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.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Swamy Temple

There is a very famous story that the idol of Ambalapuzha Srikrishna Temple was brought
on a wooden boat from Karikulam temple of Kurichi accompanied by several other yachts.
When they reached Champakkulam it was night already and they decided to stay somewhere
there as a safety measure.But informers were sent to  Maharajah Pooradam Thirunal
Devanarayanan of Chempakaseery Dynasty about this.The  group of people who where
bringing the idol were allowed to stay in the premises of an eminent Christian family 'Mappilassery' and the head of the family 'Itty Thomman' and the members of the family
greeted them with warmth welcome.The idol was kept in a special room of the house which
was well cleaned and with full honor.They lighted oil lamps before the deity and revered with
humble hearts.
Next day the Maharajah and his delegates reached there with gifts  of many varieties and also
fruits and vegetables etc to  Mapilassery house where they were received by 'Itty Thomman'.
The Maharajah and  his men were served a feast in that house and after wards the people of
that area including Itty Thomman accompanied the flotilla carrying the idol to Ambalapuzha
temple.The room where the idol was kept for one day is still maintained as it was before 500
years. ( this events was in the year 1545 A.D.)The Champakkulam Moolam boat race was begun to commemorate  this event.
When the house at Mapilassery was rebuilt then also they kept the room without demolishing
it and maintains it  as a 'Devasthanam'.A perpetually burning lamp as an eternal one is there
still now which was lighted on the night the idol was brought there.Maharajah asked them to
maintain it for ever and gave them free coconut groves to maintain it.The members of that house still consider that room  as sacred.Every year the practice of sending gifts to Mapilassery
house with several delegates is still carried out and giving them feast by the family is also
done.After wards only the boat race starts.
It is stated that when an Idol was made to consecrate at Ambalapuzha temple, just  at a late stage
that it was found that there was some thing wrong with the idol and consecrating it would be
not auspicious.The time was fixed for consecration of the idol and immediately they had to find another and could find 
one at Kurichy temple which was brought on boats.
The Champakkulam Moolam Boat race is celebrated on the Moolam star day of Mithunam(July-Aug) but the consecration day of Ambalapuzha temple is celebrated on
'Rohini star day of Edavam Month'.This year the consecration day is on May 22, 2012.
More over it has to be noted that the temple at Ambalapuzha is believed to be built in the year A.D.790. The idol we see  there now might not be  the same original one.In each
and every prayer and praise Ambalapuzha Krishnan is being called as 'Unni Krishna'
'Unni Kanna'  'Bala Gopala' etc as a child or boy where as the idol existing at the temple now
is of 'Parthasarathy' holding a whip  in one hand and a sacred conch in another.
In the beginning  when the temple was started in AD 790  the idol would have been of little Krishna which
because of some reason had to be changed and Deva Narayana Maharajah might have done it 
as we see now.But all the devotees still call him as 'Unni Kanna' and not as 'Partha sarathy'.
The main offering to the deity is 'Pal Payasam'.It is prepared by boiling rice in milk and adding sugar to make it very sweet.Approximately for 3kg raw rice they use 33 litres
of milk and 10 kg sugar.Four times water is also used and for all the process they takes about four hours to prepare it.It is still prepared daily in the traditional way  and offered to God and distributed 
to devotees.
There is a story regarding the 'Palpayasam' of Ambalapuzha temple.Once Lord  Sri Krishna
himself reached 'Chempakassery Maharajah' of Ambalapuzha as a sage and challenged him to play 'Chaturangam'(a typical play like chess having 64 squares).In olden times if challenged by somebody to play that game it was considered as a prestige issue and Maharajahs accepted the challenge.(Maharajah Nalan, Pandavas etc lost the throne and every thing like this).Our Chepakassery Maharajah also accepted the challenge and before
the game asked the opponent Sage what prize he would like to have if he defeat the King.
He replied that as a person not interested in worldly pleasures what he needed was just one
grain of rice on the first square of the playing board, 2 grains on the second 4 on the third
8 on the fourth 16 on the fifth 32 on the sixth square 64 on the seventh and so on till the 64th square.
Hearing this humble demand Maharajah felt unhappy and demanded to ask for a higher
prize but the sage said he was happy for what he asked for.The game began and need less 
to say,   the King failed.He ordered his men to measure the rice as asked by the sage for him.When the King's men calculated it then only they understood that all the rice grains in
his country and neighboring countries  would not be enough to pay him as demanded.The quantity would be several tons.Maharajah bowed down to the sage and pleaded guilty.Lord
Krishna showed him his original form and asked him to prepare 'Palpayasam' at the temple
and distribute to the devotees every day and his debt would be recovered in that way.It
was carried out for centuries and till today it is the main offering there.
The taste of 'Ambalapuzha Pal Payasam' is very famous.During the time of Poet Kunchan Nambiar who was a court member of 'Chempakassery Maharajah' there was an incident.
If Maharajah says any thing everybody would agrees to it was the custom.Once Maharajah
on his visit at the temple rejected the Palpayasam served to him saying that it was having
a bitter taste.All the accompanying men also agreed to his comment and rejected the Palpayasam except Kunchan Nambiar who drank it fully.When Maharajah asked him how
could he do that he replied he always   liked the bitter taste of Palpayasam.All the men were bleached
by that answer.





