Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam

The Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is at Kottayam. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity here. The temple is a must visit to view the exquisite sculptures and paintings of the 1542- 1545 AD. The idol of Lord Shiva is 3 feet tall. There is also a holy tank on the northern side of the shrine which is oval in shape.


History and Legend of Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

This is an ancient temple of Kerala. Hence there are several myths associated with this shrine.

  • The construction of the temple has a long history. As per myths, Saint Kharasura had a pupil named Pingala. Pingala was poor and hence after completion of his education, the saint did not ask for anything from him. Pingala persuaded the saint to ask for something. Kharasura was angry and asked for 180 billion gold pieces from his disciple. Pingala was distressed and the compassionate saint thought of helping him out. Both of them travelled to Harinadweep and worshipped Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. When Lord Vishnu appeared Pingala asked for the 180 billion pieces of gold and offered the same to Kharasura. After that Lord Shiva appeared and Kharasura used all the gold to worship the Lord. Pleased with his worship, Lord Shiva offered the same amount of gold to the saint. The saint then used the gold to worship Lord Vishnu. Lord Shiva reappeared and gifted three Shiva Lingas to Kharasura. One of these Shiva Lingas stayed buried at Harinapura. After thousands of years, a woman hit the Linga while digging for edible roots and the Shiva Linga began to bleed. Lord Shiva appeared angry in front of the lady and turned her into a stone. The Shiva Linga was brought at Ettumanoor and the Mahadeva Temple was formed.
  • Another myth states that Saint Lomharsha came to offer prayers at the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple and fell in the tank while bathing. People laughed at him and he cursed that the place will turn into a jungle. It gradually became a jungle until Vilwamangalathu Swamiyar discovered the Siva Linga within the forest. He also reconstructed the temple and established the rituals that are performed at this temple.
  • There are two Dwaarapaalakas at the Sreekovil sanctum. They are the guards of the temple. It is said that these guards used to beat the devotees who came to the temple. Hence to stop them, holes have been placed on their hand and feet.
  • Another myth states that Goddess Parvati stays at the eastern end of Sreekovil. Hence this door is never opened.
  • There are two large Nanni statues at the Mukhamandapam. One statue is made of wood and the other is made of bronze. As per legends, the bronze statue was gifted by the King of Chempakassery after he was cured of stomach pain. This statue was filled with paddy.
  • Another myth states that if a grain from this statue is eaten it can cure stomach ache. There is also a hole in the belly of the statue for this purpose.
  • Adi Shankaracharya wrote Saundarya Lahari on his visit to Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple. He is a famous Indian philosopher.

Significance of the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

The temple bears the rich culture and history of Kerala. Some of the important features of the temple are:

  • Lord Shiva is worshipped in three forms. In the morning He is worshipped as Ardhanareeshwara. In the afternoon He is worshipped as Kirathamoorthi and in the evening He is worshipped as Samhararudra.
  • There are other Hindu gods at the temple. Lord Ganapati, Goddess Bhagavathy, Lord Dakshinamoorthy, Sastha and Yakshi are some of them.
  • The temple is also famous for its mural paintings. The most famous mural of the shrine is that of Nataraja, which is present within the Gopuram. The Ezharaponnana painting is also famous. This painting shows seven and half elephants finished in gold.
  • The other mural paintings of the temple exhibit Anantasayana on the northern wall. The Akhoramoorthi and Pradoshathandava paintings decorate the southern part of the sanctum.
  • The Thandava painting represents Lord Shiva in a dancing pose. This mural represents Lord Shiva with River Ganges and crescent moon on his coppery, matted hair. He also holds a bow and drum in the right hand. While the bow is known as Pinaka, the attached drum is named as Udukku. There is a sword and arrow in another hand. The sword is Khatwanga in local language and the arrow is Varunapaasa. There are bells, fire and a blazing mace in the other hands. This idol depicts the courageous and angry Lord Shiva. This painting is present in the main sanctum. The main gopura is at the western side.
  • The Sreekovil is a circular gopura with wood sculptures. The sculptures narrate stories from Purana which is the mythological book of the Hindu religion. The sculptures show Ashtaaavakra Maharshi, Lord Ganesha with his wife, Raasaleela, Aditya, Vaamana, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva in Tandava pose and Sree Rama’s coronation ceremony.

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple Timings

The Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple opens early in the morning with the first rays of the sun.

  • At 4.00 am Sreekovil sanctum temple opens.
  • Within 4.00 to 4.30 am Nirmalyam takes place.
  • From 4.30 am to 5.00 am Abhishekam takes place.
  • Madhavippalli Pooja, also you can call as Usha Pooja, is between 5.00 am to 6.00 am.
  • Ethruthu Pooja takes place within 6.00 am to 6.30 am.
  • Pantheeradi worship takes place between 8.00 am to 8.30 am.
  • At 10.00 to 10.30, Dhaara and Navakom rituals takes place.
  • Ucha Pooja takes place between 11.00 am and 11.30 am.
  • From 11.30 am to 12.00 pm Ucha Sree Bali worship takes place.
  • The temple closes during afternoon.
  • The temple again opens at 17.00 pm.
  • Deeparadhana is between 18.30 pm and 19.00 pm.
  • Athaazha Pooja takes place between 19.30 pm to 20.00 pm.
  • Athaazha Sree Bali worship is the last phase of ritual which takes place on a day. This is performed between 20.00 pm and 20.30 pm. The temple closes after that.

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple Food Timings

After the daily worship at the temple, devotees can have prasadam.

Dress Code at Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

Though there is no specific dress code at the temple, people prefer traditional dressing. Men have to remove shirt before entering the temple. Also, tourists need to remove shoes.

Festivals celebrated at Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

This temple celebrates all the rituals associated with Lord Shiva.

  • Ezharaponnana Ezhunallathu Festival: This is the most famous festival at the shrine. The festival goes on for 10 days. It is during February or March. The month name is Kumbha as per Malayalam calendar. Araat is a significant part at the festival. This falls on the Thiruvathira day. Also, on the 8th day, the idols of seven and half elephants are brought outside the temple. There is a great procession during the festival.
  • Shivaratri: This is also celebrated with great pomp and show at the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple. The festival generally takes place during February or March. Thousands of devotees gather here to bath Lord Shiva with milk and offer flowers, fruits and sweets.

Poojas and Rituals at Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

There are some special rituals at this temple.

  • The temple has a golden idol of Akhoramoorthi. This idol is placed before Lord Shiva every morning and is removed from the place the next day, after Nirmalya Pooja. The idol of Akhoramoorthi is two and a half feet tall.

How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple is famous among the devotees of Lord Shiva. Hence easily accessible from all parts of Kerala.

By Air: The Cochin International airport is the nearest airport to Kottayam. This airport is at 77 km from the place. There are private cars available from the airport which takes tourists directly to the shrine.

By Rail: The Ettumanoor railway station is the nearest railway station to the temple. The railway station is at 2 km from Kottayam. The other nearby railway station is the Kottayam railway station. This main railway station is at 11 km from the temple. Local vehicles are available outside the railway station which can directly take you to the temple.

By Road: The temple is near the MC road and 10 km from the main Kottayam city. besides bus, you can hire private cars to the temple.

Hotels in Kottayam: Where to stay

There are both budget and premium hotels near the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple. The Palakunnel Residency is a budget hotel at 0.7 km from the temple. The Abad Whispering Palms is a luxury hotel at 18.7 km from the shrine. Kumarakom Lake Resort, Cocobay Resort and Lakesong Resort are the other options.

Where to eat

Due to the immense popularity of the Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, several eateries have developed round it. The Astoria and Annapurna restaurants are just 2 km from the shrine. These eat outs serve also serve non vegetarian dishes.

Nearby Temples

Kottayam is a famous pilgrimage in Kerala. The place is famous for Hindu, Christian and Muslim pilgrim centres.

  • Vaikom Shiva Temple: This is another famous Shiva temple of Kerala. The temple is at 31 km from Kottayam. The temple is also legendary as associated with Parasurama. It is a beautiful temple featuring Kerala style of architecture. Also, the temple is the Kasi of South. Several elephant pageants and art performances takes place at the temple complex. The Vaikathashrami is the largest festival here. The festival takes place during November or December.
  • Thangalppara, Kottayam: This is a Muslim pilgrimage. Thangalppara is the mausoleum of Sheikh Fariduddin. The mosque is also a major tourist destination as located near the Kurathikallu hill station.
  • Kurisumala, Kottayam: This is a popular Christian pilgrimage of Kerala. During the Christian holy months, numerous devotees climb the hill with wooden cross in their hands. Also, there is a monastery at the hill top. The serenity of the place brings out prayer from the deep core of your heart. Moreover, as you travel to Kurisumala, the scenic beauty enthrals you.
  • Muruganmala Temple, Kottayam: Near the Kurisumala church, there is an ancient shrine. God Murugan is the presiding deity at this temple. Murugan is the son of Lord Shiva.
  • Vavarambalam, Erumeli: This mosque has strong connection with Hindu worship. Here devotees worship Vavar. As per myths, He is the companion of Sree Ayyappa. Hence before worshipping Sree Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple, devotees need to worship here. The Erumeli Pettathullal is the major festival here. It is generally during January.
  • Mortal Remains of Saint Alphonsa, Bharananganam: The church has mortal remains of Saint Alphonsa. Thousands of pilgrims visit this church every year. The Feast of the St. Alphonsa is a major festival. This festival takes place during July.
  • St. Mary’s Church, Manarcad: This church is just at 8 km from the Kottayam main city. Malankara Jacobite Syrian Christians worship at this church. The Ettunompu is a major festival. During the festival, devotees fast 8 days. The festival takes place from 1st to 8th September.
  • Alapra Thacharikkal Bhagavathi Temple, Alapra: This shrine is amidst dense forests. The deity is Goddess Bhagavathy. Furthermore, it is the only place in Kottayam to perform Padayani ritual. The place is also a tourist hotspot. It has several caves, waterfalls and muniyaras.

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple, Kottayam is just not a pilgrimage for devotees for Lord Shiva, but a holy abode for people seeking some respite from the hassle and bustle of daily life.

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple – The Temple of Legends

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple Video

The Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is at the Vaikom city. This is at the Kottayam district. This famous temple worships Lord Shiva.

History and Legend of Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

The Vaikom Mahadeva Temple has various stories revolving around its construction.

