Friday, March 30, 2012

Anandavalleeswaram Temple, Kollam


The famous Anandavalleeswaram  Temple,Kollam is situated in the heart of  Kollam(Quilon) City
itself near to Ashtamudi Lake and many Government Offices.Lord Shiva and Devi Parvathi have equal importance in this Hindu  temple.Another famous Lord Shiva temple by the name 'Rameswaram' is situated just 1.5km from Ananda Valleeswaram Temple.
From the history records available and from inscriptions it is assumed that a merchant by name "Navakodi
Narayanan Chettiyar" from Tamil Nadu who came to Kollam and settled there, constructed five  Shiva Temples in Kollam area
around 1100 years back.These are 'Rameswaram Temple,Ananda Valleeswaram Temple,Manaleeswaram,
Chittadeeswaram and Trikkapaleeswaram Temples.
At Anandavalleeswaram temple Deities of Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi  are the important main deities..The Mahadevan(Lord Shiva)  of this  temple is considered in 'Soumya Bhava'..He is supposed as 'Uma Maheswaran'  and 'Ananda Swaroopan.' Shiva and Parvathy are believed to be consecrated  as in 'Just Married'
concept and so both of them are in a very calm and   pleasant  form.The temple has got the  name 'Anandavalleeswaram'  from this concept.
In  all Shiva temples where if Devi Parvathi
is also existed the Lord Shiva will be supposed to be in a calm and pleasant form.  .Both
of them bless the devotees to have   welfare and prosperity and grants them a pleasant married life also.
The Devi Parvathi's idol is in standing posture.There is a lotus flower in one of her hands.Parvathy Devi  of
this temple is also called  as 'Swayamvara Parvathi'.
Lord Shiva's idol is as usual in other Shiva temples as  shapeless 'Shiva Linga'  but the procession idol of Lord Shiva  which is known as 'Seeveli Vigraham' is
'Uma Maheswaran'  ie.including Devi Parvathi along with him. It is depicted as Parvathi Devi sitting on the left thigh of Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva is embracing her.That form is depicted  supposing as just after their marriage ceremony  and so both of them are very pleasant and so gladly grants the  rightful needs of the devotees is the belief.
During  Navarathri festival on 'Vijaya Dasami Day' 'Saraswathi Pooja' is  held at the Sanctum of Parvathi Devi in this temple.
Ganapathi,Subramanyan,Navagrahas,Naga Gods etc are the sub deities of this temple.
The annual temple festival is for 10 days in the month of Meenam(Mar-April) and Sabarimala Tantri family of 'Thazhamon Madom' has the Thantric rites.There is golden flagstaff in this temple.
For getting a suitable bridegroom and for removing obstacles for marriage unmarried girls approaches the
deity Parvathi Devi of this temple in large numbers.Full Moon days are considered auspicious here and
having much importance.
Transport Facilities


Trains and Buses to all destinations in Kerala are available from Kollam.Trivandrum International Airport is only 65 km from Kollam.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Puliyoor Mahavishnu Temple


Puliyoor Mahavishnu Temple  is also called as 'Thrippuliyoor Mahavishnu Temple' and is situated in  'Puliyoor of
Chengannur Taluk in Alleppey District.It is 5km from Chengannur town.It is the second of the five Pancha
Pandava Mahavishnu temples which were established by the Pandavas .The second brother of
Pandavas 'Bhimasena' established this temple during the exile period of Pandavas and so historically this
temple was started 5000 years ago.This temple is one of the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu and one of the 11 temples in that category in Kerala.
The deity of this temple is Lord Mahavishnu and the idol is in standing posture.It stands on a 20 inches high
basement and the idol is three feet and ten inches high.The idol is depicted as having four hands holding conch,
disc and lotus and the other hand usually holding the maze  rests on his thigh.The temple faces towards east
and like at  Aranmula Temple and as  at Sabarimala Ayyappa temple at the Puliyoor temple also there are 18 steps in the front side.
The Sanctum is round shaped and very big in size.The roof of the sanctum is copper plated and the sanctum
is having four doors to each sides.

