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Timings : 4:00 AM - 8:00 AM & 5:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hours

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Oachira Temple, Kollam Overview

Kerala is known as God's own country not just because nature has been extremely benevolent to her in blessing the land with lush greenery and scenic views, but also because the Almighty himself resides in this place, and blesses visitors with tranquillity and peace. The Oachira Temple in the Kollam district of Kerala is one such holy and religious place. According to the Puranas, this glorious temple is one of the most famous and sacred places that can be found in Kerala, or for that matter, all over the country.

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More Details about the Temple and its Festivals

The temple is dedicated to ParaBrahma, who is better known as Shiva or Ohmkaram, which is the Universal Consciousness. This means that the temple has no fixed or prescribed mode of worship and that consciousness is given the highest value here. The temple thus propagates the message of universal brotherhood and spirituality.

The fact that the temple has no specific structural layout again adds on to this ideology that it upholds. Spread over thirty-six acres of land, the majestic temple witnesses a massive footfall of tourists and pilgrims daily, who belong to all sects and religions; and visit to seek blessings from the almighty irrespective of their faith.

The annual festival of Ochira Kali that takes place at the temple also draws enormous crowds, and visitors especially love to witness the mock fights that take place here in the waterlogged paddy fields. All in all, the Oachira Temple is a must visit, not just for worshippers of a specific religion, but for any person who wishes to be close to God, and wants to spend some time in peace, introspecting.

How did the Oachira Temple get its name?

There are different theories about the origin of the name Oachira. Some people believe that the name of the temple comes from the word Omkarachira, while others believe that it comes from the word Oymanchira. The third school of thought firmly believes that the name is derived from Uvachanchira, since Uvachan means Lord Shiva.

Another possible theory about the origin of the name goes as follows. The place earlier had a large water reservoir in the centre of a large ground known as Padanilam. This water reservoir, known as Chira, was used by soldiers to take a bath, and also to supply water to their horses. At that time, the site belonged to Kayamkulam Raja, who was also known as Odanattu Raja, or Onattu Rajah. Thus, probably, the place was known as Onattuchira. As time passed, the name corrupted to be Oachira, which is the name that we know today.

The belief upheld by Oachira Temple

The Oachira Temple believes in the presence of universal consciousness or a single supreme power which is known as Parabrahma. Thus, one can only find Aal Tharas or Peepal trees with a base foundation in the temple complex. Pujas are performed under these trees, and no pujaris or priests can be found inside the complex. It is also believed that the temple was formerly a Buddhist centre that reverted after the revival initiated by Sri Sankaracharya.

Offerings at Oachira Temple

The Oachira Temple is unique when it comes to the offerings. Bulls are considered to be sacred since they are the vehicles of Parabrahmam. Hence, offerings are made in the form of well-decorated bulls, which are named as 'Oachirakkaala' or holy bull. Devotees also often donate calves as an offering in the temple. Oachira also has a custom of donating the clay idols of human body parts to the Supreme Power. It is believed that the idol represents the diseased body part, and the offering will cure the sick person.

Structure of Oachira Temple

The Oachira Temple has no covered structure that can be used as a place of worship. Even though the temple covers an area of 32 acres, there is no walled enclosure or sanctum sanctorum inside the premises. Devotees worship the Para Brahma, which is the original power of Lord Shiva that also happens to be formless, under preserved trees that have been neatly managed. The front part of the complex, however, comprises of two fifty feet high towers, or gopurams; which are carved with various ancient sculptures. These pillars, along with the East Nada, West Nada, Theerthakkulam (sacred pond), Ondikkavu, Ayyappa Temple, Mahalakshmi Temple and Ganapathi temple, form the main points of worship at the temple.

Festivals at Oachira Temple

The Oachira Vrischikam festival takes place at the Oachira Temple every year in December and January. Another famous ritual performed here is known as Oachirakkali, which takes place in June. Traditional martial art experts indulge in mock fights in muddy water and paddy fields during this festival. This festival was originally a war exercise that was performed each year by the soldiers of Kayamkulam Raja. These soldiers met at Oachira in the Malayalam month of Mithuna every year, and this practice began to be known as Oachirakkali. Gradually, the annual tradition developed into a full-fledged festival that is celebrated with great gusto these days.

For over the past 60 years now, the temple administration has also been managing a social organization which is known as 'Annadana Mandhiram', and this serves free lunch to about 500 people each day. Irupathattam Onam, or the festival of cattle, which falls 28 days after the festival of Onam, is also celebrated at the temple with great zeal and fervor. Huge idols of bulls made up of cloth and hay that are known as Eduppu Kala are made, and are then pulled on giant wheels from the site of their development towards the Oachira Temple. Typically, about fifty such structures are formed, and this festival is reputed for being the most significant festival in all of Onattu Kara.

The main festival celebrated at the temple is called 'Panthrantu Villaku' (twelve lamps). These celebrations start on the first day of Vrischikam (Malayalam era, which falls in the middle of November and goes on for 12 days.

How To Reach Oachira Temple

The Oachira Temple is located on the border of Kollam and Alappuzha districts, on National Highway 47. The place is just 7 kilometers away from the Kayamkulam Junction Railway Station and is well connected to it and other nearby areas by a well-developed bus route.

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