Pulpally, a small town, amid Wayanad district's coffee, pepper and teak plantations, is home to Sri Seetha Devi Lava Kusha temple. The climb up the road from the bus station leads to a lane in which is located the temple in lush green surroundings. Seetha means soil or earth, and the presence of the temple here is an apt memorial for the Divine Mother who emerged out of the soil and disappeared into it.
Perhaps no story has caught the imagination of the Indian mind as much as the Ramayana. The original epic consists of seven Kandas or books, the last of the which is the Uttarakanda. The episode featuring Sita with Lava and Kusha, occurs in this kanda, undoubtedly a later interpolation.
The uttarakanda is the story of Sri Rama, after Ravana is vanquished, Sri Seetha is retrived, when the Divine couple return to Ayodhya, and when the Lord begins His Rama Rajya. However, He is hurt by insinuations made about Sri Seetha devi's character by one of his subjects and banishes the Divine Consort to the forests. At the stage, the author himself, makes an entry, becomes a character, for, by a quick of fate, Seetha Devi takes refuge in Sri Valmiki's ashram. The twins, Luv and Kush, are born there. Later, when Rama sends the Aswam (horse) around the country to establish in the vicinity of the ashram. Rama's brother, Shatrugna and Lakshmana, are defeated by the twins. Rama then comes Himself, is challenged by the twins, and are introduced to Him as His sons. But just as He is thinking of reuniting with Seetha, She calls on Mother Earth to swallow her, thus putting an end to the whole saga.
According to local tradition, it was here that sage Valmiki's ashram was located. In fact, Pulpally gets its name from pul (grass), which Sri Sita used to make a bed for the twins to rest (palli-kolluka).
The present temple was constructed during the time of the legendary warrior, Kerala Varma Pazhassi Raja, who fought the fater and son duo of Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan of Srirangapatnam. Later, he defied the British, but was shot dead by them in 1805, on the banks of the Kannaram puzha, near Pulpally.
The pulpall Devaswom is known as Murikkanmar Devaswom, as the twins, Lava and Kusa, are worshipped here as Munikumaranmar (child sages, in Malayalam). Seetha is known here a Jedayatha Amma. The twins enjoy the same status as their mother in this temple. There are sub-shrines here for Sri Shiva, Sri Ganapati, Sri Ayyappan, Naga, etc. It is a vast temple complex. The shrines are in the West Coast style, and have been renovated recently.
About a kilometre from the main temple is Chedattinkavu of Jadattinkavu. This is said to be the place where Rama met Seetha during the search for the aswam, imprisoned by his two sons. The Lord invited Seetha and the twins to come with Him to Ayodhya. The Divine Mother, who was said to have been the daughter of Bhoomi Devi, was, however, unwilling, and prayed to the Earth to take Her back. The ground opened instantly, and, as Sri Seetha was caught in a quagmire-like situation, the Lord tried to wrench Her back by pulling at her hair. The locks came off, the Divine Mother broke free and was swallowed by the earth. Cheda or Jeda is hair, the reason why the place got its name, and Sri Seetha Devi is worshipped as Jedayatha Amma, the Mother who lost her locks of hair.
Three km from Pulpally is Sri Valmiki's ashram, known as Asramakolly. All that remains now is a thatched hut in sylvan surroundings. On Vijayadasami day, parents bring their toddlers for initiation into education. Two red flowers that blossom here every day on the Mandaramtree, are said to signify Lava and Kusha's stay in the hermitage. The Ashram is also the site of an ambitious project to perpetuate research on the Ramayana. The International Foundation for the study, research and discussion on the Ramayana, launched by the Pulpally Devaswom, will host academic programmes for students and children, and organize seminars on the epic.
How to get there
Pulpally is 25km from Sultan Battery, on the Kozhikode-Mysore National Highway. The Tamil Nadu border is only 50km from here, and ooty 125km away. Mysore is less than 150km from here. Kozhikode (125km) is the nearest railway station and airport.
There are three or four lodges in Pulpally. Kabani resorts Lodge has good, neat, inexpensive rooms.
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