On the southeastern wall of the sanctum there is depicted a 'Ganapathy' on the stone wall.It is known as 'Wall idol'
and pooja rituals are done for it.There is no other Ganapathi idol in this temple.'Namaskara Mandapam' is 20
feet square shaped and on the top side wooden carved images of 'Nava Grahas' are existing.There is sub
deities of Lord Shiva and Sastha in this temple.Outside the main temple structure there is a stone sculptured
huge 'maze' weapon of Bhima is exhibited.This stone structure is not an ancient one but was installed in the
recent past.
The temple opens in the morning at 5.30 and after the Pooja and other rituals closes at 11 A.M. Again re-opens  in the evening at 5.30 and closes at 8'O clock.
The main offering of this temple is 'Chathussatham' which is sweetened rice.For conducting chathussatham
the requirements include 101 measures of rice(approximately 250gms each measure),101 coconuts,24 'thudam'
ghee(approximately one and a half litre),40kg Jaggery(Molasses) and several other ingredients.The devotee
can perform Chathussatham offering in half and quarter measures also.'Palpayassam'(rice boiled in milk and
sweetened with sugar),'Kadum Payasam'(Another variety of sweetened rice) etc are also main offerings here.
Three centuries back there happened a mishap in this temple which was  conflicts with the employees  of the temple
and an eminent family in the locality and resulted in deaths of several people.Due to that unexpected tragedy
the temple remained closed for more than two hundred years and was again reopened for pooja rituals in
the last century only.Now the temple is regaining its past glory and the administration vests with Travancore
Devaswom Board.
The thantric rites are for 'Kuzhikattu Illam'.Mondays and Thursdays are more auspicious here.In the Malayalam month of Makaram on Atham star day flag hoisting for annual 10 day festival starts and Aarattu will be performed on Thiruvonam Star Day.
Transport Facilities
Bus and Trains are available from Chengannur to all places.Trivandrum Int'l Airport is 120km from Chengannur.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

KOTTAYAM THIRUNAKKARA MAHADEVA TEMPLE

The devotees believe that Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi will bless and fulfills the rightful desires of  all those who
approaches Kottayam Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple.The Deity in this temple is believed to be in a   very
calm state  and he is  supposed as the head of a happy family.Therefore anyone who suffers from any sort of family
matters can visit and pray the Lord here for solving his problems.It is believed that Lord Shiva will solve problems related to family and married life including conflicts between couples,Problems and sorrows because
of  mischievous children and even regarding  their educational matters,Obstacles and delay in marriage, and so on.
Thirunakkara Mahadeva Temple is situated in Kottayam town itself on a small hillock known as 'Thirunakkara
kunnu'.There is a vast temple compound in the front part of the temple.The 'Shiv Linga Idol' is 'Swayambhoo'
which means self originated.There is Parvathi Devi's idol on the left part of the Shiv Linga and it can be witnessed if we pay a visit in the temple for 'Nirmalyam' in the early morning at 4.30 A.M.
The temple was constructed by 'Thekkumkoor Maharajas' and from the origin itself there is three annual festivals conducted in this temple.These festivals are done in favour of 'Vadakkumnathan, Parvathi Devi and
Lord Shiva of  this temple' respectively.
In the Malayalam month of Thulam six day festival is held starting on Thrikketta star day and which ends on Avittam star day known as 'Alpasi Ulsavam.The second festival is in the month of 'Midhunam' and flag hoisting is done on 'Uthrittathi star day' and 'Arattu' will be held on 'Thiruvathira star day'.This eight day festival is known as 'Aani festival'.
The third annual festival is held in the Malayalam Month of Meenam with flag hoisting done on Thrikketta star day and Aarattu held on Uthrittathi star day and known as 'Painkuni Ulsavam..This is the ten day festival and





