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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple

Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple
Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple, also known as Chakkulathu Kavu Temple, is one the most famous Devi Temples in Kerala situated at Neerattupuram (Neerettupuram), 18 km from Ambalapuzha on the Thiruvalla Road, in Alappuzha District of Kerala. Chakkulathukavu is 12 km west of Thiruvalla, on the border of Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha Districts. The presiding deity is Goddess Durga or Bhagavathi and is worshipped in the name of Chakkulathamma (Chakkulathu Amma). Thousands of devotees visit the temple of every Fridays and during the annual Chakkulathukavu Pongala Festival in November – December the temple is visited by lakhs of devotees from all over the state. Temple FeaturesChakkulathukavu Devi Temple is believed to be more than 3000 years old. There is an idol of Vana Durga with eight hands, installed near the original idol. Also seen in this shrine are the idols of Lord Shiva, Sastha (Lord Ayyappa), Lord Vishnu, Vinayaka (Lord Ganesh), Muruga, Yakshi, Serpent Gods and the Navagrahas. The Pampa and Manimala rivers, flowing on either side of the temple, are added attractions.
Chakkulathukavu Bhagawathi Temple Festivals
Chakkulathukavu Pongala, similar to Attukal Pongala, is a major festival celebrated during the Malayalam month of Vrischikam (November - December) every year. Performed mainly by women devotees, this ritual involves offering Pongala (rice pudding) to Chakkulathamma.
Naree Pooja
Women are highly respected in our Hindu tradition. Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy Temple has comprehended this concept as such and introduced this fascinating ceremony. As per the ritual, women are seated on specially arranged seats and their feet are respectfully washed.
First Friday
The first Friday of every Malayalam month gains special importance at the temple. Devotees observe meticulous fasting and penance and visit the shrine on this day. The small idol of the goddess which is usually placed inside the sanctum sanctorum beside the main idol is carried in procession. It is brought to the specially arranged place for prayer.An important task on the First Friday is the oath that certain devotees take against their habit of intoxication. The concerned devotees touch the divine sword of the goddess and the chief priest tells the oath of refraining from liquors and they repeat the prayers. The prayers are so important that they will give up the use of liquor. Another significant feature is that the devotees receive a special kind of medicinal water called as “Outshadha Vellam”. Consuming this water heals all type of diseases. Pandrandu Noyampu
Every year, Pandrandu Noyampu fasting starts from the first day of the Malayalam Dhanu masam till the twelfth. Pilgrims visit the temple with Irumudi (bag with two parts) upon their heads. On the eleventh day is the ‘Kalasabhishekam’. On the twelfth day, children, women and men hold ‘Kavadi’ (semi-circular wooden frames decorated with flowers and feather). This is called “Ammachi Kavadi”.
Kalamezhuthu and Nirapara are other major festivals celebraed at Chakkulathukavu Temple.
Thrikkarthika falls in the Malayalam Vrischika masam and this is an auspicious day of the temple. Special rituals such as Divyabhishekam, Pongala, kindling the Karthika Pillar, Lakhshadeepam and Athazhapooja are performed.
Legend of Chakkulathukavu Bhagavathy Temple
Legend goes that once a hunter and his family came to the forest for collecting firewood. On seeing a serpent, the hunter tried to attack the serpent, but it slipped away. He went in search of the snake and reached near a lake. The hunter saw a 'chithalputtu' (sand mount) which looked like a decorated golden chain and saw the snake inside it. He thought it was the same snake and again tried to hit it with the axe. This time also the snake disappeared. Sage Narada (a divine sage from the Hindu tradition) appeared before the hunter in the form of a stranger and asked him to break the shell. The hunter followed the words of Narada and found the image of Goddess Vanadurga inside it. Since then, the place has gained significance.
How to reach Chakkulathukavu Sree Bhagavathy Temple
The temple is about 20 km from Chengannur Mahadeva Temple and located near the Neerettupuram Junction on Thiruvalla - Edathuva route. The MC Road passes through the town; state transport buses and private buses ply regularly from Thiruvalla to Chakkulathukavu. Thiruvalla Railway Station (12 km) serves as the nearest railhead.

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