  • Vaikom has other names. As per Bhargava Purana and Sanalkumara Samhita, the place is Vaiyaghra geham and Vaiyaghra puram.
  • As per myth, saint Vyaghrapada saw Lord Shiva here. On Vritchika, which is the Krishna paksha, Lord Shiva along with Goddess Parvati came to saint Vyaghrapada. Hence people started calling this place as Vyaghrapadapuram. Later, when Tamil language became popular here, people started calling it as Vaikom.
  • Another myth states, Lord Shiva gave three Shiva Lingam to Kharasura. He gave him these lingams to attain myoksha. Kharasura was carrying one Shiva Lingam on his right hand, one in left hand and one was hung from his neck. When the demon was returning from the Himalayas to south he felt tired. Hence, he kept the Lingams on the ground and sat to rest. When he got up he could not lift the Lingams. A voice from the sky said that the Lingams will stay there and help people to attain myoksha. Thus, after attaining myoksha, Kharasura gave the responsibility of the Lingams to saint Vyaghrapada and left the place. The Lingam which was in the demon’s right hand is at Vaikom. The Lingam which was in the left hand is at Ettumannoor and the one which was hung in the neck is at Kaduthuruthy. Locals believe if you can visit all the three temples on a single day it is equal to visiting Lord Shiva in Kailash.
  • Also, saint Parasurama worshipped this Shiva Lingam. After worshipping this Shiva Lingam for several years, saint Vyaghrapada went on a pilgrimage. Saint Parasurama was passing by this place one day when he saw a Siva Lingam in water with holy rays. He understood this as the Shiva Lingam placed by Kharasura. Hence he worshipped this Shiva Lingam to attain myoksha.
  • Also, saint Parasurama built the Vaikom Temple here. All the customs at this temple are plans of Parasurama.
  • This is the oldest temple of Kerala where people worship Lord Shiva regularly. In all these years the Pooja took place daily with no break. Locals believe that the Shiva Lingam is from the Treta Yuga.
  • People believe Lord Shiva is present in three forms at the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple. Once in the morning, once in the noon and once in the evening. In the morning He is in the Sri. Dhakshinamoorthy form. He grants knowledge, wisdom and understanding to the devotees in this form. At noon he is in the form of Kiratha Moorthy. In this image he gave Pashupathastra to Arjuna. Arjuna was the warrior hero of Mahabharata. Also, in this form Lord Shiva removes all dangers and grants success in all work. At evening, He is in the form of Shakti Panchakshari. In this form he is with his family, Goddess Parvati, Lord Ganesha and Lord Karthikeya. Hence, in this form Lord Shiva blesses devotees all worldly pleasures.
  • Pilgrims get holy ash as prasadam at the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple. People call this as Vaikkathappan. As per myth, this ash can cure people from hysteria, poison and wounds.
  • There is a pond at the north of the temple. As per myth, once saint Parasurama came to worship here. He saw people suffering and asked Lord Shiva to help them. He requested him to create a Theertha so that people can bath in its water to wash away sins. As per belief this is the pond which Lord Shiva created from the Ganges from his hair.
  • There is a well at the north eastern part of the temple. This well also has a myth. Once saint Nidagha came to Vyaghrapada, requesting him to take him his disciple. Saint Vyaghrapada taught Nidagha hymns of Lord Shiva. Once they were worshipping Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha on Ashtami day. Lord Shiva was happy with the hymns and he came to perform Anand Thandava at the north east part of the shrine. While dancing few drops of water fell from his hair. Lord Shiva gave name to this as Sivananda Theertha.
  • There is also a pond at the eastern side of the temple. As per a myth, once two Brahmins from Kanyakumari, Shankara and Mukunda came to Vaikom while they were travelling to Kashi. While Shankara was busy having food at the shrine and listening to the Bhajans, Mukunda left him to travel to Kashi. After few days, Shankara felt lonely and was sad as he could not take a bath in River Ganges. Hence he fell in severe fever. He prayed to Lord Shiva and as a result Lord Shiva came to him in sleep. The Lord asked him to take a bath in the eastern pond to fulfill his wish. Shankara took bath in the pond next morning and he felt as if he was bathing in the Ganges. Hence this pond is as good as the River Ganges. People call this pond as Arathihara Theertha.

Significance of Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

The temple is important in the history of Kerala with its wonderful architecture and rich history.

  • The Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is one of the three powerful Shiva temples of Kerala. The other two temples which falls in this list are Ettumanoor Siva Temple and Kaduthuruthy Thaliyil Mahadeva Temple.
  • Locals believe that worshipping at these three shrines before Ucha Pooja, Lord Shiva grants all wishes.
  • Also, both Shaivaites and Vaishnavaites worship at this temple.
  • The temple is over 8 acres of land. The temple has four walls while the premises is leveled by river sand.
  • There is a golden flag staff at the temple. Near the Balikalulpura there is a stone image. This is Lord Ganesha’s statue. The Balikalulpura refers to the sacrificial stone. The inner roof of the Namaskara Mandapa shows stories from Ramayana. There is a single rock cut statue of Nandi. Nandi is the vehicle of Lord Shiva.
  • The Sreekovil is the main room of the temple. This room is covered with copper sheets. Also there is a front chamber in this room. This is the Mukha Mandapa. This chamber is built with stone and wood. There is also a second chamber. This chamber is built with stone and is square in shape. The Shiva Lingam is kept here.
  • The Shiva Lingam is six feet in height. It is of black stone. The Lingam wears chandrakala. It is the crescent. The Lingam also has three eyes, nose and four hands. Gold ornaments decorate Lord Shiva.

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple Timings

  • Vaikom Mahadeva Temple opens early in the morning. It is the Saraswati Yama time. It is generally 4 am.
  • After worshipping Lord Shiva at noon, the temple remains closed till 5 pm.

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple Food Timings

Everyday food is served after the afternoon worship. It is known as Nivedya.

Dress Code at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

  • Women can come to worship at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple in traditional dress. Churidar, sari and pavadai chattai are some dresses that ladies can wear to this temple.

Festivals celebrated at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

  • Vaikkath Asthami: This is the most popular festival at the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple. This festival takes place in either November or December.
  • Shivaratri: This is also a popular festival at the temple.

Poojas and Rituals at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple

This temple has some unique customs which takes place in no other temple.

  • The day starts at the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple with bathing Lord Shiva.
  • There are three worships that take place in the morning, namely, Usha Pooja, Ethirthu Pooja and Panthiradi Pooja.
  • Ucha Pooja takes place in the afternoon. Abhishekas with names Panchagavyam and Navakam take place during the afternoon worship.
  • Athazha Pooja takes place at evening.
  • Offerings to Lord Shiva are made through poojas. People call these worships as Dravya Kalasa and Margazhi Kalasa poojas.
  • Special worships take place on Monday and also on occasions of Thiruvathira, Pradosha, Krishna Paksha Ashtami and Pournami. On these special days and on Sankarama the deity goes on Rushabha Vahana for the evening worship.
  • Also, hymns from the holy books, Vedas, are recited while worshipping Lord Shiva.
  • You have to take six steps to reach the sanctum of Lord Shiva. These six steps depict the six emotions, namely, Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Madha and Mathsarya.
  • Prathal is a unique offering made to Lord Shiva. The cooking takes place in the big kitchen.
  • The Ghattium recitation is another special custom of Vaikom Mahadeva Temple. In this custom, a Brahmin carries a silver rod fixed to a Rushabha. He then stands with this light in front of Lord Shiva and recites slokas.

How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is easily accessible from all parts of Kerala.

By Air: The closest airport is Cochin International Airport. It is about 76 km from the Kottayam district.

By Rail: The Vaikom Road Railway Station is the nearest rail line. The Kottayam is also not far. It is only 25 km from the temple.

By Road: The Vaikom Mahadeva temple is only 33 km from Erankulam. Also, Kottayam is only 40 km from the temple. There are regular bus services from Kottayam, Ernakulam, Kozhikode, and Thiruvananthapuram to Vaikom. The Vaikom bus stand is on the Ettumanoor – Ernakulam Highway.

Where to stay

Shri Kailas Tourist Home, Kalakkal Tourist Home, Shree Vaikathappan Tourist Home, Motel Araam, Devaswom Guest House, Kottaram, Sree Narayana Tourist Home and Whitegate Residency are hotels very near to the temple. These hotels also offer all basic amenities and food.

Where to eat

Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is very popular in Kerala. Hence there are many eat outs neat this shrine. Hotel Anandabhavan, Indian Coffee House, Hotel SNV Sadanam, Hotel Hari Hara Vilasam, Whitegate Residency and Valiyakavala are famous for food. These hotels are both economical and hygienic.

Nearby Temples

There are some important temples near the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple.

  • Chottanikkara Bhagavathi Temple: This shrine worships Goddess Rajarajeswari. The temple is near Ernakulam City. Moreover, the temple observes a special custom for maidens. They offer silk and pendent to get married.
  • Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Temple: This temple worships Lord Subramanya. People believe worship at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is incomplete without worshipping at this shrine. Moreover, a procession from Vaikom Mahadeva Temple to the Udayanapuram Subrahmanya Temple takes place on Vaikathu ashtami festival. Also, the temple is famous for its intricate carvings and mural paintings.
  • Ettumanur Shiva Temple: This shrine is at Ettumanur. It worships Lord Shiva. Many people visit this temple to fulfill their wishes. Also, the temple is popular for its fine sculptures. There are two statues of Nandi, one in copper and the other in stone.
  • Kaduthuruthy Thaliyil Mahadeva Temple: This temple also has one of the Shiva Lingams that Lord Shiva gane to Kharasura. The temple celebrates a 10 days’ festival.

Hence the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is a must visit to know more about Hindu religion. The temple is divine and as per belief, can fulfill wishes. Last but not the least; enjoy some time boating over the clean waters of Vaikom Lake.

Chottanikkara Temple

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.

The Chottanikkara Temple

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.

Nearby Temples

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.

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

Pazhavangadi Maha Ganapathi Temple is one of the renowned Lord Ganesha temples in Kerala. It is situated at the heart of East Fort, Thiruvananthapuram. The original idol of the Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple is a small idol of Lord Ganesh, with the right leg in the folded posture.

Other deities worshiped at Pazhavangadi Maha Ganapati Kovil are Lord Ayyappa, Goddess Durga, Nagaraja, and Brahmarakshas. Devotees can see beautiful paintings of the 32 forms of Lord Ganesh inside the temple complex. Devotees break coconuts in front of this temple and one can hear the continuous cracking sound of coconuts as if firecrackers are being burst. There is small tank in front for breaking coconuts and sack full of coconuts get broken here. The main offering at Pazhavangadi Maha Ganapathi Temple is breaking of Coconuts to remove obstacles. Modak is the favourite dish of Lord Ganesh, hence one can offer Modak as well. Another important offering to the Lord is Ganapathy Homam.

There are two images of Ganesha inside the sanctum. One  made of Granite other  made of gold. Though the temple is very small, there are also shrines for Sasthavu, Bhagavathy and Nagas. This is one of the most famous Lord Ganesh temples in Kerala, situated in the East Fort, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram). The temple is situated within walking distance from Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Lord Vishnu.

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

History and Legend of Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

  • The original Ganesha idol was installed in the temple and was worshipped by a soldier of Travancore Army stationed at Padmanabhapuram. In 1795 A.D, when the capital of Travancore was changed to Thiruvananthapuram, the garrison also shifted. And the idol was installed at its present place at Pazhavangadi.
  • This temple was maintained by the Indian Army, while majority of the temples of Kerala are managed by the Devaswam Board and some are private.
  • When the headquarters of the Travancore Kingdom was at Padmanabhapuram (Now part of Tamilnadu), the soldiers who kept vigil at the fort were said to be disturbed by a Yakshi during night time.
  • One soldier was an ardent devotee of Lord Ganapathy. He was given duty one night, he believed that the Lord will take care and went to have a bath in the river. He stumbled upon an idol of the Lord and he took that with him when he went to keep vigil. He was unaffected by the Yakshi.
  • A temple was built at that place for the idol and the soldiers worshipped the Lord. In 1795, the headquarters was shifted to Trivandrum and the soldiers shifted their Lord also.The present temple was built in 1860 and the Lord was kept there by the then ruler Maharaja Ayilyam Thirunal.Thus the temple is being managed by the Army.