most important.The famous drum music known as 'Aalthara melam' and 'Thirunakkara Pooram' are held during
this festival.
The temple deity is facing towards east and when we reach the temple we see the 'Balickal Pura' at first.The
tall golden Flagstaff is in front of that Balickalpura.The 'Navagrahas' are seen sculptured on the  upper part of the Balickalpura.The idol of the 'sacred bull' is seen on the 'mandapam'.The stories and belief is that the bull
used to go out and eat paddy from a nearby field in the olden days.Somebody happened to see this and threw
stones on it and injured it.Thekkumkoor Maharajah witnessed those happenings in his dream.He bought that
paddy field in the name of the temple.The problem due to the bull was ceased but on that stone idol
of the bull afterwards ulcer like projections appeared usually from which some fluid leaked out.Several rituals were held to stop it and lastly it happened  80 years back.
Ganapathy in this temple is also believed to be very helpful to the devotees that  approaches with devout.
Nagas,Dharma Sastha,Subramanyan,Bhagavathi etc are Sub deities in this temple.The Bhagavathi is
worshiped as Saraswathi Devi as well as Lakshmi Devi also.
The main Offering to Thirunakkara Devan is unction with Milk or water(Ksheera Dhara and Jaladhara).
'Uma Maheswara Pooja' is also very auspicious which is done on Mondays.If this pooja is done the obstacles for marriage will be removed.
Transport Facilities
Kottayam is reachable by bus and train.It is situated on Main Central road and distance to Trivandrum is
140km.There is international Airport at Trivandrum.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thrichittatt Mahavishnu Temple,Chengannur

Trichittatt Mahavishnu Temple which is situated within the town limits of Chengannur Municipality in
Alleppey District of Kerala is one of the 108 abodes of Mahavishnu.This is also one of the five Pandava Mahavishnu Temples in Kerala.Elder brother of Pandavas 'Yudhishtira'  established Trichittattu  temple in Chengannur.
The Pandavas established these temples means that these temples  were started before 5000 years.'Krishna Varsham'
 (Year from the time of Krishna) is  now 5114.
There are 84 temples of Lord Vishnu in Tamil Nadu which are among the 108 abodes and in Kerala 11
temples are  existed..In Andhrapradesh  only one is there which is Thirupathi Balaji temple  in this category and in Gujarat also only one which is  Dwaraka temple belongs 
to this 108 abodes.In Nepal there is one temple and  8  temples are in North India mostly in Uttar Pradesh.
Ayodhya,Mathura etc falls in this list.Other two abodes are Sree Vaikundam and Paalazhy(Milky Ocean)
which are celestial abodes.
Vaishnavites in large groups  travel to all these temples in full devotion all year round.
Chengannur  Thrichittatt Maha Vishnu Temple is situated 1.5 km from Chengannur Railway Station and
 Bus Station on the Pandanadu-Mannar route at 'Mundancavu'.There is a serene vast temple compound and a large
temple pond known as 'Sankhu Theertham' in front of the temple. Nalambalam is very large and Namaskara Mandapam is also spacious
and on its  upper part wooden carvings which are very ancient can be seen.The Sanctum  is round
in shape and made out of stone  which is very large in size..The  roof of the Sanctum  is umbrella shaped and stone made.   There is a door on the back side  of the Sanctum  also.Some stone inscriptions  which are very ancient are seen  near to the basement  of this  structure.The idol of Lord Maha Vishnu is in standing posture and black Stone made(Krishna sila).
The sub deities are Gosala Krishna and Sastha(Ayyappa).The Gosala Krishna temple has its own privilege as an
independent temple like and so during the annual temple of ten days there is flag hoisting done in front
of that temple on the fifth day of the festival after erecting a temporary  flag mast.There is a tall permanent copper made
flag staff in front of Maha Vishnu Temple. 
Thrichittattu Mahavishnu is famous as the Lord who removes our sins if we repent about our deeds  and  pray to

him for mercy and he grants us mental peace also.After the Kurukshetra war Yudhishtira visited this temple
and prayed the Lord for removing his sin of telling the lie that 'Aswatthama' was killed, for the sake to deceive Dronacharya.The Guru was not ready to believe anybody else but took for granted the words of
truthful Yudhishtira that his son was killed."Yudhishtira uttered the words 'Aswatthama the elephant died'.
He loudly said 'Aswathama died' and murmered the words 'the elephant' and hearing these painful words
Dronacharya put aside the weapons and sat still.His head was cut off by 'Drishtadyumna' very fast otherwise
to defeat him would have been  impossible by the Pandavas.But to relieve the sin of telling that lie and to get mental peace
Yudhishtira surrendered to  the Deity at Thrichittatt Temple
In the old texts the deity of the temple is called as 'Imayavarappan'.Belief is that 'Imayavars(Devas performed penance in this temple to get the blessings of the Lord Vishnu and hence the name 'Imayavara Appan'.

