Kumaranalloor Bhagavathy Temple



Weather:

Time Required: 1 - 2 hrs

Timings:

4:00 AM - 12:00 NOON and 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Entry Fee:

No Entry Fee
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Kumaranalloor Bhagavathy Temple, Kottayam Overview

Located at a distance of 4 kms from Kottayam in Kumaranalloor, Kumaranalloor Devi Temple enshrines Bhagwathi- the mother Goddess. Considered as one of the most important Hindu temples among 108 Durgalayas (Devi temples) spread across Kerala, the shrine is said to be 2400 years old as per historical, mythical and scientific sources. Sprawling over a vast area of 15000 square metres, the temple has a notable architectural pattern with a unique structure of nalambalam and sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum), both of which are rarely found in generic temple architecture. Believed to be an equivalent of Madhura Meenakshi Temple by the devotees, Kumaranalloor Devi Temple was supposedly constructed by Lord Purshuram.

Goddess Kathyayani presides the temple complex and is worshipped in five different forms including Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parvathi, Durga and Vana Durga. The temple is believed to be an ancient cultural centre, and is one of the 32 gramams made by Lord Parshuram. Originally, the shrine was called 'Thingalkkadu’ which was later changed to ‘Indu Kananam’ . In some prehistoric books, the temple is called Mahishari kovil (temple). Some inscriptions trace the history of the temple to an 11th century AD Shiva temple. Much later, it was converted to a Durga Temple.

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The most prominent legend associated with Kumaranalloor Devi Temple is dated back to the time of the reign of Cheraman Perumal. The emperor began construction of two temples simultaneously- one at Udayanapuram and the other Thingalkkadu (which later came to be known as Kumaranalloor) where he wanted to get the idol of Lord Kumara installed. While the construction was at its peak, a disturbing incident took place in Madhurai Temple in Tamil Nadu. The gem studded precious nose ring of the Devi was stolen. The king immediately ordered an enquiry on the priest. The failure to find the ring resulted in a death penalty for the temple priest in 41 days. The priest was innocent and out of helplessness, he spent days and nights praying to the Devi.

On the 40th night, he had a dream where the Devi appeared before him and asked him to quit the place and to follow a divine light (thejas). The priest woke up and followed the light which led him to the construction of the Kumaranalloor Temple where the idol installation was the only thing left to do. The light entered the sanctum sanctorum (sreekovil) of the temple at the suitable time of installation (pratistha). At that time, the priest heard a celestial announcement stating the universe’s will to install the idol of the devi instead of the Kumara. Perumal, on this news, got perplexed. However, he reached Kumaranalloor and following the God’s will decided to install the idol of Devi. He found an idol lying at vedagiri and bought it. At the time of installation, a brahmin sage appeared, installed the deity within seconds and vanished immediately after. To this day, people believe that the brahmin sage was Brahmin Parshuram.

The temple follows are strict dress code. Both men and women are expected to dress modestly preferably in traditional Indian clothes. Men are made to take off their upper garments including their shirts and vests. Women should ideally be wearing traditional sarees or North Indian suits. In any case, their shoulders, arms and legs should be covered.

The temple has a rare architectural pattern with an incorporation of Nalambalam and Sreekovil (sanctum sanctorum). Both of the structures follow a sreechakra style (ring like item with a handle, which is placed in the right hand of the devi). The temple has four gopurams one each in the east, west, north and south; the chief one of which is located in the eastern direction. On entering the shrine from the main gopuram, the golden flagstaff (dhwajom) present a divine picture. Besides, there are elaborate carvings and sculptures of several deities including Ganapathy, Shiva and others. The Nalambalam, Sreekovil and main mandapam are surrounded with paths paved in stone. Lord Shiva presides to the right of the sreekovil and Bhadrakali temple is situated to the south of the temple.

The outer walls of the temple are adorned with fine paintings and murals showcasing different gods, goddesses and depictions from ramayana and Mahabharata. It is believed that the frescos are made from natural colours and medicinal plants.

The most important festival of Kumaranalloor Temple is the Kumaranalloor Thrikkarthika Utsavam celebrated in the month of Vrischikam (November–December). The festival is marked on the Karthika day when it is necessary to make a naivedyam (offering) inside the Udayanapuram and Thrissur Vadakkunnatha temple premises. The story behind the festival states that the gods in the two temples were greatly charmed by the beauty of the Devi returning from her Karthika bath. So to have a glimpse of her, they crossed the boundary walls to have a glimpse of the Devi. The priests of the respective temple frantically looking for the gods found them here. Ever since, the Karthika pooja is performed over the walls of the temple. The highlight of the event is the display of dazzling lights in the evening popularly known as Karthika Vilakku.

Other festivals include Meena Pooram, Uthrittathi vallamkali, Navarathri, Maha Shivarathry, and Dhwaja prathishta day.

The best time to visit the temple is during November - December, at the time of the annual Karthika Pooja ceremony. The temple is decorated with lights and diyas and reverberates an atmosphere of pleasant festivities and grandeur.

1. Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple premises.
2. The eastern side of the temple houses the pond. Devotees are expected to take a dip in the pond to cleanse themselves and then enter the temple preferably in wet clothes.
3. The temple restricts entry in shirts and vests for men. And footwear of any kind for anyone. There are special facilities outside the premises to deposit the same.
4. Do not take mobile phones, tape recorder, cameras etc. inside the temple wall.
5. Do not take camera inside Nalambalam without permission from the authorities.
6. Do not touch Balikkallu (the big altar stone) by foot.
7. Newly wedded couple are requested not to enter the Nalambalam.
8. Children and babies are requested not to be held for too long within the Nalambalam.

The temple can be reached in private taxis, cabs or auto-rickshaws. The state also has the provision of state-run buses which can be availed. Alternatively, you can drive down to the spot.

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