The annual festival of this temple is in the month of Meenam (March-April),  flag hoisting
on Atham Star day and Aarattu on Thiruvonam day.




Friday, May 18, 2012

Udayanapuram Subramanya Swamy Temple

The Subramanya Swamy  Temple at Udayanapuram which is just one km away from Vaikom Mahadeva temple  is considered as very sacred like the  Palani temple in Tamil Nadu.The
worship at Vaikom Mahadeva Temple is complete only with a 'Darshan' at the Udayanapuram
temple also. Many devotees visit the Udayanapuram temple prior to visiting Mahadeva
temple as a custom and belief.Mahadeva being the father of Udayanapurathappan is only
happy about that.In fact many devotees believe that if we want to get some desire fulfilled or
to materialize some wishes by the bliss of Vaikom Mahadeva we have to visit Udayanapuram
temple first and get Subramanya Swamy's  blessing first and then go to Vaikom Mahadeva temple with our grief
or request for a solution.
The legend is that Cheraman Perumal decided to make a Karthiyayani devi  temple at Udayanapuram and a Subramanya temple at Kumaranelloor.Both the temple structure was almost finished and to the astonishment of the King he heard a divine voice from Kumaranelloor
temple that 'Kumaran Alla Ooril'(This place is not for Subramanya) and from  further astrological findings it was understood that
Karthiyayani devi's presence was already got established   there at Kumaranalloor temple.Thus that temple was dedicated to her and Udayanapuram temple was given to Subramanya Swami.

The architectural structure of Udayanapuram temple is  splendid and unique.There is a big pond found here after the 'Nalambalam' which is not common in other temples.
The festivals ' Vaikathashtami and Kumaranellur Thrikkarthika are  very famous.Even though
we say 'Vaikathu Ashtami' it is actually a celebration of Udayanapuram Subramanya Swami.
The celebrations of Ashtami are done at Udayanapuram temple.There is a grand procession

of Subramanya Swamy from Udayanapuram to Vaikom temple on that day which is a very
beautiful,gorgeous and majestic procession.Lord Muruga is coming triumphant after killing
demon Soora Padmasura is the legend.He is being welcomed by people,semi Gods, and other





Gods  appreciating his victory.The roads leading to Vaikom Mahadeva temple is illuminated with color bulbs and on both sides lighted  oil lamps in two rows will be arranged and he will be
brought with all kinds of pageantry, music and dance.There are no words to describe the magnificent procession and the

 beauty of magnanimous  Subramanya Swami's  lovely  idol  holding the  precious heavy gold spear.
Like that 'Thrikkarthika' festival day is also celebrated at Udayanapuram temple since it falls 
just one day before  the  Aarattu of annual celebration of Udayanapuram temple.The Aarattu at Udayanapuram temple is also festival day at Vaikom Mahadeva temple since

on Aarattu day Subramanya Swamy is brought in a procession to Mahadeva temple and 
a pooja ritual is performed for both the  deities together.

There are  some other special rituals regarding Vaikom temple and Udayanapuram temple.
Many of the materials offered to Subramanya Swamy temple will be send to Vaikom temple as a custom(Presents from Son to beloved Father).