Significance of the Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

  • This temple is very famous, situated in the heart of the city and is always thronged by the devotees. The main ritual is breaking coconut, soorathengai udaipathu. Around 2500 coconuts are broken everyday.The place used to be a fruit market in olden days- Pazha angadi, and called Pazhavangadi now.
  • The idol of Lord Vishnu on the Serpent Anantha in a reclining posture is made of Kudusarkara blended with expensive things. This idol also includes herbs and Salagramam, which is usually not used in Kudusarkara idols. The detection of gold jewels on the idol developed great interest in the temple and made a significant record in the history.
  • This temple is the historical landmark of Trivandrum. This temple is an illustration of Dravidian as well as South Indian architecture. Once in 6 yrs a 56 day long Murajapam is performed.

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple Timings

The temple remains open from 4:30 AM to 10:45 AM in the morning and 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM in the evening.

Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple Rules to follow

For males no shirt allowed inside nalambalam (inner complex). Male devotees are expected to wear Kerala Mundu, which is also known as Veshti or Dhoti. For females any traditional dress allowed. Traditional dress like Saree, Churidar, Salwar Kameez or Skirt can be worn. .Ladies need to wear Dupatta to enter Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple.

Festivals celebrated at the Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

Vinayaka Chaturthi: Ganesh Chaturthi also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi is one of the important Hindu festivals. It is celebrated throughout India with a great devotion. This day is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Ganesh. It is observed during the Hindu month of Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September) and the grandest and most elaborate way. The duration of this festival varies from 1 day to 11 days, depending on the place and tradition.

Varad Chaturthi: Varad Chaturthi, or Varad Til Chaturthi, is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesh. It is observed on the fourth day of the Shukla Paksha of Magh month (January – February). Popular belief is that observing Varad Vinayak Chaturthi Vrat will bring prosperity, happiness and fulfillment of desires. As a legend narrated by Nandi to the Sanatkumara sages, god Krishna was charged with stealing as he saw the moon on Magha shukla chaturthi – which was prohibited. He observed fast on this day and got rid of the accusation of stealing. The fast observed on this day is stated to enhance the name and fame of the individual.

Sankashti Chaturthi: Sankashti Chaturthi is an auspicious day dedicated to Lord Ganesha in a Hindu lunar month. When the Sankashti Chaturthi falls on the Tuesday it is known as Angarak Sankashti and is considered highly auspicious.

Poojas and Rituals at Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple

Several special poojas like Ganapathy Homam and Archanas are performed here.

Special poojas are performed for other Hindu festivals including Thiruvonam, Navaratri Vijaya Dasami, Ayilyam, Sahasra Kalasam, Thirkkarththika, Thirvathira, Makara Vilakku, Maha Shivaratri, Vishu, Thriveda Laksharcchana and Nira Puththari.

Ayilyam Nakshtram in Kanni Masam is of great significance at Pazhavangadi Ganapathy Temple. It has a place designated for Nagas or Serpents. On this day, special rituals and poojas dedicated to Nagaraja and Nagayakshi are performed.It is considered highly auspicious to offer prayers to Nagas or Snakes on the day.

Following poojas are performed in the particular months:

  • Makaravilakku Pooja (January)
  • Sivarathri pooja (February)
  • Vishukkani (April)
  • Niraputhari (July)
  • Sahasra Kalasabhishekam (December)

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

By Road:  There are many public and private vehicles available to reach Pazhavangadi Maha Ganapathi Temple Thiruvananthapuram.The nearest City Bus Stand is East Fort (Kizhakke Kotta).

By Rail: The Nearest Railway station is Thiruvananthapuram station. Sree Pazhavangadi Mahaganapathy Temple is just 1.5 kms from Trivandrum Central Railway Station and Thiruvananthapuram Central Bus Station.

By Air: The Nearest Airport is Thiruvananthapuram Airport. Trivandrum International Airport is about 8 km from the temple.

Where to stay

There are number of hotels as well as guest rooms near the temple. The rooms are well equipped with all the latest facilities and provides an amazing experience to the devotees.

  • Hotel Fort View  Contact: Pazhavangadi, Trivandrum, India
  • Hotel Asliyya Grande  Contact: Navaikulam, Trivandrum 695603, India
  • Uday Suites Contact: T.C. 34/757/3, Watts Lane Beach | Shangumugham, Trivandrum 695007, India
  • Samrat Hotel Contact: Thakaraparambu Road, Trivandrum, India
  • Hotel Highland Park Contact: Manjalikulam Road | Thampanoor, Trivandrum 695001, India
  • Mannil Regency Contact: Near Stadium College Road, Pathanamthitta, India
  • Hotel Galaxy Inn Contact: Power House Road | Marakkada Lane, Trivandrum 695036, India
  • Pravin Tourist Home Contact: Manjalakulam Road | Thampannoor, Trivandrum, India
  • Hotel Venus International Contact: S.S Kovil Road | Thampanoor, Trivandrum, India

Where to eat

There are many restaurants near the temple that offers delicious food. There are places for both vegetarian and non vegetarian food that is offered. The meal mostly consists steamed rice and dal. Some of the popular restaurants nearby are:

  • Panchali Restaurant Contact: Ground Floor, Rajadhani Buildings, East Fort
  • Venkadesa Bhavan Contact: West Nada Pazhavangadi
  • Villa Maya Contact: Airport Road, Trivandrum Vallakadavu
  • Buhari Hotel Restaurant Contact: Attakulangara, Eastfort
  • Aiswarya Hotel Restaurant Contact: Thakaraparambu Road Opposite Capstocks, Thakaraparambu
  • Ariya Niwas Contact: Aristo Junction, Manorama Road Thampanoor

Nearby Temples

Karikkakom Sri Chamundi Temple: Chamundi Devi itself is considered as a fierce form of Kali, but the same Chamundi Devi is adorned here in three different forms in three different sanctums and is situated adjacently. Devotees can pay special charges to open those Sanctums and perform  their offerings. The deity used to get valuable gifts for helping retrieve stolen articles. This is a regular feature. And many testify that Devi has helped retrieve stolen articles.There is Raktha Chamundi Nada (Raktha Chamundi front path) on the right side of Devi Nada (front path).

This Raktha Chamundi Nada has no idol. Instead, there is wall painting of Devi in Rowdra Bhava (ferocious state) in the wall of Nada. Years back this Nada was used to elicit truth from suspected culprits. This practice is still prevalent, but it is done before the deity of Chamundi Devi.The Chamundi  Devi form which is existing  open always during temple hours is considered as in a calm state. Whereas ‘Raktha Chamundi’ is considered as fierce, but helps devotees to fulfil their wishes. Bala Chamundi Devi is in Childhood form. If Offerings are given to Raktha Chamundi Devi and prayed,  she will remove our obstacles,problems caused by enemies and cures chronic ailments.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple: Attukal Bhagavathy Amman Temple is one of the famous shrines in south kerala. It is situated in Trivandrum City. It is the place where Millions of women annually gather together for famous Attukal Pongala Festival. The Gopuram of the temple is decorated with many sculptures, which is an architectural blend of both Tamil and kerala culture. These sculptures tell us the story of kannaki charitham, Dakshayaga etc.Main Deity is Kannaki and the other deities in the temple are Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Lord Serpent and Madan Thampuran.

Irumkulangara Durga Devi Temple: Irumkulangara Durga Devi Temple is a Hindu temple located in Thottam, Thiruvananthapuram. It is one of the most ancient temples that is situated about two kilometres to the southeast of Padmanabhaswami Temple in Thiruvananthapuram city. There are two ponds that are located in the premises of the temple. This temple has strong ties with the famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram. Priests from the big Padmanabha Swamy Temple would arrive at Irumkulangara by country boats for performing poojas and rituals.The main deity of Irumkulangara Durga Devi Temple is Goddess Durga. The deity here appears as Durgabhagavathi, an avatar of AdiParasakthi. Apart from the main deity there are many other upa devathas (sub-deities) adjacent to the temple like the Lord Ganesh, Nagaraja, Brahmarakshas, Madan Thampuran, Sri Bhairava Moorthy and Navagrahas.

Major Vellayani Devi Temple: Vellayani Devi Temple is a popular devotional centre in Trivandrum, situated about nine kilometers away from Trivandrum Railway Station. Vellayani Devi Temple is said to be build in the 14th century AD.  The main attraction of this temple is its picturesque view.The temple has a big idol known in the local Malayalam language as Thirumudi. This idol is four and a half feet in height as well as width. The idol is Bhadrakali, supposed to have incarnated as the daughter of Lord Shiva. Pure gold ornaments and several precious stones decorate the frontal view of this impressive and large idol.   The temple has eastern and northern towers called Gopurams with statues of different Gods sculptured in them. The Gopurams function as gateways through the walls that surround the temple complex.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple – The Treasury of Ancient Culture

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Video 

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is another popular temple of Kerala. The temple is situated at Thiruvananthapuram. Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is also known as the Ladies Shabarimala. It is visited by large number of women. Goddess Attukal Amma is the main deity. The Goddess has four arms, each bearing a spear, sword, skull and shield. The temple has beautiful architecture. In addition, it is- historic. It is a very clean temple.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple authorities also do various social works. They arrange wedding for poor couples and give them dress and ornaments. Poor patients get medical help while students get scholarships.

History and Legend of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Various myths and history surrounds the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.

  • It is believed that few centuries back when the head of the Mulluveettil family. The head was known as Karanavar. He was performing his prayers one day when a young girl appeared. She requested him to help her cross the Killi River. The charisma and beauty of the girl made Karanavar believe that the girl is divine. He bowed in front of the girl and helped her cross the river. He also invited her to his home. While the family was busy preparing to receive the girl, she disappeared. That night the girl appeared in the dream of Karanavar. She ordered him to build her temple at Kavu. It is a place where animals and plants are not disturbed. As per the instructions the temple was built. This temple came to be known as the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.
  • It is also believed that the little girl is Kannagi. She is an incarnation of Goddess Parvati. Kannagi is mentioned in the famous Tamil epic of Chipathikaram. She is the destroyer of evil. When she met Karanavar she was returning from Madurai. There She had destroyed the evil and was on her way to Kodungallor.

Significance of the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is known for its architecture.

  • Attukal Bhagavathy Temple exhibits a blend of Tamil and Kerala form of architecture. The gateway of the temple is stunning with delicate work.
  • Furthermore, the temple has beautiful idols of Mahisasurmardini, Goddess Kali, Rajarajeshwari, Devi Parvati and Lord Shiva.
  • The walls are raced with mythological stories of India. There are ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu at the temple. These idols are known as the Dashavatara.
  • The two sides of the gopura depict the stories of Kannaki. The southern gopura of the shrine depicts the Puranic stories. These stories are also known as Dakshayaga.
  • There are two idols of the Goddess here. The original deity is adorned with golden ornaments and precious stones. The other one is placed just beside that.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Timings

  • Attukal Bhagavathy Temple opens at 4.30 am and closes at 8.30 pm. There is no entry fee to the temple.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Food Timings

Food is served at the temple on all the 1st days of the Malayalam calendar and on Sundays. Planning is going on to serve food every day. Devotees can also donate for this noble work.

