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Friday, March 11, 2011

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple

Chottanikkara Bhagavathy Temple
It is the most important Temple among the 393 shrines spread over 3 Districts of Kerala and coming under the administration of Cochin Devaswom Board The Divine Mother known as Rajarajeswari (Adiparasakthi) is worshipped here in three forms Saraswathy in the morning draped in WhiteGarment, Lakshmi at noon draped in Crimson Red Cloth and Durga in the evening decked in Blue Dress. There is an Idol of Mahavishnu on the same pedestal and so the Deity is called Ammenarayana, Devinarayana, Lakshminarayana and Bhadrenarayana also. Along with Lakshmi & Narayana there are idols of Brahma, Siva, Ganapathi (Ganesh), Subramanya and Sastha on the same pedestal.
Apart from the main deity, the temple complex consists of Kizhukkavu Bhagavathy temple, temples for Sastha, Siva, Ganapathi, Nagas and other Upa-Devas. The pleasant atmosphere in the temple give mental peace and harmony to devotees.
"MAKOM Thozhal" (worship on the Makom day) is the most important festival of the temple which is celebrated in the month of Kumbham. (Feb / March) It is believed that Bhagavathy in her full attire gave darsan to Vilwamangalam Swamiyar on the Makom day and appears on the same day every year for giving darsan to the devotees in her special appearance. The Bhadrakaali at Kizhukkavu is believed to exorcise evil spirit from devotees, after conducting bhajanam.
The temple of Chottanikkara is a living legend shrowned in magnificent mythology and awe-inspiring truth. Its historical appeal and traditional influence on generations of people is tremendous. Legends say that the presence of Divinity here was worshipped by BHOGACHARYA. The deity which is swayambhoo in latrite called Rudraksha Sila is irregular in shape, red in colour and is untouched by the human sculptor. This image can be seen only in the wee hours of morning at 4 am when the Nada opens for nirmalyam. It is 4 to 5 ft. high, is bedecked with flowers, garlands, jewels and bathed in myriad of lights splendidly. The idol has four arms. The upper right holds the disc, the upper left bears the conch, the lower right hand is held in a boon-conferring pose and the lower left indicates the abhaya (fearlessness) pose .It was worshipped by divine souls like Adisankaracharya, Vilwamangalam Swamiyar, Kakkasseri Bhattathiri and Chemmangattu Bhattathiri.
On the eastern side of the temple pond stands the Kizhukkavu temple.The idol facing westward is belived to be installed by Villwamangalam Swamiyaar.
After the Athazha pooja (main pooja in the evening), the chief priest of the principal deity comes to Kizhukkavu to perform the famous and great pooja "ValiyaGuruthy" (great Sacrifice). The Guruthy is prepared in 12 cauldrons (huge vessel) and is performed at about 8.45 p.m every night.
Those who witness the guruthy performance, which itself is awe inspiring and prolonged ceremony, finds it an experience which is indescribable. Being present here during Valiya guruthy on Fridays permanently cures women suffering from mental abnormalities like schizophrenia.
An ancient 'Pala' tree standing on the northeastern side of the sanctum sanctorum is covered with long iron nails hammered on by haunted victims with their foreheads
Main Poojas
The Main Poojas of the temple include Pushpanjali, Guruthy, Sathru Samhara Pushpanjali, Guruthi Pushpanjali, Lalitha Sahasra Namarchana, Swayamvara Pushpanjali, Saraswatha Pushpanjali, Mruthyunjaya Pushpanjali, Iykyamathya Pushpanjali, Ashtothara Pushpanjali, Bagyasooktha Pushpanjali, Moolmnthra Pushpanjali.
Navarathri aghosham is a famous festival,which attracts large number of devotees. On Vijayadasami day of the Navarathri ulsavam, Vidyarambham is conducted. Durgashtami, Mahanavami and Vijayadasami are very important. Thrikkarthika is the birthday of the Goddess and the festival runs for three days, Kaarthika, Rohini and Makayiram. On these days,there is ezhunnellippu, Kazhcha siveli, stage programme, deepaalankaaram, Kaarthika vilakku, fireworks etc.There is also lakshaarchana and Vedamura abishekam for 15 days starting from January 1. On the makaravilakku day there is lakshadeepam (lighting of one lakh lamps) and fire works.
The annual festival of the temple comes in Kumbham. It begins with Kodiyettu (Flag hoisting ceremony) on Rohini day, lasts for 7 days and ends on Uthram star. Daily Para ezhunnellippu over neighbouring areas (houses in the Thattakam) and then Aarattu is conducted on these days. During the ulsavam, comes the important day of Makom. Makom Thozhal (Devi darsan) between 2 pm and 8 pm is considered to be most effectual for Mangalyam (long married life) and for getting best marriage for girls. The Deity in full attire specially decorated with gold and diamonds shine in its entire splendor. There is Pooram ezhunnellippu with 7 Elephants in the morning and at night. The ulsavam ends with Uthram Aarattu and Valiya Guruthi (Atham Guruthy).

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