In the Tamil  'Divya Desam' texts  all the deities of these temples are given special titles(names) and even though Mahalakshmi's shrine is not there, the concept is that the Lord is staying with his consort Devi Lakshmi in all these abodes  and special name for Lakshmi Devi is also given for all these temples.As per those texts  the deity of 'Thrichittatt Mahavishnu Temple' is 'Devathideva Perumal' and his  consort Lakshmi Devi is present here as 'Raktapankaja Vally'.In those texts Chengannur is mentioned as 'Thiruchengundrur'.
The deity Mahavishnu of Thirupuliyoor is called as 'Mayashaktiyutha Perumal and Lakshmi Devi is present there as 'Hemalatha'.
The deity Mahavishnu at Thiruvanvandoor  temple is called as 'Kamala Natha Perumal and Lakshmi Devi is existing there as 'Kamala Vally'.
At Thiruvanthapuram Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple the deity is called as 
'Anantha Padmanabha Perumal' and Lakshmi Devi is there as 'Hari Lakshmi'.

Chengannur area was under the rule of Kayamkulam Maharajah and when Marthandavarma Maharajah
defeated Kayamkulam and acquired those provinces  the power to rule Chengannur area was given to
'Vanjipuzha Principality' a prominent family there.Thrichittatt Temple administration was being done by
that family there after.During the 60's that family declined and the Temple lost fame and prestige for a period
of  about 30 years.Later Travancore Devaswom Board took over the administration and the temple is now in the
process of regaining lost fame and glory.
The annual festival is for ten days which starts from the Atham star day in Malayalam Month Meenam to
Thiruonam star day.
Every year in the Month of January 'Bhagavatha Sapthaham' is done for seven days and on those days
'Anna danam' (free food to the devotees) is also performed.
'Ashtami Rohini' is also celebrated in a grand manner.From Ashtami Rohini day for ten days 'Dasavathara Charthu Mahotsavam' is celebrated in which every day for ten days the idol is  depicted in the forms of ten
incarnations of Lord Vishnu using sandal wood paste and other rituals are performed as accordingly in grand scale.
Mandala-Makara Vilakku period (Nov  15 to Jan 20) is celebrated also.
'Paal Payasam'(sweetened milk porridge) is the main offering to Maha Vishnu and Gosala Krishna.'Muzhukkappu' (adorning the deity with sandalwood paste),Sweet items like 'Kadum Payasam'
'Unni Appam' etc are also offered to the Lord by the devotees.'Neerajanam' is offered to Ayyappa Swamy.
There are large gathering of devotees  visiting  Thrichittattu Maha Vishnu Temple especially on Sundays and
Thursdays.

Visiting all the five  Pandava Temples- Thrichittattu-Thiru Puliyoor-Thiru Aranmula-Thirvanvandoor-
and Thrikkodithanam in this same sequence and again back to Thrichittattu Temple  on a single day will be very much auspicious and Maha Vishnu will bless the devotee to get
their  wishes fulfilled is the belief and known as 'Anchambala Darshanam'.

All information about Chengannur Mahadeva temple and Thrichittatt Mahavishnu temple are described elaborately in an old book titled 'Chengannur Mahatmyam' written by Kalloor Narayana Pillai and published by Travancore Devaswom Board several decades ago.The preface of that text was written by the famous poet 'Mahakavi Ulloor S.Parameswara Iyer'. 