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple Dress Code

There is no specific dress code to visit the temple. Only at festivals people are asked to come in traditional dress.

Festivals celebrated at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Attukal Bhagavathy Temple reflects the rich culture and heritage of Kerala. The festivals celebrated here are.

  • Attukal Pongala: This festival witnesses one of the largest gatherings of women in the world. Almost 20 lakh women visit the temple every year. The crowd reached Guinness Book of World Records in 1997 when 1.5 million women offered pongal.  Pongala is a divine festival. It is a ten days programme. The festival takes place during the Malayalam months of Makaram- Kumbham. This is generally February or March. The main ceremony is on the day when the Pooram star coincides with the full moon. People sing stories of Goddess Kannaki. The stories are known as Kannaki Charitam.
  • Kuthiyottam: This special festival is celebrated by the boys below the age of 12. It is performed in expectance of internal and external beauty, health, wealth and happiness. These boys are believed to be Goddess Mahisasurmardini’s wounded soldiers. On the 3rd day of the festival, these young boys start a seven day penance to purify themselves. The penance includes ing at the temple. They also sleep on mats. Observe strict diet and prostrate 1008 times before the Goddess every morning.
  • Thalappoli: This festival is for the girls below the age of 12. The event starts on the Pongal day. Girls in traditional attire worship the Goddess. The festival gives internal and external beauty, health, wealth and happiness.
  • Vilakkukettu: This festival takes place from the 1st to the 9th day of the Pongala festival. Vilakkukettu refers to the decorated structures. These structures contain images and idols of the Goddesses. Devotees carry the structures every night of the festival to the temple. Musicians play traditional chendamelam music at the festival.
  • The Divine Procession: This is a grand procession. This procession consists of bright lights and colourful festoons. Devotees perform peacock dance, poykuthira dance, kolkali, theyyam and kumbha dance. They also display Kuthiyottam and Panchavadyam art forms. The deity of Goddess Attukal Bhagavathy is carried on a decked up elephant. The procession goes from the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple to the Sastha Temple of Manacaud. This festival is an integral part of the Kuthiyottam. The penance of the boys start after the procession.
  • Maha Shivaratri: Worship of Lord Shiva is done with great pomp and show on Maha Shivaratri.
  • Vinayaka Chathurthi: Worship of Lord Ganesh is done on this occasion. Devotees do special worship on this day. Perform Kootu Ganapati Homam on this auspicious day.
  • Mandala Vratham and Pooja Vaypu are the other festivities of the temple.

Poojas and Rituals at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple

Worship at Attukal Bhagavathy Temple takes you to a different level of divinity. Every day is a celebration at this temple. The rituals practiced here are.

  • Three steps of worship: The worship process is same like the other South Indian temples at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. The process is divided into three parts. The beginning of the pooja is women lighting lamps. Pilgrims also worship the flag. The devotees then enter the temple to worship the deity.
  • Vedi Vazhipadu: This is a unique ritual performed at this shrine. The devotees can offer crackers to the Goddess.
  • Daily Pooja of Lord Shiva: Everyday devotees can offer Mrithyumjayahomam to the Lord.
  • Madan Thampuram Pooja: The pooja takes place everyday. The pooja takes place at the Madan Thampuram’s Temple. Ayilla Pooja takes place every month.
  • Akhandanama Japam: This means continuous chanting of Devi mantras. It takes place on 4th Sunday of every month.
  • Karthika: This refers to the pooja of the star of the Goddess. It takes place during the months of November- December.
  • Ayilya Pooja: This is the pooja of the Serpent God. Devotees can offer milk and flowers.
  • Aiswarya Pooja: This takes place on every full moon.
  • Nirayum Puthariyum: Also known as Ramayana Parayanam, this takes place during Karkadakam.
  • Vishnu: This event takes place on the 1st day of the Malayalam month.
  • Sahasrakalasham: This pooja is done during the months of March or April. Worshippers can choose different types of kalasham at this pooja.
  • In addition, devotees can ask for Bhajan, Kodi Archana, Leksharchana rituals.

How to Reach: Road, Rail and Air

The temple is easily accessible from all parts of the country. It is almost 20 minutes from the main city.

By Air: The nearest airport to the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. It is at Valiyathura. This is approximately 7 km from the temple. There are regular flights between the city and Middle East countries, Male and Sri Lanka to Thiruvananthapuram from here.

By Rail: The nearest railway station is Trivandrum Central Railway Station. It is located at Thampanoor. The place is 3 km from the temple. Auto rickshaws are the best mode of conveyance from the railway station.

By Road: The temple is just at 1.5 km from the east fort bus stop. The Trivandrum central bus stand is at 2 km from the shrine. Metered autos can take you round the city. Tourists can also hire cabs to reach the temple. The temple authorities have also arranged regular bus service. Tourists can pre-book the bus tickets from the temple.

Hotels in Thiruvananthapuram: Where to stay

If you are looking for a place just to rest, then the Visrama Sankeetham of the temple can be of help. There are dormitories and rooms available within the temple complex. These are available on daily rent basis.

The Hotel Galaxy Inn, Hotel Silver Sand, Hotel Fort View are budget accommodation. These hotels are just at 2 km from the temple.

Where to eat

There are both vegetarian and non vegetarian eateries near the temple. Ariya Niwas specializes in vegetarian dishes. The Villa Maya, Ajwa Biriyani and Kethels Chicken provide lip smacking non vegetarian food. These restaurants are budget friendly. These food courts are also hygienic.

Nearby Temples

There are number of ancient shrines near Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram.

  • Padmanabha Swamy Temple: This shrine lies at 2 km from the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple. As per myth the trip to Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is incomplete without a visit to this temple. The presiding deity is Lord Vishnu. It is popular due to its magnificent architecture. The idol of Lord Vishnu is also astounding. The Lord is in a sleeping pose on a five headed serpent. The serpent is Anant Nag. The temple authority allows only traditional dress. Men have to come in dhotia. Women have to come in sari. The temple is open from 10 am to 6 pm.
  • Kunnumpara Temple: The temple is at 4 km from Kovalam. This temple is known for its breath taking beauty. The temple lies at a hill top. It is also an ideal place to rest and mediate.
  • Sivagiri Mutt: This temple is at 3 km from Varkala. This place is also serene. The shrine was built in 1904. As per myth, Sree Narayana Guru attained enlightenment here. The Mutt remains open from 5.30 am to 12.00 pm. It is also open from 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm.
  • Karikkakom Chamundi Devi Temple: This temple is only 7 km from Trivandrum. The shrine is also known for its natural bliss. The main deity is Goddess Chamundi. She is an incarnation of Goddess Durga. The deity is unique and is made of five metals of copper, iron, gold, silver and lead. The temple also houses the idols of Rektha Chamundi, Bhala Chamundi, Yakshi Amma, Bhuvaneswari, Ayira Valli and Vinayaka. The temple is open from 5.00 am to 11.55 am. It is also open from 4.30 pm to 8.00 pm.
  • Madavoorpara Shiva Temple: This cave temple lies at 17 km from Trivandrum. Lord Shiva is the main deity. The shrine is important for its eighteenth century rock cut sculpture. These sculptures show the images of Lord Shiva and also his consort, Devi Parvati. The temple remains open from 9 am to 8 pm.
  • Santhigir Ashram: The beautiful architecture of the temple attracts tourists to the ashram. Moreover, it is near the central office of Trivandrum. It is in the shape of a blooming lotus. The ashram is over 100 acres land and offers work, food to many people. People can also stay here. The health centre of the ashram preaches the benefits of Ayurveda, Sidha and Panchakarma. The temple is open from 10 am to 10 pm.

 Therefore Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is a nice place to spend vacation.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple- The Dwaraka of South India

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is another temple dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is situated at Ambalapuzha district. The temple is an abode of serenity. The statue resembles the deity of Parthasarthi. Hence it also comes with a whip in the right hand and a Sankha (sacred conch) on the other. Furthermore, this idol depicts the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Lord Krishna of the age of Mahabharata. The deity is also known by the name of Gopal Krishna. It is made of black granite stone. The especially relevant fact about the temple is that it exhibits Kerala style of architecture. There is also a pond near the temple.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

History and Legend of Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

A visit to the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is a must when you are in Kerala. It is also a heritage of Kerala.

  • The temple was constructed by Chembakasserry Pooradam Thirunal-Devanarayanan Thampuran. He was the ruler of Ambalapuzha. The temple was built in the 15th – 17th century.
  • As per legends, Lord Krishna once arrived at the court of the ruler of Ambalapuzha. He was in disguise of a sage. Lord Krishna challenged the king in a game of chess. As a winning price the saint asked just for few grains of rice from the king. Lord Krishna demanded amount of rice equal to the chess board. One grain of rice had to be placed on the first square, two in the second square, four in the third square, eight rice grains in the fourth square, sixteen in the fifth square and it would continue till the last square of the board is reached. The king lost the game and as a result he had to give the equal amount of rice to the sage. He started calculating the total quantity of rice and the amount reached millions. It became impossible to provide this gift. Thus the monarch was in a crisis. Finally, Lord Krishna appeared in his true form. He asked the king to serve paal payasam to the worshippers everyday till the debt is paid. Hence the ritual of serving paal payasam started at the temple.
  • There is another myth associated with the introduction of paal payasam as daily offering at the temple. Champakasseri Thampuran (ruler) once borrowed some rice from a brahmin. Thampuran could not repay the rice for a long span of time. The ruler came to visit the temple one day. The Brahmin accosted him. He demanded back the rice. Thampuran asked his minister to repay the debt and left the place. The minister was in a dilemma. As there was not enough paddy in stock to clear the debt. Finally, he managed to collect the required amount from the households. He weighed the paddy in front of the brahmin. The minister asked the brahmin to remove the paddy in one go from the place before the afternoon worship at the temple. As it may disturb the pooja process. He also kept a condition. If the brahmin fails to remove the rice, it will be given to the temple. The rice will be used to feed the poor. This was a conspiracy from the minister’s end. Hence the brahmin could not find even a single porter. Therefore the brahmin was not able to remove the paddy. In the meantime, the shrine closed for its afternoon worship. Hence as per the condition, brahmin donated all the paddy. The paddy was used for making paal payasam. So from this time this golden porridge is distributed among the devotees. The porridge is golden in colour. The paal payasam is popular for the taste.
  • Kalakkaththu Kunchan Nambiar was a renowned architect of Kerala. He spent his youth at Ambalapuzha. There is a mizhavu kept at the temple. The mizhavu was used by the architect. Hence the temple authority has preserved the mizhavu.
  • It is also believed that Thunjathu Ezhuthachan has written his famous work, Adyathtmaka Ramayanam kilipattu at this place.
  • The Champakulam Moolam Snake boat is also associated with the history of this temple.

