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Lesser-known facts about Kottiyoor Temple From Pvvg swamy

September 9, 2015


Kashi of the South

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Kashi of the South
Kottiyoor Temple is a prominent Shiva temple in Kerala. Vadakkeshwaram Temple is the common name of the temple since ancient times, but some of the local people address the temple as Ikkare Kottiyoor, as it lies on the banks of the river close to Kottiyoor village; to differentiate it from the shrine on the other side of the river. Thruchherumana Kshetram is the proper name of the Kottiyoor temple. The temple is a special category temple under the Malabar Devaswom Board.



Two temples
There are two temples in Kottiyoor – one on the western bank of the Bavali river – and the other one on the eastern bank of the Bavali river. The shrine on the east bank (Kizhakkeshwaram or Akkare Kottiyoor) is a temporary hermitage (Yaga shrine), which opens only during the Vysakha festival.


The Vadakkeshwaram, or Ikkare Kottiyoor (Thruchherumana) Temple on the western bank of the river, is a permanent temple complex like all other temples. It remains closed throughout the year except for the 27 days of the Vysakha festival. The temple is situated in a densely forested area amidst a sacred grove that covers about 80 acres.
Legend of the temple
Mythology says that Akkare Kottiyoor, the shrine on the eastern bank of the river, was the location of Daksha Yaga, at the conclusion of which, Sati Devi immolated herself. The Thruchherumana Temple was built after the swayambhu lingam was found. However, the exact date of construction of the temple is not known, the pilgrimage taking place across many centuries.
Revered in Kerala


Revered in Kerala
The Kottiyoor Temple is highly revered in Kerala and neighbouring areas of adjoining states. The legend goes that the shrine is blessed with the divine presence of The Holy Trinity or The Trimurthy (Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva) and the primordial Mother Goddess (Bhagavathy), due to this Kali (the personification of Kali Yuga), has promised Parashurama in the presence of Trimurthy in not entering the premises of the holy shrine.
Sacred Place
Kottiyoor is one of the most sacred shrines of Shakti. There are very few shrines in India for Sati Devi amongst which Kottiyoor is one. As it is forbidden to built any permanent structures abiding by religious principles, there are only temporary and simple-looking structures, whose resemblance what would look like hermits of sages.
Sati is worshipped


As there is no sanctum-sanctorum, Sati is worshipped as Shakti in ‘Ammarakkalu Thara’, a raised platform adjacent to the Swayambhoo linga where Sati Devi is believed to have committed suicide. This is believed to be the temple of the origin of the Shakti Peethas. As it is the confluence of the presence of all the known Hindu divinities, the place is called Kottiyoor from Koodi and Uuru meaning meeting precinct.


he boulevard towards Thrichherumana Temple
The Kottiyoor pilgrimage has far-reaching participation from the entire society. The Hindu communities in the region bring the raw materials as a ritual each year from more than hundreds of kilometers away by walking. Each community has been delegated specific duty, and has not been redelegated since inception.
Old traditions
They consider this a right given to them and for exercising it as part of a duty. This has been happening as a ritual for ages and is a centuries-old tradition. The pilgrimage has become a part of their culture. The temple is located in a serene dense forest, which is now declared as a wildlife sanctuary by the Government of Kerala.
Thruchherumana Temple


Thruchherumana Temple
The ‘Prathishta’ (I.e. the installation of the idol) of the Thruchherumana Temple, was done by Parashurama on the riverbank opposite the Swayambhu linga. The Thruchherumana Temple has its objective of worshipping Shiva for the entire year as the Swayambhoo linga on the other bank of the river can only be worshipped during 27 days in a year.
Shankaracharya had classified the rites and rituals of the temple when he came to the Thruchherumana temple and worshipped there, but he did not cross the river and worshipped the Swayambhoo linga as it was not the period of Vysakha pilgrimage. This belief is strictly followed until this time, of not going to the premises of Swayambhoo linga or Akkare kottiyoor if it is not the Vysakha pilgrimage time. Sankaracharya made ablutions in the Vavali river and prayed from the west bank of the river without crossing and continued his journey.
A pious Namboothiri of Kalakkatt Illam – one of the four major Mantravadas (sorcery) lineages of Kerala – was returning from Kottiyoor. To pray for Sandhya vandanam in Manathana shrine he took bath in the pond, after which a young lady from the adjacent bay offered him thaali (herbal shampoo), and told that she would apply it on his forehead, instead.