Like that there is  own Elephant at Vaikom temple.But offering elephant is not allowed at

Mahadeva Vaikom temple.It has to be submitted to Udayanapuram temple from where  it
will be send to Vaikom temple.
The main worship material at Udayanapuram temple is 'Poovan Pazham'(a variety of

banana).The devotees pray to 'Udayanapurathappan' that they will submit --- Nos of 'Poovan Pazham' to get grant their wishes and the firm devotees says that they have experienced positive responses from Lord Subramanya at Udayanapuram always.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Koodalmanikyam Temple,Irinjalakkuda

Irinjalakkuda Koodal Manikyam Temple is the abode of Lord Bharatha , the brother of Srirama who ruled
the Kingdom of  'Ayodhya'  on behalf of Srirama not on sitting the throne by himself but kept srirama's 'Padukams'(wooden
footwear) supposing that the presence of Srirama was there and that the Kingdom belonged to his brother only.
That was the morality,love,respect and truthfulness of Bharatha and at Irinjalakkuda Koodalmanikyam  temple
Lord Bharatha is consecrated.This is the only temple in India dedicated to Lord Bharatha.
Long ago  during a Thantric Pooja process by name 'Naveekarana Kalasam'  the idol became radiant like a ruby stone
to the astonishment of the devotees.It is said that to compare that glow with that of an original ruby stone
one original  precious ruby stone which emits rays was brought from 'Kayamkulam Maharaja's' collections and while testing it near the deity it was absorbed in the deity.Thus the Lord was came to be known as 'Koodal Manikyam
Swamy' and temple got famous as Koodal Manikyam  temple.In Malayalam 'Manikyam' is Ruby stone.
There is another story regarding the importance of this temple.Once a devotee who was well versed in 'Thantric
rituals' was visiting several temples as a pilgrimage and he evoked a minute portion of the 'Vis Viva' of the deities of all temples he visited   in to his conch.When he reached Koodalmanikyam temple at the 'Mukhamandapa' his conch fell down
and broke All the powers  of different deities which he enclosed in the conch got absorbed in the deity here.
There fore the deity in this temple is having the power of different God's and also known as 'Sangameswaran'.
                      The architecture of this temple is quite amazing.'Koothambalam,Gopuram,Vilakkumadam,Nadappura' etc are all gorgeous.The temple pond is also
very large and it is considered sacred.It is believed that before the formation of the temple a saint 'Kulipini'
performed 'Yaga' in the place of the pond which is  inside the  temple compound and known as 'Kulipini Theertham'.There
are three other ponds outside the compound also.
The annual festival of this temple is in the month of Medam (Apr-May)   by flag hoisting on Uthram star day and Aarattu on Thiru Onam star DAY.




'Veda Laksharchana'  period from Dhanu 1 to Dhanu 8 (Dec-Jan) is also auspicious here.'Puthari Nivedyam' of Thiruvonam star day in the month of Thulam,The consecration day which is ' Makayiram star' day in the month of Makaram are all celebrated in a grand manner.
During the annual festival 'Sree Rama Pattabhishekam Kathakali' is performed in this temple  not as just
an art form but as a divine ritual itself.On all days of the annual  festival,  and on  all days of Laksharchana and other
festivities feast is provided to all the devotees.More over every month on Thiruvonam star day also feast
is served to all the devotees.
The annual festival of this temple is held in a large scale with traditional rituals.The percussion concerts like
'Pancharimelam, Panchavadyam, and Pandimelam' are all included for 'Pallivetta and Aarattu' days.The
caparison of elephants are made up of gold and silver.There are no sub- deities in Koodalmanikyam temple.Even 'Ganapathi' is 
not consecrated here.
For pooja rituals   'Chethi,Thulasi and Lotus flowers'  only  are used in this temple.In this vast temple compound not even one 'Thulasi' or other plants are growing is a wonder.Camphor,agarbathi(Sandalwood
incense sticks) and other
incense materials are not used in this temple traditionally as a custom.
Lotus flower and lotus flower garland is liked by the Lord very much and it can be offered by the devotee.
Mukkudi Nivedyam and Brinjal Nivedyam are special offerings in this temple held to get cure stomach ailments.For getting the blessing of our ancestors and to get cure Lung diseases such as 'Asthma' giving food to
the fishes in the pond is done by devotees.'Sarkara koottu payasam and vella nivedyam are done for
getting the blessing for a child by childless couples.It is believed that Hanuman Swami's presence is in this
temple and offering beaten rice nivedyam for him in the 'Thidapally' (temple kitchen) ,Ghee lamp,Palpayasam(sweetened rice with milk) etc are all important offerings here.
In the Ramayana Month which is Karkadakam(July-Aug) devotees visit four temples of Sree Rama,
Bharathan, Lakshmana and Satrughna in a single day which is known as 'Nalambala Darsanam'.Thousands
of devotees perform 'observances' and  visit Sree Rama temple at Thriprayar,Bharatha temple(Koodal
Manaikyam Temple)  at Irinjalakkuda,Lakshmana temple
at Moozhikkulam and Satrughna temple at Arippalam  on a single day which will provide them  all kinds of
prosperity.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

