Sunday, May 27, 2012

Maruthorvattom Sree Dhanwanthari Temple

At Maruthorvattom Sree Dhanwanthari Temple,  in Cherthala,Kerala State,  devotees offer
Kathakali Dance for propitiating  the deity for favors received.The largest number of Kathakali takes place in this temple 
is  'Santhana Gopalam Kathakali' which the devotee arrange  as thanksgiving for getting a
child of their own.Hundreds of childless couples are being blessed by the 'Dhanwanthari
Moorthy'   to have children of their own with the prayers and poojas held in this temple by

them.The childless couples usually offer 'Santhana Gopalam' Kathakali for blessings for  a child.

The important fact is that they need to arrange for the Kathakali only after getting a child
and only after the child attains about  four,five or six years old.
The Santhana Gopalam Kathakali is the story of a Brahmin  who was living at Hasthinapura
when Pandavas were ruling the country after Kurukshetra war. One poor Brahmin who was living there were in full of sorrows when he approached Arjuna and complained that all of his

eight children died suddenly after birth  without any special reason.Arjuna felt very bad and sad about it  and he assured him that he would protect his ninth child when born.That child also but died.In that instance Arjuna took an oath that if he could not save the tenth child of the Brahmin  he would jump in to a pyre and die.
The tenth child after its delivery disappeared from the place where Arjuna was standing with
his bow and arrow in vigil.Arjuna was shocked  about this and determined to die.At that moment Lord Krishna came there and he took Arjuna to Vaikundam where he saw all the ten
children of the Brahmin with Lord Vishnu.LOrd Vishnu said that he brought the Brahmin's children one by one  only to see 'Nara Narayanan' together.(Nara Narayanan are Arjuna and Krishna).Lord
Vishnu released all the children which Lord Krishna and Arjuna gave back to the Brahmin
who became tremendously happy and satisfied.
At Maruthorvattom Temple Santhana Gopalam Kathakali is performed in the 'Aanakkottil'
(The shed where the caparisoned elephants stands during festivals) and not on the stage.The
child who is born as a blessing of Dhanwanthari God of Maruthorvattom temple has to be given
to the Brahmin character  in the Kathakali and taken back by the parents.
Childless couples have other type of poojas and rituals in this temple.On all Thirvonam star
day there is special pooja in the temple.The couple has to be present there to attend  for the noon pooja  rituals with fasting on that day.After the special noon pooja rituals they can eat the 'Prasadam'( rice and 4 types of dishes) and 'Palpayasam' served from
Mural paintings on the walls
the temple.If they attend this pooja consecutively  once in every month on 'Thiruvonam star day' for an year (12 times total)  mostly it has been seen that  they are sure blessed by the Dhanwanthari God to have a child.
There are yet other types of  rituals and poojas for the couples who are unable to attend the  consecutive poojas for an year and for such people the suitable rituals will be instructed  by the
temple authorities.
Offering Kathakali is special here and so many devotees are doing it for their wishful needs like curing diseases,  for long life, better health,long and happy married life etc.
Stories other than Santhana Gopalam are selected for other kinds of needs.
There is another special ritual here on 'Karkadaka Vavu' known as 'Namaskaram'.On
 Karkadaka vavu people do 'Bali' usually  for the departed souls of ancestors supposing that they
are being  offered food and clothing.Here in this temple on the ' New moon day on Karkadakam'

month thousands of devotees come to perform 'Namaskaram' ( prostrates) to the departed
 souls.The gathered devotees are served cooked raw rice and a dish known as
'Thalkary(Thalu Curry).The thalcurry is made of 'Kattu chembu' (Wild Cococasia) which
are found in open places and on  road sides.On the Karkadakam Vavu day 2ooo kilo rice is

cooked and 2000 kilo Kattuchembu (Wild Cococasia) is usually used for the dish.The dish if made out
of 'Kattuchembu'  will cause  itching  in the mouth and uneasiness in the stomach
but when made the  dish in this  temple kitchen with it  it will not be itchy and will be tasty, and also

cures intestinal disorders as a medicine is a wonder.Many devotees claim that the 'Thalu Curry'  works as  a medicine for almost all minor ailments of us.Many say that even the place
name which derived from the temple name was originally 'Marunnoru vattam' which has literal meaning as 'One time medicine' (by taking this medicine once will cure all ailments and may be also because just the visit to   this temple helps cure minor ailments as if taken  one
dose of medicine)

So devotees from far away places also come to the
temple to pray Dhanwanthari God  and to have the rice and dish.The same 'Namaskaram' ritual is held here on New moon
day of 'Thulam month' and New moon day of 'Kumbham month' with less pomp but devotees will be served rice and 'Thalkary' on those days also.
The deity of 'Dhanwanthari'  is  very rare in Kerala and temples dedicated to him are still

rarer.He is the Master God of Ayurveda and  supposed as a 'part- incarnation'  of Lord Vishnu.
He is believed as  initially emerged out of 'Palazhi(Milky ocean) when the great churning was held by the semi-Gods and Demons.
He is usually depicted as holding the pot of 'Amrit'(The elixir of life and rejuvenation) in his

hand.By praying him he cures several chronic  ailments which could not be cured by medicine is
believed by several devotees.The Maruthorvattom Dhanwanthari temple is  more than 800
years old.The annual festival is for eight days and held in the month of May.The 'Arattu'
will be on 'Thirivonam' star day.
There are so many varieties of 'Pooja'  rituals in the temple which can be selected as
 according to the needs and likes of the devotees.Offerings of several types are   available

which can also be  selected according to the needs and wishes of the devotees.
Transport Facilities
The temple is in Alapuzha District in Cherthala near Alapuzha town.It can be reached easily
by bus,car and train.Trivandrum and Cochin Int'l Airports are  also not very far.

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