Friday, March 2, 2012

Sree Vallabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvalla

Thiruvalla Sree Vallabha Swamy Temple is a very pristine temple of 4000 years old.It is situated  at Kavumbhagam of Thiruvalla Town in Pathanamthitta District.The temple compound is eight and a half acres of land
and it is the largest  temple compound among the temples in Travancore.This temple is one of the 108 sacred abodes of Lord Vishnu and only 11 temples are in that category in Kerala including Sree Vallabha Swamy Temple,Thiruvalla.
In the elephant shed near the eastern  Gopuram  'Anantha Sayanam' (reclining posture of Lord Mahavishnu)
is carved on a single wood.There is a big pillar made out of a single piece of stone at the  western side of the temple and an idol of Lord Garuda Bird is placed on its top.The building structure there is called as 'Garuda Madathara' and it has a Nepal style.There is Garuda Bird as sub deity in this temple.
The idol on the pillar is depicted as like a human form with beaks, and  wings stretched and hands bowing.
There is a legend that when the Garuda's idol was erected on that pillar centuries back it was about to fly off
and so placed it in position by chains.It was erected after two years of consecration of Sree Vallabha's idol.
Legend
The old name of Thiruvalla was 'Mallikavanam'.At that time there were 3000 Brahmin families in this place.
One among them and an eminent family still existing there is  'Chankroth Mana(Sangara Mangalathu Mana).There in that 'Illam'
lived an old  woman by name 'Sreedevi Antharjanam'  who was a firm devotee of Mahavishnu. She was having two servants and both of them were also firm devotees of Lord Vishnu.She had the habit of performing 'Ekadasi Vrat' and
giving food to four or five Brahnmins on the next day.During those days there lived an Asura by name 'Thukalan'  and  an  'Yakshi' was also disturbing the peaceful life of Brahmins.When the Brahmin woman of
Sangara mangalathu Mana  was waiting for five needy people  and to  provide food for them, on that day nobody came.She was worried
and feared that her Ekadasi Vrat would be incomplete  if she did not  feed 5 people and in her agony cried before the
picture of Lord Vishnu in her pooja room.At that time a Brahmin arrived there and requested to give him some
food.She felt very happy and asked  him to take bath in the nearby pond and come.The Brahmin youth replied that he used to take bath in a river only and  went in search for a river.On the way he met the Asura 'Thukalan'
and killed him with the flying 'Disc' he was  carrying with him.When the youth was delaying to come back the Brahmin woman
thought that he might  had been killed by the Asura.But he came back with another 5 Brahmins with him..By
that time news was spread that Thukalan was killed by a Brahmin youth with his flying  disc and people gathered in the
'mana'(house or illam) to see him.Everybody wanted to see his special weapon 'Disc' and so he placed it
in a place  for everybody to witness conveniently.When the people bowed down on seeing its divine glitter
and turned back, the young Brahmin Youth along with the  old  woman 'Sredevi Antharjanam'  and her two  servants who were firm devotees of Lord Vishnu  were all  missing.It was
understood later that the youth who came there was 'Vamana' who is incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu.
The Brahmin woman and her aides were given 'Moksha' by the Lord.
The 'Disc' which is 'Sudarshana Chakra' was worshiped for two thousand years in the temple which was consecrated  and the idol of 'Sree Vallabha Swamy' was consecrated after wards during the reign of 'Cheraman Perumal Maha Rajah'.
The idol in this temple was worshiped by 'Sree Krishna' at Dwaraka and later it was handed over to 'Sathyaki'.Then it was given to Garuda Bird  and he deposited it in Netravathi river.Cheraman Perumal had a dream about it and so  recovered
it from there with the help of Garuda Bird and consecrated in this temple.It is believed that it was consecrated
by  Saint  'Durvasavu Maharshi' who came there at that time in the form of a Brahmin.
There is an offering in this temple known as 'Paala Namaskaram' which will help to get blessings from Lord to fulfill the devotee's  wishes. Offering of 'Kathakali' to be performed in the temple is another special ritual here.On almost






all days round the year Kathakali is performed here.It is believed that 'Sree Vallabha Swamy' likes 'Kathakali' utmost.The wishes of the devotee who offer Kathakali is fulfilled.
The annual festival of this temple is in Kumbham Month for ten days and Arattu falls on 'Pooyam star' day.

Thiruvalla is conveniently situated on the Main Central road  and situated at 130 km from Trivandrum.
All the important trains halt at Thiruvalla Railway Station.