CHITRA POURNAMI

The Full Moon Day of every month is auspicious according to Hindu belief (and in some other religions also)
and out of which Pournami which is full moon day of Chitra month(Medam in Malayalam and it will be mid
April to mid May) is  very important.This day is celebrated widely in India as Chitra Pournami.  In  India,
as well as many other countries also this day is celebrated as 'Buddha Poornima' which is birth day of Lord
Buddha.
In the Malayalam month of 'Vrichikam' the full moon day is celebrated  by lighting lamps in and around our
premises and next month 'Dhanu' Poornima is Thiruvathira day and people celebrate it by  singing and dancing.
In the month of 'Makaram' Pournami will be 'Thaippooyam day"(Thaipoosam).In Kumbham Pournami day
is celebrated as 'Makam' festival,in the month of Meenam it is celebrated as 'Uthara' festival ,Medam month
it is 'Chitra Pournami' in 'Edavam month it falls on 'Viskham star day' and is birthday of Lord Murugan.
'Yama Dharma Raja' (according to belief he  knows the exact time of our death and takes our soul to heaven or hell)  is having an accountant 'Chitra Guptan" who keeps an account of whatever deeds we do  on this earth during our life.
All our performances will be entered correctly in his book which can be referred when ever  necessary.(Modern
science has proved that all our performances and words spoken by us during our life  period can be traced back
which can be heard or watched by utilizing our exact frequencies in this regard.After 50 or 100 years the life
of anybody who lived centuries back also  would be traced and every thing might be seen and heard.) To make
this fact simple to the humans,  in Hindu Puranas it is stated that Chitra Guptan is recording all our activities
during our life.Chitra Guptan was formed from Yama Dharma's body and was created on a Chitra Pournami
day.Every year Chitra Gupta starts fresh accounts and he starts fresh accounts on 'Chitra Pournami Day'.
The word meaning of 'Chitra Gupta' is that one who was  born in the month of Chitra and performing secret work( He records secretly every action of each and every living being  on this earth).
There are 'Idols' of Chitra Gupta in Kanchipuram of Tamil Nadu and 'Thiruvannamalai' of Tamil Nadu.
Chitra Pournami Day is auspicious to start 'Pooja rituals' systematically to get the blessing of a Particular
God or Goddess.This day is very much important for Durga(Parvathi) Pooja.At  Chengannur Mahadeva Temple at the Sanctum of " Devi Parvathi"  special poojas are performed on this day and this day is celebrated
there as a festival.At 'Mangala Devi Temple' which has to be reached from Thekkady by trekking 12 km  through the forest,  the only day Pooja rituals are done in an  year is  on Chitra Pournami.
On Chitra Pournami day it is believed that at Madurai Temple 'Lord Indra' performs Pooja rituals to Lord
Shiva.
For Buddhists this day is very much important since it is 'Buddha Jayanthi' day.The main  three significant
events happened in the life of Lord Buddha on this day.He was born on the night of Chitra Pournami at
Lumbini in Nepal.He got enlightenment at 'Gaya'  of Bihar State in India on  Chitra Pournami day.Lord Budha's Nirvana happened
and his soul raised to heaven on a Chitra Pournami day.
Another belief is that Goutama Buddha's wife 'Yasodhara', his Charioteer 'Channa' his main disciple 'Ananda' and his horse 'Kantaka' were  also born on Chitra Pournami Day.