He immediately recognised that she was none other than Bhadrakali and showing his head would mean his death. He, therefore, folded his hands in front of her and said that anything given to her by the Mother is nectar. He took the shampoo and drank it. Devi was pleased with him and presented him with three sacred insignia which he installed in three temples in the Kannur region.
Associations with other temples
The puffed rice (pori or malaru) is prepared at “Pullancheri Illam”, and handed over to the temple from Narasimhaswamy temple, Pala, Kottayam district. Kottiyoor Temple is also closely associated with the Tirunelli MahaVishnu Temple in Wayanad District, about 54 km from Kotttiyoor. It was from Tirunelli that rice was given to Kottiyoor for Vysakha Mahotsavam and returned after the festival.
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This has been discontinued but rites are performed in both temples to continue the tradition. It is believed that Bhuta Ganas carry the presents of Tirunelli Perumal to Vysakha Mahotsavam. Once, a Bhuta tried to steal a present and the Perumal cursed him to become a rock. The sacred sword of Veerabhadra is brought for the Kottiyoor Festival from “Mutherikavu”, a nearby temple.
Kottiyoor festival
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Kottiyoor festival
Tons of firewood are used for the Kottiyoor festival in the shrine. Not even for a single year until now has it been required to remove the excess ash from the altar. All the essentials needed for Ammarakkal Tara is brought from Manathana shrine. Sacred swords also come from Chapparam Bhagavathi temple. Pooja vessals, ornaments etc., come from Karimbanagopuram.
Rites and rituals schedule
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Rites and rituals schedule
Present-day rituals of Kottiyoor were set out by Sri Shankaracharya. With his spiritual vision, he felt the presence of Shiva at ‘Akkare Kottiyoor’ and not willing to pollute the holy ground with the touch of his feet, prayed from ‘Ekkare Kottiyoor’ and left.
Vaisakha Maholsavam


Vaisakha Maholsavam
The Vaisakha Maholsavam festival is held every year during the months of May-June. The 28-day festival commences with the ‘Neyyattam’ ritual on the ‘chodi’ day in Edavam (rishabham) and concludes with the Thrikkalashaattu.
The Vaisakha Maholsavam celebrations begin with the ritual of bringing a sword from Muthirerikavu from Wayanad. On the following day, on Visakham star, the Bhandaram Ezhunnallath ritual is held. Gold, silver vessels, heavenly ornaments, etc. are brought from nearby Manathana village to Kottiyoor.
‘Elaneer Vayppu’

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Rohini Aaradhana
Rohini Aaradhana is a very important ritual which is not seen in any other temple. Kurumathur Brahman (the seniormost member of Kurumathur family, considered as the embodiment of Vishnu in the ritual) embraces the swayambhu Shiva linga as part of the ritual. The belief is that Vishnu is pacifying Shiva, who is saddened by the loss of Sati.
Formal farewell


Formal farewell
As part of the festival, a procession (Ezhunnallippu) is held, with two elephants carrying the idols of Shiva and Parvathi. After the procession, the elephants are fed well (aanayootu) and given a formal farewell.
 The chosen family
The chosen family
The Thammangadan Nambiar Family (the Vediyara Chandroth Tharavadu), a sub-branch of the Mushika/Kolathiri/Chirakkal royal family, have, by tradition, the right to be the first to have their ghee offered to the deity for ‘abhishekam’, during the “Naallam Thurakkal” ritual, at the Kottiyur Shiva Temple, believed to be the site for the famous Yajna of Daksha.

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