Monday, February 23, 2015

Sree Vallabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvalla

Sree Vallabhaswamy Temple is situated in the heart of Thiruvalla Municipality, Pathanamthitta District on the banks of the river Manimala.This ancient majestic temple devoted to Lord Mahavishnu is one among the 108 abodes of Lord Vishnu.There are 106 abodes or 'Thirupathis' in the Indian sub Continent for Lord Vishnu known also as 'Divya Desams' and the  two others are celestial abodes 'Vaikundam' and 'Palazhy'.In Kerala there are 11 'Divya Desam' temples including 'Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Thiruvananthapuram,Thirunavaya Mukunda Temple,Thrikkakara Temple and Pancha Pandava Temples.(Thrichittattu,Thrippuliyoor,Thiru Aranmula,Thiruvanvandoor, and Thrikkodithanam).
The place name Thirvalla derived from the temple deity 'Thiru Vallabhan' and the old name of the place was 'Thiru Vallabhapuram'. In  Tamil texts it is referred as 'Thiruvallavazh' and Mahavishnu is called as 'Sundaraya Perumal' and is supposed to reside with Lakshmi Devi who has the name here as 'Vathsalyavalli'.
  The colloquial derivation of the place name became  is 'Thiruvalla'.
This temple stands in a massive land of 8 acres and the temple is of  copper roof covering.There are 'Gopurams' on the four sides and 12 feet tall walls on four sides.The idol of this temple is six feet tall and believed to be sculpted by 'Viswakarma' at the behest of Lord Krishna.Years later it was kept in the River Netravathi by Garuda Bird and recovered in B.C.59 because of a dream to 'Queen Cherumthevi'(Wife of King Cheraman Perumal).She offered and erected a flag post carved out of granite as a single piece which is 54 feet tall. Later a structure known as 'Garuda Madam' was constructed around it to support it and a statue 3 feet tall of 'Garuda'  was installed on top of it by legendary sculptor 'Perumthachan'.Later in 1970 a separate golden flag mast was erected in this temple.

The deity of Sree Vallabha Swamy is facing east and in the same 'Sreekovil' 'Sudarshana Chakra'(Sudarshana Discus) is consecrated facing west and is known as 'Chakrathazhvar'.Sub deities in this temple includes 'Ganapathi,Garuda,Sastha,Dakshina Moorthy, Varaha Moorthy,Kurayappa Swamy' etc.
This temple is a 'Maha Kshetram' and pooja rituals include five main Poojas and three 'Sivelis' daily.The main Poojas are performed assuming the Lord in different forms or 'bhavas' and during 'Ucha Pooja' at noon he is considered in 'Grihastha Bhava' and so for 'Nivedyam' at that time Kerala style dishes like 'Parippu,Erisseri,Upperi,Uppumanga' etc are served as offering to him.It is believed that 'Ardhayama Pooja'  at midnight is performed daily here by Sage Durvasa.
There are some unique offerings done at this temple.'Pantheerayiram Vazhipadu' is one among them.On the first day of the annual festival, there will be a procession from 'Thukalasseri Mahadevar Temple' at 7.30 A.M. to Sree Vallabha Swamy Temple with bunches of plantain in hand and in baskets by devotees and offered to the deity as a prelude.A variety of banana known as 'Padattipazham' is offered and '12001' bunches are  offered to him.
Another unique offering here is 'Kathakali' dance which is played here on  almost all days of the year  as offering by devotees.Usually stories like 'Santhana Gopalam,Thukalasura Vadham' etc are performed.Kathakali became a main offering here because of a belief that 'Sree Vallabha Swamy' likes this dance form very much.When 'Vilwamangalam Swamiyar' once visited this temple the deity 'Sree Vallabhan' was enjoying  'Kathakali' by watching it  among others  is the legend behind this belief.

'Uthra Siveli' is an important festival celebrated in this temple.
Annual festival is for ten days (Feb-March).
There are beautiful carvings,Sculptures and Murals  in this temple.  

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