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Chottanikkara Temple

One of the famous mother goddess Bhagavati temples is Chottanikkara Devi Temple. She is Mahalakshmi in another guise. It is assumed that she and her husband, Maha Vishnu, are both residents of Chottanikkara. The temple is one of the most well-known in Kerala, India, and is situated in Chottanikkara, a southern neighbourhood of the city of Kochi.

Chottanikkara Temple


In terms of temple construction, Chottanikkara and Sabarimala temples stand out as the best examples of the old vishwakarma sthapathis. Sree Mahamaya Bhagavati, the goddess of Saraswati, Lakshmi, and Parvati are among the most revered deities in Kerala and throughout India.

At the temple, Chottanikkara Devi is worshipped in three different guises: in the morning, as Mahasaraswati, dressed in white; in the midday, as Mahalakshmi, dressed in crimson; and in the evening, as Mahakali, dressed in blue. It is thought that Bhadrakali, in her ferocious or Ugra form, is the goddess referred to as "Keezhkkaavu Bhagavathi." In order to defeat the demon king Darika, Bhadrakali, a manifestation of mother Kali, is claimed to have appeared through Lord Shiva's third eye.

People with mental problems frequently go to the temple because Chottanikkara Devi is reputed to heal her worshippers. Late-night rituals to invoke Mahakali are known as guruthi pooja. 'Guruthi Pooja' is performed only on Fridays. However, it is currently done every day.

Stories behind the Temple

The location where temple is located was originally a dense jungle that some claim was overrun by raktharakshas and yakshis. In this woodland formerly resided a tribal member by the name of Kannappan. He offered a ceremonial buffalo to Kali every Friday as part of his fervent adoration. He once discovered a calf close to a woodland. The calf was taken to his stone altar after being abducted by him. The tribesman's daughter pavizham intervened just as he was about to sacrifice the calf and begged him to stop. Because he cherished his daughter, he permitted her to keep the calf as a pet. Sadly, Pavizham went away a few days later; it's possible that she was bitten by a snake.

Kannappan sobbed and made the decision to cremate the woman's body. He was shocked to see his daughter's body vanish. He learned the cause of the incident from a priest in the area; Kannappan used to kidnap young calves from their moms and sacrifice them. He suffered the same fate when his daughter passed away as retribution. But when the tribesman went in search of the calf, he discovered a shining sacrifice altar in its place. The priest repeats to him that the calf was actually divine and represented Vishnu and Lakshmi, the celestial couple. He is instructed to pray daily before the altar in order to receive forgiveness for his previous actions.

The stones had been forgotten ever since Kannappan's passing. A low caste lawn cutter who had accidentally cut the stone recovered it again when she noticed that blood was dripping from it. It was only a stone at first, but soon it began to bleed. She brought the situation to the public's attention after being horrified by what she saw. The issue was resolved by contacting a local clergyman. It was determined that the stone was divine after devaprasnam. That day, the senior Brahmin of the Yedattu household offered the Goddess puffed rice for the first time in a coconut shell. This practise of serving puffed rice in coconut shells is still in use today.

The narrative of the spiritual teacher Shankaracharya is another one that is connected to the temple. When Adi Shankara lived in Kerala, he found that not a single temple there supported the worship of the goddess Saraswati. As a result, he personally travelled to Kashmir and spent many days in meditation in hopes of seeing the goddess there. His contemplation was fruitful, and the incredibly beautiful goddess in red appeared in front of him. He stated in response to an inquiry that he desired to bring the goddess to Kerala and erect a temple in her honour. In this way, Keralans wouldn't have to go as far to worship her, as was the case for the elderly and unwell. The goddess eventually gave in and promised to follow him wherever he went on foot but under one condition. He was not permitted to peek behind him to see if she had followed him and if he trusted her. Then wouldn't continue if he did. He concurs, and they start walking. Beside Shankara leading the way and the goddess' anklets tinkling to let him know she was with him, they were strolling down the Kodachadri hills. The tinkling suddenly stopped after a short distance of walking. After a little pause, Shankara stole a glance behind him to discover the goddess still standing there.

The goddess immediately disappeared in accordance with the circumstance. This is the location of the future Mookambika temple. But Shankara wasn't the type to give up easily. He constantly pleaded with the goddess to accompany him to Kerala while humbly apologising for violating the rule. The goddess finally agrees to a settlement after much pleading and travels to Kerala's Chottanikara, where the Chottanikara temple was located.

