguttavan, wrote his monumental work 'Shilappadikaram' residing at Kodungallur. He later embraced Buddhism and spent the rest of his life in the Buddhist monastery at Trikkanamthikam. From time immemorial, persons wishing to earn merit have been offering animal sacrifice. Countless fowls and goats were also sacrificed to the deity as vowed gifts for the protection and fulfillment of desires. At the intervention of many social reformers, the Government of Kerala has banned animal sacrifice in any form at this place. At present, only red-dyed dhoties are offered to the deity. Many devotees offer rich presents and gold ornaments.

The people of Kodungallur believe that this temple was, in the olden days, a Shiva Shrine and it was Parasurama who installed Sri Kurumba Bhagavathi in close proximity to the idol of Shiva. Although this is a small town and has several temples, most of them are Shiva Shrines. The poojas are conducted under direct instructions from Sri Bhagavathi Herself. Five 'Sri Chakras' installed by Adi Shankaracharya, are believed to be the main source of the powers of this deity. The priests are Namboodiris and Adikas (Madhu Brahmins) who have a right to perform ‘Pushpanjalis' to the Goddess.

Bhagavathi being the patron of the Royal family of Cranganore, the Raja plays an active part in the celebrations of the festival. Standing upon a rostrum built around a banyan tree, the Raja spreads out a silken umbrella soon after the door of the Devi shrine is opened. The peculiarity of the event is that it denotes the giving permission for all castes to enter the precincts of the temple for worship. This is known as ‘Kavu Theendal'. Devotees run round the temple thrice with sticks in hand before they enter the shrine. The legend goes to prove that the killing of the Demon has taken place and the sticks are substitutes for the arms and swords used in olden days.

 

BHARANI FESTIVAL

 

The Bharani festival at the Kodungallur Bhagawati temple is one of the grandest in Kerala. It is a month of festivities from the Bharani asterism in the month of Aquarius to 7 days after the Bharani asterism in the month of Pisces. It normally falls between the months of March and April. The festival normally starts with the ritual called 'Kozhikkallu moodal' which involves the sacrifice of cocks and shedding of their blood which forms an important feature of this temple. The members of the Kodungallur Bhagavathy temple are allowed to participate in this ritual. It is to appease the goddess Kali and her demons who take delight in offering blood.

'Kavu Theendal', another important event of the festival, overseen by the King of Kodungallur where a hordes of Vellichapads (Oracles) make a made rush around the temple waving their sabre in air while the members of their retinue throw objects including cocks over the inner quadrangle. They make a wild cry of abuse at the goddess in bawdy language. Their abuse is said to be accepted by the Goddess followed by the purification ceremony the next day. Chandanapoti Charthal is yet another festival of smearing the image with sandal paste

 

Thalappoli festival

The thalappoli festival is in the month of Makaram (January - February). The four day Thalappoli commences from the evening of Makara Sankranthi with religious rituals. On all the days from the afternoon to twilight and midnight to dawn. Big procession headed by richly caparisoned elephants are taken out to the accompaniment of Pancha Vadyam, Paancari, Paandi etc.

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About Scenary

Location: 

Thrissur

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Temple

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