Significance of the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

The Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is important to the religious history of South India. The temple is famous for its impeccable architecture.

  • Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is directly connected to the Guruvayoor Sree Krishna Temple. The idol of the Guruvayoor temple was kept here during the raid of Tipu Sultan in 1789.
  • The payasam served at the temple is of immense importance to the devotees. It is believed that Guruvayoor himself comes to have the payasam here. There is also a myth that Guruvayoor comes here at the time of Palpayasa Nedyam.
  • Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is also a treasure of rich Kerala paintings. The interior of the temple is adorned with the pictures of Dasavatharam. Dasavatharam refers to the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
  • Ottan Thullal was first performed at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple. This dance exhibits social issues of Kerala. Kunchan Nambiar is the creator of Ottan Thullal dance. He is also one of the famous poets of Kerala.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple Timings

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple opens early like the other South India temples. The temple remains open from 3 am to 12 pm. The temple is again open from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple Food Timings

The Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is famous for its porridge. The porridge is known as payasam. The devotees get paal payasam everyday here. The porridge is popular by the name of Amabalapuzha Pal Payasam. Devotees can also book the prasada. They can also pay for the prasada through money order.

Guidelines for Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

The temple authority also do not allow photography within the temple complex.

Dress Code at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

There is no specific dress code at the temple. But the temple authority suggests decent dressing.

Festivals celebrated at the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

Festivals are celebration of life at the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple. Dances are performed at the festivals. Boat races are also popular here. Hence, every year thousands of pilgrims gather at the temple.

  • Ambalapuzha Temple Festival: Ambalapuzha Temple Festival is another feature. The festival started in the 15th century. The ruler of Travancore, Chembakassery Devanarayana Dynasty started the festival. The rulers decided to bring Lord Krishna idol from the Karinkulam temple. Hence, the festival started from this event. This festival includes shifting the deity from one shrine to another. Chambakulam Moolam water festival is another name for this festival. The celebration takes place every year. The event is on the Moolam day of the Mithuman month. This festival follows Malayalam calendar. The festival is noteworthy for Chundanvallom boat races. Beautiful water floats decorate the water. The visual art forms, Ottan Thullal, Chakiyarkuthu, Krishnanattam and Velakali dance are performed at this festival.
  • Aaraattu Festival: This festival takes place in the Meenam month of Malayalam calendar. This is either March or April. The festival starts with flag hoisting in the Atham star. Also on the Thiruvonam day, Velans perform the Pallipana ritual. Velans are also popular as sorcerers. This festival takes place once in twelve years. Furthermore, cocks are altered at this festivity.
  • Vijayabali: This festival is celebrated every 144 years. Last time Vijayabali was celebrated in 1955.

Poojas and Rituals at Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha follows the traditional pooja style of Kerala.

  • Uccha is another feature of the temple. This is an afternoon pooja ritual. Priests offer Palpayasam to  Lord Krishna at this afternoon pooja.
  • Kalabharam is another ritual performed at the temple. This 30000 old ritual is observed as per the Malayalam calendar. Kalabharam takes place in Edava Masam. This month generally falls between May and June.
  • The Pallipana ritual is also very popular. The Velans perform this ritual. Pallipana ritual takes place every twelve years.

How to reach: Road, Rail and Air

Ambalapuzha is a small town. It is only at 13 km from Alapupuzha town. The place is easily accessible. Tourists can travel by air, railways and roadways.

By Air: The Kochi International Airport is the nearest airport to Ambalapuzha. It is just at 2 hours 30 minutes from the temple. The Trivandrum airport is the second nearest airport. It is only 2 hours 37 minutes from the place. Tourists can also travel from the Bangalore International Airport. Coimbatore and Calicut airports are also near the temple. There are cabs available at the airport.

By Rail: Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple, Ambalapuzha is almost 2 kilometres from the railway station. There are also other railway stations nearby. Like, one railway station is at 14 kilometres from the shrine.

By Road: Finally, tourists can reach Ambalapuzha via roadways. It lies near NH 47. The temple is at 1.5 km from the town junction. Local vehicles like auto rickshaws will leave you at the doorsteps of the shrine. Pilgrims can travel to the place via buses. Kerala State Road transport has regular bus service.

Hotels in Ambalapuzha: Where to stay

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple is one of the most famous temples of the Alleppey region. There are multiple hotels that have developed here. These hotels provide a comfortable stay to the visitors. Aquabliss offers airconditioned rooms. Tourists can also book houseboats from this hotel. The hotel is located just at 4.6 km from the temple. The Coir Village Lake Resort is another decent hotel. It is just at 7.8 km from the temple. These mid range hotels provide complimentary breakfast. There is also free parking facility. Tourists cab also use the swimming pool. Hotel Bonanza, Hamlet Heaven, Tamarind KTDC Easy hotel, Green Palace Kerala Resort and Kadavil Lakeshore Resort are the other hotels near the temple.

Where to eat

There are multiple food joints near the temple. The Indian Coffee House serves authentic Kerala coffee and cuisines of the state. The Thaff restaurant offers good food at a budget price. Halais Restaurant, Memories, Cassia, Sisir Palace, Café Paradiso Espresso Coffee Bar and Mushroom are some of the other popular eat outs near the temple.

Nearby Temples

Kerala is also a popular pilgrim centre. Hence there are multiple temples near the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple.

  • Chanvara Bhavan: This is the residence of the Kuriakose Elias Chavara. He is a renowned sage of Kerala. His home is considered as a pilgrimage. Finally, this place was transformed into a temple. Hence, at present thousands of devotees gather here. The beacon of light is another interesting aspect of the shrine. The light is preserved here from past 250 years. You can reach the temple only on boats.
  • Chengannur Mahadeva Temple: This temple is at the same district. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati are the main deities. The temple is famous for the Thripootha Arattu festival.
  • Bhavaneeswara Temple: The temple is at Munnar. This temple is known for its architecture. The most noteworthy feature is, the temple has a special purpose. The temple is open to people from all caste and creed. This shrine is also known for its beautiful Kerala style of architecture. Lord Shiva is the presiding deity.
  • Vaikom Mahadeva Temple: This temple is also dedicated to Lord Shiva. This shrine is one of the oldest temples of the state. The temple is also large. The land spread is massive 8 acres. It is equipped with a courtyard. There are four pillars on four sides of the temple. The temple entrance is made of wood. The sanctum and ceiling are made with stone. A devotee has to pass the six steps to reach the main sanctum. Every step shows the six emotions of kama, krodha, lobha, moha, madha and mathsarya.The Shiva Lingum is located at the main sanctum.
  • Pazhaya Sreekanteswaram Temple, Kerala: Lord Shiva is the main deity here. Also, the Swamyambhu Shiva Lingum established at this shrine has a history.

Hence visit the Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple to know the rich history and culture of Kerala. Have fun at the colourful festivals. Most of all, this is considered as one of the five prime Lord Krishna temples of the state.

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple Video 

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is a temple devoted to serpent worship. Serpent worship is part of the Hindu religious practices and Kerala is a place where one would come across temples dedicated to serpent gods. Serpent worship is practised in several ancestral homes, which have special worship places called Kaavu (serpent grove). It is located near Haripad, 32 km south of Alappuzha,14km from kayamkulam. Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is managed by a Brahmin family headed by a priestess.  As per belief, the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the ancestral house to safeguard the family. Sarpa Yakshi and Naga Yakshi are the beloved consorts of Nagaraja. It is believed that Nagaraja as the installed deity is endowed with the form of Hari (Lord Vishnu) and the spirit of Lord Shiva.

Many devotees underline the miraculous changes which were introduced to their life after praying to serpent gods. Also the turmeric paste available in the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple too holds a special distinction of being regarded as a highly curative medicine. The serpent gods invite large number of female devotees, who lack fertility and wish to have children. Such ladies return to the temple once their wish got fulfilled and would make offerings such as bringing back their children to conduct thanksgiving ceremonies.


Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple History

  • The story on the evolution of Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple as the supreme place of worship of the serpent Gods is associated with Parasurama, the creator of Kerala. Legend has it that the first priestess of Mannarasala gave birth to a five-headed snake, which is believed to reside in the ancestral house to safeguard the family.
  • Though a land area has formed, the place remains as a piece of land with high concentration of salt, which prompted the people to leave the place in hurry. Saddened by this, Parasuraman decided to start a penance in order to please lord Siva, who ordered him to worship Nagaraja.
  • After another rigorous penance, finally Parasurama became able to satisfy Nagaraja who blessed him with a desalinated land and also granted the eternal presence in Kerala. Thus as per the wish of Parasurama, Nagaraja decided to reside at a place selected by Parasurama. The selected place – Thirthasthala (Hall of Pilgrimage) was filled with Mandara trees, over the years gained the name of ‘Mannarasala’.
  • It is to be noted that the deities installed here represents ‘Anantha’ and ‘Vasuki’. Later Parasurama brought knowledgeable personalities from other places and installed other deities.
  • The vault in which Nagaraja is believed to be staying is seen with utmost respect by the members of the household. They admire him with great respect and acknowledge with the name ‘Muthassan’ and ‘Appooppan’.The forest nearby is called ‘Appooppan Kavu’ or ‘Grandfathers’ grove’.

Significance of Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple

  • In Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple, the rites are presided over by a priestess. The Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple covers an area of 16 acres of dense green forest grove. The two main idols are Nagaraja or the serpent king and his consort, Sarpayakshini.
  • The most popular offering of Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is ‘Uruli Kamazhthal’, the placing of a bell metal vessel upside down in front of the deity, which is believed to restore fertility to childless couples.
  • Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple helps clear all problems associated with sins related to snakes etc. The location is very calm, serene and feel of freshness is good because of the trees. This temple helps clear all problems associated with sins related to snakes etc. The location is very calm, serene and feel of freshness is good because of the trees and the location.

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple Timings

  • Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple remains open from 5 AM to 12 PM in the morning and 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the evening.
  • During weekend and Sundays large number of devotees visit the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple and it remains open till 1 PM during the day.

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple Dress Code

One needs to be in traditional attire to visit Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple. Though there is no fee for darshan but some special poojas which you perform based on your birth star or your astrological requirements require you to pay.

Festivals celebrated at Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple

The Ayilyam day in Tulam, Kanni and Kumbham months in the Malayalam calendar and the Mahasivarathri are celebrated here with great pomp. The Ayilyam in Kanni is the birthday of Nagaraja and that in Kumbham is the birthday of Anantha, the Muthassan of Nilavara (cellar).

Mannarasala Festival (utsavam)

On the day of Ayilliam asterism in the months of Kanni and Thulam (September and October), all the serpent idols in the grove and the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple are taken in procession to the illam (family connected with the temple) where the offerings of Nurum Palum (rice flour and milk), kuruthi (a red liquid made of turmeric and lime) and cooked rice are made.

Annual pooja in Nilavara

On the fifth day after Sivaratri, the Mother comes to the Illam after the daily pooja in the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple, and opens the cellar. The prasadam of the Nurum Palum is distributed among the members of the family by the Mother. After the pooja in Nilavara, Nurum Palum and other poojas are performed in Appooppan Kavu ( Grandfather’s Grove), which is the abode of “Muthassan”.


