Chottanikkara Temple

Sri Chottanikkara Bhagavathy temple is most important of the 393 temples that are administered by the Cochin Devaswom Board Chottanikkara is the place and Sri Bhagavathy is Her name, through she is better known as Rajarajeswari or Adi Parasakti.

Sri Rajarajeswari is the ruler of the rulers.  The primordial energy, Shakti, in the female form.  She is, according to one school, the embodiment of the triple feminine aspects, Mahalakshmi, Parvathi and Saraswathi.  Here, at Chottanikkara, She is worshipped in all the three forms that embody Sri Rajarajeswari:  as Sri Saraswati, in white, in the morning, As Sri Laksmi, in crimson, at noon and as Sri Durga, in blue, in the evening.  The idol is a laterite, and said to be swayambhu, and is covered in gold kavacham(armour).  She has four arms, the upper right hand holdig the chakra and the left the conch, while the lower right hand shows the abhaya (do not fear) pose, the left hand depicts Her giving what the devotees desire.  Since there is a granite idol of Lord Vishnu on the same pedestal, She is also worshipped as Amme Narayana, Devi Narayana, Lakshmi Narayana, Bhadre Narayana.  Also, on the same platform, are idols of Sri Brahma, Shiva, Vinayaka, Subramanya and Sri Sastha.  Kizhukkavu Bhagavathy temple is also located in the same complex.

According to the sthala purana, in days of your this region, like most parts of India, was forest.  Here lived a hunter named Kannappan, a great devotee of Parvati or Durga or Shakti.  He would sacrifice an animal daily to placate his favorite deity.  His wife had died, but he had a daughter, who had a pet cow.  It so happened that one day Kannappan could not find an animal to be sacrificed, so he decided to offer the pet cow.  His daughter then told him that if he was so particular about the sacrifice, he could kill her instead of the cow.  The hunter was so touched by his daughter's resolve that he decided to give up animal sacrifice altogether.

The next morning, Kannappan found that the pet cow had turned into stone, nea the bali peetam (sacrificial altar).  This place is now called the Pavizha malli thara (palace of the coral jasmine flower), and is now the shrine of Keezhukkavu Bhagavathi.  It is believed that the pet vow as Goddess Mahalakshmi.  Kannappan then had a vision of Lord Vishnu, the reason why Chottanikkara Bhagavathy is also worshipped as Lakshmi Narayana.  He also found an idol of Narayana, next to that of Devi.  He built a makeshift shine in his cowshed, and offered worship there.

After his death, the temple fell into disuse, and, in course of time, was covered by layers of mud and vegetation.  A grass-cutter found blood oozing from a stone, which his blade had touched.  The temple was then excavated, and has since grown to what it is now.  The first offering to the deity, after excavation, was puffed rice in a coconut shell, a practice that continues till date.  It is said that after Adi SAnkara consecrated the idol of Sri Mookambika in Kollur, Saraswati assured him that she would present Herself in Chottanikkara in the mornings.  Much later, when Sri Vilwamangalam Swamiyar visited this place, he saw a beam of light emerging from the temple tank.  A search revealed the presence of an idol, which i snow being worshipped as Sri Keezhukkavu Bhagavathy.

As mentioned, there are two temples here, the main one devoted to Sri Rajarajeswari, and the other, dedicated to Keezhukkavu Bagavathy, at the eastern side of the pond, at a lower elevation.  The doors of the main shrine opens at 4am.  It is believed that Goddess Mokambika is present here during the time, the reason why the Kollur temple opens a while later.  Another unique feature of the Chottanikkara shrine is that the Goddess is not fixed to the pedestal, but sits on sand.  Those with mental disorder are brought to the Sri Keezhukkavu Bhagavathy shrine is that the Goddess is not fixed to the pedestal, but sits on sand.  Those with mental disorders are brought to the Sri Keezhukkavu Bhagavathy shrine.  Of special significance to them is the Valiya Guruthi at 8.30pm.  Guruthi is a deep red liquid, formed by the mixing at 8.30pm.  Guruthi is a deep red liquid, formed by the mixing of lime and turmeric.  It is said those with mental disorders especially those possessed by evil spirits, would be relieved of their problem, if they attend the Guruthi on a daily basis for a week. Women suffering from schizophrenia are said to be relieved of the problem if they attend the Guruthi on Fridays.

Makom Thozhal, in the month of Kumbham (February /March) is the annual festival here.  The Goddess is bedecked in gold and diamonds, for it was n Makom day that Bhagavathy gave darshan to Vilwamangalam Swamiyar.

How to get there

Chottanikkara is 6km from Tripunithura, the main bus terminal for those coming from south Kerala.  If you are coming from north Kerala, Tamil Nadu and other states, there are direct buses from Ernakulam.  Ernakulam, the main railway junction, is 10km from Tripunithura. Tripunithura is on the Ernakulam-Thiruvanthapuram main line and many express and passenger trains stop here. 

Accommodation

The Devasthanam has several lodges of its own, with AC rooms.  There are also plenty of private hotels.

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