- 1 Chottanikkara Temple, Chottanikkara- The Temple of Legends
- 1.1 History and Legend of Chottanikkara Temple
- 1.2 Significance of the Chottanikkara Temple
- 1.3 Chottanikkara Temple Timings
- 1.4 Chottanikkara Temple Food Timings
- 1.5 Dress Code at Chottanikkara Temple
- 1.6 Festivals celebrated at Chottanikkara Temple
- 1.7 Poojas and Rituals at Chottanikkara Temple
- 1.8 How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air
- 1.9 Where to stay
- 1.10 Where to eat
- 1.11 Nearby Temples
Chottanikkara Temple, Chottanikkara- The Temple of Legends
The Chottanikkara Temple is located at Chottanikkara. This place is in Kerala. The temple is considered divine. There are green fields around the place. The pleasant weather of the place also makes it a popular tourist spot. Thousands of pilgrims visit the temple every year. Goddess Rajarajeswari is worshipped here. The Goddess is also known as Adiparasakhti. The deity is beautiful. It is golden in colour and is decorated with garlands and jewellery. The idol is brightly lit. The idol is 4 to 5 feet in height. She has four arms. The upper right arm holds the disc. The upper left arm bears the conch. The lower right hand is in a blessing pose and the lower left arm is in an abhaya pose, which means fearlessness.
History and Legend of Chottanikkara Temple
The Chottanikkara Temple is one of the oldest temples of Kerala. There are several legends related to the temple.
- The Goddess was worshipped by the great Bhogacharya.
- As per myth, the Rudraksha Sila was worshipped by great saints. These saints were Adishankaracharya, Vilwamangalam Swamiyar, Kakkasseri Bhattathiri and Chemmangattu Bhattathiri.
- It is believed that the deity was brought here from Mookambika Temple which is in Kollur, Karnataka.
- It is also believed that Goddess Mookambika Saraswati is present at the temple during morning worship. She stays at the temple till 7 am. This is the reason that the Goddess is worshipped late at Mookambika Temple. As the Goddess is present at the Chottanikkara Temple during the worship.
- Another myth states that the original deity of the Goddess was self born; this is also known as swayambhoo.
- The original idol is made of laterite and is irregular in shape. This is in red colour.
Significance of the Chottanikkara Temple
The temple is important in the religious history of Kerala due to the following reasons.
- Goddess Rajarajeswari is an evil destroyer here. She protects her devotees from danger.
- As per folklore, pilgrims get free from the stress of material life here.
- Goddess Rajarajeswari has three forms at the temple. In the morning worship She is Goddess Sawaswati. In the afternoon She is Goddess Lakshmi and in the evening She is Goddess Durga.
- She is in white dress at morning. In the afternoon She is in crimson red cloth and in the evening the Goddess is in bright blue dress.
- There is a statue of Lord Vishnu on the same pedestal. For this reason the Goddess is also known as Ammenarayana, Devinarayana, Lakshminarayana and Bhadrenarayana.
- There are also deities of Lakshmi, Narayana, Brahma, Siva, Ganapati, Subramanya and Sastha on the pedestal.
- The temple also has various idols of mythological characters.
Chottanikkara Temple Timings
The temple opens at early morning. Visiting hours start from 4.00 am.
Chottanikkara Temple Food Timings
Devotees can have food at the temple during afternoon.
Dress Code at Chottanikkara Temple
There is no dress code at this temple. But temple authorities suggest traditional dress.
Festivals celebrated at Chottanikkara Temple
- Makom Thozhal Festival: This festival takes place on the Makom day in the month of Kumbham. The Malayalam month of Kumbham is either February or March. On Makom day Goddess Bhagavathy appeared before Vilwamangalam Swamiyar. There is another myth, that the Goddess appears before the devotees every year on the Makom day. Hence the celebration takes place on this day. Devotees sing Bhajanam on the occasion. As per legends, after Bhajanam, Bhadrakali at Kizhukkavu frees the devotees from evil spirit.
- Navarathry Maholsavam: This is another major festival celebrated at the temple. The festival takes place every year in the months of September and October. It takes place for 10 days. Several cultural programmes take place at the temple during the festival. Priests perform Vidyarambham and Annadhanam during this time.
Poojas and Rituals at Chottanikkara Temple
Chottanikkara Temple follows some special rituals.
- Worship starts at the temple by blowing conch. Musicians play instruments at this time.
- The day starts with Nirmalya Darshan. The swayambhoo image of Goddess is visible only at this time.
- Dhaara of Lord Shiva is the next ritual.
- Several types of worship take place throughout the day. Ethruthu Pooja, Seeveli, Guruthi Nivedyam, Pantheeradi, Ucha, Uchaseeveli are the other afternoon worships.
- The Evening Nada opening again worships Goddess Rajarajeswari.
- Deeparadhana, Athazha and Seeveli worships take place at evening.
- Bhajanam is a special ritual that takes place on request of the devotees. Devotees can request Bhajanam only if they stay at the temple. They do not go out of the temple this time. Worshippers do not have food with salt, chilly and sour at this time. Bhajanam can heal diseases.