The installation of the Nagaraja is in accordance with the concept of Siva. The poojas are also on the Saivite model. Thus Sivaratri assumed special importance among the annual festivities.

The festivities on Sivarathri day at Mannarasala are also associated with Vasuki, the King of Serpents. Legends say that once Vasuki went round the gigantic Thanni tree in front of the temple in a sportive mood and stretched his hoods shining with jewels towards the east; opened his mouth and hissed; all the sands in that place flew away and a little pond came into being.


After the meal, there is no Pooja in the sanctum sanctorum. It may be that Sivarathri was chosen for the ceremony of lights because fasting is compulsory on that particular day. All Poojas including the ‘Athazhapuja (evening worship) are performed on that day. The main items of that day are Sarpabali and Ezhunnallethu (procession).

Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple – Poojas and Rituals

Valia Amma has a special pattern of pooja everyday, and she must perform pooja in the sanctum sanctorum itself on certain days like

  • On the first day of every month, malayalam calendar
  • On the day of Pooyam star each month, malayalam calendar.
  • From the beginning of Magha to the eve of Sivaratri.
  • Thiruvonam in the month of Chingam.
  • From the 1st to the 12th of Karkitakam.
  • Twelve days before Ayilyam in Kanni and Tulam.

Sarpayakshi & Nagayakshi

The main Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple premise has two separate sanctum sanctorums, one devoted to Sarpayakshi and the other for Nagaraja. Sarpayakshi enjoys special privileges like offering daily poojas, and is housed in the Sanctum Sanctorum. In front of the shrine of Sarpayakshi, there is an Ilanji tree (Mimusops Elengi) surrounded by serpent images and with numerous pits for serpents. The quiet shrines of Nagachamundi and Nagayakshi are to the south-west of the Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple and housed in Chitrakudas.

How to reach Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple: Road, Rail and Air

By Air: The nearest airports are Thiruvananthapuram International Airport which is at a distance of 121 kms and Nedumbassery International Airport which is at a distance of 132 kms.Cochin International Airport, about 115 kms from Alappuzha

By Train: It takes 3 minutes to travel from Haripad Railway Station to Mannarasala Shri Nagaraja Temple. Approximate driving distance between Haripad Railway Station and Mannarasala Shri Nagaraja Temple is 3 kms or 1.9 miles. Travel time refers to the time taken if the distance is covered by a car.

By Road: The Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple is located about three kilometers to the south-east of the bus station in N.H.47 at Haripad, in Alleppey district of Kerala.Various cabs and auto rickshaws are available near the Haripad bus station. Since located near the highway almost equidistant between the cities of Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi (approx.113 kms and 103 kms respectively), it is easy to reach Haripad via bus.

Hotels in Mannarasala Nagaraja Temple: Where to stay

  • Mandaram: The temple guest house “Mandaram” has good rooms & all basic facilities including food.
  • Alleppey Prince Hotel Contact: A.S Road N.H.47 P.B. NO . 2613, Alappuzha 688007, India
  • Pozhiyoram Beach Resort Contact: JRY Road, Thumpoly | Alleppey,Kerala,India, Alappuzha 688008, India
  • Palm Beach Resort Contact: Palackal | Sea View Ward, Kanjiramchira, Alappuzha 688012, India
  • Ashtamudi Homestay Contact: West of S.D.V. Central School | Zilla Court Ward, Alappuzha 688 001, India
  • Komal Hotel Contact: Zilla Court Ward, Alappuzha 688013, India
  • Royale Park Hotel Contact: YMCA Road, Alappuzha 688007, India
  • Motty’s Homestay Contact: Kidangamparambu Temple Street, Alappuzha 688 013, India
  • Narasimhapuram Lodge Contact: Cullen Road | Near Mullakkal Temple, Alappuzha, India

Where to eat

There are several hotels around that includes all the tasty and mouth watering recipes. There are South Indian food prepared which has the unbeatable taste. Meat, Vegetables and greens are prepared with different spices.

Some of the famous restaurants are Thaf, Cassia, Indian Coffee house, Sisir Palace, Casia, Mushroom and many more.

Nearby Temples

Sree Subrahmanya Swami Temple

Sree Subrahmanya Swamy temple at Haripad is one among the oldest temples of Kerala. The temple is one of the oldest and most important temple devoted to Lord Subrahmanya. Popularly known as Dakshina Palani ( Palani of south). It is believed that the temple was established even before the advent of ‘Kaliyuga’.  This temple enshrines an imposing idol of Subrahmanya said to have been worshipped by Parasurama.

Kavarattu Sree Mahadeva Temple

It is situated at Kumarapuram in Alappuzha District Kerala, India. The Festival is celebrated during the month of “Kumbham”. This is an occasion when the entire city becomes focused on the temple. The streets are made colourful on the festival days with colourful processions. Tender coconut frond and plantain leaf-stalks are also used for street decoration.

Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple

Ambalappuzha Sree Krishna Temple is a famous Hindu Lord Krishna temple situated 14 km south of Alappuzha in Kerala, India. Ambalapuzha Temple was built by the erstwhile ruler of Chembakasserry Sree Pooradam Thirunal Devanarayanan Thampuran during 15th – 17th AD. It is believed that the idol of Sree Krishna of Guruvayoor Temple was brought here for safekeeping during the raids of Tipu Sultan in 1789.

Chengannur Temple

This temple is located Chengannur, a village situated 40 km away from the town of Kottayam in Kerala. Lord Maha Deva is consecrated facing east and the Goddess Bhagawathy is facing west in this temple. One belief is that when Lord Shiva cut the body of his consort Sati Devi into pieces and threw them all over India, the middle part of her body fell in the place where this temple is located. Because of this, they believe that the Goddess in this temple has monthly periods. People also believe that because of this, the Shiva Linga in this temple is consecrated on a triangular pedestal.

Panachikkad Saraswathi Temple

Panachikkadu Saraswathi Temple, popularly known as Dakshina Mookambika Temple (Mookambika Temple of the South), is situated in Panachikadu village around 11 km from Kottayam in Kerala, India. The temple is situated 4 km from Chingavanam town between Kottayam and Changanassery. Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapathy, Sree Dharmashasta, Nagaraja, Brahmarakshasu and Yakshi are other deities worshipped in Panachikkadu Temple.

Ettumanoor Mahadeva Temple

Ettumanoor Mahadeva temple in Kottayam district is famous for its murals, especially the painting of Nataraja in the gopuram and ezharaponnana. The major worship in this temple is lighting of lamps. An ever glowing, very big lamp can be seen as soon as you enter the temple. The devotees pour oil on to this lamp.

Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple

One of the most popular temples dedicated to Lord Krishna, often called as the “Dwarka of the South” is the Sri Krishna Temple (Guruvayur Temple) located in Guruvayur, Kerala. The main deity, Lord Krishna, here known as Lord Guruvayurappan (Father or Lord of Guruvayur) is represented as a four-armed God holding the Conch named Panchajanya, the Sudarshana Chakra, the Kaumodaki, and a lotus with a Basil garland.

The word Guruvayur can be split into Guru and Vayu, thus giving importance to the fact that the idol of Lord Krishna was installed by Brihaspati, the Guru, and Vayu, the God of Winds. The idol of the main deity is 4 feet tall and is made of the unique stone named Patala Anjanama.

The architecture of the Guruvayur Temple is simple and follows the Vastuvidya tradition. Guruvayur Temple faces east and has two entrances, the east, and the west. The central pillared hall, called Nalambalam is adorned with an array of lamps on its outer surface. The outer enclosure is called as the Chuttambalam in Malayalam. The 33.5-meter high Dhwajasthambam and a 7 meter high Deepasthambam with 13 circular receptacles are situated inside the Chuttambalam. The Temple also houses the shrines of Lord Ganapathy, Lord Aiyyappa, and Bhagavathi. The main Sree Kovil consists of the Garbhagriha and the Mukhamandapam. The famous Rudratheertham is situated north to the temple.

Guruvayur Temple History

  • According to the local population, the deity is believed to be 5000 years ago but the fact has not been scientifically proven. The earliest reference that one can find about Guruvayur is in the famous literary work in Tamil called Kokasandesam. A place called Kuruvayur is mentioned several times in the literature.
  • Guruvayur was once a sub-shrine of the Trikkunavay Shiva Temple. The Shiva Temple was destroyed by the Dutch in 1755. Melpathur Narayana Bhattathiri’s Narayaniyam, composed in the 16th century popularized the existence of the Guruvayur Temple around the world. The present structure of the Temple is believed to have been rebuilt in 1638.
  • It is believed that the central shrine (Sreekovil) and the Mandapam are as old as 1030 AD. The western gopuram was constructed in the 12th century. The Dutch raided Guruvayur in 1716 and the western gopuram was set afire. Guruvayur was subjected to further assaults by Hyder Ali in 1766 and by Tipu Sultan in 1789. In 1789, the Utsavavugraha (Utsava Moorthi) was shifted to Ambalapuzzha and the Moolavigraha to a safe underground sanctum. The Moolavigraha was re-installed and worship resumed after the victory of the Zamorins over Tipu Sultan with the help of the British Army.
  • The legend associated with the Temple can be referenced to the Narada Purana. Lord Vishnu once appeared before Lord Brahma to grant salvation to him and his creations. On Lord Brahma’s request, he presented him with an idol of and made by himself. Some centuries later, Lord Brahma gifted this idol to King Sutapas and his wife Prasni, who were doing penance for a child. Lord Vishnu appeared to the King and his wife and stated that he will be born to them for their next four births. He also blessed them by stating that the idol will bless them in each of these births.
  • Lord Vishnu was born as Prasngarbha to King Sutapas and Queen Prasni in the Satya Yuga. In Treta Yuga, he was born as Vamana to Kashyapa (Sutapas) and Aditi (Prasni). Later, Lord Vishnu was born as Lord Rama to King Dashratha (Sutapas) and Kaushalya (Prasni). In the Dwapara Yuga, he took the form of Lord Krishna to Vasudeva and Devaki who were the reincarnation of Sutapas and Prasni again.
  • When Lord Krishna decided to forego the Earth and ascend to heaven, he decided to give the idol to Brihaspati (Guru) and Vayu, so that it could escape the destruction of Dwarka. Brihaspati and Vayu went southwards in search of a place to consecrate and worship the idol. They were enchanted by the sight of the huge Rudratheertham and on a visit there, met Sage Parashurama. The three together met Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati on the banks of the Theertham and were eventually convinced by the greatness of the place by Lord Shiva himself. They decided to build a shrine there and consecrate the idol of Lord Krishna at the site. They entailed the services of Vishwakarma (Architect of the Devas) who built a grand temple within minutes.