At the Chottanikkara temple, the goddess would appear to her followers starting in the early morning hours. She would then go back to the Mookambika shrine in the afternoon. Since that time, the goddess Saraswati has been worshipped in front of the sanctum doors of the Chottanikkara temple by opening the main sanctum doors of the Mookambika temple first thing in the morning. After the temple was constructed, the idol at Keezhkavu arrived. A disguised Yakshi once trailed a Brahmin by the name of Gupthan Namboodiri as he went to meet his buddy Kosapilli Namboodiri, a practitioner of esoteric sciences. It appears that the Yakshi pretended to be a lovely young woman in an effort to seduce Gupthan.

She could not harm him because he was carrying a palm leaf replica of Devi Mahatmyam. Gupthan, though, found himself drawn to her. When Gupthan later told his friend Kosapilli Namboodiri about the experience, Kosapill realised the woman was a Yakshi. He then handed Gupthan Namboodiri a magical towel, some rice, and instructions on how to carry it on his return trip in order to fend off the Yakshi. When Gupthan realised the Yakshi was pursuing him, he started running towards the Chottanikkara temple. When Gupthan screamed out for assistance, the mother goddess Parvati manifested herself as Kali and killed the Yakshi and threw her in the temple tank, which is now known as Yakshikkulam or Rakthakulam.

Celebrations/ Festivals

Tozhal Makam

The main celebration of the Chottanikkara temple is the yearly Chottanikkara Makam Thozhal. It is thought that on this day, the Vilvumangala Swamiyar saw the goddess being worshipped at the temple by her followers.

The customary bathing of the goddess was performed early in the day on the Makam Thozhal day at the revered pond Calli Onakkuttichira far to the north of the temple. The goddess is then taken to the temple with Lord Sastha riding on the back of seven caparisoned elephants, and they proceed to the "Pooraparambhu," the customary viewing area, where they stay until 11 a.m. for Ucha pooja, the Sanctum Sanctorum's door shutters at midday. Afterwards, it reopens at 2 p.m. for the "Makam Darsanam," commemorating the moment Vilvumangala Swamiyar first saw the goddess at the temple. Devi then comes in all of her sacred splendour and glory, adorned in priceless jewellery, countless garlands, and sacramental gold decorations.

At this very moment, Chottanikkara Devi appears with her four arms holding varam, Abhayam, Shank, and Chakram to her devoted followers. She is dressed in sparkling clothing, brilliant accessories, and fine jewellery. This is the identical type of vision that was attributed to Villwamangalam Swamiyar when he turned toward the west after hearing Kizhukkavu Bhagavathy's "Prathishta." All beloved prayers and desires are eagerly anticipated to be realised as a result of Darsanam at this precise moment. There is a strong belief that people who attain Darsanam during this significant Mithuna Lagna would be blessed with the satisfaction of their long-standing wishes and prayers. Here are the other celebrations:

  • Thiruvonam is commemorated in the temple with a feast for all pilgrims, according to Chingam.
  • Navarathri Agosham is a well-known celebration that draws a lot of worshippers. Vidyarambham is performed on the day of Vijayadasami during the Navarathri utsavam.
  • The entire mandalam season is dedicated to celebrating the Vrishchikam Mandala Mahotsavam. There are daily annadanam, theatre performances, Naama japam, etc. The Thrikkarthika event takes place this month. The celebration, which takes place during the three days of Kaarthika, Rohini, and Makayiram, celebrates the goddess' birthday. On these days, there are several celebrations including deepaalankaaram, ezhunnellippu, Kazhcha siveli, stage acts, and fireworks. Lakshaarchana and Vedamura abishekam are also offered commencing on January 1 for 15 days. There are fireworks and lakshadeepam on the day of Makaravilakku.
  • Kumbam: Kumbham is when the temple's yearly festival is held. On Rohini day, Kodiyettu marks the beginning of the nine-day festival, which ends on Uthram star. There is Pooram ezhunnellippu, who has 7 elephants, both in the morning and at night. The end of the ulsavam is signalled by Uthram Aarattu and Valiya Guruthi.

Practices of Worship

Rajarajeswari, Mahalakshmi, Durga, Bhagavati, and Amman are just a few of the many names for the ruling deity. Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi, and Kali are the three forms in which Bhagavati is worshipped during the day. This temple has separate temples for Lord Sastha, Lord Shiva, Lord Ganapathi, Lord Yakshi, Brahmarakshassu, and Snake gods. The temple has a reputation for treating mental ailments and illnesses brought on by demonic spirits. The priest converses with the patients once they are brought before him. He fastens a piece of the patient's hair to the temple tree, signifying that the bad spirit is subdued by the tree and the patient is healed of their disease. From the temple, they bring home neem leaves, limes, and chilies, which are thought to fend off evil spirits.

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