Thursday, November 25, 2010

Glory of Chengannur

Chengannur Mahadeva Temple Gopuram

Lord Parasurama created Kerala for the purpose of donating it to Brahmins.Parasurama had enemity with Kshatriyas because Kshatriyas had rivalry with Brahmins and harassed them severely.So Parasurama killed a large number of Kshatriyas and later created a new mass of land from the sea which is Kerala and gave to Brahmins for a peaceful stay.He established 4 Sastha temples at Sabarimala,Achankovil,Aryankavu and Kulathupuzha for protection of Kerala from evil forces.He divided Kerala in to 64 provinces(Gramam) and Chengannur was one among them.From this story it is evident that Chengannur was an ancient place of prominence.
My native place is Chengannur which is in the Alleppey District.This place has several peculiarities such that the ancient Pancha Pandava temples(5 Mahavishnu temples) which are established by the Pandava princes  are in and around Chengannur.These are Trichittattu temple(Chengannur Mahavishnu temple),Puliyoor temple,Aranmula temple ,Thiruvanvandoor temple and Thrikkodithanam temple.These are among the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu in India out of which a total 11 are only in Kerala.It is believed that a visit to these five temples on a single day is auspicious.
                                Chengannur Shiva Parvathy temple which is known as Mahadeva temple  dates back to the
time  of marriage of Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi.The legend is that when all the Devas(Celestial People) summoned at Kailash Mountain the earth could not sustain the equilibrium and tilted to one side.To  maintain the equilibrium Sage Agasthya who had tremendous powers was ordered to go to Chengannur and stay there by Lord Shiva.When Sage Agasthya stationed at Chengannur the earth regained equilibrium and the danger removed.But the sage was sad that he could not see the devine marriage ceremonyof Shiv-Parvathy.So to console Sage Agasthya Lord Shiva arranged the marriage ceremony of them again at Chengannur where the temple now exists.Again it is believed that after the Daksha yaga when the corpse of Sati Devi was scattered   to several pieces by Lord Vishnu by sending an arrow the parts fell at many places in Indian sub continent which all became sacred places and famous Shiv-Parvathy temples aroused there later.It is said that Sati Devi's vaginal part fell in Chengannur  and that may be the reason, any how; it is incredible that the Parvathy Devi's deity at Chengannur temple is having menses like any other living females. This happens in 7 or 8 months in an year.Each time the menstruation period will be for three days consecutively.
When on the first day blood stains are noticed on the Deity's Udayada(Dress) the Sanctum will be closed and pooja rictuals will be performed on another idol which is used for procession purposes.For two days blood stains will appear on the dress of that idol.After three days the deity will be taken to Pampa river nearby and after Aarattu(Sacred bath) the Deity is brought back on an Elephant with splendid galore.This is Known as Thiruppoothu Aarattu.The temple festival at Mahadeva temple Chengannur is for consecutive 28 days in a stretch.In no other temples in Kerala temple fair is extended for such a long period The festival is in Dec-Jan(Dhanu Thiruvathira to Makaram Thiruvathira according to malayalam calender)
Nammalvar, a famous sage and poet of the 1st millenium C.E. describes Chengannur as a greenish wealthy place with abundance plantain and coconut trees where large number of rich Brahmin illams(houses) existed.
But the scenario changed later.
The story is that for renovation work of Mahadeva temple the well renowned craftsman 'Perunthachan' was brought to chengannur.But he felt jealous upon the rich Brahmins residing there.So to reduce their richness and power he made the temple works with slight variations in measurements purposely.Thus it resulted in the decline of the Brahmins and ended their glory.There are only a few Brahmin illams there now.Vanjipuzha Principality, the local ruler of Chengannur also declined.Their palace  was demolished recentl
A very ancient Narasimha swamy temple and Bala Subramanya swamy temple established by Cheraman Perumal Maharaja are in Chengannur.

Old Syrian Church(1700 years old) Puthencavu St.Mary's Church,St.George Orthodox Catholicate Simhasana church,Piralassery etc are in Chengannur.Arthungal Church at Alleppey,Edathua Church at Edathua, and world famous Parumala Church at Parumala near Chengannur attracts devotees from India and abroad alike. .