Significance of Guruvayur Temple

  • It is believed that the form of Lord Krishna worshiped here is the form of Lord Vishnu in which he appeared to Vasudev and Devaki during the birth of Lord Krishna. Hence, the child form of Lord Krishna is worshiped here.
  • The main idol of the deity is made of the “Patala Anjanama” stone. The unique stone is believed to possess healing properties. Every day, the water used for Abhishekam (bathing of the idol) is distributed to the devotees for healing purposes.
  • The Temple has several synonyms like “Bhooloka Vaikunta” meaning “Abode of Vishnu on Earth”. It is also called as the “Dwarka of the South”.
  • It is believed that Lord Shiva performed penance or Tapasya in the Rudratheertham (Rudra is associated with Lord Shiva and hence, the name of the tank). In ancient days, the Rudratheertham was believed to be much larger than the present form and was supposed to be filled with Lotuses.
  • The Krishnanattam is a unique service held at Guruvayur on all days except Tuesdays. The art form is a depiction of events in the eight stages of Lord Krishna’s life. The devotees can view the performances in the evening at the Mandapam as well as perform the seva to fulfill their personal wishes.
  • All the articles in the Garbhagriha, including the doors and the roof, are made out of gold.
  • The Temple is well known for providing a healing touch to people suffering from major diseases like Leprosy and Tuberculosis.
  • The Temple is one of the richest and the most visited temples of the country. The temple receives 6-10 million pilgrims every year. During the festive season, the number of visitors reaches 50,000 per day. The Temple administration has a corpus fund of 400 crores and a Hundi collection of 2.5 crores per month.

Guruvayur Temple Timings

  • Guruvayur Temple opens at 3am and closes at 9:15pm every day. The temple remains closed for darshan between 12:30pm and 4:30pm.
  • The Palabhishekam (Abhishekam with milk), Navabhishekam (Abhishekam with water filled nine silver pots), and Pantiradinaivedyam is performed between 7 AM – 9 AM.
  • The Ucha Pooja or the Noon Pooja takes place between 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM.
  • Deepardhana starts at 6:15 PM and ends at 6:45 PM.
  • Athazha Pooja and Athazha Naivedyam occurs between 7:30 PM to 8:15 PM.
  • The Tripuka (worshiping the shrine with nine sacred gums) and Olavayana (reading out of day’s income and expenditure) takes place between 9 PM to 9:15 PM.
  • Devotees belonging to the Hindu religion only are allowed inside the temple complex.
  • Newly-wed couples are not allowed inside the Temple Complex immediately after their marriage.

Dress code at Guruvayur Temple

Guruvayur Temple follows the strict dress code for both men and women. Men should wear a traditional costume like a Mundu (similar to a dhoti or a veshti). They should not wear any upper garment like shirts or vests. Women are allowed only wearing Sarees, Long skirt, and tops or the Salwaar Kameez. Jeans, short skirts or dresses are not allowed inside the temple premises.

Festivals celebrated at the Guruvayur Temple

  • Ekadasi – The auspicious day is the major festival celebrated in Guruvayur. It is believed that this is the day when Lord Krishna enlightens Arjuna with the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. The festival lasts for a month. The Ekadasi or the eleventh day is celebrated in the month of Vrischika or November. On the day of Navami, Deepams lit with Ghee are offered to the Lord by the Kolady family followed by the Deepams on Dasami offered by the Guruvayurappan Sankeerthana Trust. On Ekadasi, the Ekadasi Vilakku (Deepam) with Elephant procession takes place signaling the end of the festivities.
  • Chembai Sangeethotsavam – This is a unique cultural festival celebrated to honor Sri Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, a legendary Carnatic Musician and an ardent Krishna devotee in Guruvayur. The music festival is celebrated for 11 days during which artists, whether old or young, amateur or professionals participate and dedicate their compositions to Lord Krishna. They are provided free accommodation and food by the Temple Administration.
  • The Temple Utsavam – The grand festival is celebrated in the month of February – March and lasts for 10 days. The first day marks the raising of the flag atop the Dhwajasthambam as an invitation to the Gods and Goddesses to attend the festival. An Elephant race is held on the first day that attracts visitors from far and away. For the next 6 days, processions of the Lord is taken around on the backs of the elephants. Every day, a morning Pooja is held followed by several cultural programs and religious discourses. The Utsavabali is celebrated on the eighth day. The devotees are treated to a feast. The ninth day is celebrated as Palivetta which signifies the destruction of evils in our life such as Kama (Lust) and Krodha (Anger). After that, the idol of the deity is taken to the Temple pond where thousands of devotees take a dip dedicated to him. The Lord is returned to the shrine after going around the temple for eleven times. The Temple flag is lowered, signaling an end of the festival.
  • Vishu – The day is celebrated as the Malayali New Year and occurs in mid-April. It is a belief that the one’s fortunes depend on what one sees first thing on an auspicious morning. Offerings like Rice, flowers, gold, betel leaves, nuts, coins and yellow cucumber are arranged in front of the Lord on the previous night itself. Devotees stay overnight blindfolded and facing the deity. When the shrine is opened, they throng to see the auspicious sight of the Lord and bless themselves with the good omen.
  • Janmashtami – The joyous occasion of the birth of Lord Krishna is celebrated with great pomp and fare. The whole temple is decorated with flowers and lamps. Special Poojas are performed throughout the day. Offerings of Appam are made to the Lord by thousands of devotees who flock to the Temple to have a glimpse of the God on this auspicious day.

Besides these festivals, Onam, Deepavali, Navarathri, and Kuchela Dinam are also celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Temple

Poojas and Rituals at Guruvayur Temple

  • Udayasthamana Pooja – This unique Pooja is a ritual where 15 special Poojas are performed throughout the day (Udaya for Sunrise and Astha for Sunset) for the deity in the name of the devotee. The rituals begin at dawn and proceeds in succession till dusk after which the devotee and other attendees are given Prasadam of the Pooja.
  • Annaprasanam – This is a ceremony where an infant is given rice as food for the first time since his or her birth. Arrangements are made for the devotees and the child with cooked rice, payasam (rice pudding) and plantain. The food is spread onto a banana leaf and then fed to the infant among holy chants signifying the beginning of a nutritionally healthy life ahead.
  • Prasadaootu – This Seva is also known popularly as Annadanam. Devotees can donate any amount and it will be used to feed thousands of pilgrims every day at the Temple Dining Hall.
  • Tulabharam – The devotee is weighed against offerings like banana, sugar, water, rice or gold in a Tula or a balance. The equivalent weight is then offered to the Temple. Non-Hindus are also allowed to perform the ceremony.
  • Elephant donation and Anayoottu – The devotees can also donate elephants to the Temple. Currently, 40 such elephants are housed in Punnatthur Kota. Anayoottu is the feeding of these elephants. Devotees can also feed these elephants every day at the Temple at 10 AM.
  • Bhagavathi Azhal – As per the devotee’s requirement, ten or twenty wicks of oil lamps are kept on a banana leaf and presented in front of the shrine of Bhagavathi.
  • Krishnanattam – The unique dance performance called as Krishnanattam is the representation of important incidents in Lord Krishna’s life. The art form was introduced by Prince Manavedan in 1654. The performance uses colorful masks inspired by local art forms and traditional instruments like Sudha Madhalam, Edakka, Gong, and Conch. The devotees can offer these performances for the fulfillment of their particular desire. The eight episodes are – Avatharam (for birth of a child), Kaliyamardana (antidote to poisoning), Rasakreeda (happy unmarried life), Kamsavadha (eliminate enemies), Swayamvara (matrimonial issues), Banayudha (fulfillment of wishes), Vividha Vodha (fight against poverty and increase agricultural yield) and Swargarohana (peace of departed souls).
  • Angapradakshina – This ritual involves circumambulating the Temple pradakshina with his or her eyes closed and chanting the Lord’s name.

How to reach Guruvayur Temple

  • By Air – Cochin International airport is the nearest airport to Guruvayur. It is located 87 km away. The airport is well connected to major cities like Mew Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Goa, and Kolkata.
  • By Train – Guruvayur railway station is the end destination in the Thrissur-Guruvayur Section. Guruvayur is connected to Ernakulam, Thrissur, Chennai, Kollam, Trivandrum, Madurai and Trichy. Apart from Guruvayur, the nearest railway head is the Thrissur Railway Station at a distance of 28 km. Thrissur is well connected to major parts of the country like Mangalore, Bengaluru, Pune, Mumbai, Ajmer, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Amritsar, Jammu, Indore and many more.
  • By Road – The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) operates regular buses to Guruvayur from all major cities and towns in Kerala. Buses also connect cities like Chennai, Madurai, Salem, Coimbatore, Tiruchendoor, Mysore, Mangalore, Bengaluru, Mookambika and Udupi from neighboring states like Karnataka and Tamilnadu.

Where to stay

The Guruvayur Devaswom has constructed the Kousthubam Rest House, Panchajanyam Rest House and the Sreevatsam Rest House for the comfort of the pilgrims. However, rooms should be booked in advance to the period of the visit.

The holy town of Guruvayur hosts a number of private hotels and lodges that are located in the temple surroundings as well as near the bus stands and the railway station. Alternatively, one can book accommodation at Thrissur city nearby and visit Guruvayur.

Where to eat

The cuisine here is mainly vegetarian. Non-vegetarian is not banned but rare in the town. South Indian dishes like Dosas, Idlis, Appams, Puttu, and Idiyappam are extremely popular and a must have for visitors here.

Nearby Temples

  • Mammiyoor Temple – The legendary Mammiyoor Temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is just a 10-minute walk from the Guruvayur Temple. This is believed to be the temple from where Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati gave blessings to the Guruvayur Temple during the idol installation of Lord Krishna by Guru and Vayu. It is believed that one should visit both the Guruvayur Temple and the Mammiyoor Temple to complete the spiritual experience.
  • Narayanamkulangara Temple – The Temple located just a half kilometer away from the shrine is dedicated to Goddess Narayani. It is believed that she bestows salvation on men visiting the Temple.
  • Parthasarthi Temple – The Temple is located just a few meters away from the Guruvayur Temple. The main deity is Lord Krishna who is depicted in a pose where he is enlightening Arjuna about the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita. The Vrischika Ekadasi is celebrated with great reverence at the Temple.
Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

One of the most prominent temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu is the Padmanabhaswamy Temple located in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The Temple is one of the only few temples dedicated to the Lord in which he is worshiped in the “Ananta Shayanam” position. The Temple has been declared as the richest Hindu Temple in the world and as the wealthiest religious institution in the World. The Moolasthanam or the Garbhagriha of the Temple is located at the Ananthapuram Temple in Kasargod, Kerala. The antiquity and the historical significance of the Temple can be adjudged by the fact that shrine is mentioned in several Puranas like the Skanda Purana, Brahma Purana, Bhagavata Purana, Padma Purana, Matsya Purana and the Varaha Purana.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple architecture is a mix of the Kerala style and the Dravidian style of architecture. The Temple architecturally resembles the Adikesava Perumal Temple located in Kanyakumari, Tamilnadu. The Gopuram is dated to the 16th century. The idol of the deity in the main sanctum is mesmerizing and a treat to any devout Hindu. The Lord can be seen reclining on the Shesha Naga with his hand placed on the Shiva Lingam. The Sabha Mandap is called the Ottakal Mandapam as it is carved out of a single rock. Besides the main shrine, the temple also constitutes the shrines of Sri Ugra Narasimha (Thekkadom) and Sri Krishna Swami (Lord of Thiruvambadi or Parthasarathy). Apart from these two subsidiary shrines, small shrines dedicated to Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshman, Lord Ganesha, Lord Sastha, Garuda, Hanuman, and Balarama.