- Mandapathil Paattu is another ritual which gives blessings of the Goddess. Bronze lamps and flowers decorate the temple. The devotees present satin clothes, fineries, rice and paddy to the Goddess. Devotees play Brahmini Amma Paatu devotional songs. After worship they get Chathussatham. This is a kind of sweet pudding.
- Annadanam is another ritual that satisfies the Goddess.
- Rudrabhishekam worship is for Lord Shiva.
- Chuttuvilakku and Nirmala rituals are for prosperity.
- Thrikala worship is also for prosperity. In this ritual the devotee has to worship the Goddess three times in a day.
- One day worship is another ritual in which the devotee has to worship Goddess Rajarajeswari complete day.
- Mahabhagavath Seva is for the main deity. This ritual gives jaggery to the Goddess.
- Noorum Palum ritual worships the Naga snakes.
- Palpayasam ritual worships Lord Vishnu.
- Mrithyunjaya Homam ritual gives blessings of Lord Shiva. This ritual also provides long life. it helps to cure diseases.
- Chathussadam is another form of worship of Goddess Rajarajeswari.
How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air
The Chottanikkara Temple is eadily accessible from all parts of the country.
By Air: The temple is at 38 km from the Cochin airport. This international airport is well connected to the other airports of India, Singapore and gulf countries.
By Rail: The nearest railway station to the temple is the Thrupoonithura railway station. It is at 4 km from the temple. The temple is 18 km from Eranakulam south and north railway station. Eranakulam is a junction and connects the city with the other cities of the country. There are auto rickshaws and private cars available from the railway stations which take you directly to the shrine. Trains are available throughout the day, starting from 4.00 am till 10.00 pm.
By Road: The temple is at 20 km from the Eranakulam KSRTC bus stand. It is at 22 km from the Kaloor private bus stand. Road transport to the Chottanikkara Temple is economical. Deluxe Volvo buses are available which connect the temple to the different cities, like Chennai, Bangalore, Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
Where to stay
- The Chottanikkara Temple authorities are planning to construct accommodation for devotees visiting the temple. Pilgrims who wish to donate to the temple can stay at the temple. These suites will come with a bedroom sum living room, kitchen and an attached bath. The suites planned are modern with ceramic floorings. Devotees will be provided with gas cylinders and stoves to enable cooking. The suites will have amenities like refrigerators, television sets with cable connection and hot water.
- Besides this, the Hinterland Village Resort, PPG Tourist Home, Hill Palace Hotel and SPA, The Capital Fort Kochi, Royal Homestay and Casa de Forte are some of the best hotels at about 1.6 km from the temple. These hotels provide clean rooms with basic amenities. You can also get good food at these hotels.
Where to eat
The Chottanikkara Temple is very famous and hence there are several eat outs near the shrine. Black N White, Grameen Ruchi, Kettuvalam, Naushad the Big Chef, The Avenue Regent and the Deagle Arabian Hut are also near. Visitors can relish authentic Kerala cuisines here. These eateries also provide Asian, Chinese and other Indian cuisines.
There are several temples near the Chottanikkara Temple.
- Kizhukkavu Temple: This temple is situated just on the eastern side of the Chottanikkara Temple. Moreover, the temple is famous for its ValiyaGuruthy worship. This means great sacrifice and the event takes place every day at 8.45 pm. This ritual takes place after the evening worship at the Chottanikkara Temple. This ritual cures women from mental disorders, like schizophrenia.
- Ernakulatthappan Temple: This temple is situated at the heart of the Eranakulam city. Here also Lord Shiva is the presiding deity. The important feature of this temple is that the deity is west facing. In addition, here the great Villawamangalathu Swamiyar framed rituals. The shrine depicts Kerala style of architecture. The temple also has deities of Lord Ganesha and Sastha.
- Ettumanoor Shiva Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is at Travancore. The temple is also historically important. The Pandavas and Saint Vyasa worshipped here. The temple has mural paintings.
- Kaduthuruthy Temple: Also known as the Thali Temple, this shrine is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is near the Vembanad Lake. In addition, Lord Shiva is east facing here. Kharasura demon worshipped Lord Shiva here. The wooden carvings of the temple narrate various stories related to Lord Shiva. Also, there are Lord Ganesha, Sastha and Goddess Durga here.
- Sree Poornathrayesa Temple: This temple is also significant as it is 1000 years old and is dedicated to Poornathrayesan. Poornathrayesan is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Furthermore, childless couples can pray here to get child. Also, Vrishchikoltsawam is the main festival here. It takes place during the months of November and December.
- Vaikam Mahadeva temple: This is the most famous Lord Shiva temple of central Kerala. While some believe that Parasurama installed Shiva Lingum here, others believe that demon Kharasuran placed the Siva lingum at this shrine. Also, Ananadana Prabhu is the major festival at the temple.
Winters (December to February) are the best time to visit the temple as Chottanikkara has a pleasant weather at this time. The place experiences heavy rainfall during the monsoons (June and July) and moderately hot from March to May. If you want to participate in the festivals of the temple then it is best to visit the temple between August and November.