History of Padmanabhaswamy Temple

  • The exact date or year of construction for the Temple is unknown. However, the temple, as well as the city, has been mentioned as the Golden Temple in the Sangam literature (Tamil literature) as early as 500 BC and 300 AD. Many scholars believe that the whole city surrounding the temple was extremely rich and was covered in gold.
  • It is believed by scholars that the Temple was a site of worship since the beginning of the Kaliyuga. Several records written on Palm Leaf have been handed down through several
  • As per the legend, Sage Vilvamangalathu Swamiyar performed Tapasya or Penance for obtaining a Darshan of Lord Vishnu. The Lord is believed to have presented himself to him as a small mischievous orphan boy. The Sage allowed him to stay with him on the condition that he will not disturb him during his prayers. After some days, the boy disrupted his Pooja by defiling the image of the Lord. The Sage became angry and chased the boy away. Just before leaving, the boy told the sage that is he wants to find him, he must visit Ananthankadu.
  • The Sage realized that the boy was the Lord himself. He turned repentant and searched Ananthankadu. He eventually found the boy merging into the “Illuppa Tree” (Indian Butter Tree). The tree fell down and transformed into a huge figure of Lord Vishnu in the Anantha Shayanam form. The figure was so huge that the head lay in Thiruvallam (5 km from the Anantha Padmanabhaswamy Shrine) and the feet lay at Trippapur (8 km on the other side).
  • Overwhelmed by the occurrence, the Sage requested the Lord to condense his form so that he could witness his entire form. As per his wish, Lord Vishnu shrank his form. The Sage immediately offered a dry mango in a Coconut shell (the same is offered to the deity till date). The spot where the Sage was given a darshan belonged to Koopakkara and Karuva Potti. A small shrine was built at the site with the help of local Brahmins.

Significance of Padmanabhaswamy Temple

  • Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is one of the 108 Divya Desams (holy abodes of Lord Vishnu) glorified in the famous Tamil literary work Divya Prabandha by the Tamil Alvar Saints between the periods of 6th to 9th century. The 8th century Alvar named Nammalvar sang praises of Sri Padmanabha.
  • It is been established that six sealed vaults are present beneath the Temple premises. The contents of these vaults are considered highly valuable and a secret. Among them is the valued Vault B. It remained closed to public for centuries. However, on an order of the Supreme Court of India, the vault was opened and treasures were discovered whose value is estimated to be about 1 Trillion US Dollars. A small antechamber within the vault is still remains closed to public as the doors are extremely hard to open and are carved with figures of snakes. It is believed that opening the vault will displease the Lord and create havoc in the region.
  • The main idol of the presiding deity is awe-inspiring and unique in itself. The idol is made of 12,008 Shaligramam stones (the aniconic form of Lord Vishnu, taken from the banks of the Gandaki River that flows through India and Nepal). The Lord reclines on Adi Shesha Naga with his right hand atop the Linga of Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma can be seen appearing out of the navel of Lord Vishnu on a Lotus. The two consorts of Lord Vishnu can be seen accompanying him on his sides. To a devotee, the idol is visible through three doors, the first one showing Lord Vishnu with hands on Lord Shiva, Goddess Sridevi and Lord Brahma are visible through the second door and Goddess Bhudevi and Kaudinya Muni through the third door.
  • Several features of the architecture of the Temple are worth noticing. The Temple has nine entrances representing the nine orifices of the Human body. The Ottakal Mandapam is carved out of a single granite stone. The pillars at the corners of the Kulashekara Mandapam produce musical notes when they are struck.
  • The Katusarkara Yogam, which is a special Ayurvedic mixture of Herbs is plastered over the whole idol of Lord Padmanabha. The paste keeps the idol of the deity clean.
  • It is believed that the Thiruvambadi shrine dedicated to Sri Krishna Swamy situated inside the main Temple complex predates the main shrine. The shrine is built on the site where Sage Vilvamangalathu is believed to have been buried.

Padmanabhaswamy Temple Timings

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple opens at 3:30 AM and closes at 7:20 PM for the darshan.

The devotees are allowed to view the deity at the below timings:

  • 3:30 AM – 4:45 AM
  • 6:30 AM – 7 AM
  • 8:30 AM – 10 AM
  • 10:30 AM – 11:10 AM
  • 11:45 AM – 12 PM

Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is closed for darshan between 12 PM to 4 PM.

The evening darshan starts at 5 PM – 6:15 PM and then 6:45 PM – 7:20 PM.

Dress Code at Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The entry to Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple is restricted to Hindus only. The Temple follows a strict dress code for both men and women. Men must wear Dhoti with or without an Angavastram. Women must wear a Saree or a half saree only. Dhoties are available for hire outside the temple premises.Photography is banned inside the Temple premises.

Festivals celebrated at Padmanabhaswamy Temple

  • Alpasi and Meenam Utsavam – The Temple celebrated two festivals in a year – the Alpasi and the Meenam occurring in October – November and March – April respectively. Each festival is celebrated for 10 days. The event starts with the flag hoisting ceremony which is meant to be an invitation to all Gods and Goddesses to attend the rituals. Special processions are conducted around the temple premises twice every day. Six different Vahanas are used to carry the Utsava Moorthy of Lord Padmanabhaswamy around the temple. These Vahanas are called the Simhasana, Anantha, Kamala, Pallaku, Garuda, and Indra. On the ninth day, the ritual of Pallivetta is conducted which symbolises a royal hunt during which the Lord comes down and annihilates all the ills of the society.
  • Swargavathil or Vaikunta Ekadasi – The highly auspicious day dedicated to Lord Vishnu falls on the eleventh day of the Shukla Paksha in the month of Dhanur (December – January). It is ardently believed that Lord Vishnu opens the gates of Vaikuntam on this day. Devotees observe rigorous fast on this day and dedicate the day to worshiping Lord Vishnu. It is believed that one can liberate themselves from the cycle of birth and death.
  • Vishu – The day marks the beginning of the Malayalam New Year. The festival is celebrated with great fanfare with fireworks and Vishukanni playing a major role in the festivities. On this day, the Vishukanni (ritual arrangement of auspicious articles such as rice, fruits and vegetables around the deity) is arranged inside the inner sanctum.
  • Lakshadeepam – The unique festival is celebrated once in 6 years. The recitation of the holy Vedas is done for 56 days prior to the day of Lakshadeepam. On the auspicious day, one lakh lamps are lit and decorated around the temple premises giving it a grand appearance.
  • Onam – The grand festival is celebrated to commemorate the birth of the Vamana Avatar of Lord Vishnu and the subsequent homecoming of King Mahabali. It is also believed that the day signifies the birth of Sree Padmanabhaswamy. The festival is celebrated for ten days in the month of Chingam (first month of the Malayalam calendar). The Onavillu Charthal is the highlight of the Onam celebrations. Onavillu is a ceremonial bow-shaped wooden piece that is carved out of trees like Kadambu, Jackfruit or Maruthu. They are decorated with miniature paintings of Anantha Shayanam posture of Lord Vishnu.

Some of the other important festivals celebrated at the Temple premises are Ashtami Rohini (Krishna Janmashtami), Vinayaka Chaturthi, Navaratri, Mahashivarathri and Ram Navami.

Poojas and Rituals at Padmanabhaswamy Temple

  • Deepardhanai – This is the first ritual of the day and is performed early in the morning at 3:30 AM. The lamps are lit and amidst the chantings of holy mantras and shlokas, the God is awakened from his sleep.
  • Usha pooja – The Pooja is performed after the first Deepardhanai. The God is bathed with holy water and then decorated with flowers, Basil, and Sandalwood Paste.
  • Pantheeradi Pooja – The Pooja is performed at 6 AM.
  • Ucha Pooja – This ritual is performed at mid-day. After the ritual, Naivedyam is offered to the Lord and then the sanctum doors are closed for darshan.

Besides these main Poojas, several Archanas can be performed dedicated to the Lord on behalf of the devotee. Some of the common Archanas are Ashtotthara Archana, Sahasranama Archana, Bhoosooktha Archana, Sreesooktha Archana, Bhagyasooktha Archana, Swayamvara Archana and the Lakshmi Narayana Mantra Archana.

How to reach Thiruvananthapuram

  • By Air – The city of Thiruvananthapuram or Trivandrum is well connected to cities like New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, and Cochin. The International Airport connects the city to the Gulf countries as well as Colombo and Male.
  • By Train – Thiruvananthapuram is well connected to major cities in India like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru, Ernakulum, Jammu, Guwahati and Coimbatore.
  • By Road – The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation operates regular buses to Thiruvananthapuram out of several neighboring cities and towns within Kerala as well as from other states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Where to stay

A large number of hotels and lodges are dispersed throughout the city. They offer quality and clean accommodation to the visitors. Some of the five-star options are Vivant any Taj and Hilton Garden Inn. Medium range and budget hotels are available easily. However, advance booking is preferred, especially during the peak season.

Where to eat

Thiruvananthapuram is a bustling city that offers a wide variety of culinary delights to the visitors. The city is famous for fresh and delicious seafood. Some of the most popular food joints that one must visit are Hotel Rahmaniya (home of the patented Kethel Chicken Fry), Zam Zam, Sree Guruvayurappan Hotel, and Ayswariya Hotel. The local Kerala Cuisine is simple and delicious. One must try Appam, Puttu, Curry Meen, Fish Moile and Kappa Biryani when visiting the city.

Nearby Temples

  • Attukal Temple – The Attukal Bhagavathy Temple is located just 2 km from the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kannagi who is believed to be a form of Goddess Parvati. The famous Attukal Pongal festival is celebrated every year at the Temple in the month of February – March. The festival holds the Guinness World Record for the feat of Single largest gathering of women for a religious activity.
  • Andoor Kandan Sree Dharma Sastha Temple – The Temple is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Dharmasastha or more popularly known as Lord Ayyappa. The deity faces the west. The deity is presented in a posture named Chinmudra or Nyaana Mudra which symbolizes the union of Aatma and Paramaatma.
  • Amunthirathu Devi Temple – The Temple is dedicated to Goddess Amunthirathamma, believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Bhadrakali. The unique feature of the idol is that it is made of Krishna Shila and represents an Ardha Padmasana posture. The idol length is 48 Angula ( an ancient form of measurement, 1 Angula = 1.76 cm). The 4 represents the four holy Vedas. The digit 8 represents prosperity called Ashtaishwaryam. These are Dhanya, Dhana, Adhi, Veera, Vijaya, Sandhana, Gaja and Bhagya.
  • Janardanaswamy Temple – The 2000-year-old temple is located at Varkala, 15 km from Thiruvananthapuram. The Temple legends state that this is the place where Lord Vishnu displayed the form of “Vishwaroopam” to Lord Brahma, who was conducting a Yagna at the site. This is also believed to be the place where the nine Prajapathis of Lord Brahma conducted a Yagna to seek forgiveness from Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu after they laughed and ridiculed them.